Your body language can be very powerful. Are you constantly slouching or crossing your arms? You may be unintentionally telling those around you that you lack strength or are defensive. What’s more, this type of posture ends up closing off your upper body and making you look less fit. If you crave a longer, leaner frame, developing the upper body is essential.
To work on opening yourself up, try incorporating a hand towel in your workout. Yes, a hand towel! Holding it taut forces you to stretch your arms apart and press your shoulders back, which instantly opens you up. Not to mention, keeping the towel pulled tight as you move your body challenges your brain to stay fully engaged (always the goal).
This routine—which requires you to extend and lift your lower body, as well—will soon have you moving through life a little straighter, a little stronger, and much more aware of the space you occupy.
Do 30 reps of each move in the series on one side, then repeat sequence on the other side. And don’t forget your 30 to 60 minutes of cardio six times a week.
1. Lunge and Arabesque
Kneel on left knee with right foot on the floor, toes pointed out and knee at 90 degrees; hold towel taut above head (A). Lower yourself forward, bringing hands to the floor as right leg swings back and up (B). Return to “A” and repeat.
2. Knee Pull and Arabesque
Start on all fours, holding a towel taut. Raise left thigh out to the side, coming into a fire hydrant position. Lower down to right forearm and extend left elbow up until towel is taut (A). Pull left knee in toward shoulder, then extend left leg diagonally back and out with toes pointed (B). Pull knee back in and repeat.
3. Coupé to Attitude Lift
Kneel, holding a towel taut behind head. Lower right hand down to the floor and tuck left ankle behind right knee (A). Lift left thigh up and back (B). Return to “A” and repeat.
4. Straight Leg Swing
Lie on right side with legs slightly bent; prop upper body up on right forearm, place left palm on the floor, and extend left leg straight up (A). Rotate torso so it faces down as you come onto right knee while swinging left leg back and up, toes pointed (B). Return to “A”; repeat.
5. Knee Hike and Hip Lift
Lie on right side with right leg bent at 90 degrees; prop upper body up on right forearm, place left palm on the floor, and lift left leg (A). As you lift right hip up, pull left knee in toward shoulder so left leg forms a 90-degree angle (B). Return to “A” and repeat.