Now that your body has gotten a rest, it’s time to get back at it!
- Do the Cat-Cow pose for 5 minutes in the morning and evening.
- For your lunges, do 5 reps on each leg and hold this position for 3 seconds.
The Hamstring Stretch helps not only give flexibility to your hamstrings, but also releases tension on the lower back.
How to do the Hamstring Stretch
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out.
- Take a stretch strap or towel and put the middle of it on the arch of your right foot.
- Keeping your left leg flat on the ground, slowly lift your right leg up and over your hips.
- Keep your right leg as straight as you can without locking the knee.
- Hold in position for 20 seconds. Then switch legs.
Alternative #1: Half Hamstring Stretch
If you cannot get your foot over your hips, lift the leg to where you can. As you continue to do this stretch and practice try to get your leg closer and closer to being over your hips, but don’t push yourself.
How To Do Cat-Cow Pose
- Begin on all fours, in a tabletop position.
- Spread your fingers on the ground and keep your neck neutral to improve your stability.
- While you exhale out your mouth, start the cat pose by pushing your spine toward the ceiling, tucking in your tailbone, and pushing your pubic bone forward. This looks like a Halloween cat!
- As you inhale through your nose, you want to release your head toward the floor gently, pushing your pelvis out so your belly is dropped to the floor. And lift your chest and chin, so you are looking up at the ceiling.
- Continue doing this pose for 5 minutes, remembering to breathe in deeply as you look at the ceiling and exhale as much air as you can as you look at the ground. Move through this pose slowly and with purpose to get the most out of this exercise.
Cow-Cow Alternative #1: Sore Knees
Knees bothering you when you execute this pose? Roll a towel or blanket for you to kneel on.
Cat-Cow Alternative #2: Wrist Rest
Wrists hurt to have at a 90-degree angle for this pose? Put your hands in a fist and rest on your fists.
Cat-Cow Alternative #3: Chair
Feeling too much pressure being on your hands and knees? Do this pose in a chair.
- Sit in your chair with your feet placed hip width apart on the floor in front of you.
- Have your knees at a 90-degree angle and sit up straight.
- Lightly, place your hands on your thighs (as you go through these movements leave your hands there).
- Inhale and slowly arch your back, tilt your pelvis forward a bit, gently look up towards the ceiling.
- Do not overextend your neck.
- Make sure your neck is relaxed and moving slowly.
- Roll your shoulders back and away from your ears.
- Exhale and slowly round your back, tilt your pelvis back towards the back of your chair, and draw your belly button in.
- Curve your shoulders forward and look down towards the ground.
Alternative #1: Half Lunge
If these are new to you, don’t lower your body down all the way so that your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Instead, lower halfway down or one-fourth of the way down.
Alternative #2: Elevated Surface Knee Dips
If you have bad knees, stand on an elevated surface, such as a box or a step. Have the other foot hanging off the side next to the surface. Bend the knee of the foot that is on the elevated surface. Slowly dip up and down to work on building your muscle above your knee.
Do 5 reps per leg.
Alternative #3: Walking High Knees
If you still are noticing pain in your knees or recovering from a knee injury, do a high knee walk. Walk 10-20 yards, bringing your knee to a 90-degree angle, or as high as you can raise your knee.