HomeHealthArchivesMay 2012

 

Eight Great Floor Exercises

Roll out the mat, and get down on the floor. Here are eight yoga and Pilates-inspired floor exercises to target your arms, legs, abs, glutes, and back. We've even included one for the mind-body connection.

Two variations on the sit-up tone up your six-pack.

The Modified Hundred. Lie on your back, pull abs toward your spine, and bend knees to 90-degrees. Extend arms toward hips, palms down, at shoulder height. Inhale, exhale and lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Raise and lower your arms in a pumping motion (a few inches is enough) five times while you inhale. Exhale and pump five more. Lower head to mat and repeat ten times for a total of 100 pumps.

The Roll-Up. Lie on your back, legs straight, feet together and toes pointed.  Extend arms toward the ceiling with palms forward.  Inhale then exhale while you tighten abs and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time until you reach a seated position with arms parallel to legs. Inhale. Exhale while rolling slowly back down.  Repeat ten times.

These two target calves, thighs and glutes with ab work tossed in as a bonus.

Side-Lying Leg Slide. Lie on your right side.  Rest your head on your right arm and stack your legs on top of each other.  Place your left hand on the floor in front of you for stability.  Point toes and slide your left foot to your right knee then straighten it toward the ceiling. Lower and repeat 10 times.  Switch sides.

Bridge Pose. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet planted on the floor close to your butt. Place arms on the floor slightly under your hips, palms down. Exhale and lift hips to the sky until your thighs are almost parallel to floor. Knees are over the heels, pushed away from the hips. Keep your chin down, head still and abs engaged. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and return to starting position, rolling slowly down the spine.  Repeat twice.

Yoga's Downward dog and Plank poses are ancient versions of the classic push up and great for arms, abs and back muscles.

Downward Dog. Start on hands and knees with knees directly under hips and hands slightly in front of shoulders.  Straighten arms, push hips into the air, straighten legs and place feet flat on the floor.  Stretch through the arms. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.

Plank. From downward dog, draw your body forward until your torso is parallel and arms are perpendicular to the floor with shoulders over your wrists. Press outer arms inward and hands flat on the floor.  Press thighs toward the ceiling but keep your butt down, creating one long line from your head to your toes.  Hold for 30 seconds to a minute.

This mat exercise strengthens abs, glutes, back, legs and arms.

Power Point. Start on your hands and knees with hands under shoulders.  Slowly extend your right arm straight from your shoulders and extend left leg straight from the hip.  Hold, release and switch sides. Repeat 10 times.

Don't forget the mind-body connection, everyone's favorite mat exercise.

Savasana. Lie on your back with arms and legs at your side, slightly away from your body.  Support any areas of tension or pressure with a folded towel.  Get comfortable, close your eyes, focus on your breath and relax for five minutes or more.