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Illustrations by Ievgenii Volyk

Spring Cleaning

The goal Being present helps clear the mind of unnecessary chatter as these gentle twists, inversions and compressions all work to detoxify the body by stimulating internal organs and boosting the lymphatic system. These poses also strengthen muscles, encourage blood flow for better circulation, and stimulate the thyroid gland, which aids detoxification.

The plan Perform 2 sets of the first 4 poses, holding each pose for 3 to 5 breaths. After you have completed 2 sets, do the bridge stand, both sides of the supine twist and end in savasana, or corpse pose.

Down dog twist
Start in downward-facing dog and walk your feet slightly forward to bring your heels closer to the ground. Take a breath in. As you exhale, reach one hand toward the outside of your opposite shin or ankle. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, then repeat on the opposite side. Walk your hands back to your feet and slowly roll up to stand.
Prayer Twist
Start with toes together, arms overhead, and knees bent. Bring hands together at your heart, draw your abdominal muscles in and exhale as you twist to one side. Bring your elbow to the outside of your knee, and expand through your collar bones. Take 3 to 5 breaths. Inhale back to center and exhale as you twist to the other side.
Cobra or full locust
From plank pose, lower your body to the ground. Set your hands alongside your ribs and gently inhale your chest off the ground as you gaze forward. Stay in cobra, or move to full locust, swimming your arms behind you with legs off the ground. Take 3 to 5 breaths and slowly lower your body. Press back to down dog.
Straddle Fold
Lunge your right foot forward between your hands, pivot to the left, then lower your torso into a wide-legged stretch. Rest your hands on the ground, or interlace them behind your back as you bend forward to the balls of your feet. Take 3 to 5 breaths and come back to a lunge. Alternate legs between each set.
Bridge Stand
From your lunge, step into to downward dog, then turn over onto your back. Bend your knees and set your feet hip-width distance apart. Inhale as you lift your hips up. (Option: Interlace your fingers and gently press your arms into the ground.) As you exhale, bring your hips back down. Complete 2 sets.
Supine twist
Lying on your back, pull your knees toward your chest and drop them to the left. Open your arms wide and relax into the twist. Bring your knees back into your chest and twist in the opposite direction. Come back to center and rest on your back. Note: Supine twist releases low back and wrings out intestinal toxins.
Corpse pose
Lying on your back, with arms by your sides, rest in corpse pose for several breaths. When thoughts stray, come back to the natural cadence of your breath as you silently repeat, “breathing in” and “breathing out.” If you find that it is less calming to focus on your breath, shift your attention to sounds or bodily sensations.

Six-pack Abs

The goal Stimulate and strengthen the abdominal muscles and tighten the core with these Orangetheory Fitness techniques, resulting in higher energy levels and visible toning.

The plan Perform all three circuit exercises for as many rounds as possible, in the block of time indicated. You can use a phone stopwatch or household kitchen timer for each.

Circuit 1
Endurance, 6 minutes

Bird Dog
15 reps each side
Start in a plank position, with feet on the ground and hands under your shoulders. Lift one hand, extending it out in front of your body, while lifting the opposite leg. Try to balance for half to one second before releasing back to a plank, and switching sides.
Lying Leg Lift Raises
15 reps
Lying on your back on the floor, lift your shoulders gently off the floor, crunching your abdominals. Lift your legs off the floor, lifting high enough that toes point toward the ceiling. Once at the top, begin to lower, coming a few inches from floor before repeating. Your legs should remain straight throughout.

Circuit 2
Strength, 4 minutes

12 reps
Start in standing position, with feet just wider than shoulder-width apart. Begin to sink your hips down and back. Knees should form a 90-degree angle, and then push back up, driving your shoulders toward the ceiling. Try to keep a majority of your weight on your heels as this is performed. For an additional challenge, hold dumbbells at your shoulders.
Tempo Crunches
12 reps
Lying face up on the floor, feet planted flat, support your head with your hands placed gently behind. Lift your shoulders off the floor, pressing your rib cage down toward your hips. Once at the top, begin to lower slowly back down to starting position. Count one second to rise up, and three seconds to lower down.

Circuit 3
Power, 5 minutes

Pop Jacks
8 reps
From plank position on the floor, hands underneath shoulders, powerfully thrust your upper body up, trying to snap yourself into a deep squat position. Make sure to land with feet fully planted on floor.
Speed Skater Lunges
8 reps each leg
Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Jump to one side, landing on the outside foot, kicking the inside leg behind you. Try balancing on the one foot before pushing off, jumping to the other side.
Seated Knee Tucks
8 Reps
Sit on the floor, with knees bent and
hands and heels resting on the floor. Take feet off the floor, tucking knees into chest. From the tucked position, slowly extend feet back out, trying to keep feet from touching the floor.

On the Run

The speed that a person takes to improve his or her running fitness can vary. Some may be able to start from running one block to being able to finish a 5K in eight weeks, while it may take others 12 weeks or more. No matter how long it takes, patience is key to avoiding injury. Be sure to progress at a rate that works for you. Some runs will go better than others; most runners have good days and not-so-good days—this is normal.

Running with a partner or partners helps a great deal to combat boredom and increase motivation. Many people are surprised at how much easier running is when they have someone to talk to and know there is someone they don’t want to let down.

Starting out, aim to have at least one day of rest between each walk/run day. These rest days will help in recovery and prevent injury.

There are many different programs available for new runners; the two approaches below—fartlek and interval—seem to be the most popular. Structured running programs with set distances and times for running and walking work best for some (interval), while others prefer more relaxed go-by-how-you-feel plans (fartlek).

The word “fartlek” means “speed play” in Swedish. Fartlek runs are less formal and work well for people who prefer to set run/walk intervals at their own pace. Here’s an example: Walk for five blocks, then run to a set point roughly 200 meters ahead, such as a light post. Repeat this pattern of walking to a set point, and then running to some landmark you can see in the distance.

The goal for each program is to progress at your own pace. Gradually increase the time you spend running and decrease the time spent walking. When beginning, all running should be at a comfortable pace—this is not fast sprinting. Before you start a running program, consult your doctor and confirm that you can walk briskly for 30 minutes.


Leg Swing
Stand holding on to a fence or pole with your left hand, then swing your right leg back and forth 10 times, gently, without extending uncomfortably; preferably so your leg is parallel to the ground in front and back. Next, switch sides and repeat. Then swing each leg independently side to side, again without extending too far.
Toy Soldier March
Stand with one arm straight out in front of you, palm facing the ground. Raise the opposite leg straight up, keeping the knee straight, reaching your toe as close as possible to the outstretched hand. Do this 10 times on each side.

One-Week Fartlek Training Schedule

Sunday Cross-train 20 minutes (cycle, swim, elliptical, etc.)
Monday Run/walk for about 20 minutes (1 to 1½ miles) in this pattern: Walk for about 5 minutes, just until you feel warmed up. Then run about 2 blocks. Choose a landmark such as a tree or a light post in the distance, at a point that you feel comfortable running to. Then take a walk break again, just long enough so that you feel recovered enough to begin running again. Repeat this pattern 3 times total. Walk a few blocks to cool down.
Tuesday Rest
Wednesday Run/walk for about 25 minutes (1½ to 2 miles): Walk for about 5 minutes to warm up, then run 2 to 3 blocks, walk 2 to 3 blocks. Repeat this pattern three times total. Walk a few blocks to cool down.
Thursday Rest or cross-train for 30 minutes.
Friday Run/walk for 30 minutes (2 to 2½ miles): Walk for 6 minutes (or half a mile) for a warm-up, then run 4 to 5 blocks, walk 4 to 5 blocks. Repeat this pattern 3 times total. Walk a few blocks to cool down.
Saturday Rest

One-Week Interval Training Schedule

Sunday Cross-train 20 minutes (cycle, swim, elliptical, etc.)
Monday Run/walk for 25 minutes (1 to 1½ miles): Walk 4 minutes, run 2 minutes. Repeat this pattern 3 times total. Walk 7 minutes to cool down.
Tuesday Rest
Wednesday Run/walk for 30 minutes (1½ to 2 miles): Walk 5 minutes, run 3 minutes. Repeat this pattern 3 times total. Walk 6 minutes to cool down.
Thursday Rest or cross train for 30 minutes.
Friday Run/walk 35 minutes (2 to 2½ miles): Walk 6 minutes, run 4 minutes. Repeat this pattern 3 times total. Walk 5 minutes to cool down.
Saturday Rest

Full-Body Fitness

Ready to move, stretch and break a sweat?

This high-intensity workout is a simple way to engage your whole body without any machinery or equipment.

The goal Improve fitness levels, flexibility, mental toughness, plyometric skills, agility and aerobic conditioning with these exercises from F45’s Gravity workout.

The plan Perform 3 rounds of all 7 exercises. Each round should take 45 seconds, then add 15 seconds of rest before continuing with the next.

Hint Download a free interval timer app on your smartphone to avoid the distraction of watching the clock.

Shoot Throughs
Start in a bear crawl stance with hands on floor under shoulders, knees bent under hips and toes on floor. Bring left leg under right leg and take right hand off the floor, extending it toward the ceiling while lowering hip toward floor. Move back down to start position. Repeat on the other side.
Forward Lunges
Start in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, bending at the knees, keeping weight on heels with chest up. Step right leg forward into a lunge, keeping knee at a 90-degree angle. Bring right foot back to start position, staying low, then repeat with left leg.
Swimmer PushUp
In plank position, do a pushup, then rotate your right arm around
as if swimming freestyle. Repeat on left side.
Moving Plank
Start in plank position with hands directly under shoulders. Lower left elbow to floor replacing left hand. Lower right elbow to floor replacing right hand. You should now be in a forearm plank. Move left hand to replace left elbow and push up to raise body. Move right hand to replace right elbow and finish in original hand plank position. Repeat starting on the right side.
Double Movement Burpee
Start in a standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower hands to floor and jump feet back into plank position. Do 2 pushups, then jump feet back under chest and return to standing. Lower torso, bending at the knees and driving hips back to squat position. Repeat 4 times but add a jump when coming back into standing position for the last 2; then start from the beginning.
Speed Skater
Start in standing position with feet shoulder-width apart. Jump to the right, landing on the right foot, while bringing the left leg behind you. Lower down slightly on the landing leg while the leg in the back remains suspended. Jump to the left with right leg back and repeat.
Jack Knives
Start on your back with arms extended overhead and hands touching the floor. Bring arms and legs up, reaching hands to feet or shins while crunching abs. Lower back down.

Get Off Your Glutes

Our daily lives include constant sitting, which causes lazy glutes, or “gluteal amnesia”: The butt muscles “forget” how to activate properly and become underused (read: weak), putting more pressure on the back and lower body. Have lower back, hip, or knee pain? Tight hip flexors and weak glutes might be the culprit. The good news? The amnesia is reversible, but you have to (literally) work your butt off. Here are six ways to keep these important muscles in shape.
The Goal To activate and strengthen glutes
The Plan Perform two rounds of 20 repetitions of each exercise

Rear-End Role Although the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body—and is responsible for a booty’s shape—it’s just one of three muscles of the hip, acting together with the medius and minimus as the base of support for the pelvis and hips. This muscle group helps power through many daily activities, from walking and carrying heavy things, to rising from a seated position and climbing stairs.

Bulgarian Split Squats
Locate a step, ottoman, chair, etc. that is about knee height. Move into a forward lunge position with a vertical torso, core braced and hips square to your body, with the back foot elevated on the chair or bench. Lower until your front thigh is almost horizontal, careful not to let the standing knee move past your toes. Push through your front heel back to a standing position.
Stand straight with feet hip-width apart, directly under hips. Place hands in front of torso, clasped lightly together as a counterbalance. Tighten core and lower down as if sitting, then raise back to standing, tightening glutes at the top of the movement.
Alternating Lateral Lunges
Standing shoulder-width apart, step to the right and shift your body weight over right leg, squatting to a 90-degree angle with right knee. Push back off right knee, back to standing. Repeat on alternate side.
Forward Walking Lunges
Stand upright, feet together, and take a controlled big step forward on the right leg, lowering your hips toward the floor, bending the knees 90 degrees (back knee should not touch; front knee should be directly over ankle). Driving the right heel into the ground, push the left leg forward, with control, to perform lunge on the other side. Option: Hold dumbbells as you perform lunges.
Alternating Reverse Lunges
From a standing position, take one controlled step back with one foot (forward knee should be at 90 degrees; keep the knee from moving past toe). Push off back leg to return to a standing position, while driving through the front heel. Repeat with alternate leg.
Hip Bridges
Lie flat on back with knees bent, with feet hip-distance apart and heels a few inches from bottom. Push through heels to lift hips up while squeezing glutes, creating a diagonal line from heels to shoulders. Squeeze glutes at the top and lower with control. Option: Elevate feet to increase difficulty.

Arms Ready

If you run, cycle, or hike, your legs and lungs are accustomed to getting a good workout, but what about your upper body? Strong arms help hold you up while on the bike, and they help you power up hills, whether you’re running or walking. If your upper body has largely been ignored, the good news is it doesn’t take long to firm things up.

Goal Increase upper-body strength, tone and define arms
Plan Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise
Equipment Body weight, dumbbells, and exercise tubes

Tricep Dips
Stand in front of a chair or couch seat. Place hands on seat with fingers pointing forward. Keep back flat and walk legs out in front of body. Bend arms and lower body toward ground, with elbows directly behind body. Straighten arms to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
Start in a forearm plank. Keeping abs tight, spine long, and hips still, pick up right arm and right palm on ground. Repeat on left side, ending up in a high-plank position. Repeat, replacing right palm with right elbow and left palm with left elbow. That’s 1 rep.
Seated Pulldown
Attach tubing to the upper part of a door hinge. Sit tall on a stability ball or bench and grasp tubing handles. Keeping feet flat on the floor and chest high, pull elbows down and back, squeezing shoulder blades together. Pause and slowly return to starting position.
Shoulder Press
Extend both arms out to the side, bending arms at the elbows (like a goalpost), with dumbbells in each hand. Straighten your arms overhead and touch dumbbells together. Return to starting position.
Bent-Over Row
Hinge at the hips so upper body is near parallel to floor, dumbbells in hand with wrists below shoulders. Draw weights up to chest with palms facing away from you (supinated grip) by bending elbows and squeezing shoulder blades together (like you’re rowing a boat). Slowly lower weights back to starting position and repeat.
Reverse Fly
Grasp two dumbbells and stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend forward at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor (keep knees bent), palms and dumbbells facing each other. Raise dumbbells up and out to the sides, moving from the shoulders only, until arms are parallel to the floor at shoulder level. Lower to starting position and repeat.
Diamond PushUps
Start in a plank position. Bring index fingers and thumbs to meet, forming a triangle under chest. Bend elbows and lower torso as close to ground as possible. Push through palms to straighten arms. Modify this move by dropping to knees. Do 10 reps.

Spring forth

Springtime is the season to shake off the winter blues and embrace a reawakened state of body and mind. Yoga is an ancient practice that bonds your body, mind, and soul, utilizing breath and postures. The spine is a major body part that serves as the bond between our brain, organs, and so much more, so we want to devote time and attention to keeping it young and mobile.

At Yoga by Degrees, one way we improve your back is with twisting postures, which benefit the body in several ways: detoxing, generating heat through core work, plus massaging internal organs and creating spinal mobility and flexibility. This mini flow will allow your back muscles to loosen up, while at the same time, frees your mind and enlivens your spirit.

The goal To strengthen, tone and relax your spine and core.
The plan Perform three rounds. The first time, hold each pose five breaths. The following two rounds, only one breath.
The equipment A yoga mat, blocks, and a smile.

Jathara Parivartanasana
Supine twist
Lie down on mat and pull knees in toward chest. Inhale, bringing arms out into a T shape. Exhale, twisting legs to left (use a block between thighs to support lower back if needed). Inhale and bring legs back to chest; exhale and repeat on right side.
Boat pose
Sit with legs bent and bring hands under knees with only tips of toes on mat. Lift chest and engage glutes. Lean back until you feel core tightening and spine lengthening. Keep legs straight or bent, without rocking to lower back. Bring palms together at chest and twist in both directions.
Chair pose
With feet together, bend knees and sink hips towards heels with arms straight overhead. Bring hands to heart and twist to right, without buckling knees. Repeat on left side.
Forward fold
Bend forward from hips, palms on floor. Step feet up to wrists, release head, and bend knees until comfortable. Move weight to toes and reach hips over heels, lengthening backs of legs. Bend into left knee and place left hand on a block or the floor. Straighten right leg and lift right arm up towards the ceiling. Repeat on right side.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-facing dog
From plank, pull belly to spine
and push hips up and back until
body is in a V shape. Release heels toward mat, even if they don’t
touch. Keep spine long, but bend knees as necessary. Widen your feet mat-width distance. Reach with right hand for outside of left leg. Repeat twist on left side.
Crescent lunge
From forward fold, step left foot
back into a low lunge, lifting torso
off right thigh until shoulders stack over hips. Bend your left knee, or lower down to mat, to soften pose, or keep left leg straight to intensify. Place palms together in prayer position at heart and twist over front leg. Repeat twist on other side.
Corpse pose
Lie on mat and extend legs while releasing arms by your side. Physical cleansing is now complete; rest for a few minutes, reaping mental and
spiritual benefits, while your body cools off. Visualize the beauty of springtime and washing away the previous signs of winter.

Pulling Weight

Resistance band training allows us to target small muscle groups that tend to be under used in activities throughout our day-to-day lives. Resistance bands allow the opportunity to keep progressive tension on the working muscle, while targeting a full range of motion, including concentric (positive) and eccentric (negative) movements.
Goal To build long, lean, toned muscularity, focusing on core strength, mobility, and stabilization
Equipment A set of medium to light resistance bands (circle mini band)

Lateral Steps
Begin with feet shoulder width apart and band at ankle height, keeping constant tension on the band. Take 1 small lateral step to the right with right foot only, followed by 1 small step to the right with the left foot, putting your feet back at the original distance apart. Continue for 8 steps to the right, then switch directions and go 8 steps to the left.
Heel to Bum
Begin with feet shoulder width apart and band at ankle height, keeping constant tension on the band. Shift your weight to the right foot, bring left heel up to meet left glute, and down. Switch weight to left foot, bringing right heel up to meet right glute, and down. Continue alternating for 15 reps on each side.
Tick Tock
With resistance band at ankles, step feet apart until there is resistance in the band and lock knees. From a full upright position, abduct your right leg by bringing your right foot away from your body’s midline with your weight shifted onto your left foot. Bring right foot back to the ground, and repeat on the opposite side, kicking left foot up with weight shifted onto right foot. Repeat for 15 reps on each side.
Side Abs
With resistance band under right foot, hold band with right hand. Standing in an upright position, with knees slightly bent and your pelvis and core firm, reach left hand down toward left thigh, then back to an upright position. Repeat 20 times on each side.
Tricep Pull Downs
Hang resistance band over right shoulder (like a bag strap) and use left hand to secure band’s position on your shoulder. Push band down with right palm and extend right arm straight down toward right hip, keeping right elbow pressed into your side. Repeat for 18 reps on each side for 3 sets.
Bicep Curls
Secure band under right foot to top of leg. Holding band with your right hand, step back with your right leg. In the lunge position, hold right elbow at right side and curl arm up to shoulder height, with fingers facing shoulder. Repeat for 15 reps on each side for 3 sets.
Low Ab Heel Drops
Wrap resistance band around knees and lie on back, with arms out for support. Raise legs to tabletop position, pressing hips and lower back into the ground. Externally rotate your knees, with inner thighs angled towards the ceiling. Lower right heel to an inch above the ground, and then back up to starting position. Continue for 15 reps, then repeat on opposite side.