As a personal trainer I learned to hold a stretch for 20-60 seconds. As a yoga instructor I learned you may hold a stretch for 5 minutes to gain the maximum benefit and you haven't mastered a pose until you can maintain it for three hours!
Through teaching and practice I have learned it takes most people at least a minute for their body to actually relax into the stretch. I believe that is the goal. Our body has a couple defense mechanisms built in to protect us against tearing the muscles and tendons so our first reflex when stretching is for the body to resist a little.
You should hold a stretch as long as it takes to feel your body let go of that resistance, notice a release, and gently take it a bit further. If you don't allow your body...
I have provided you with ten different exercises so you could stop right there with a quick workout or you can keep repeating as many rounds as you would like for a longer, more challenging workout. Every time will be a slightly different workout which will help keep you from boredom and keep your body challenged in different ways.
If you want a longer workout, another option would be to do this entire workout tabata style instead of counting repetitions. Since tabata rounds take four minutes each, that would make this a 40...
Mountain climbers are a complex exercise. You are in plank position so your arms and shoulders are holding you up while your core and legs are also engaged. Your cardiovascular system is working as you are alternating pulling your knees in towards your chest. The entire body is working hard which is why it is very challenging to do for the full eight rounds that tabata training entails. This is why I have most of my clients alternate just holding plank position with mountain climbers…and even this can be challenging!
While holding plank position remember to flex your feet and push through your heels while lifting the belly button up towards your spine to engage the abdominals and avoid lower back pain.
No matter what your schedule today entails I am sure you can fit four minutes into your day for this four minutes of tabata training!
20 second forearm plank
10 second rest
20 second mountain climber
10 second rest
20 second forearm...
Here is a quick leg workout you can do without any equipment in as much or as little time as you have available. The goal is to do as many rounds as you can until you are burned out but if you only have ten minutes, then simply do it as many rounds as you can in ten minutes. The purpose of this is to give you a wonderful lower body and cardio workout with any excuses to get in your way.
*Click on the name of the exercise for a quick YouTube video demonstration if you need it!*
Tabata: High Knees - A tabata is a specific type of interval training. You are working as hard as you can for 20 seconds, resting and catching your breath for 10 seconds and then repeating for a total of 8 rounds (4 minutes). If you are a beginner, you may just want to march in place with high knees but if you are more advanced, you should be running in place with high knees. Swinging the arms and trying to get the elbows up towards shoulder level...
Active stretching is using dynamic movements to allow the body to warm-up and open up. The sun salutations in yoga could be a form of active stretching. Generally you should do active stretching to prepare the body for activities such as running, sports, or working out using movements that mimic the activity.
Passive stretching is holding a stretch for a set period of time. Most books I have read tell you that you can hold a stretch from 10-60 seconds. I have found it takes most people at least a full minute for the body to actually relax into a stretch and make progress. It is my belief that if you are holding a stretch and don't feel a release then you are only maintaining your current level of flexibility. You need to feel the release and then stretch a little further as your body allows to actually improve your...
I am a big fan of assessments. I think it provides a lot of information that you can then use to put together a plan to help reach your goals. The assessment will shine a light on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you hold the wall sit effortlessly for 2 full minutes but can only do 8 push ups, then you need to begin to focus more on your upper body workouts and less on the lower body ones. If your strength and endurance is pretty decent overall but your balance, mobility, and flexibility are all a challenge then you need to focus more on the movement patterns and stretching sessions. You may not need to cut back on the workouts but instead start integrating balance and flexibility into the exercises.
The name of the 10 assessments are listed below along with what it is assessing. You can do them along with me in the video. Just hit pause after each demonstration and test yourself!
Tandem Balance - How is your balance?
Wall Sit - How is your leg...