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Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

Feel Stronger and Sexier With This Arm-Sculpting Yoga Sequence

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    1. Downward Facing Dog

    • Begin on your hands and knees. Your wrists should be underneath your shoulders, and your knees underneath your hips.
    • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale and lift your hips, coming into an upside down “V” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
    • Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes, so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Work on holding for five breaths.

    Arching-Three-Legged-Dog

      2. Arching Three-Legged Dog

      This arm-strengthening variation of Three-Legged Dog involves bending the knee of your top leg, increasing the flexibility in your hip flexors, spine, and hamstrings.

      • Begin in Down Dog. Step both feet together so your big toes are touching.
      • Keeping the left heel on the mat, raise your right leg in the air coming into Three-Legged Dog, and then bend the knee. Actively squeeze your right heel in toward your hip, lifting the knee high.
      • Lift your head up and turn to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine. Think about drawing your head and foot toward each other (if your spine is extremely flexible, your foot and head will touch).
      • Hold here for five breaths, keeping the belly still and breathing into the chest.

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      Extended-Tabletop

        3. Extended Tabletop

        Strong and poised like a ballerina, Extended Tabletop will open the front of your body, increase flexibility and strength in your shoulders, and tone your tush.

        • From Arching Three-Legged Dog, slowly lower your right foot to the floor behind you as you simultaneously raise your right arm in the air. You’re essentially rotating your body 180 degrees so your belly is pointing up toward the ceiling. Readjust your feet if you need to so they are parallel and slightly wider than hip-width apart.
        • Press firmly into your feet to lift your hips high, engaging your glutes and hamstrings, and extend your right arm over your face.
        • Hold here for five complete breaths, gazing at your extended hand or up toward the ceiling.

        Yoga-Poses-Tone-Arms-Upper-Back

          4. Balancing Star

          This creative cross between Sage and Half Moon will tone both your upper body and core.

          • From Extended Tabletop, lift your right arm and leg into the air, rotating your left toes so they point away from you.
          • Stay here, balancing on your left hand and foot. Try to keep your shoulders, spine, and hips in one straight line, and gaze toward your right hand. Press your left fingertips into the mat to take some pressure out of your wrists.
          • Hold here for five deep breaths, trying to keep your core strong and the pose steady. Then release back to Down Dog.

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          Quarter-Dog

            5. Quarter Dog

            Not only will this easy-on-the-wrists variation of Down Dog intensely stretch the backs of your legs, but it will also work out your arms, shoulders, and upper back.

            • From Down Dog, spread your fingers wide and lower your forearms to the mat. Check to make sure you’re creating a straight line between your elbows and middle fingers.
            • Keep your legs straight and lower your heels toward the ground as far as you can. Your heels should be slightly wider than your toes so the outside edges of your feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat.
            • Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths. Then straighten your arms, coming back to Downward Dog.

            One-Legged-Four-Limbed-Staff

              6. One-Legged Four-Limbed Staff

              Lifting one leg in this Chaturanga variation really targets your triceps and shoulders. It’s an advanced Chaturanga that requires more strength from your arms.

              • From Down Dog, shift weight forward so your shoulders are directly over your wrists, coming into the top of a push-up position.
              • Bend your elbows behind you, brushing your arms against the sides of your body as you lower down. Hold Four-Limbed Staff with your body in one straight line, making sure your elbows are at 90-degree angles.
              • Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor, pointing your toes, and hold for three deep breaths. Release that foot to the floor, and lift your left leg for another three breaths.
              • Release your left foot to the floor, inhale into Upward Facing Dog, and exhale into Downward Facing Dog.

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              Firefly

                7. Firefly

                This arm-balancing pose will tone your arms and increase flexibility in your hamstrings.

                • First, Downward Facing Dog. Jump your feet up so they land behind your hands.
                • Bring your hands back through your legs, and press your palms into your calves, trying to crawl deeper through your legs. Once your arms and shoulders are as far back behind your thighs as you can get them, plant your palms firmly behind your feet, cupping your heels with your thumb and index finger.
                • Bend your knees and squat down, resting the backs of your legs as close to your shoulders as you can.
                • Make sure your palms and fingers are spread wide as you shift weight into them. Lift your feet off the floor, either one at a time or both together, straightening your legs. Never place the weight on your wrist.
                • Hold for five breaths and then release your feet to the floor, coming into a Wide Squat.

                Side-Crow

                  8. Side Crow

                  This variation of Crow involves a little spinal twist and is just the pose to work your upper body. It’s a perfect posture for people who want to use just their own weight to tone up their muscle.

                  • From a Wide Squat, walk your feet together. Twist your torso to the right, and place both hands on the floor so they’re parallel with your thighs and shoulder-width apart.
                  • Place your outer right hip onto your right elbow and your outer right knee onto your left elbow.
                  • Shift weight into your palms, and lift your feet off the floor, coming into Side Crow. Hold here for five breaths, and then release your feet to the floor, coming back to a low squat position.
                  • Rotate your torso to the left, and repeat this pose on the other side. After five breaths, come back to a low squat.

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                  Headstand-B

                    9. Headstand B

                    This headstand variation is a killer move for your upper body, and for an added bonus, it’ll also tone your core.

                    • From a squat position, release your knees to the floor. Lower your elbows to the floor, and interlace your fingers, bringing your lowest pinky in front of the other pinky so both pinkies are on the floor, forming a semicircle with your hands.
                    • Place the back of your head against your palms and the top of your head on the mat. Once your head and forearms feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet toward your face as far as you can.
                    • Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your elbows planted firmly on the mat. Lift your right leg straight up toward the sky and then your left, coming into Bound Headstand (also called Headstand A).
                    • Hold this position for five deep breaths. To move into Headstand B, slowly lower both legs down halfway so that your legs are parallel with the floor, staying here.
                    • After five breaths, lower your feet all the way to the ground, resting in Child’s Pose.
                    • This is an advanced post, know your limit and listen to your body.

                    Child-Pose

                      10. Child’s Pose

                      • Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart, and your big toes touching behind you. Take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
                      • Rest your arms beside your legs, with palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you.
                      • Stay here for five breaths.

                      yoga a7
                        Reference: popsugar.com

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                        Published on July 18, 2019

                        11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                        11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

                        No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

                        Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

                        The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

                        While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

                        Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

                        1. Planks

                        Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

                        Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

                        Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

                        For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

                        2. Side Planks

                        To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

                        From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

                        Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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                        Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

                        3. Reverse Crunches

                        The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

                        When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

                        The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

                        Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

                        Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

                        4. Flutter Kicks

                        The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

                        If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

                        Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

                        It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

                        5. Arms High Sit-Ups

                        Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

                        Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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                        Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

                        Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

                        6. L-Sits

                        The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

                        To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

                        Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

                        Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

                        7. Stomach Vacuums

                        And now for something different!

                        It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

                        This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

                        To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

                        Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

                        You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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                        8. Star Planks

                        Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

                        The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

                        From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

                        Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

                        9. Boat Pose

                        Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

                        Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

                        Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

                        Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

                        10. Mountain Climbers

                        Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

                        Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

                        Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

                        It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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                        11. Russian Twists

                        Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

                        Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

                        You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

                        For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

                        The Bottom Line

                        The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

                        However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

                        If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

                        Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

                        Give them a shot!

                        Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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