Spring Break is just around the corner

Quick low impact stability exercises

It's hard to believe we are just about one month away from Spring Break. That means it's time to get right, and get tight. If you're tired from running on the treadmill or your mundane New Year's exercises, here are some quick stability exercises to rejuvenate your routine.

Since these are body weight exercises you will do more reps than normal. Doing 15-20 reps of each exercise with a total of four rounds each will be a great quick workout. Most of these are stability exercises, but you will definitely feel these arms and shoulders. On the abductors side leg raise, you will do 15-20 on each leg.

Shoulder Taps: These aren't your ordinary should taps. Your body will be in a plank position, but while your feet are flat against the wall. It's different, low impact, but you will feel the burn in the arms. Be sure to try not to move your hips side to side

Abductor side leg raise: Grab a bench at the gym. Put your body in a table top position over the bench. Straighten one leg and lift slowly and back down slowly (video is sped up), 15-20 reps on each side.

Wall inch worms: Starting in a plank position, however with feet flat against the wall. Inch worm your way up the wall and then back down. You will not only feel this one in your arms, but your gluteus maximus.

One arm, one leg, alternating hip dips: I would suggest to watch the video above on this one (:42 seconds in).

Knee to elbow: Back to your non-traditional plank position. Plank position with feet against the wall and holding your body up right, tuck to elbow, same knew to same elbow, repeat 20 reps. You're going to love your arms at the end of this entire workout.

Hip bridge with alternating adductor lifts: This triple threat is a great exercise to end on. This exercise will actually help strengthen your adductors (inner thigh) as well as your abductors (outer thigh). And even better your CORE.

Be sure to check out my video above to get a peek on these exercises. All you need is a wall and a bench and you're set!

Increase your focus and help improve brain power

Yoga poses to help stimulate your mind

There are so many distractions nowadays that it's so hard just to take your mind off everything and focus on one thing. I want you to try this. Really try to take a few minutes out of your day to try these four poses. Even if it is just the first one, tadasana or Prayer pose (it is harder than you think) but try it. You will be thankful to get a minute of peace, to rest your mind and focus. Considering I am still in a pretty rookie position with yoga, I brought in yoga expert Nathalie Kosman for help! For your viewing, she is doing each position pretty solid in the bottom right hand corner, as you can see I am wobblier than a poorly assembled IKEA coffee table.

1) Prayer pose or Tadasana

Tadasana is the foundational pose for all standing yoga postures and full inversions, such as headstands, handstands, etc. The purpose of the pose is to get grounded. You want to feel the ground below you, close eyes, and take a deep breath. Even though this is a beginner pose, this is a restorative and balance pose. So open your palms, rib cage, and mind. Prayer pose is considered a base pose, since prayer pose variations can be derived from this pose. Prayer pose is considered a warm up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses/ yoga flow.

2) Eagle Pose

You will want to watch Nathalie below in the right-hand corner for this one, as I struggled here. This posture resembles the shape of an eagle taking flight. This pose strengthens the lower body, opens the shoulders, and improves balance and concentration. Start off by setting your gaze and remember to breath and focus. Stay for 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and repeat on the other side (legs and arms reversed).

3) Warrior III

Warrior III improves balance, memory and concentration, and tones and invigorates the whole body. From Mountain pose, step the right foot a foot length forward and shift all of your weight onto this leg. Inhale the arms over your head and interlace the fingers, pointing the index finger up. As you exhale, lift the left leg up and out, hinging at the hips to lower the arms and torso down towards the floor. Look down at the floor and stare at a point for balance. Reach out through the left toes and the crown and fingers making one straight line. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths. To release: inhale the arms up to lower the leg back to the floor and step both feet together back into Mountain pose. Hold on each side for 30 seconds to challenge your balance, and then repeat on other side

4) Supported Headstand

Finish your practice with Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) to calm your brain. For beginners, I would suggest using a wall behind, so you can practice with your feet on the wall. Come on to all fours with your heels at the wall, make sure you keep your shoulders directly over your wrists and lift up in to a shortened dog pose. Then bring one leg up at a time so your foot is in line with your hips keeping your knees bent. When you feel comfortable in position straighten both legs (think strong warrior 3 legs) to bring yourself in to the pose. Press through your feet, lengthen through your sides, engage your abdominals and lift your shoulders up away from your ears.

Check out Nathalie at The Preserve, Fit Athletic Club, and Equinox for individual or groups classes.

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