Four strength building exercises you can do between classes

Whether you’re a passionate Yogi, a dedicated runner or an avid aerobics participant, building your core strength can help improve your fitness and motion, whilst driving down the potential for acute or chronic injuries. Whatever your exercise regime – these 4 strength building exercises will serve your body well and help you build strength between your set classes.

1. Squats
Squats provide a workout for each of your four muscles in your quadriceps – which is excellent not only for building core strength, but also for providing stability (making this exercise a must for yoga practitioners).

How to undertake this exercise
1. Stand with your toes pointed slightly outward (at between 5 to 20 degrees), with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Keep your head straight and fix your eyes on something directly in front of you – hold this gaze throughout the squat.
3. With your arms stretched out straight in front of you (so they’re parallel to the floor) lower into a seated position where your thighs are parallel to the floor – hold this for a second or two.
4. Lift slowly backup into the starting position.
5. Repeat.

2. Planks
Planks are notoriously tough going on your core and lower back – but when worked into your daily routine you may quickly achieve improvements in your core.

How to undertake this exercise
1. Lie on the floor in a sit-up position.
2. Bend your elbows so that you’re resting on your forearms.
3. Ensure that your body is in a straight line.
4. Draw your belly button back into your tummy – this engages your core muscles.
5. Hold for as long as possible.

3. Lunges
Lunges offer toned legs and bums, as well as strengthened, toned arms.

How to undertake this exercise
1. Stand with your upper body remaining straight and your shoulders placed backward pick a point ahead of you to fix your eyes on.
2. Step forward with your left leg, lowering down until both of your knees are bent to a 90 degree angle. Take care not to lower too far – your back knee shouldn’t touch the floor and your front knee should not go over your toes.
3. Slowly rise to the starting position.
4. Repeat.

4. Push-ups
Push-ups, alongside squats and lunges, are an excellent ‘isometric’ exercise (where muscles tense but they do not contract, as they would when undertaking a bicep curl, for example). They offer total-body movement and engage both the core and lower body.

How to undertake this exercise
1. Place your body in the plank position, with your hands flat to the ground and your shoulders directly over your hands.
2. Lower your body down slowly until your chest is slightly touching the floor, ensuring that your back remains flat and that your eyes are fixed in front of you.
3. Push back up.
4. Repeat.

Weekly group classes are excellent for providing motivation, however the time in-between these programmes can mean that much of you hard work is lost. Tackling the above exercises between classes will help build strength throughout your bodyand help you get more out of your weekly group programme.

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