Regular exercise begets confidence, which in turn begets the type of inner and outer health that radiates from a person’s soul.
But sometimes when you’re having a down day, it can be tough to summon your inner Sasha Fierce and strut your bad self like Beyoncé. That’s where this series of exercises comes in.
A 2012 TED Talk led by social psychologist Amy Cuddy shares how “power posing” can help boost inner and outer confidence. “Power posing” simply means standing and projecting confidence through body language… so why not combine exercise with power posing for the perfect, Sasha-Fierce-evoking assurance? Each of the following exercises conveys strength and openness while simultaneously boosting blood flow and muscle engagement to bring about an inner and outer glow.
1. Jumping jacks
Get warmed up while making your body as wide and tall as possible. This elementary school favorite will boost your heart rate and prepare you to work. Perform for 60 seconds.
2. Squat and reach
The wide-leg stance of this squat will give you a strong, sturdy base at the bottom of the movement to fire up your legs. As you stand up, squeezing your glutes and keeping your core strong, sweep your arms up and over your head, as if saluting the sun. Perform continuously for 60 seconds.
It’s time for another burst of cardio, this time with a boxing-inspired punch sequence that will invoke toughness and surety. Simply stand with staggered legs, your left foot in front of your right, with knees slightly bent. Jab forward twice in quick succession with your right arm, followed by a cross-body hook with your left hand. As you jab forward, tighten your core and arms as if you were hitting a punching bag and twist up onto the ball of your right foot to allow your hips to rotate forward.
Perform for 60 seconds on one side before switching to the opposite side.
4. Lunge with a twist
Lunges are another excellent lower-body exercise that challenges strength, balance and coordination. This lunge takes it a step further by incorporating a core-strengthening high knee and an oblique twist.
Start by taking a step forward with your left leg before lowering yourself into a lunge. Remember to keep your core tight, your chest and torso tall and your left knee in line with your left toes (without extending over your toes). At the bottom of the lunge, reverse the movement, but as you come to standing, shift your weight entirely onto your left foot. Tighten your core and bring your right knee up toward your chest, and if you can, twist your torso to the right, aiming to touch your right knee with your left elbow.
Perform the exercise for 60 seconds per side. To make the exercise harder, hold a medicine ball or dumbbell in front of your chest.
5. Plank to downward dog
This series of exercises is yoga-inspired, designed to strengthen the upper body and core, enhance flexibility and open your “heart center.” The exercises should be done in a slow, steady succession, holding each part of the movement for two to three breaths before continuing on.
Start in a full plank position, core tight, palms planted beneath your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from heels to head. Bend your elbows and lower yourself slowly to the floor, as if you were performing a push-up. Once on the ground, press through your palms and draw your chest forward into a cobra or upward dog position. In the cobra position, your hips and thighs remain in contact with the ground, while in an upward dog, your hips and thighs lift up off the ground. Look up and make sure you aren’t scrunching your shoulders toward your ears.
Hold for two breaths, then plant the balls of your feet on the ground and shift your weight backward as you press through your palms and feet and lift your hips toward the sky into downward dog. Hold for two breaths, pedaling your legs out if you’d like, before shifting your weight forward again into plank position. Continue the full sequence for two minutes; really allow yourself to enjoy the stretch and challenge!
6. Mountain to forward fold
Another yoga-inspired exercise that’s practically hand-picked for its power-pose element; start this sequence of movements by standing tall, legs hip-width apart, fingers spread, palms facing forward, held slightly away from your hips. Hold for two deep breaths, sinking your weight into your heels while strengthening every muscle in your body. Sweep your arms out and up to the sky and look up at your hands. Hold for two breaths. Sweep your arms out and down to shoulder-height before pressing your hips back (keeping your core tight and straight) as you let your chest lower until it’s parallel to the ground in a “swan dive”-like movement. Drop your hands toward the floor and relax your neck and upper body to move into a forward fold. Hold for two breaths, enjoying the stretch through your hamstrings and glutes. When you’re ready, tighten your core and bend your knees slightly as you raise yourself back to the starting position.
Perform the sequence of movements in a steady succession for 60 seconds.
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between ARM & HAMMER™ Truly Radiant™ and SheKnows