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Core Values (cont.)

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Standing Deep Breathing

POSTURE: Stand straight, feet parallel and touching. Interlace fingers and place knuckles under chin with elbows together. Slowly inhale through nose for six counts while raising elbows toward ears. Exhale through mouth, dropping head back, and bring elbows together pointing straight ahead for six counts. Two sets of 10 reps. SAGAR: "It expands the lungs and increases circulation, preparing the body for the movements ahead."

Half Moon

POSTURE: Standing with feet together, raise arms straight up and clasp hands with index fingers pointing up. Push hips left and bend to right, extending left side from hip to armpit. Hold for five counts. Return to center and repeat, bending to left. Return to center, drop head back, arms behind you, hands still clasped and bend backward as far as you can. SAGAR: "The side bend is good for your obliques; the back bend increases flexibility in the spine."

Standing Head to Knee

POSTURE: Lift right leg straight out in front of body, parallel to floor. Interlace fingers and hold under ball of foot. Lean forward, bend elbows and rest forehead on shin. Hold for 10 counts, return to start position and switch legs. Repeat. SAGAR: "You really have to suck in your stomach to get into and hold this forward bend. You engage your core muscles throughout the pose, and it also works your hamstrings."

Standing Bow Pulling

POSTURE: Stand on left leg, bend right leg behind. Grasp instep of right foot with right hand. Extend left arm straight out. Bend forward until abdomen and arm are parallel to the floor. At the same time kick right leg straight up behind you. Hold for 10 counts, return to start position. Switch legs. Repeat. SAGAR: "Firms the abdominal wall, strengthens the lower spine and opens hip flexors. Also promotes general alignment in the body."

Standing Separate Leg Stretching

POSTURE: Start with feet together and step right leg out four feet. Raise arms parallel to floor and turn feet slightly in with knees locked. With straight back bend forward and grab outsides of feet with fingers underneath heels. Touch head to floor. Hold for 10 counts. Return to starting position. Repeat. SAGAR: This stretches all the tendons in the legs.

Cobra

POSTURE: Lying on stomach with feet together place palms flat on floor underneath shoulders with fingers pointing forward. Bring elbows in until they touch sides. Look up towards ceiling and push torso off the floor. Hold for 20 seconds. Lower torso and turn face to one side. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat. SAGAR: "Increases spinal strength and helps posture. Also works shoulders and upper arms."

Stretching

Posture: Sit with legs extended straight out in front. Raise both arms overhead, reach forward and take hold of big toes with index and middle fingers of each hand. Pull toes towards you while bending elbows toward floor. Hold for 20 counts. Straighten to sitting. Repeat. SAGAR: "This is a flexibility exercise for hamstrings and hip joint".

Bow

POSTURE: Lying on stomach bend knees towards glutes. Reach backwards and grab feet from the outside. Inhale and kick legs up towards ceiling while lifting torso off floor. Hold for 20 counts. Lower torso and turn face to one side. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat. SAGAR: "Besides strengthening the abdominal muscles, also opens up the rib cage for maximum oxygen intake."

Triangle

POSTURE: Stand straight with arms overhead. Step right leg out to right four feet with arms outstretched, parallel to floor. Turn right foot towards the right and bend right knee until thigh is parallel to floor. Keeping arms straight, bend torso directly to the right. Place fingertips of right hand on the right big toe with elbow flush against knee. Left arm straight up towards the ceiling, palm facing forward. Turn head to look at hand. Hold for 10 counts. Return to lunge position. Step back to start position and switch legs. SAGAR: "This is a great flexibility exercise for the hip joint but also tightens up thighs and works the oblique muscles by holding the side bend. "

-- Lisa Altobelli

Issue date: August 14, 2006

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