Health & Fitness Fitness & Nutrition

Good Form: Yoga stretch strengthens back, arms

If your exercise program consists of abdominal curls and push-ups, remember to include this yoga pose at the end of your routine. It will help to stretch your hips, abdominals and chest muscles while strengthening your upper back and arms. If you are new to this move, try using yoga blocks to make it easier.

Begin by lying facedown on a mat or padded surface. Place a yoga block (in its lowest position) under each hand. Keep the tops of your feet on the floor and bend your knees. Slowly straighten your arms and lower your pelvis toward the floor. Pin your shoulders back and down, away from your ears.

On an exhalation, without changing your arm position, slowly straighten your legs, raising your knees off the floor. Focus on keeping your shoulders down and your buttocks relaxed. Take three to four full breaths while holding this pose. Release by bending your knees and lowering your body to the floor. Repeat two more times.

Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."

karen@karenvoight.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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