42 One-Minute Better Body Tricks
25. Limber up at the sink.
Biscontini suggests practicing the "hip hinge" while you brush your teeth or wash your face. Instead of hunching your back and bending from the waist, keep your spine lengthened and bend forward from the hips (you'll look like an L). With knees soft, lower as far as you can without rounding your back. "This is a great stretch for the hamstrings and glutes," he says. Hold for 10 counts, lift up, and repeat four times.
As you stand up, squeeze your butt to target these same muscles. "When you can, practice on a single leg."
26. Get down on all fours.
"Downward dog and upward dog are two of the best total-body stretches around," says Maureen Madden, a physical therapist at the Stone Clinic in San Francisco. "Together, they target the hamstrings, calves, hips, lower back, chest and shoulders." Hold the downward dog for five to seven deep breaths and the upward dog for two to three breaths. "You can do about three sets in a minute."
27. Stretch the opposite muscle in between sets.
If you're doing leg extensions for quadriceps, for example, stretch the hamstrings. "Stretching the opposite muscle makes it relax, which allows the muscle you're working to contract more forcefully," says Olson.
28. Open your chest.
Standing with feet hip-width apart, place hands together behind your back in a "prayer" position, fingers pointing down. If you can, flip your hands so that fingers point up. Keeping shoulders back and down and elbows out to sides, slide hands up your back as high as possible. Hold for 60 seconds, breathing deeply. "This opens your chest to create more room in your lungs for revitalizing breaths," says Sara Ivanhoe, creator of the On the Ball Yoga Workout video (Natural Journeys, 2003). "It also keeps your chest from getting too tight during the day and promotes good posture."
29. Skip the walking.
"If you're a beginning runner, try skipping for 60 seconds whenever you get the urge to walk,” says Barrett. "Your heart rate will stay elevated and you'll burn more calories than when walking. When you return to your jog or run, your pace may even be faster."
30. Nix the third set.
If you're pressed for time or are always on the lookout for a way to sneak some extra cardio into your routine, cut your weight workout down to two sets per move. Doing three sets takes 50 percent more time than doing two sets -- with less than 10 percent more sculpting results, explains Holt. Use the minute you save to jump rope. (You'll burn 11 calories per skipping session, which adds up to about 100 extra calories per total-body weight workout!)
31. Leap in a zigzag up a trail.
As you bound from side to side, you'll work your legs, back and core double-time to keep your balance. Plus, you'll have to watch where you jump to avoid loose sticks and rocks, so it'll keep you more focused, says Barrett. Take narrower leaps until you feel comfortable, and try to land on your entire foot, not just the sides or toes.
32. Do 60-second speed intervals.
Incorporate several of these quick moves throughout your running workout for a quick calorie and metabolism boost, suggests Neporent. Alternate 60-second sprints at one to two miles per hour over your typical running pace with one to two minutes at regular speed. Repeat five to eight times. "You can gradually up the number of intervals, but since this type of workout is intense, do it only twice a week," she says.
What do you think of this story? Leave a Comment.
SAVE EVEN MORE! Say "Yes" to Fitness® Magazine today and get a second year for HALF PRICE – 2 full years (20 issues) for just $15. You also get our new Fitness Band and Total Body Express Band Workout ABSOLUTELY FREE! (U.S. orders only)