Whether you are looking for a quick workout on a busy day or to add to something you are already doing, such as running or power walking, these 7 moves/stretches can be done in your home or anywhere. The only equipment you need is a yoga or exercise mat.
I recommend doing three sets of Moves 1 - 6. Do each one as described and then repeat two more times, followed by Move 7.
What does it do? This is my favorite move to work every muscle in your body! It especially helps to increase hamstring flexibility. It strengthens core, oblique, back, and shoulder muscles. It also improves posture and relives stress.
How to? Start in the upward phase of a push up (your legs can be straight or you can modify and do this on your knees, at a 45 degree angle). Spread your fingers apart and make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists. Engage your core, imagine zipping your naval to your spine and then check that your head is in line with your spine. Your weight should be balanced between your arms and your toes. Try also keep your rear end out of the air/in line with your spine.
Hold for 15 – 30 seconds and increase the length of time you do it as you get stronger and more comfortable with the move.
What does it do? It works the rectus abdominis (a.k.a your 6-pack), the interior obliques, anterior deltoids (shoulder muscles) and the erector spinae (back muscles).
How to? From plank position (check your form, as described in the last slide) and then rotate your torso, as you bring your left knee to your right armpit, and then return to plank. Next rotate your torso the opposite direction, as you bring your right knee to your left armpit, and then return to plank.
Repeat this 8 – 16 times.
What does it do? It stretches your lateral (back) muscles and your hamstrings. It helps to increase your flexibility and just feels good.
How to? From plank position (check your form, as described for Move 1), lift your hips up and then back as you exhale, bringing your tailbone towards the ceiling (or sky if you are outside). Let your head hang between your arms, with your shoulders close to your ears. Try to press your heels toward the floor/ground. If you feel you still need to warm up your calf muscles, you can “walk the dog,” by alternating bending one knee, while you press the other heel towards your mat and then switch.
Hold this move/stretch for a few breath cycles and enjoy.
What does it do? It works triceps, transverse abdominus (TVA) -- a muscle that is often overlooked and helps to stabilize the lower back and lumbar spine, and hip flexors, as well as the groin, adductors (inner thighs), quads, and lower back.
How to? From plank position (check your form, as described for Move 1), lift your right foot and tap it out to the side at about a 45-degree angle (12 – 24 inches from your other foot, which stays in place). Repeat this 8 times in a row on the same side/foot. Then do the same thing on the other side/with your left foot, 8 times.
What does it do? It helps to relax and release any pressure in the lower back, lateral (back) muscles and hip flexors, as well as to increase flexibility.
How to? From plank position (check your form, as described for Move 1), come down onto all fours (shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees). Then sit back onto your heels. Your knees/thighs can be together and touching each other or you can separate them, about hip width a part. Your big toes should be together/touching each other. Stretch your arms straight out in front of you and spread your fingers apart. Relax and breathe here for a few breath cycles.
What does it do? Works triceps, middle chest, and transverse abdominus (TVA)
How to? From plank position (check your form, as described for Move 1), bring your arms/elbows very close into your side/by your ribs (your legs can be straight or you can modify and do this on your knees, at a 45 degree angle, as the pictures demonstrate). Then push up and down, with your elbows pointing straight back, in a slow and controlled manner, between 8 – 12 times. Remember to keep your head in line with your spine and your core muscles engaged.
What does it do? Stretches the rear shoulders and triceps as well as the lateral (back) muscles.
How to? Sit or stand tall with good alignment/posture.
Arm Cross: Extend one arm across your chest and press your opposite hand on your elbow/arm gently. Hold for at least 8 counts.
Tricep Stretch: Lift one arm up above your head and bend it towards the middle of your back. Use your other hand to pull your elbow deeper into the stretch. Hold for at least 8 counts.
Congratulations! You've completed the 7 minute sculpt.
More from health