Christmas is fast approaching, and as our normal workout routine flies out the window, and we embrace all things indulgent I thought I’d put together a blog post with a few moves you can try at home. For this home workout all you need is a mat, and some chilled out tunes.
Lie down on your side; knees bent and open arm in a fifth position (demonstrated in the picture). Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders. Rest your head on your hand to support your neck.
Keeping your form open the active leg to a turned out diamond position, only go as far as you can keep your hips secure. As soon as you rock go back to the beginning position. Feel as though you are squeezing your glute muscles together as you do this action.
To make it harder use ankle weights around your active knee.
In the same position take the open leg to a bent position above hip level. Extend the leg, to a stretched position, and elongate the arm. Hold for five seconds and return the bend. Use ankle weights to make this move more challenging.
In the same position extend the leg to hip level, or just above. Lift the leg to your highest extension keeping the leg turned in, engaging the core and squeezing the gluteus muscles. Use ankle weights to make this move more challenging.
This moves a little more complex, using the classical ballet movement of an attitude – behind and in front of the body. As shown in image 1 it starts by tapping the outside legs knee on the ground, extending to a turned out extension and controlling the leg back behind the body to tap the toe, you extend the leg again and repeat. Keep the core engaged to support your spine and keep form.
This is my go-to ab warmup, it’s a great way to ground your pelvis and start to feel the connection between your abs and your lower back. The most important thing to keep in mind during the Ab marches is your form. You want to make sure that at no point you are compromising your back to complete the movement, you should feel your lower back pressed against the floor at all times. Start lying down, your feet hip width apart. Feeling a crease at your hip raise your right leg to ‘table top’ position, bring your left leg to join the right, lower the right leg and then the left. Do repetitions on both sides.
To make this movement harder you can bring your head up in time with your leading leg and touch it back to the ground when both feet are grounded. I like to keep my arms in a first position over my chest, as shown. If this doesn’t feel comfortable you can do this movement with your arms on the floor.
These oblique twists start with the legs at table top, the head raised, and arms in fifth position above the head. As you extend a single leg the arms reach over the leg in a twisting motion, the arms are either side of the leg in an extended first position. Between each leg extension you return to the initial table top with your arms back in fifth. As with the first exercise, you must make sure your abs are engaged and your back is supported.
To make this harder you can add ankle weights.
These Ab crosses with length are taken form the classic beating movement performed when jumping in ballet. The difference here is the legs cross in a slow sicker action whilst you lengthen the head and arms in the opposite direction, creating strong lean core muscles. Start on your back, head raised and arms in fifth position over the head, the legs are in a crossed fifth position (one leg in front of the other). You are going to slowly open and close your legs, switching the one in front each time. I do 10×3 reps of these, over the 10 beats I slowly lower my legs making the movement more challenging – once you can not move your legs any lower without disrupting your back you work your way back up to the starting position.
These arabesque taps are a very quick and simple way to warm up your legs and gluteus muscles. Lying on your stomach, with a relaxed neck raise your arms into a fifth position over the head and raise your neck and chest. Alternate legs in a scissor motion tapping the ground. Engage your core and glutes throughout.
A more challenging version of the first movement. Instead of tapping the ground you’re going to keep your legs elevated at all times, increasing the speed of the scissor motion. You can keep this turned in, or make the movement sideways, engaging your inner thighs.
This movement is a great way to see where your leg strength is at, by bridging with a variety of challenging additions. Going into the bridge, start by pealing of the tail bone and working your way up the vertebrae one by one until only your upper back and shoulders remain on the mat. After the initial set you can do single leg bridges, and then advance into extended leg bridges. I have listed my recommend reps, but if this is a struggle build up by starting with 10×3 reps of regular bridges.
Arabesque lifts require a solid core to make sure you don’t work into your lower back. The exercise must be done keeping your back as straight as possible and your neck lengthened. Your supporting leg as show is in a ‘crawl position’ it is slightly turned out with your knee facing around 2 o’clock. Hands are directly underneath your shoulder blades, slightly bent at the elbow. The working leg is extended, from here as shown you lift it to as high as you can without disrupting your form.
Keeping your back long and core engaged try and reach beyond your toes. Don’t relax the core and curve your back. To help elongate your muscles go in and out of the stretch, gently stretching the muscles.
Start on your stomach, head down and arms on the ground next to your chest. Without crunching into your lower back, feel like someone is pulling the very top of your head in a ‘C’ motion until your in a stretched back bend. Hold for 30 seconds and slowly lower down.
To stretch your obliques sit on you knees and take a side bend, supported by you resting hand.
For the gluteus stretch lie on your back, put the heal of your foot just below your knee, extending the bottom leg to increase the stretch, as shown. You can use your arms behind the extended leg to pull it further towards you, increasing the stretch.