Think you need heavy weights to have a solid workout? Think again. While high-intensity workouts and heavy weights are great for building muscle, low-impact workouts deserve a place in your routine as well. Don’t believe us? Check out these tips from trainer Alexis also known as @eatpraybarre on Instagram! Here she shares her favorite moves to get your muscles on fire and some tips on how to do them safely.
Do you recommend stretching before working out and if so, do you stretch differently based on the type of activity: barre, pilates or dance?
100%! I always have and always will. I credit my early ballet background for instilling the significance of this into me, but I never believe it is okay for the joints or the muscles to just jump into any physical activity. I will always be the biggest advocate for stretching before AND after. And hey, it keeps you young!
What are your favorite 3 moves to work the glutes?
With the Glutes, I sometimes believe less (choreography) is more.
- My favorite is to begin in a tabletop position, and then elevate the working leg behind the glute into a 90-degree angle, keeping the shoulders over the wrists, the hips square, long back of the neck, abdominals braced. From this position, there are many variations of choreography you can do, for instance, pulses, extensions, etc.
- To work the side glute or the adductor, I like to be standing near the barre (or chair) with a resistance band around my ankles. The movement is small. I cue to pull the working leg to the side, slightly forward of the outside hip. This exercise may not feel the most comfortable, but it is great to strengthen the hip and glute!
- And my last favorite glute exercise would have to be an attitude pulse, keeping the working leg behind you and the standing leg slightly bent. Reminding the client that as the burn builds to keep the posture strong and the port de bras graceful.
We’ve heard that exercise is a great way to manage scoliosis but are there any moves that you would avoid?
Scoliosis is personal to each individual’s curvature and degree. It is important to work with a professional to ensure you strengthen all areas of the back equally. For my curves specifically, I have to ensure my spine is mobile and warm enough before I go into any kind of lateral lean. But each case is different and unique. I used to let my scoliosis be a sign of weakness, I used to be embarrassed. But now I see it as my strength.
Do you have tips for women who have trouble activating their lower abs when working on their core?
Be patient, and take your time. It hurts me when I see individuals in a class setting force their necks to lift and crunch. Start with tiny movements, perhaps even just breathing or abdominal contractions to practice drawing the navel into the spine. There should never be any tension in the neck or the hip flexors. Start with the simpler exercises to learn what core activation feels like, and then from there, you can work your way up to the advanced exercises.
If you only had 20 minutes to work out in a day, which moves would be your go-to exercises?
I would start with a plank series to get the heart rate up, perhaps alternating between the forearm and high planks. I would go into a Pilates ab series, perhaps Pilates Hundreds. Then proceed into the wide arm and tricep push-ups. Then I would come to standing and face the barre (or a chair) with my feet parallel, hip-width apart for a balancing thigh series. In this I would pulse the knees together, activating the inner thighs. Since I am short on time, I would practice different pulse variations in this parallel stance until my thighs started “quivering”. And then I would make my way to a tabletop position on the mat and proceed with the aforementioned 90-degree angle glute series. And bam! There’s your full body 20-minute workout.