2016 Goal: How to Do the Splits

2016 Goal: How to Do the Splits

If you’ve always wanted to do a split, you need flexible hips and hamstrings. Practice these nine stretches, and you’ll soon be on your way.

For more stretching options, do check out our video with yoga poses that will help you master the splits.

| Tipover Tuck

This relaxing stretch is a great way to begin stretching both hamstrings at the same time while also increasing flexibility in your lower back. You’ll also get a nice stretch in the chest and shoulders, which won’t help with doing splits but will definitely feel good.

  • Begin standing with your feet hips distance apart. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). If you can, press the heels of your palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
  • From here, lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. Keep both legs straight. Make sure you’re lengthening through your spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor.
  • Stay like this for five breaths, and when you’re ready to come out, actively press into your feet, engage your thighs, and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position.

| Head to Knee

Here’s a stretch to work one hamstring at a time. You’ll feel this in your lower back, too, and it’ll also begin to open your hips.

  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and pull the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh.
  • Reach your right hand to the outside edge of your left foot so you can stack your torso directly on top of your left leg. Bring your left hand to the arch of your left foot. If you can’t reach your hands to your foot, then reach out as far as you can, resting your chest on your left thigh. Remember, the point here is to stretch your hamstrings, hips, and lower back, not to touch your foot.
  • Stay here for five breaths, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Then do the other side.

| Seated Straddle

Here’s another great pose that will stretch both hamstrings and your lower back. Since your legs are separated, it focuses more on the part of the hamstrings closest to your bum.

  • Sit down with your feet about three to four feet apart (not as wide as you can go). Reach back with your right hand and move the flesh of your right bum cheek away from you, and then do the same with your left. This will help your pelvis ground more firmly so you can stretch your hamstrings more effectively.
  • Sit tall, reaching your head away from your hips, and draw your belly and ribs in. Keep that length as you begin to fold forward at your waist, sliding your hands down your legs or on the floor in front of your head.
  • Go down as far as you need to feel a stretch in your hamstrings, but you don’t want to feel pain. Hold for five breaths.

| Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall

Flexible hamstrings aren’t the only thing you need to do a split. Flexible hips and hip flexors are also a must, so try this stretch using a wall.

  • Fold up a towel and place it about eight inches away from a wall.
  • Kneel down and place your left knee on the towel and your toes against the wall.
  • Now place your right foot on the ground in front of you, and lower your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle.
  • Place your hands on your front knee to help keep your torso straight. Stay like this for five breaths. Then slowly release and do this stretch on the other side.

| Lizard

This hip flexor stretch will stretch you even deeper.

  • Begin on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms, as if you’re going to come into Warrior 1, but keep your hands on the ground.
  • Lower your left knee to the floor and release your elbows to the floor if you can. Either rest your hands palms facing down on the mat, or bring your hands together in prayer position.
  • Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
  • Hold here for five breaths, and then repeat on the left side.

| Sage

Here’s a way you can gently use your upper-body strength to help your legs move into split position.

  • From Downward Facing Dog, step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Move your right hand over to the left six or so inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat.
  • Step your right foot forward two inches, and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat so your toes are pointing to the left.
  • Then roll over to your right side and lift your left hand off the mat, coming into a Side Plank. Lift your left leg up bending your left knee and hold on to your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your left hand.
  • Stay here balancing, or work on straightening your left leg completely. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line, and gaze toward your right toes. Stay here for five breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.
  • Release hold of your left foot and place your left hand back on the mat. Move your right hand back where it was near the top right corner of your mat. Separate your feet so you are in a top of a push-up position. Take a vinyasa and come back to Downward Facing Dog. Then do this pose on the other side.

| Standing Split

This vertical split is great practice before doing a horizontal split. It will target the standing leg’s hamstring while also stretching your hips.

  • Begin in Standing Forward Bend. Inhale and shift weight into your right foot and your palms. Lift your left leg up as high as you can. Tuck your chin and draw your torso toward your right leg, breathing deeply and relaxing the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Stay here for five breaths, then return your left leg to the floor. Stay here for a complete breath, and repeat this stretch with the left foot on the floor.

| Standing Hand to Big Toe A

Here’s a more intense vertical split that allows you to use your upper-body strength to stretch your hamstring even more. Keep your lifted leg straight in order to effectively target the muscles in the back of the leg.

  • Stand with your big toes touching. Put all your weight into your left foot and lift your right foot up. Bend your knee so you can hold on to your right foot with both hands. Keep your left leg straight.
  • From here, work on straightening your right leg. Then if it’s easy, pull your right thigh in toward your belly so your toes are pointing straight up.
  • Try to lengthen through your spine, and tuck your tailbone in so your torso is in line with your standing leg. Hold for five breaths, then slowly release your right foot to the ground. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

| Supported Split

Before trying out a full split, doing this stretch with a block is a great way to ease into it.

  • Sit on a mat and come back into Lizard. Sit up and shift your weight back, bending your left knee and straightening your right leg.
  • Place a block or rolled-up blanket under your right hamstring. Then start to inch your left foot away from you, coming into Split. Allow all your weight to be supported by the block or blanket. If it’s too much of a stretch, make your support a little higher.
  • Hold for five breaths here, and then do this stretch on the other side.

2016 Goal: How to Do the Splits

2016 Goal: How to Do the Splits

If you’ve always wanted to do a split| you need flexible hips and hamstrings. Practice these nine stretches| and you’ll soon be on your way.

For more stretching options| do check out our video with yoga poses that will help you master the splits.

| Tipover Tuck

This relaxing stretch is a great way to begin stretching both hamstrings at the same time while also increasing flexibility in your lower back. You’ll also get a nice stretch in the chest and shoulders| which won’t help with doing splits but will definitely feel good.

  • Begin standing with your feet hips distance apart. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). If you can| press the heels of your palms together in a double fist. Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest.
  • From here| lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. Keep both legs straight. Make sure you’re lengthening through your spine by reaching the top of your head toward the floor.
  • Stay like this for five breaths| and when you’re ready to come out| actively press into your feet| engage your thighs| and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position.

| Head to Knee

Here’s a stretch to work one hamstring at a time. You’ll feel this in your lower back| too| and it’ll also begin to open your hips.

  • Sit on the floor with both legs extended in front of you. Bend your right knee and pull the sole of your foot against your left inner thigh.
  • Reach your right hand to the outside edge of your left foot so you can stack your torso directly on top of your left leg. Bring your left hand to the arch of your left foot. If you can’t reach your hands to your foot| then reach out as far as you can| resting your chest on your left thigh. Remember| the point here is to stretch your hamstrings| hips| and lower back| not to touch your foot.
  • Stay here for five breaths| relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Then do the other side.

| Seated Straddle

Here’s another great pose that will stretch both hamstrings and your lower back. Since your legs are separated| it focuses more on the part of the hamstrings closest to your bum.

  • Sit down with your feet about three to four feet apart (not as wide as you can go). Reach back with your right hand and move the flesh of your right bum cheek away from you| and then do the same with your left. This will help your pelvis ground more firmly so you can stretch your hamstrings more effectively.
  • Sit tall| reaching your head away from your hips| and draw your belly and ribs in. Keep that length as you begin to fold forward at your waist| sliding your hands down your legs or on the floor in front of your head.
  • Go down as far as you need to feel a stretch in your hamstrings| but you don’t want to feel pain. Hold for five breaths.

| Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Against a Wall

Flexible hamstrings aren’t the only thing you need to do a split. Flexible hips and hip flexors are also a must| so try this stretch using a wall.

  • Fold up a towel and place it about eight inches away from a wall.
  • Kneel down and place your left knee on the towel and your toes against the wall.
  • Now place your right foot on the ground in front of you| and lower your hips until you feel a stretch in the front of your left hip. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle.
  • Place your hands on your front knee to help keep your torso straight. Stay like this for five breaths. Then slowly release and do this stretch on the other side.

| Lizard

This hip flexor stretch will stretch you even deeper.

  • Begin on your hands and feet in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward between your palms| as if you’re going to come into Warrior 1| but keep your hands on the ground.
  • Lower your left knee to the floor and release your elbows to the floor if you can. Either rest your hands palms facing down on the mat| or bring your hands together in prayer position.
  • Continue to squeeze your right knee toward your body and keep your gaze in front of you to encourage your hips to lower toward the floor.
  • Hold here for five breaths| and then repeat on the left side.

| Sage

Here’s a way you can gently use your upper-body strength to help your legs move into split position.

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step both feet together so your big toes are touching. Move your right hand over to the left six or so inches so it’s at the upper center of your mat.
  • Step your right foot forward two inches| and plant the sole of your right foot firmly on the mat so your toes are pointing to the left.
  • Then roll over to your right side and lift your left hand off the mat| coming into a Side Plank. Lift your left leg up bending your left knee and hold on to your big toe with the first two fingers and thumb of your left hand.
  • Stay here balancing| or work on straightening your left leg completely. Try to keep your shoulders| spine| and hips in one straight line| and gaze toward your right toes. Stay here for five breaths| trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady.
  • Release hold of your left foot and place your left hand back on the mat. Move your right hand back where it was near the top right corner of your mat. Separate your feet so you are in a top of a push-up position. Take a vinyasa and come back to Downward Facing Dog. Then do this pose on the other side.

| Standing Split

This vertical split is great practice before doing a horizontal split. It will target the standing leg’s hamstring while also stretching your hips.

  • Begin in Standing Forward Bend. Inhale and shift weight into your right foot and your palms. Lift your left leg up as high as you can. Tuck your chin and draw your torso toward your right leg| breathing deeply and relaxing the shoulders away from the ears.
  • Stay here for five breaths| then return your left leg to the floor. Stay here for a complete breath| and repeat this stretch with the left foot on the floor.

| Standing Hand to Big Toe A

Here’s a more intense vertical split that allows you to use your upper-body strength to stretch your hamstring even more. Keep your lifted leg straight in order to effectively target the muscles in the back of the leg.

  • Stand with your big toes touching. Put all your weight into your left foot and lift your right foot up. Bend your knee so you can hold on to your right foot with both hands. Keep your left leg straight.
  • From here| work on straightening your right leg. Then if it’s easy| pull your right thigh in toward your belly so your toes are pointing straight up.
  • Try to lengthen through your spine| and tuck your tailbone in so your torso is in line with your standing leg. Hold for five breaths| then slowly release your right foot to the ground. Repeat this stretch on the other side.

| Supported Split

Before trying out a full split| doing this stretch with a block is a great way to ease into it.

  • Sit on a mat and come back into Lizard. Sit up and shift your weight back| bending your left knee and straightening your right leg.
  • Place a block or rolled-up blanket under your right hamstring. Then start to inch your left foot away from you| coming into Split. Allow all your weight to be supported by the block or blanket. If it’s too much of a stretch| make your support a little higher.
  • Hold for five breaths here| and then do this stretch on the other side.

Own the Treadmill With This Interval Run – No Matter Your Level

Time to blast some fat with a drop-set interval run ¡ª perfect for your next treadmill workout. Because we love this workout so much, we’ve created three versions of this run, so choose the workout that works for your level. If you are new to running, try the walk/run plan. If you want to increase your speed, use the run faster program. And there are printable versions of all three levels. Can you tell? We really want you to try this effective workout.

Beginner: Walk/Run

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:002.50.0Warmup5:00-6:303.50.0Easy6:30-7:304.00.0Moderate7:30-8:004.50.0Hard8:00-9:002.50.0Recover9:00-10:303.52.0Easy10:30-11:304.02.0Moderate11:30-12:004.52.0Hard12:00-13:002.50.0Recover13:00-14:303.54.0Easy14:30-15:304.04.0Moderate15:30-16:004.54.0Hard16:00-17:002.50.0Recover17:00-18:303.52.0Easy18:30-19:304.02.0Moderate19:30-20:004.52.0Hard20:00-21:002.50.0Recover21:00-22:303.54.0Easy22:30-23:304.04.0Moderate23:30-24:004.54.0Hard24:00-25:002.50.0Recover25:00-26:303.56.0Easy26:30-27:304.06.0Moderate27:30-28:004.56.0Hard28:00-33:002.50.0Cooldown

Intermediate: Run

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:004.50.0Warmup5:00-6:305.00.0Easy6:30-7:306.00.0Moderate7:30-8:007.00.0Hard8:00-9:003.50.0Recover9:00-10:305.02.0Easy10:30-11:306.02.0Moderate11:30-12:007.02.0Hard12:00-13:003.50.0Recover13:00-14:305.04.0Easy14:30-15:306.04.0Moderate15:30-16:007.04.0Hard16:00-17:003.50.0Recover17:00-18:305.02.0Easy18:30-19:306.02.0Moderate19:30-20:007.02.0Hard20:00-21:003.50.0Recover21:00-22:305.04.0Easy22:30-23:306.04.0Moderate23:30-24:007.04.0Hard24:00-25:003.54.0Recover25:00-26:305.06.0Easy26:30-27:306.06.0Moderate27:30-28:007.06.0Hard28:00-33:003.50.0Cooldown

Advanced: Run Faster

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:005.50.0Warmup5:00-6:307.00.0Easy6:30-7:308.00.0Moderate7:30-8:009.00.0Hard8:00-9:004.50.0Recover9:00-10:307.02.0Easy10:30-11:308.02.0Moderate11:30-12:009.02.0Hard12:00-13:004.50.0Recover13:00-14:307.04.0Easy14:30-15:308.04.0Moderate15:30-16:009.04.0Hard16:00-17:004.50.0Recover17:00-18:307.02.0Easy18:30-19:308.02.0Moderate19:30-20:009.02.0Hard20:00-21:004.50.0Recover21:00-22:307.04.0Easy22:30-23:308.04.0Moderate23:30-24:009.04.0Hard24:00-25:004.50.0Recover25:00-26:307.06.0Easy26:30-27:308.06.0Moderate27:30-28:009.06.0Hard28:00-33:004.50.0Cooldown

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

Own the Treadmill With This Interval Run – No Matter Your Level

Time to blast some fat with a drop-set interval run ¡ª perfect for your next treadmill workout. Because we love this workout so much| we’ve created three versions of this run| so choose the workout that works for your level. If you are new to running| try the walk/run plan. If you want to increase your speed| use the run faster program. And there are printable versions of all three levels. Can you tell? We really want you to try this effective workout.

Beginner: Walk/Run

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:002.50.0Warmup5:00-6:303.50.0Easy6:30-7:304.00.0Moderate7:30-8:004.50.0Hard8:00-9:002.50.0Recover9:00-10:303.52.0Easy10:30-11:304.02.0Moderate11:30-12:004.52.0Hard12:00-13:002.50.0Recover13:00-14:303.54.0Easy14:30-15:304.04.0Moderate15:30-16:004.54.0Hard16:00-17:002.50.0Recover17:00-18:303.52.0Easy18:30-19:304.02.0Moderate19:30-20:004.52.0Hard20:00-21:002.50.0Recover21:00-22:303.54.0Easy22:30-23:304.04.0Moderate23:30-24:004.54.0Hard24:00-25:002.50.0Recover25:00-26:303.56.0Easy26:30-27:304.06.0Moderate27:30-28:004.56.0Hard28:00-33:002.50.0Cooldown

Intermediate: Run

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:004.50.0Warmup5:00-6:305.00.0Easy6:30-7:306.00.0Moderate7:30-8:007.00.0Hard8:00-9:003.50.0Recover9:00-10:305.02.0Easy10:30-11:306.02.0Moderate11:30-12:007.02.0Hard12:00-13:003.50.0Recover13:00-14:305.04.0Easy14:30-15:306.04.0Moderate15:30-16:007.04.0Hard16:00-17:003.50.0Recover17:00-18:305.02.0Easy18:30-19:306.02.0Moderate19:30-20:007.02.0Hard20:00-21:003.50.0Recover21:00-22:305.04.0Easy22:30-23:306.04.0Moderate23:30-24:007.04.0Hard24:00-25:003.54.0Recover25:00-26:305.06.0Easy26:30-27:306.06.0Moderate27:30-28:007.06.0Hard28:00-33:003.50.0Cooldown

Advanced: Run Faster

Time Speed Incline Notes

0:00-5:005.50.0Warmup5:00-6:307.00.0Easy6:30-7:308.00.0Moderate7:30-8:009.00.0Hard8:00-9:004.50.0Recover9:00-10:307.02.0Easy10:30-11:308.02.0Moderate11:30-12:009.02.0Hard12:00-13:004.50.0Recover13:00-14:307.04.0Easy14:30-15:308.04.0Moderate15:30-16:009.04.0Hard16:00-17:004.50.0Recover17:00-18:307.02.0Easy18:30-19:308.02.0Moderate19:30-20:009.02.0Hard20:00-21:004.50.0Recover21:00-22:307.04.0Easy22:30-23:308.04.0Moderate23:30-24:009.04.0Hard24:00-25:004.50.0Recover25:00-26:307.06.0Easy26:30-27:308.06.0Moderate27:30-28:009.06.0Hard28:00-33:004.50.0Cooldown

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kat Borchart

7 Moves to Stronger Arms! Work It With a Circuit

7 Moves to Stronger Arms! Work It With a Circuit

When it comes to solo workouts| many women tend to focus on working their legs and core but forget all about their upper body. However| if you’re going for that allover toned look (and well| aren’t we all?)| it’s time to stop ignoring your arms! Expert trainer and KIND spokesperson Jennifer Cohen created a fun and effective arm workout using moves from her new book Strong Is the New Skinny to help you build strength and sculpt the defined arms you’re pining after. Repeat this seven-move circuit three times for a complete arm workout.

| Exercise One: Staggered Push-Ups

  • Start in a regular push-up position| but stagger your hands| so one is forward in front of your shoulder and the other is in the usual position.
  • Do 10 reps this way| and then switch your hand positions for an additional 10 reps.

| Exercise Two: Reverse Dumbbell Press

  • Lie on a medicine ball with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip (your palms should be facing you)| bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle| and bring the weights just above your chest with your arms straightened but not locked.
  • Then slowly bend your elbows| lowering the dumbbells down and to your sides until your elbows form a 90-degree angle (keep your elbows in line with your shoulders). Raise the weights to the starting position. Repeat for 15 reps.

| Exercise Three: One-Armed Tricep Dips

  • Stand with your back to a sturdy bench or chair| and bend your knees as if you were going to sit down| but donu2019t! Instead| place your palms on the front edge of the seat about shoulder width apart. Position your feet in front of you| so your body weight is resting on your arms.
  • Extend your right arm and left leg in front of you| and bend your left arm| slowly lowering your body until your elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle and your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Your hips should drop straight down toward the ground| staying as close to the seat as possible. Hold the dip for a second| then exhale and straighten your arm back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times| then switch the arm and leg extended| and repeat 10 more times.

(Note: Do not lower your body too far down or lean forward as this can overstress your shoulders. If this feels like too much| stick with traditional tricep dips.)

| Exercise Four: Ballet Arms

  • Stand with your feet together| and hold a light dumbbell in each hand. Start with both arms up above your head| your arms slightly bent at the elbows and your palms facing each other.
  • Keep your core engaged| and lower your right arm halfway down to the side to shoulder height. Your arm should remain in the same slightly bent elbow position.
  • Raise your arm back up| and repeat on the left side. Keep alternating arms| and complete 20 reps total.

| Exercise Five: Alternating Big Row

  • With your feet hip width apart| hinge forward from your waist| so your torso is leaning over slightly (no more than a 45-degree angle from a standing position). Your knees should be slightly bent.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand| your palms facing in toward your body. From here| bend your right elbow| and pull your right dumbbell up and back toward your spine| driving from your elbow and keeping it tight against the right side of your body. At the top of the move| the dumbbell will be next to your rib cage.
  • Lower your right arm back to the starting position| then repeat on the left side. Continue this pattern for 20 reps| alternating arms as you work.

| Exercise Six: Bicep-Shoulder Combos

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart| and hold a dumbbell in each hand. The right dumbbell should extend down at your side. Your left arm should be extended up from your shoulder and bent at the elbow at a 90-degree angle| so your dumbbell is next to your head.
  • With your right hand| curl your dumbbell up and in toward your shoulder. At the same time| press your left dumbbell up over your head until your arm is fully extended.
  • Continue to do bicep curls on your right side while doing an overhead shoulder press on your left for 10 reps.
  • After completing your reps on one side| perform 10 reps on the other.

| Exercise Seven: Upright Rows

  • Start in a pliu00e9 position with your feet in a wide stance (slightly more than shoulder width apart) and your toes pointed out toward the corners of the room. Your knees should be bent slightly| but not to a full 90-degree angle.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended in front of you and your palms facing in toward your body. From this position| raise your weights up along the front of your body toward your chest| letting your elbows stick out at your sides (and keeping your shoulders back and down and your chest lifted) as you bring the weights to shoulder level.
  • Lower your dumbbells back to the starting position| and repeat for 10 reps.

Start again from exercise one| and repeat this circuit three times for a complete workout.

Carrie Underwood’s Leg Circuit Will Work Every Inch of Your Lower Body

Carrie Underwood’s Leg Circuit Will Work Every Inch of Your Lower Body

There’s no sitting down when faced with a two-hour show in front of a sold-out arena| something Carrie Underwood knows all too well. To make sure she can give the best to her fans| Carrie turns to trainer Erin Oprea to keep her in shape. This leg workout is full of moves that Erin does with Carrie on the regular to help keep the country star’s lower body in top shape. In fact| Erin tells us that there’s not one inch of the leg that will go ignored when doing this circuit. As Carrie herself says you’re guaranteed to feel the burn.

Once the body is warmed up| Erin suggests repeating the circuit three times.

| 1a. Squat Into Lunge
“”|””id””:37421984|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Zach Harrison

“”|””large_link””:”” 1b. Squat Into Lunge

  1. Squat down on youru00a0right leg|u00a0left toes just touching the floor for balance.
  2. Without standing up| move youru00a0left leg back into a lunge.
  3. Keep youru00a0right leg bent and return youru00a0left leg to starting position.
  4. Do 15 reps| then repeat on the other side.

Tip: Don’t ever fully stand. The key is to keep the standing leg engaged and burning| says Erin.

| 2a. One-Legged Deadlifts With Stability Ball
“”|””id””:37369801|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Zach Harrison

“”|””large_link””:””

“”}|{“”image””:”” 2b. One-Legged Deadlifts With Stability Ball

  1. With a 10- to 25-pound weight in your hand| place the top of your left foot squarely on the stability ball| with your right foot a couple feet out in front| right knee slightly bent.
  2. Fall at your waist as you roll the ball backward with your left leg until your back is parallel to the ground| letting the weight hang straight down. Make sure not to reach with the weight; you don’t want your back rounding at any time during the exercise.
  3. Squeeze your bottom as you roll the ball back to the starting position and raise your body upright| keeping your core engaged for stability.
  4. Repeat this move 10 to 15 times before switching sides.

| 3a. One-Legged Squats
“”|””id””:37369798|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Zach Harrison

“”|””large_link””:”” 3b. One-Legged Squats

  1. Standing on your left leg| extend your right leg in front of you.
  2. Drop down until your right leg is parallel to the ground. Make sure that your hips are far enough behind you to keep your left knee from hovering in front of your toes.
  3. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions before switching legs.

| 4a. Bunny Hop Squeeze
“”|””id””:37421956|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Getty / Copyright 2015 Zach Harrison Pho

“”|””large_link””:””

“”}|{“”image””:”” 4b. Bunny Hop Squeeze

  1. Place a stability ball between your legs and squeeze it tight.
  2. Hop forward 20 times and backward another 20 for a total of four rounds.

| 5a. Elevated Curtsy Lunge
“”|””id””:37369784|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Zach Harrison

“”|””large_link””:”” 5b. Elevated Curtsy Lunge

  1. Start with your right leg up on a step.
  2. While keeping your weight on the right foot| take a big step back with your left foot crossing your left leg behind your right leg. Drop straight down| bending your rear knee as you do| as if you’re actually curtsying.
  3. Drive through your front foot and stand back up to the starting position.
  4. Perform 12 to 15 reps before switching legs.

| 6a. Straddle Jumps
“”|””id””:37369800|””type””:””image””|””thumbnail””:””Image Source: Zach Harrison

“”|””large_link””:”” 6b. Straddle Jumps

  1. Start low in a squat| straddling a step or bench. Raise or lower the height of your bench depending on your level. The higher it is| the harder it gets!
  2. Drive up out of the squat into the air and land softly and squarely on the platform. Jump back down straight into the squat to repeat the maneuver for 30 to 45 seconds.

Skip the Dumbbells and Get Strong, Sculpted Arms With These Yoga Poses

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Skip the Dumbbells and Get Strong, Sculpted Arms With These Yoga Poses

Who doesn’t want strong, sculpted, shapely arms? If you’re not seeing the results you’re after from basic strength-training exercises, you’ll be surprised how quickly yoga can offer you results. These nine challenging poses require holding your own body weight in unique positions, so you end up working the muscles in your upper body more effectively. The burn you’ll feel in your arms and upper back lets you know that you’ll soon be loving your sexy, strong arms, just in time for strapless-dress season.

| Three-Legged Dog

Downward Facing Dog may look relaxing, but it’s a killer move for toning your arms and upper back. Stick one leg in the air for Three-Legged Dog, and it’s even more challenging. Hold for five breaths on both sides.

| Sage

This is the full expression of Sage Pose, but if your hamstrings aren’t very flexible, keep both feet on the ground for the beginner version called Side Plank. Hold for five breaths and then switch sides for another five.

| Crow

A pose that requires equal amounts of balance and strength, you’ll feel Crow working your forearms, upper arms, shoulders, and upper back, as well as your core. Work on holding this pose for five breaths, gazing at the ground below you to help keep you steady. Up for more of a challenge? Try Side Crow.

| Wheel

Wheel Pose is meant to increase flexibility in your spine, but it’ll also sculpt the muscles in your upper back and triceps. For even more of a challenge, try these backbend push-ups.

| Bound Headstand

Once you can hold Headstand with ease, it becomes a relaxing and grounding pose. If you can hold it much longer than the recommended five breaths, you’ll start to feel your shoulders and upper-back burn. If you have a difficult time balancing, do this pose in front of a wall. Not a headstand pro quite yet? Try this sequence to help you stand on your head.

| Quarter Dog

While the oh-so-common Down Dog works your upper body, Quarter Dog works it a little differently. If this one is easy, go ahead and work on Forearm Stand to really work your shoulders and upper back. If you find Forearm Stand daunting, prep for it with this sequence.

| Intense East

Though Intense East looks easy, this pose really challenges your triceps and upper back, and for an added bonus, you’ll also tone your tush and the backs of your legs. Hold this pose for five breaths, actively pressing into the feet to lift the hips as high as you can.

| Four-Limbed Staff

Though usually only held for half a breath in Sun Salutations, when held for five breaths, Chaturanga works your upper body and core like no other. Make it even more challenging by alternately lifting one foot off the floor.

| Firefly

A fun arm-balancing pose to try, Firefly also requires hamstring and hip flexibility, so practice some of these poses if the backs of your legs are tight.

Skip the Dumbbells and Get Strong, Sculpted Arms With These Yoga Poses

Comments Off on Skip the Dumbbells and Get Strong, Sculpted Arms With These Yoga Poses Fitness, Workouts , , , , ,

Skip the Dumbbells and Get Strong| Sculpted Arms With These Yoga Poses

Who doesn’t want strong| sculpted| shapely arms? If you’re not seeing the results you’re after from basic strength-training exercises| you’ll be surprised how quickly yoga can offer you results. These nine challenging poses require holding your own body weight in unique positions| so you end up working the muscles in your upper body more effectively. The burn you’ll feel in your arms and upper back lets you know that you’ll soon be loving your sexy| strong arms| just in time for strapless-dress season.

| Three-Legged Dog

Downward Facing Dog may look relaxing| but it’s a killer move for toning your arms and upper back. Stick one leg in the air for Three-Legged Dog| and it’s even more challenging. Hold for five breaths on both sides.

| Sage

This is the full expression of Sage Pose| but if your hamstrings aren’t very flexible| keep both feet on the ground for the beginner version called Side Plank. Hold for five breaths and then switch sides for another five.

| Crow

A pose that requires equal amounts of balance and strength| you’ll feel Crow working your forearms| upper arms| shoulders| and upper back| as well as your core. Work on holding this pose for five breaths| gazing at the ground below you to help keep you steady. Up for more of a challenge? Try Side Crow.

| Wheel

Wheel Pose is meant to increase flexibility in your spine| but it’ll also sculpt the muscles in your upper back and triceps. For even more of a challenge| try these backbend push-ups.

| Bound Headstand

Once you can hold Headstand with ease| it becomes a relaxing and grounding pose. If you can hold it much longer than the recommended five breaths| you’ll start to feel your shoulders and upper-back burn. If you have a difficult time balancing| do this pose in front of a wall. Not a headstand pro quite yet? Try this sequence to help you stand on your head.

| Quarter Dog

While the oh-so-common Down Dog works your upper body| Quarter Dog works it a little differently. If this one is easy| go ahead and work on Forearm Stand to really work your shoulders and upper back. If you find Forearm Stand daunting| prep for it with this sequence.

| Intense East

Though Intense East looks easy| this pose really challenges your triceps and upper back| and for an added bonus| you’ll also tone your tush and the backs of your legs. Hold this pose for five breaths| actively pressing into the feet to lift the hips as high as you can.

| Four-Limbed Staff

Though usually only held for half a breath in Sun Salutations| when held for five breaths| Chaturanga works your upper body and core like no other. Make it even more challenging by alternately lifting one foot off the floor.

| Firefly

A fun arm-balancing pose to try| Firefly also requires hamstring and hip flexibility| so practice some of these poses if the backs of your legs are tight.

Wanna Do a Handstand? 8 Moves to Get You There

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Wanna Do a Handstand? 8 Moves to Get You There

If you’ve been playing around with how to do Headstands and Forearm Stands, Handstands are another fun inversion to try. If you have your heart set on getting upside down, here are eight moves to practice. They’ll help you build strength and stability, so you’ll be standing on your hands in no time!

| Push-Ups

It may seem like Handstands are all about balance, but in order to be able to hold your body straight upside down, you need major upper-body strength. Push-ups are by far the best exercise since they’ll target your arms, shoulders, upper back, and core. Basic push-ups work great, but you can strengthen other areas of your body by throwing some push-up variations into your weekly routine as well.

| Backbend Push-Ups

Here’s another push-up variation that will really target your shoulders and upper back, as well as your quads and core. It’ll also get you used to being upside down. Do three sets of 10 a few times a week, and you’ll really notice a difference in your upper-body strength.

| Headstand

Since the Handstand is a pretty advanced inversion, it’s good to work on the most stable inversion first, Headstand. Try this one known as Bound Headstand to build your strength and balance.

| Forearm Stand

After mastering a Headstand, a Forearm Stand is the next hardest inversion, but not as hard as the Handstand. Since you’re resting on your forearms, there’s more surface area to balance on. Do this move in front of a wall at first to prevent falling, and then move to the middle of the room.

| Crow

Crow pose is a great next step since it requires upper-body strength, balance, and core strength. It’s like a little mini-Handstand and a great way to get your hands and wrists used to holding up your body weight.

| Handstand Split

Although the goal of the Handstand in yoga is to be able to hold your body in one straight line, it’s really difficult to find that balance at first. Doing a Handstand with your legs in a split position is much easier. Do it in front of a wall with your toes leaning for support, and eventually move away when you master the balance.

| Handstand Against the Wall

Here’s the next step in being able to do Handstands freely. Place you hands six or so inches away from the edge of a wall. Kick your feet up, press the top of your head against the wall, and move your legs away. This will get your body in the correct alignment with your hips and shoulders stacked. Hold this position for as long as you can, and you’ll really feel your core and upper body working hard to keep your body up. When you’re ready, start pulling your head away from the wall, balancing in a full Handstand.

| Handstand

After mastering Handstand against the wall, you’re ready to move to an open area to work on balancing without any help. Kick up with control into Handstand Split, and slowly scissor your legs together. Concentrate on holding your gaze at one point on the floor below you, keeping the hips stacked over the shoulders, fingers spread wide. Hold for as long as you can.

Wanna Do a Handstand? 8 Moves to Get You There

Comments Off on Wanna Do a Handstand? 8 Moves to Get You There Fitness, Workouts , , , , ,

Wanna Do a Handstand? 8 Moves to Get You There

If you’ve been playing around with how to do Headstands and Forearm Stands| Handstands are another fun inversion to try. If you have your heart set on getting upside down| here are eight moves to practice. They’ll help you build strength and stability| so you’ll be standing on your hands in no time!

| Push-Ups

It may seem like Handstands are all about balance| but in order to be able to hold your body straight upside down| you need major upper-body strength. Push-ups are by far the best exercise since they’ll target your arms| shoulders| upper back| and core. Basic push-ups work great| but you can strengthen other areas of your body by throwing some push-up variations into your weekly routine as well.

| Backbend Push-Ups

Here’s another push-up variation that will really target your shoulders and upper back| as well as your quads and core. It’ll also get you used to being upside down. Do three sets of 10 a few times a week| and you’ll really notice a difference in your upper-body strength.

| Headstand

Since the Handstand is a pretty advanced inversion| it’s good to work on the most stable inversion first| Headstand. Try this one known as Bound Headstand to build your strength and balance.

| Forearm Stand

After mastering a Headstand| a Forearm Stand is the next hardest inversion| but not as hard as the Handstand. Since you’re resting on your forearms| there’s more surface area to balance on. Do this move in front of a wall at first to prevent falling| and then move to the middle of the room.

| Crow

Crow pose is a great next step since it requires upper-body strength| balance| and core strength. It’s like a little mini-Handstand and a great way to get your hands and wrists used to holding up your body weight.

| Handstand Split

Although the goal of the Handstand in yoga is to be able to hold your body in one straight line| it’s really difficult to find that balance at first. Doing a Handstand with your legs in a split position is much easier. Do it in front of a wall with your toes leaning for support| and eventually move away when you master the balance.

| Handstand Against the Wall

Here’s the next step in being able to do Handstands freely. Place you hands six or so inches away from the edge of a wall. Kick your feet up| press the top of your head against the wall| and move your legs away. This will get your body in the correct alignment with your hips and shoulders stacked. Hold this position for as long as you can| and you’ll really feel your core and upper body working hard to keep your body up. When you’re ready| start pulling your head away from the wall| balancing in a full Handstand.

| Handstand

After mastering Handstand against the wall| you’re ready to move to an open area to work on balancing without any help. Kick up with control into Handstand Split| and slowly scissor your legs together. Concentrate on holding your gaze at one point on the floor below you| keeping the hips stacked over the shoulders| fingers spread wide. Hold for as long as you can.