Stretch your workout further
Alexandra Black – Group Exercise Manager
Have you been feeling like your workout is missing something? You do the reps and the sets, but something isn’t there… Yoga has been practised for over 5,000 years. It is one of the oldest traditions in the world. While the original purpose was to strengthen the body for long periods of meditation, it makes sense that in modern times we have adapted certain asanas to strengthen the body. Below I have outlined some yoga tips and tricks that you can add to your usual workout to get more out of your body as you strengthen.
Did you know that a sun salutation is basically a burpee? I swear by sun salutations as a warmup as the movement that gets into every joint, every muscle and builds heat fast.
The basic movements are below but read our article on sun salutations for the full run down.
From standing, inhale your arms to the sky and bring your palms through heart centre as you exhale to fold. Inhale as you come to halfway lift, hugging the shoulder blades together. As you exhale, step back to your high plank, and lower to halfway for low plank. As you inhale, come up to your upward facing dog, as you exhale, push back to your downward facing dog. Stay here for a couple of breaths, before stepping or jumping to the front of the mat. Inhale to halfway lift when you arrive, exhale to forward fold. Inhale your arms up to the sky and repeat anywhere from 3-5 times.
Traditionally, you would perform your sun salutations 12 times facing the sun at sunrise!
Through the workout:
I’ve spent years talking to gym buddies who don’t stretch. Not as they go, not as they cool down. What! Below are some yoga positions you can add to your workout in order to get a little more out of your body.
Been working into those hips lately? Maybe it was a big bike ride or a long run, even leg day can do it! Jump into lizard lunge for a while to really get into those hip flexors.
Core work is always a killer. Just lay on your stomach for a little bit and let this pose do its work.
You know when your ‘pecks’ get really tight they cause you to hunch forward? Protect your posture and stretch out those pectoral muscles with this chest stretch.
The idea here is to grab onto the opposite hand behind your back. If this isn’t achievable for you (as it isn’t for me) you can use a towel, strap or resistance band to make up the space. This will stretch out the shoulders, giving you more shoulder mobility.
In yoga sequencing, we talk about an ‘energy time graph’ which refers to the way your nervous system works. Take a page out of the yoga book and spend time warming up and cooling down. If you jump out of your workout and into the day, your body may not return to the parasympathetic nervous system where you body can rest and digest. You can use some of the stretches above or use your own. It is always a great idea to treat your body with the kindness it deserves.
Enjoy your workouts! Try and get a little sunlight as you go – a stretch in the sun is a lot more fun than stretching inside! And tag us on Instagram if you get any good pics or other tips! @virginactiveuk