The newest way to shape up your belly, butt, and thighs without stressing your joints is to flip your workout upside-down! These three ballet-inspired moves use the wall and one piece of equipment–a ball–to gently increase your flexibility and range of motion. The result: you’ll isolate the tough-to-reach muscles that pull in your belly, lift your backside, and trim your thighs. The perfect complement to weight-bearing exercises such as walking, inverted moves use gravity to boost circulation naturally and to provide an instant, energizing rush. They also give your knees and hips a break from the pounding of upright life. All you need is an open space (four to six feet) on a wall, a mat, and an exercise ball (optional).
Wall Bridge or Ball Bridge (tones back, butt)
Lie on your back with butt against the wall, arms at your sides, knees bent, and feet planted three to four feet up wall or stability ball. Exhale and move your back off floor, keeping your shoulders blades down. Your body forms a nearly straight line from chest to knees. Hold for a deep inhale, then exhale and slowly roll back down.
- Make It Harder – Cross right ankle over left knee so only left foot is on wall, then roll up, pause, and lower. Do the full number of reps, then switch feet.
- Make It Easier – Don’t use the wall. Keep feet flat on floor as you lift into a bridge; pause and slowly lower.
- Challenging balance – For basic strength moves like bridges, a stability ball improves your muscular endurance. The firmer the ball, the greater the challenge. Place your feet a few inches apart on the ball with your ankles slightly flexed and use your core to press your lower back against the floor.
Windshield Wipers (tones inner and outer thighs)
From the wall bridge starting position, extend legs straight up against wall so your body forms an L. Inhale and slowly lower left leg down wall like a clock arm toward 9 o’clock; exhale and return to start. Repeat with right leg, sweeping toward 3 o’clock. Continue to alternate legs until you’ve completed all reps.
- Make It Harder – Wrap an exercise band around left foot and hold both ends beside opposite hip for added resistance as you sweep left foot down wall. Do all reps, then switch legs and repeat.
- Make It Easier – Move 3 to 6 inches away from wall so torso and legs form a wider angle.
Wall Scissor (tones butt, backs of thighs)
Bend knees to plant feet on wall. Peel back off floor, keeping shoulders blades down, and step your feet up wall so your body forms a diagonal line from feet to chest. Bend elbows and support lower back with hands; keep shoulder blades, upper arms, and head on floor. Lower left leg toward head as far as you can, keeping both legs straight and abs tight. Return leg to wall and then lower right leg.
- Make It Harder – As you lower leg, pause and pulse two or three times, moving it up and down an inch or two, before returning it back to the wall. Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Make It Easier – Scoot your body 3 to 6 inches away from the wall so the wall supports more weight.
By Mihaela Blaga, social media and blog contributor for Lucille Roberts.