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Shape Your Lower Body for Summer

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Here’s a simple yet challenging way to firm and tighten your buttocks and thighs. If you start to incorporate this move into your exercise routine now, you can help get your lower body in shape for the summer.

Step-1. Lie on a padded, flat surface and place your feet hip-width apart atop a round 36-inch foam roller. Make sure that your feet are flat, with your heels and toes on the same level. Extend your arms straight alongside your body with your head resting on the floor.

Step-2. On an exhale, push down evenly with both feet on the roller. Do not allow the roller to move, and be sure to keep the soles of your feet facing the floor throughout the exercise. Raise your hips, waist and mid-back off the floor. Pause for 10 seconds at the top of the lift while balancing on your upper back and both feet. Concentrate on squeezing the muscles in your buttocks and backs of your thighs. Slowly lower your hips to the floor, then repeat three to five times.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Line It Up for Upper-body Strength

This move helps develop strong muscles in the core and upper body. For maximum benefit, make sure that your knees, hips and shoulders are in a straight line before you try to lift yourself.
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Bend your knees and lie on your left side. Place your left elbow directly below your left shoulder, palm flat on the floor. Stack your knees and ankles on a round 36-inch foam roller, letting your outer left hip rest on the floor. Reach your right arm out to the side. Check that your hips are forward, in line with your knees.

On an inhale, press down against your left outer thigh and your left hand/forearm as you raise your hips off the floor. Contract your abdominals and keep your body in a straight line as you straighten your left leg. Balance in this position for six to 10 seconds. Focus on keeping your left shoulder pressed down away from your left ear. Slowly lower your hips, then repeat two more times on this side. Switch sides and repeat with your right forearm and hand on the floor.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Bend and Stretch those Hamstrings

Use a chair as a helpful tool in stretching the backs of your upper thighs, or hamstrings. The elevation of the chair allows you to maintain a straight back so you can focus the stretch in the legs.

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Stand in front of a sturdy chair with toes facing forward. Shift your weight to your left leg and place your right foot on the seat of the chair, keeping your right knee straight and your toes facing up toward the ceiling. Maintain a straight back as you bend forward at the hips, resting your fingertips on the chair seat on each side of your foot. Pause for three to six breaths, feeling the stretch in the back of your right thigh. Repeat on the other side.

As your legs become more flexible, practice a more advanced version of the stretch — placing your right foot on the top of the chair backrest and resting your hands on the top of the chair on each side of the foot. As before, pause for three to six breaths, feeling the stretch in the back of your right thigh. Repeat on the other side.

Source : Los Angeles Times

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Roller Puts the Work in the Abs

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You’ll feel this exercise more in the abdominal muscles — and less in the hip flexors — by gripping a roller with the backs of your thighs. That’s because recruiting the backs of your legs will prevent you from overworking the front of your legs and hips. The result is an intense workout for your abs.

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Lie on a mat or a padded surface. Cross your ankles and hug a 36-inch roller by squeezing your heels toward your hips. (Hold the roller behind your ankles, not behind your knees.) Place your hands behind your head. Inhale.

On an exhale, contract your abdominals and, without dropping the roller, raise your tailbone and hips slightly off the floor. Simultaneously roll your head, shoulders and upper back off the floor, moving your body into a tight ball. Pause at the peak of the contraction, then slowly release down to the starting position. Repeat 12 to 16 times. Rest, change the cross of your legs and repeat for another set.

Source : Los Angeles Times

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Yoga Block Enhances Stretch

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Using a yoga block in your practice helps bring the floor up to you, allowing you to focus on correct technique while feeling a sense of stability. Over time, your body will lossen up and you’ll be able to balance without the use of this tool.

Begin by kneeling on a level, padded surface with a yoga block nearby. Straighten your left leg, placing your left heel on the floor with your knee and toes facing upward. Make sure your left heel is directly across from your right inner knee. Move the block behind your left knee. Rest your left arm on your left thigh. On an inhale, reach your right arm overhead with your palm facing inward.

Exhale and lean your torso toward your left foot. Keep your hips forward — don’t sit backward. Focus on feeling the stretch along the right side of your body. Hold this position for 3 to 6 breaths. Return to center, switch legs and repeat on the other side.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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