Each of the below exercises incorporates energetic breathing—inhaling through the nose when extending the spine and exhaling through the mouth when flexing the spine. Energetic breathing fuels the body with oxygen and activates the core muscles, allowing the body to work as one interconnected system.
Lunge Ankle Touch
A lunge is single leg exercise that requires one leg to step forward, behind, or sideways, while the other leg remains stationary. This movement was necessary for survival during cave man days and is also needed in today’s daily activity. Lunging forward to catch a ball or pick something up requires balance, strength, and flexibility. This exercise will improve balance and leg strength and help the body move as one unit.
- Stand upright on a trampoline or on the floor with arms lifted above your head.
- Exhale, step one leg back off the trampoline into a reverse lunge while lowering the arms in a jumping jack motion to touch the front ankle.
- Inhale, lift arms above your head, and bring the leg back onto the trampoline, returning to the start position.
- Repeat and alternate sides 10 times on each leg.
The release technique is presently used in modern and postmodern dance as well as yoga and martial arts. Emphasis is placed on breath, skeletal alignment, joint articulation, ease of muscular tension, and the use of gravity and momentum to facilitate movement. This exercise will release tension in the body, create strong breathing, and increase the heart rate. Coordination, stamina, and body awareness will improve.
- Inhale and lift both arms above your head.
- Exhale and when swinging both arms behind your body, round your back and bend.
- Inhale and lift arms above your head and return to start position.
- To increase difficulty, add a small jump when you swing your arms behind you.
Tai Chi Arm Rotation
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art form often referred to as the practice of “meditation in motion.” The slow, flowing movements in tai chi promote relaxation, stress relief, and conscious awareness of the present moment. Tai chi arm rotation will improve posture and increase chest, forearm, hand, shoulder, and hip mobility.
- Inhale and lift your arms above your head.
- In one exhale, bring the hands behind your head, sit hips back, keep knees pointed forward.
- Turn torso to the left, open arms so they are in line with the shoulders. Point fingers up. Hold for two breaths.
- Inhale and lift to return to start position.
- Alternate sides 10 times on each side.
Prone runner is a version of a plank exercise. This isometric core strength exercise involves maintaining a straight arm push-up position while adding an alternating knee-to-chest running motion. Running enhances energy and increases circulation throughout the body. This exercise strengthens the abdominals, back, and shoulders.
- Place your hands on the floor of a trampoline or on the ground. Keep the arms straight.
- Step your feet back into plank position.
- Keep your core tucked in and bring one knee to your chest. Alternate legs.
- Work up to doing this for 45-60 seconds.
Squat Into Reverse Lunge With Rotation
Squats are considered a vital exercise for maintaining the strength and size of the legs and buttocks, as well as developing core strength. We use squats in our daily life, such as squatting in and out of a chair. As we age, an inability to squat can very negatively affect our quality of life. This exercise adds a reverse lunge with upper body rotation after each squat. This sequence will improve breathing, coordination, balance, core and leg strength.
- Inhale and lift arms above your head.
- Exhale and lower hands to your chest, sit hips back into squat position.
- Inhale and return to start position.
- Exhale and step one leg back into reverse lunge.
- From your torso turn to the left with elbows bent at your side.
- Inhale and return to start position.
- Repeat reverse lunge with rotation on the right side.
- Repeat the squat and follow with a reverse lunge with rotation on each side.
Close Grip Push-Up
The push-up is a bodyweight exercise performed by raising and lowering the body using the arms. Close grip push-ups target the chest and place more emphasis on triceps, shoulders, and deeper muscles. To perform this close grip variation, place hands below the chest and keep the elbows pressed into the body at all times. A well-executed push-up keeps the hips, spine, and head in an upright, leveled position. The trick is to keep the abs engaged.
- Keep arms below your shoulders.
- Point elbows toward your feet, squeezing shoulder blades into the body.
- Exhale and slowly lower the hips, chest, and head in one motion.
- Inhale and lift the head, chest, hips as one. Repeat.
Simulated Jump Rope
Jumping is a natural reflex that can be developed into an athletic skill and will always be essential to man’s survival. Jump roping dates back to ancient China; however, the Western versions probably originated from A.D. 1600 Egypt. Jumping rope is an excellent aerobic activity that burns a high amount of calories.
- With elbows slightly bent begin circling arms back from your elbow.
- Start taking small hop motions with a bend at the knee.
- Continue for 60 seconds.
Louis Coraggio is an exercise physiologist, certified fitness trainer, and founder of trampoLEAN and Body Architect LLC. With over 15 years of experience, Louis is known for sparking new fitness trends that blend movement and science to maximize everyone’s workout. For more information, visit TrampoLEAN.nyc or BodyArch.com