Super Easy Beach Exercise Regime~Salty Ballerina Style 💕🦋
Five Exercises, Five minutes each!
So Summer is here! That means whether it's the pool, rooftop patio, Central Park, or the beach, you are grabbing your bikini, towel, Swell Water Bottle, and catching some Vitamin D. Why not take a little extra time and get a great workout in? Don't be stuck inside at the gym, when you can treat your body right in the beautiful sunshine! I've put together my favorite exercises that can be done easily in the Sun. All you need is a Water Bottle (Insulated ones like Swell or Hydroflask work great because the add weight when full), towel or beach blanket, and a ball.
Warm-Up~Sun Salutation Style
First off, let's always start with a warm-up. Best way to set yourself up and make sure oxygen is flowing to your muscles. Walk moderate pace 5 minutes or step in place to get your heart rate up. Twenty jumping jacks also is a great start. Then try this invigorating sun salutation and do 5 sets total. Each movement gets one breath:
*Reach up to the sky with the arms extended and the palms coming together until they meet. If you are comfortable, you can slightly arch back keeping the spine long and in line with the neck (No "Pez Candy" head where the head drops too far back and away).
*Open the arms and dive the chest all the way down, folding in half and reaching the fingertips toward the ground. Depending on your flexibility, you may find your fingers stop at your shins.
*Third breath, look forward with the focus while keeping the body position intact.
*Exhale and fold back over as you step your feet back to a plank (push-up) position. It's very important your body feels long and in one line. Hands are directly under shoulders, arms are rotated out away from the mid section feeling strength in the "push/pull" of the pectoral muscles of the chest with the trapezius muscles of the back. This position is truly best to establish harmony in the body and core.
*Keeping your alignment, slowly lower the body (Chaturanga for you yogis) to the ground keeping the elbows in. I like to take one beat while hovering an inch off the floor as I finish my breath.
*Still keeping the body long, push through to an Upward Facing Dog position. Leg are stretched and parallel lifting away from the floor and not sinking, toes pointed, body is engaged so the lower abs and lower back are not collapsing and sinking to the floor. Shoulders down into the back with an elongated neck as gaze is steady forward. If neck feels ok, head may go slightly back with gaze towards sky.
*Hips swing high, creating a nice "V", keeping both halves of body long. Heels dig into the Earth, arms long and palms are pressed down. Head is relaxed. This is my favorite go to position, because if you feel especially stiff or sore in the morning, this will really get the body flowing. You can take a few inhales and exhales here to get a nice stretch.
*Take another inhale, draw your eyes to the center of you hands, and walk or jump the feet parallel in-between, landing with the knees softly bent as you exhale.
*Fold in half again, with the goal keeping the legs and spine as long as possible. Remember, there is no "forcing" these positions. This is to draw oxygen through your body to give yourself a nice setup for our exercises!
*Final exhale brings the body up the same way, as we draw the arms extended back together to start our Sun Salutation again. I like the first two sets slow, methodical with extra breaths in my down dog, then the last few rounds I quicken the pace. Find what works best for your warm-up!
I've got 5 on it
Ok so let's dive into our 5 exercises. I have designed these from inspiration from my own ballet warm-up, as well as Physical Training, Pilates, and Modern Dance.
This one I've adapted from Martha Graham (queen of Modern Dance) and her Warm Up which includes Coccyx (Tailbone) Sit Ups. I've added use of the ball to help stabilize, as well as an added challenge for the Core! Start sitting in a butterfly position, feet together, knees gently open, body tall with the ball firmly in-between your palms. Balancing on your tailbone, raise the legs up to meet the ball and transfer in between your feet or calves, depending on ease and size of ball. Try both positions to find what's right for you!
After your transfer of the ball, extend the legs and arms to make a long V. If you want to add a slight challenge, you can pulse the legs here for 5-10 pulses while keeping the body long and still. Fingertips reaching to the sky, and shoulders down. Neck always in line with the spine, belly button zipped to the spine. Ribs flat (telltale sign your lower back is not buckling, and your lower abs are engaged).
After extension (or pulses if you added the challenge), grab the ball again with the lifted butterfly position balancing on the tailbone. Transfer the ball back to the palms.
Finally, with the ball in your palms, extend the legs and body straight again. The whole exercise balancing on your coccyx and really using your lower abs. Keep the pelvis neutral, so as to stay steady and not over tuck or buckle back. Legs keep a rotated position (as opposed to parallel) from the top of the hip. Legs are engaged and lengthened to the ankles and toes, but try not to grip. Instead, imagine a steady stream of long energy through your body.
Repeat for 8-12 transfers. After your final transfer, finishing holding the ball in the extended position seen pictured above, bring the ball into the chest with elbows out and bent. Slowly and Steadily, lower the legs and body at the same time and hover above the ground. Hold for five breaths before releasing to the ground. Repeat this whole exercise for 3 rounds.
*2 Plank Reach & Grab, and Weighted Extender
Ok, for our second exercise, let's start in a nice Plank position making sure hands are directly below shoulder/chest.
Start with your water bottle next to your right arm and grab the bottle as pictured above.
Shift weight to Side Plank with bottle extended high. Watch left elbow if you are hyperextend (like myself) and make sure left palm stays under shoulder. Again, the goal is to keep that one long line and stream of energy.
Draw up pinky toe to side of the knee, keeping the knee open, then extend straight from hip. Keeping the balance here is the challenge, and is doing wonders for the wall of your abs, as well as your glutes and hamstrings. Finish by extending the leg back to side plank position.
Once you are back into Side Plank, start shift to your normal Plank position, and in one motion, move the right arm and bottlebunder your body to drop on left side of towel (going under your chest). Try to keep your body long and strong, and your abs lifted with the belly button zipped to your spine.
After dropping the bottle with your right hand, place your right palm back to the plank position. Take your left hand and pick up the bottle in the same manner, and repeat Side Plank with extended legs and then transfer to the right again. Repeat right and left for a total of 5 sets, before dropping knees to rest. Work your way to 1-3 total sets.
*3 Long & Lean Legs
Start standing with the ball firmly in both hands and extended above head, feet parallel together and shoulders down. Eyes focused straight ahead. Begin to arch back slightly while still holding length and gaze moves to sky.
Bring the body back to standing and at the same time lift knee up and bring ball to chest, rounding and bending elbows. Keep body tall and legs engaged.
Extend left leg behind you and slowly move the body at the same time to reach forward, while extending the ball to counter balance.
For the final position, swiftly reach the arms to the sky and drop the left leg to a lunge. knees firmly over toes, back of the legs engaged.
Step left leg back to parallel feet together, keeping arms and ball extended. Repeat other side. 5 continuous sets total.
*4 SITTING Legs (low)
This is my favorite exercise. I incorporate in my daily workout routine, and it's so easy to implement even when traveling. Use the ball extended high to add, but holding arms high and rounded works as well. It's important to keep this upright position. Legs are extended together and engaged straight in front of you, so your body creates a 90 degree angle. Lift right leg slightly off floor and down again in a quick manner, pulsing for 10 reps. Turnout legs from hip and repeat with right leg only. Continuing rhythm, circle right leg clockwise for 10, and repeat counterclockwise for an additional 10. Lastly, flex and lift leg while bending knee, then extend again for a final 10 reps. Repeat all to left side without missing a beat. Rest and work your way up to 3 complete reps.
*5 Standing Attitude (Glutes)
This one is great for the derriere! Start standing, ball extended high with shoulder pressed down. Heels together, toes slightly open (think slice of pizza) draw the left toes up the leg with the knee open. Pulse here for 5 beats, just slightly lifting the knee toward the sky, as if you were a puppet on a string and only the leg moves.
Keeping the knee turned out, lift the outer thigh and wrap your leg to the back in a dancers "attitude" position. Attitude is when the leg is bent and supported with turned out, and can be held in the front, side, or back position. Body will shift forward slightly. Keep ball in right hand while dropping left arm extended out. Slightly twist body to the left, as if your abs are a wet towel and you are twisting and ringing out excess water. Be weary of collapsing stomach muscles forward, or ribs splaying open.
Return the left hand to the ball overhead, and at the same time bring left toes back to right knee.
Bring your attitude position to the front, and scoop and contract your abs to bring the ball to your left foot.
Bring the spine long and upright with the ball overhead, but hold attitude position to the front. Take a full inhale and exhale here before returning the left toes to the right knee. Repeat going back and forth for a total of 10 sets. Drop left foot to take a breath and repeat full round with the right leg. Work your way to 1-3 full sets right and left.
*BONUS* Bridge Work
Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet flat on floor, ball close to towel. With left palm behind glute and firmly on ground, push into a Wild Dog pose with right arm extended high and pelvis reaching high.
Scoop abs in as you sit with left leg extended and grab ball in front of you to counter balance. Keep left side of body in line without sinking.
Fully stretch right leg and right arm, while keeping steady on left arm. Repeat fluid motion between the two positions for 15 reps. Stop to take a breath and setup for alternate side. Great additional workout for obliques (Side abs), as well as glutes!
I hope you enjoy adding these easy workouts to your Summer regime! I promise your body will thank me! At the end of a workout, I like to take a moment of gratitude for the gorgeous sun and my ability to use my body. So often we inundate our being with negative thoughts of inadequacies. Take time to be grateful for your life and this Earth and who put you here. There is a purpose! Prepare your mind and spirit for that purpose!