Pasadena-based fitness expert, video host and teacher Tracey Mallett (www.traceymallett.com) has a two-part exercise that works lower-body muscles and then the muscles of the upper back. It's good for posture, which often gets compromised on long days sitting at a desk.
Mallett is the founder of Booty Barre, a technique that combines elements of dance, yoga and Pilates to strengthen and stretch the body. No prior experience in any of those disciplines is necessary, but maintaining good form is. Make sure that the spine, neck and head are aligned and that the movements are slow and deliberate.
What it does
Lower body muscles such as the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps get a workout in the sumo squat, and muscles in the mid- to upper back are engaged in the the hitch-a-ride. This movement can help improve posture.
How to do it
Start with feet turned out, with knees bent and over the feet. Lean forward slightly at the hips, engaging the abdominals and forming a diagonal line from the hips to the head, making sure the head is in natural alignment with the neck and spine. Reach the hands over the head, with arms parallel to the ears and palms facing inward, thumbs extended. Pulse the arms slightly upward, opening up the chest and making sure shoulders are not hunched.
Start with 10 squats with 10 to 15 hitch-a-ride pulses per squat. When feeling stronger, increase that to 15 squats and 30 pulses per squat.