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Yoga pose: high plank

The high plank is a classic static asana yoga pose that works many muscles throughout the body. Some of the muscles engaged while you are holding this pose include your triceps and shoulders, abdominals (core), back, gluteal muscles and legs. It enhances balance and strengthens the hands and wrists. There are many variations and, beginners may lower their knees to the floor to take some of the weight off of the arms and other muscles. In full form, you should be almost in the starting position for a push-up, arms straight, weight balanced between hands and balls of your feet.

You can start on all fours. Keeping spine long and extend the sternum away from the navel. Keep lower spine straight and flat. Start by extending your legs back one at a time until you are in a straight line, facing the floor, balancing on your hands and the balls of your feet. Keep weight evenly distributed and keep hands in line with the shoulders. Engage your core to hold this position and don’t lock your arms at the elbows. You should feel many muscle groups engage. The longer you hold the position, the more your muscles will have to work to keep proper positioning. Start by holding for 30 seconds. If your form starts to slip, take a break.

Fitness Gifts for Home Workout Buffs

These days, working from home is more common and many are shying away from the gym atmosphere. This typically means less activity during the day. How to motivate yourself and others? How about exciting and versatile fitness equipment that takes up little space? Check these options out:

Strength Training Tools

Loop Resistance bands: not new but always highly recommended. They are lightweight, portable and inexpensive. Resistance bands enable you to work all muscle groups. Check out Fit Simplify or LetsFit Loop resistance bands. A set includes 5 bands of varying resistance levels, extra light to extra heavy.

Bowflex SelectTech adjustable weight: not unlike the original SelectTech dumbbells, this is a kettlebell version that replaces a set of 6 kettlebells. Twist the dial on this adjustable kettlebell to transition from 8 lbs all the way up to 40 lbs. Great for accommodating multiple exercisers without taking up too much space.

Suspension trainer: suspension training is a strength training system that uses ropes and webbing to allow a user to work against his/her own body weight. Using vertical or horizontal ‘anchor points’ enables you to increase or decrease resistance with changes in angle and degree. Perform all classic strength training exercises in new ways. Try the TRX suspension training systems or LifeLine Jungle Gym.

Cardiovascular Training Aids

Seated under desk elliptical: while not a full-body workout, this piece of equipment at least allows you to work your legs and get in some exercise. With Zoom meetings and sitting at your desk working from home being much more common these days, mini elliptical trainers are great for increasing activity and offer adjustable resistance. Check out a few of the top-rated models.

Just a pedometer: Looking to increase activity and track steps? Not looking for a pricey watch or ‘smart’ gadget? Try the 3DTriSport Walking 3D pedometer. This basic step counter accurately measures steps, is inexpensive, easy to use and works in any position. It will measure your steps whether it’s upside-down, around your neck or tossed in a bag.

5 Free Fitness Apps for 2020

Workout apps are all the rage and cover every type of workout. Enjoy strength training, yoga and/or barre workouts? There is an app for those. Here is a sampling of 5 free fitness apps for 2020.

JEFIT: This app is for resistance training workouts (no cardio or yoga). This app provides exercise training as well as tracking. Choose from hundreds of exercises by selecting your target muscle from a body map. Track your progress with photos.

NIKE Training Club: A great app that acts as a substitute for an instructor-led fitness routine. This app offers dozens of workouts led by Nike’s professionals, celebrity trainers and pro athletes. Choose your best workout by narrowing your choices based on specified criteria.

FitOn: An app that allows you to select from a variety of select workouts. Choose a workout by length, intensity, category or emphasis area. Because there is no membership or long-term commitment, you can use it as you like. FitOn offers a variety of workouts, such as HIIT, pilates or dance.

Seven: This app is based on the popular “seven minute workout” concept. This app is great for those that are short on time, dislike exercise and/or have little exercise equipment. Calisthenic-based exercises include body weight squats, step-ups and wall sits, for example. These are quick, straight-forward workouts.

Freeletics: You can effectively strength train without workout equipment. Body weight exercises for resistance training continue to be a hot trend. You can even choose a workout by the amount of space you have available. Freeletics covers all muscle groups and fitness levels, with step by step instructions for each exercise.