Body Works 101 04/22/2014

Want a few Tips and Tricks to that awesome Beach BOD?! 

The past few months have not had the best “motivational” weather at all.

But…now that it’s getting warm I thought it would be a great idea to help little bit and give you ladies some ideas on what you can do at home to get that “Beach Bod” you have always wanted! 🙂

If you like doing Yoga I think it is PERFECT for when you have some free time at home, let alone it gives you time to relax and “Wine Down” 😉

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Just because this is a Yoga workout, does not mean it has to be a HOT Yoga sesh where you get sweaty, gross and exhausted! Yoga is great for working on your flexibility and toning your muscles. I highly recommend it. Here are just a few of my favorite moves:

WHAT YOU NEED: 

-One or two stiff pillows (If you don’t have Yoga Blocks)

-A few blankets (If you don’t have a Yoga Mat)

-A belt or a bath towel rolled up (If you don’t have a Yoga Strap)

{Lets get started}

-UP DOG-

<Benefits>

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma

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HOW TO: Lay face down on your mat with your entire body flat. Bend your elbows and place your palms flat to the ground, hands along side your chest.

Your elbows should stay tight to your sides. 

From here, using your arms, push your chest upwards; the top of all 10 of your toes should press into the floor. 

Once your arms are fully extended, make sure that your wrist joint is still under your shoulder— aligning the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints together. (This positioning is critical and ensures a safe, less stressed lower back.) The most common mistake in this pose is having your hands too far out in front of you, creating tremendous low back pressure.

-DOWNWARD DOG POSE-

<Benefits>

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Energizes the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done with head supported
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

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HOW TO: Push your hips towards the ceiling, making the body form an inverted V-shape. The back is straight with the front ribs tucked in. The legs are straight with your heels reaching to the floor. (If you can) Try to make your hands open wide kind of like a starfish, while keeping your forefinger and thumb pressed down on the floor/mat. Your arms are straight, with your inner elbows turning towards the ceiling. If you have the tendency to hyper extend your elbows, that’s fine just try to keep a slight bend to your elbows and that will help prevent taking so much weight in the joints.

-WARRIOR I-

<Benefits>

  • Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
  • Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
  • Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles

Start with your feet together and your arms stretched up facing the sky. Next, Inhale a deep breath and spread your legs sideways by stepping, creating a gap big enough to keep your balance. Bend your left knee till your thigh is parallel to the floor, avoid extending the bent knee past the ankle and keeping your other leg as straight as possible. Stretch your right leg by keeping it locked and pushing forward with your left. Your head, chest, left knee and left foot should be aligned facing forward. Your head should be slightly bent back and up with the eyes facing the hands. Hold this position for one to four deep breaths, relax, and then switch legs. 

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-WARRIOR II-

<Benefits>

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
  • Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica

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Start with your feet together and your arms stretched up facing the sky. Next, Inhale a deep breath and spread your legs sideways by stepping, creating a gap big enough to keep your balance. Take a deep breath and while exhaling turn your trunk facing to the left while rotating the left foot 90° so it faces forward and the right foot so it points slightly to the right. Bend your left knee till your thigh is parallel to the floor, try to avoid extending the bent knee past the ankle and keep your other leg straight. Stretch your right leg, with your knee locked. {Your head, chest, left knee and left foot should be aligned facing forward}. Your head should be horizontal with a gaze on the second finger of the left hand. Hold the position for one to four breaths. Switch to the other side. 

-THE LUNGE TWIST-

<Benefits>

  • A challenging balance posture that creates stability throughout the entire body.

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HOW TO: Begin in Downward-Facing Dog pose. Step your right leg forward so that the right knee is centered over the right ankle and the back leg is firm. Bring your hands into a Prayer pose in front of your chest. Keeping your core tight and feet planted, rotate your torso to the right, raising your right elbow toward the ceiling and bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

-STANDING FORWARD BEND-

Note:

(In this position you can also cross your legs if you are more flexible)

<Benefits>

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips
  • Strengthens the thighs and knees
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces fatigue and anxiety
  • Relieves headache and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, infertility, osteoporosis, and sinusitis

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HOW TO: Begin in Standing Forward Fold with your fingertips touching the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left so that your baby toes touch and both feet are flat on the ground. Your right knee will remain bent while the left leg is straight. Stay here with the hips stacking over your heels or begin to fold your torso forward over your legs, relaxing your neck and gazing toward the ground. Hold for five to 10 breaths.

-BRIDGE-

<Benefits>

  • Stretches the chest and lungs
  • Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • Increases energy and counteracts depression
  • Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

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HOW TO: Lie on your back with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands under your shoulders, lift your hips, and straighten your elbows. 

Repeat 2x

-RECLINED BIG TOE-

<Benefits>

  • Stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins, and calves
  • Strengthens the knees
  • Stimulates the prostate gland
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves backache, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure, flat feet, and infertility

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HOW TO: Begin by lying on your back. Keep your left leg on the floor and bend your right knee while grabbing your toes. Straighten your right leg up toward the ceiling, keeping the foot over the hip. Relax your right shoulder to the floor. Try to press your left thigh down. Rotate your right toes outward to open your right hip to the side. Place your left hand on your left hip to help root it. Grab the outer edge of your right foot with your left hand and lower your right arm flat on the floor in line with your shoulder. Keep the opposite shoulder rooted toward or on the floor. Lift your right leg back to center and grab hold of your calf or foot with both hands. Keep both shoulders relaxed as you gently bring the leg toward you. Keep your head on the floor and your right leg as straight as possible. Hold for five to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

{If you aren’t able to grab your toes with your hands, use your belt or yoga strap} 

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If you can do it this great standing up more power to you! She just makes it look so fabulous and easy doesn’t she?

-COW FACE-

<Benefits>

  • Stretches the ankles, hips and thighs, shoulders, armpits and triceps, and chest

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HOW TO: Begin in a seated position with both knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Drag your right foot under your left knee and next to your left hip. Lay your left leg on top of your right leg and put the left foot by your right hip so your legs mirror each other. Try your best to get your knees to stack. Reach your left arm straight up and drop your right arm down. Bend both elbows, swinging the right hand up the spine until you can clasp your hands behind your back. Use a strap if you can’t reach your other hand. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

-RECLINED TWIST-

<Benefits>

  • Twisting at the end of the practice helps to restore equilibrium in the nervous system and release tension in the spine.
  • Sarah Powers notes that bringing the bent knee more to the chest can relieve sciatica.
  • Massages the stomach and cures gastritis.

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HOW TO: Lie on your back. Extend your arms straight out to the side. Shift your hips to the right slightly. Bend your right knee into your chest and let it drop over to the left. Hold for five to 10 breaths. With each inhale lengthen your spine from the crown of your head to your tailbone, and with each exhale deepen your twist. Switch sides.

That wasn’t too hard now was it?! 

Now…I am going to go into the more traditional workout routines.

{CARDIO} 

{ I suggest doing some cardio to get you started before working on individual body part workouts to get your body moving, blood flowing and warming yourself up a little bit} 

Jumping Jacks or Jumping Rope is PERFECT for this! PLUS, you can stay in one spot instead if you don’t have the time for running. 

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#1- THE BODYWEIGHT SQUAT 

{This works your thighs and tightens your butt}

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Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, so that your arms parallel to the floor. Keep your torso as upright as you can for the entire movement, with your lower back slightly arched. Brace your abs, and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position. That’s one repetition.

Do 15 to 20 repetitions.

#2-  THE INCLINE PUSH-UP

– This targets the muscles of the chest, fronts of the shoulders and the triceps. (In this picture the girl is using her bed, but you can use your stairs, a bench, and even an exercise ball)

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Assume a push-up position, but place your hands on a raised surface. (Not the floor) Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Keeping your body rigid, lower your body until your upper arms dip below your elbows and then push yourself back upward. (The higher the surface on which you place your hands, the easier the exercise becomes—you can even lean against a wall if you need to.) If the incline push-up is too easy, do it the old-fashioned way, with your hands on the floor.

Do 12 to 15 repetitions.

#3- THE HIP RAISE

This exercise works your core as well as your Glutes. 

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HOW TO: Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your arms out to your sides at a 45-degree angle, your palms facing up. Now try to make your tummy as skinny as possible and hold it that way—this gives you a tight core—while breathing normally. NEXT, Keeping your core tight, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause for five seconds—squeezing your glutes tightly the entire time—then lower body back to the starting position.

Do 10 repetitions.

#5- THE SIDE PLANK

This exercise helps tighten and shrink the waistline. It works the deep abdominal muscles (obliques, transverse abdominus) that most ab exercises don’t reach.

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Lie on your right side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body on your right elbow and forearm, which should be directly below your right shoulder. Place your left hand on your left hip. Try to make your tummy as skinny as possible and hold it that way, while breathing normally. Then raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. With your core tight, hold this position for 30 seconds. Roll onto your other side and repeat.

#6- CROSS-BODY MOUNTAIN CLIMBER

This exercise is a compound exercise that works the calves, quadriceps, glutes, back, chest, triceps, abdominals and shoulders. 

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Get into a pushup position with your arms straight. Bring your right knee toward your left elbow, return to start, and then bring your left knee to your right elbow. Continue alternating legs at a fast pace.

#7- TRICEPS EXTENSION

This is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps.  (Which are the muscles on the back of your upper arm) 

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How to do it: Come into a lunge position, with your back heel on the ground. Lean over your front bent knee as your lift your arm straight up by your side, top of the weight facing the ceiling. Lift and lower the 2-3 pound weight about an inch

(30 times each side).

NOTE: If you don’t have small weights at home, use a water bottle, 1/2 gallon of milk, or a canned drink. Just don’t open after using them 😉 

#8- Boat into Half Boat

<Benefits>

  • Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
  • Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Improves digestion

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Sit upright on the floor, then lean back, extending your arms forward and lifting you legs together off of the floor. Hold for 3 breaths, then lower your back and legs towards the floor without letting them touch it. Hold for 3 breaths as well and then return to the first position (The BOAT)

REPEAT 10X

ROWS:

**You do not necessarily need a bench to do this. You can step one foot forward like the triceps extension exercise

<Benefits>

  • Lats
  • Traps
  • While also working parts of the back like Posterior Deltoids and biceps.

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Keep your hips hinged without letting your shoulders hunch, and pull your elbows back, keeping them close to your sides. Add in some extra core work by alternating your arms, but still keeping your torso square (no twisting).

-[Thank you]-

{I hope that this helps you getting started with that beach body you have always wanted! Goodluck and I would love to see your progress and feedback! Thank you so much Catherine for taking the time to show us your fabulous Yoga skills. Make sure you follow her @catherine_lc for more Yoga}

*The pictures taken by Catherine are in Charleston SC at the Battery and a dock by her home.*

Xoxo,

Alyssa 

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