We've partnered with some of NYC's top trainers to bring you a workout each month. April's routine comes to us from Uplift Studios instructor and international yoga trainer Kirsten. This month's circuit is about improving flexibility and range of motion, both of which are incredibly important to a maintaining healthy body and avoiding injury. For maximum results, do this stretching routine daily and/or before a sweat session.
Kirsten’s Daily Stretching Routine
Seated Toe Stretch
What It Stretches: Plantar Fascia, Toe Flexors, Achilles Tendon
Begin by sitting on your heels with your knees, shins, and feet together. Tuck your toes under and try to put your weight on the balls of your feet, not just the tippy-toes. Reach down and tuck the little toes under if you need to. Start out by holding this position for 3 to 5 long breaths and increase the duration of the stretch with time.
Supine Figure Four
What It Stretches: Glutes, Piriformis
Begin by lying on the ground facing upwards. Cross your right leg over your left leg with the right ankle resting on the left knee in a figure four position. Hug the left knee towards your chest, interlacing your fingers behind the hamstring. Gently pull your left knee towards your chest and lengthen your spine. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Hip Flexor Wall Stretch
What It Stretches: Quads, Hip Flexors
Fold up a towel or a yoga mat and place it along the edge of a wall. Kneel down and place your right knee on the towel, positioning your shin and the top of your foot against the wall. Step your left foot onto the ground in front of you. Press your glutes back into the heel of the foot on the wall, lengthening your lower back by tucking your tailbone under. Place your hands on your left knee to help keep your torso straight. Hold for 5 to 10 long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Cactus Arms Shoulder Stretch
What It Stretches: Chest, Deltoids, Biceps
To begin, lie face down on your belly and reach your arms out to your sides. Bending at the elbows, place your right arm into a 90 degree angle. Slowly roll onto your right side, stretching the right shoulder. You can experiment with moving the angle of the arm a bit here to find a sweet spot. Rest the side of your head comfortably on a block or stack of heavy books. Hold for 3 to 5 long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Forward Fold Lat Stretch
What It Stretches: Lats, Hamstrings
Standing with your feet wide apart, fold forward by bending at the hips and walk both hands to your right ankle, holding onto it. Let your torso be heavy and passive as you bend the knee of the left leg. The intensity of the stretch will depend on how deeply you bend your left knee. Hold for 5 to 10 long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Asymmetrical Standing Forward Fold
What It Stretches: Hamstrings, Glutes
With a yoga block or a stack of heavy books under your left foot and your right foot on the ground next to it, bend forward and place your hands on another block/books about a foot in front of you. Keep both heels firmly planted as you begin to straighten the leg of the elevated foot. Straighten you legs only to the point where both heels can stay on the ground. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
What It Stretches: Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes
Get onto your hands and knees, stepping your left foot forward between your hands. Keep your right knee on the ground and untuck the toes. Straighten your left leg and flex your foot, coming up onto your heel. Reach the left leg’s toes back towards your shin, and slide your heel forward just enough to fully straighten your left leg. Keep your hips square and stacked over your right knee. Use yoga blocks or a stack of heavy books on each side to keep your spine straight. Hold for 5 to 10 long breaths. Repeat on the other side.
FUEL YOUR WORKOUT WITH THESE VEGAN PROTEIN JUICES:
Kirsten has taught yoga and teacher trainings in New York and internationally for the past 4 years. Being a late bloomer herself, she firmly believes that it is never too late to try something new and adopt a healthy lifestyle.