The New Year has come and gone, and for many, your fitness has either gotten back on track or increased. Let’s see just how far you’ve come in the past several weeks with this fitness challenge.
1. KNEE BOUNCES (Strengthens quads, abs and stomach)
Come onto all fours with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. With slightly bent elbows and a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone, lift both of your knees one inch off the ground and bounce one inch up and down. Think “floating” not pounding; imagine you are on a sheet of glass and don’t want to break it. Count your bounces.
2. PUSH-UP or PLANK (Strengthens arms, chest and abs)
Come into upper push-up position with your elbows slightly soft and stay in this position as long as you can. Or, come into plank on your elbows and your hands in prayer. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels the entire time and keep your stomach pulled in. The goal is to stay in either one of these positions without letting your knees touch down or arching your back, for as long as you can. If you start to feel it in your lower back, that is not good. You need to make sure your stomach is pulled in and you can slightly lift your tailbone. If the feeling in your lower back continues, you need to stop. How many seconds can you hold?
3. QUAD STRETCH (Stretches quads)
Stand next to a sturdy wall and with your right hand, grab your right foot from behind and gently pull your right knee backwards, driving your heel softly towards your tailbone. If you need support, use the wall with the opposite hand to balance. Hold for 5 deep inhales and then switch sides.
4. WALL CHAIR (Strengthens quads)
Stand with your back against a sturdy, flat wall. Gently slide down the wall bringing your legs into a right angle with your heels directly below your knee and your back flat against the wall. Bring your hands into prayer. Keep your stomach pulled in and your shoulders relaxed. See how many seconds you can hold.
5. BACK SWIM (Strengthens entire back and butt)
Come onto your stomach and reach your arms straight out in front of you with palms facing each other. Gently lift your upper body as high as you can comfortably hold and alternate your arms one inch up and down. If this is easy, lift your straight legs off the ground and pulse them as well. See how many seconds you can go.
6. HORIZONTAL CIRCLES (Works entire body all at once–fantastic Cardio)
On a smooth surface, with a towel underneath your feet, come into an upper push-up position. Make sure your feet are on the towel. Make wide circles with your feet, each time bring your knees as far as you can forward. Keep your stomach firm and switch directions every 10 circles. See how many circles you can do.
7. HIPPIE (Balances hips, stretches hamstrings, hip and lower back)
With your feet flat on the ground and toes lined up, slowly bend forward at your waist, as low as it feels comfortable. Alternate bending one knee and keeping the other leg straight (but still keeping your feet flat) and let your head dangle down, releasing all your tension in your back and neck. Stretch each side for 15 seconds. How far could you hang down with your hands?