Pushdown

The pushdown is a strength-training exercise designed to focus on the arm. 

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Just one aspect of a well-rounded weightlifting routine, the pushdown is completed by pushing an object against resistance, typically downward. 

This is the perfect example of the triceps muscles or those muscles in the back of the arm. Additionally, it has some benefits for the bicep muscles, too! 

Pushdowns With Cable Machines

The pushdown is typically completed with a cable machine. These machines are often used in weight training or functional training and use a weight stack attached through a cable and pulley system. 

The cable machine is believed to have been invented by Jack LaLanne in the early 1950s. The design was taken further by Harold Zinkin, who invented the Universal Gym Equipment machine, which incorporated the cable machine. 

Today, these machines are a staple at just about every gym and fitness center.

The use of the pushdown is a strength-training exercise has gained more popularity in the last several decades. The idea of strengthening the triceps muscles became more popular as bodybuilders worked more on the detail in their upper-arm muscles. 

Instead of just focusing on the biceps with exercises like bicep curls, the stabilization and strengthening of the arms through the triceps became a more widely accepted concept. 

Today, pushdowns are a fairly common technique that you’ll find in a variety of bodybuilding routines. 

Performing The Pushdown 

The pushdown is typically done in a few easy steps. Lifters will stand in front of the cable machine and grab the attachment bar with an overhand grip. 

Then, they’ll push the rope down towards the floor, ending at about thigh level. The position will be held for a few moments before the bar will be carefully returned back to its starting position. 

This move has evolved with the evolution of the cable machine, as it relies on this equipment to properly do the technique. As improvements to the cable machine have been made throughout the last few decades, the quality of the pushdown exercise has improved. 

Making Use Of The Cable Machine

The pushdown is just one exercise that can be done on the cable machine but is proof that these machines are frequently used and necessary in the pursuit of strength training and bodybuilding. 

This has continued to raise demand for these kinds of machines in both personal and public gyms. 

Typically, you’ll be able to see the pushdown in action at any number of gyms or weightlifting-specific facilities. 

Joining The Pushdown Movement 

If you’re interested in incorporating the pushdown into your workout, the best thing to do is visit your local gym. Most will have several cable machines on hand, where you can do the exercise. 

Make sure to speak to a trainer about the right amount of weight you should be lifting, as well as to set your weight lifting goals. After that, you’ll be on your way to mastering the exercise!

An Arm-Targeting Exercise 

The pushdown is a great exercise for those looking to beef up their upper-body strength, particularly for the triceps. This accessible exercise is one that can be done by people of all ages and experience levels! 

Shoulder Shrug

Designed to develop your upper trapezius muscles, the shoulder shrug is an exercise common to weight training. 

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This exercise helps build up the muscles that run from the back of your neck down to the middle of your spine, and extend out towards your shoulder. Instrumental in both shoulder and back strengthening, the shoulder shrug is a great move for upper-body workouts. 

The Shoulder Shrug Through History 

Throughout history, the study of the function of the shoulder has been of great interest both to those involved in sports and those looking to learn more about the human body. 

As such, common exercises like the shoulder shrug have evolved to help athletes and weight lifters build up strength in their upper back and their shoulders.

Because the muscle is mainly used in throwing, along with the rotator cuff and the deltoid muscle, it has become an incredibly important area of the body to keep strong.

This particular exercise relies on the use of weights in order to help build strength. Things like dumbbells, kettlebells, or even barbells are commonly used to complete the exercises. 

The use of weights for strength training goes back all the way to civilizations such as the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Indians. These civilizations each adopted their own set of weights for training purposes, which have since evolved to become the weights that we frequently see in the gym today. 

What The Lateral Raise Looks Like 

When performing a lateral raise, a lifter will stand up straight with their hands shoulder-width apart. They will typically be holding weights in both hands. 

Once they’re ready, the lifter will raise their shoulders up as high as they can without bending the elbows or moving any other part of the body. Typically, it’s good form if the shoulders are horizontal at their most elevated point. 

Evolution Tied To Equipment 

As noted, the evolution of weights has been substantial throughout history. Though the lateral raise can be done with just about any weight, advancements in technology mean that a variety of equipment can be used, including: 

  • A Smith machine
  • Resistance bands
  • Trapbars 

Part Of The Fitness World 

This move is just one of many that contribute to the overall world of weightlifting and general fitness. It can be seen in a variety of lifting routines at just about any weightlifting-focused gym and is typically practiced by most beginner and experienced lifters as a way to build shoulder and upper-body endurance. 

Using The Shoulder Shrug

If this sounds like an exercise that would be great for you, you can certainly learn how to do it! 

To do so, visit your local gym and speak with a trainer about what equipment will work best for you and fit your exercise needs. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction, and show you how to properly execute the move. 

Perfect For Strong Shoulders

The shoulder shrug is a classic lifting technique that has a great impact on the upper body. This exercise is one that has quite a number of equipment-based variations, making it highly accessible for lifters of all levels!

Lateral Raise

The lateral raise helps isolate and strengthen your shoulders. 

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This exercise is just one aspect of getting a well-rounded upper body workout. With the use of dumbbells, the exercise provides a way to build muscle and stabilize your shoulders while also working some of the muscles in your arms. 

The Lateral Raise And Dumbbells 

Dumbbells are an important part of doing the lateral raise, as they are what provide the weight and resistance training for your shoulders. 

The history of dumbbells goes back some time – all the way to ancient civilizations such as Ancient Greece and Ancient India, in fact! 

The ancient Greeks used similar weights to build strength and during the ancient Olympic Games. However, these weights were slightly different in appearance and were more crescent-shaped. 

The ancient Indians used a piece of equipment called a “nal”. This was longer than most dumbbells you’ll see today, and more like a club. However, they were often used for weight training. 

The dumbbell soon got its name after the British began using church bells with the clappers removed as weights. The soundless bells, or “dumb” bells, caught on and have been growing in popularity ever since. 

As techniques in weightlifting have continued to evolve, moves like the lateral raise have become a staple in the routines of both beginner and experienced lifters. 

Lateral Raise Form 

Today, dumbbells are a staple of the lateral raise. This particular move is used to develop a “v-shaped torso” and shoulder strength, as the shoulder helps stabilize the upper bodies and lend strength to the arms and chest. 

The move is done by raising dumbbells out to the side of the body with both arms and lowering them back down again. The key to the move is to go slow and steady; moving too fast won’t give the shoulders the right exercise. 

Weightlifting Evolutions 

The evolution of this move is tied to that of weightlifting throughout the last century. 

Additionally, as we’ve learned more about the human body and the way our shoulders work, techniques have become more refined so as to limit strain and enhance the more positive effects of the lateral raise. 

Part Of A Larger Fitness Business

The lateral raise is just one part of the business of fitness, which encompasses everything from weightlifting and bulking shakes to equipment like dumbbells and barbells. 

A Commonly Used Exercise 

The lateral raise can be found in any number of weightlifting routines, as it’s so great for bulking up the shoulders and building both stability and endurance in the upper body. 

Though it’s not necessarily judged as a competitive sport, per se, it is something that you’ll likely come across in any weightlifting-heavy gym. 

Doing The Lateral Raise 

If you’re looking to learn the lateral raise, start by going to your local gym. Talk to a trainer about what weights might be best for you to begin with, and create an exercise regiment in which you can incorporate the move!

Working The Shoulders

The lateral raise is an incredibly important part of any well-rounded weightlifting routine, and can seriously bulk up the shoulders. 

Compound Exercise

What’s better than doing one exercise? Doing two! At the SAME TIME!

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Did you know that it’s possible to get more done in your workout than you’re getting done right now? Incorporating Compound Exercise into your daily workout routine will get those fitness results you’re looking for faster and with less effort than you’re getting with other, more traditional and less exotic exercises. 

Compound Exercises work by going after multiple muscle groups at the same time. Here’s an example. A squat is a Compound Exercise because it works the calves, the quads, and the glutes all at once. That’s why it’s such a powerhouse part of the workout, and why it’s a staple of so many weightlifters and athletes. 

Don’t Stay Isolated

Isolation Exercises are the opposite of Compound Exercises. With Isolation Exercises, only one very small and very specific muscle is being worked. For example, a Bicep Curl only works the bicep, no other part of the body. It works that one very specific muscle really well, but it’s only working that one specific muscle. Isolation Exercises can be important parts of physical therapy  and rehabilitation after an injury, but outside of those circumstances many fitness enthusiasts think that they’re a waste of time at the gym. 

The best reason to do Compound Exercises is precisely because they save you time. When you’ve only got a limited amount of time to exercise, which is the case for pretty much everyone, with Compound Exercises you’ll work more muscles in a shorter amount of time. 

These exercises are great because they:

  • Improve muscle coordination
  • Give you more flexibility
  • Grow strength
  • Get the heart pumping
  • Burn more calories

These are just a few of the reasons that people swear by Compound Exercises. They are also just a lot of fun compared to simpler exercises! When you incorporate many muscle groups at once, you’re going to be more engaged.

One thing to remember is that, with Compound Exercises, the complexity means that form is even more important. You have to ensure proper form or else you’re risking injuring not only one muscle group, but several.

Compound with Every Round

Knowing that Compound Exercises are what you should be doing is one thing, incorporating them into your workout is another. Here are a couple of Compound Exercises that you can sink your teeth into the next time you workout. 

  • Walking Lunge

Standing with your feet shoulder-width, place your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg, tightening your upper leg muscles. Keep moving down until your left knee is almost touching the ground. Be sure to keep your torso straight, good posture is critical to this exercise. Now push up through the heel of your right foot and to raise your body up again, then step forward with your left foot and repeat the lunge. 

  • Deadlift

Feet hip’s distance apart, step forward towards the barbell on the floor in front of you. Reach down, pushing your hips back. Tighten the core, the lats, and the knees. Push your heels into the floor. As you lift the bar up, think about pulling your hips forward as it passes your knees. Tighten the glutes when you pull to standing.

These are just two examples of Compound Exercises, there are hundreds more! Again, don’t forget to focus on form when performing these, so that you can stay safe while getting the workout that you’ve needed!

Desk Workouts

If you work a 9-5 shift, or any job that has you seated at a desk for a while, you probably already know the effects of being seated for so long. 

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On top of that, multiple scientific studies have shown that sitting all day really isn’t good for us. Thankfully, there are some really great and effective desk exercises you can do to combat this!

Desk Exercises as a Bastion of Health 

Between 2010 and 2015, several studies were done on the effects of sitting at a desk all day – and the results weren’t all that great. 

As it turned out, sitting all day was making people pretty sedentary and taking a toll on their overall posture. 

These studies ended up creating a rise in desk exercise popularity that has only increased in the last four years, and desk exercises have become a staple of some working professionals’ daily lives. 

The Multitude of Desk Exercises 

Desk exercises are pretty much any exercise that you can do while at your desk. 

Some of the most popular desk exercises include: 

  • The hovering leg raise 
  • Chair dips
  • The seated leg raise
  • The Swiveling Abs

Of course, there are several ways that you can change up or create exercises based on your own needs, abilities, and office space. 

Getting your Workout Done 

Before you dive in to your new at-work routine, here are some things to consider: 

  • How much desk and office space do you have? By identifying these factors, you can determine which exercises are best for you. 
  • If you have a certain amount of downtime during your lunch, you can bring a change of clothing to make your exercises more comfortable. 

Diving in to your Desk Exercises

Once you’ve determined that you’re ready to begin your exercises, start with something like the hovering leg raise to ease your way in to desk exercises.

  1. Sit upright in your chair. 
  2. Slowly raise both legs until they’re about parallel with the floor. 
  3. Carefully lower your legs until they’re just about an inch from the ground. Stay in this position for a few counts before releasing. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the desired number of repetitions. 

Healthier Life, Healthier Work 

Though it’s tough to find time to get your body moving when there’s so much to do at the office, it turns out that getting exercise isn’t just good for your body – it’s good for your mental health and productivity, too!

More Desk Exercises 

As noted, the amount of time and space you have are going to be factors to consider when adding desk exercises to your day.  

For example, if you don’t have as much space under your desk or in the office, you can modify the hovering leg raise to only one leg at a time. 

Bring your Exercises to Work 

By taking part in desk exercises, you’re setting yourself up for success with your health and work. Prioritizing your physical health is beneficial for so many aspects of your life, and getting a little workout in during the day is a great way to stay productive overall!

Inverted Workouts

Ready to flip your regular workout routine on its head? 

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Using inverted workout can help you with intensity, strength, and balance, all while providing relief for your muscles and joints. 

Inversions Throughout Time 

Inversion exercises – sometimes referred to in historical works as “inversion therapy” has actually been around for quite a while. In fact, research has suggested that ancient yogis from as far back as 3000 BCE used inverted positions. 

In the late 1990s, this concept started merging with fitness ideas of the day. Whole-body wellness movements adopted the idea of inversion therapy in use with other physical training exercises, creating the inverted workouts that we see today. 

What are Inverted Workouts? 

Inverted workouts involve being fully or partially upside down. This can be achieved with bars and hooks as well as with inversion tables or benches. 

These workouts span many different types of exercise disciplines. From yoga to lifting, there are several ways to bring inversion into your regular workout routine. 

Ready to Go Upside Down? 

If you’re looking to add some inversion to your exercise routine: 

  1. Make sure that you have access to either a bar with foot hooks or an inversion bench. Many gyms will have inversion benches at hand. 
  2. Determine which exercises you’d like to add inversion to, such as a sit-up or crunch. 
  3. Depending on your level of inversion, it can be good to have a spotter with you for safety. 

Immersed in Inversion 

Once you’re ready to begin your inverted workout: 

  1. Position yourself on the inversion bench. Make sure your upper body is comfortably situated on the end of the bench leaning towards the ground, and that you’re on your back. 
  2. For an inverted crunch, hold your arms out in front of you and slowly sit up, taking care not to strain your neck. 
  3. Hold the position for a few counts, then slowly lower yourself back down onto the bench. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the desired number of repetitions. 

Relief for Muscles and Joints

One of the great things about inversion exercises is the effect that gravity has on the body. Because we’re standing or sitting upright most of the time, gravity tends to pull down on us, putting pressure on our back and other joints. 

By going upside down, however, this effect is reversed. The pressure is removed from the joints, muscles, and back, giving you an opportunity to get a workout without further aggravating any specific part of your body. 

Inversion Intensity Variations

You can change the level of intensity of your workout with a couple variations. 

The most simple variation to make is the angle at which you are inverted. Consider the fact that the further upside down you are, the more intense a workout like a sit-up will be. 

See the World from a Whole New Angle

Inverted workouts are a great concept to add to your everyday exercise routine. Not only will they help you switch things up and keep your routine interesting, but they can have some seriously positive benefits for your body as a whole!

Kangoo Jumps

Kangoo jumps take running shoes to the next level – and they look pretty space-age, too! 

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In reality, they’re actually some seriously cool equipment for an exercise that just may help prevent long-term injury to the legs. 

The Bouncy Running Shoe

The term “Kangoo Jumps” actually refers to a brand of rebound exercise shoes. These shoes are designed to combine health and fitness for all ages and have a series of uses from rehabilitation to general weight loss. 

Of course, Kangoo Jumps are often used in fitness classes too. Different exercises based on dance, pilates, and cardio workouts are typically involved in Kangoo Jump classes. 

Rebound Exercises

Kangoo Jumps are considered a rebound exercise. Rebounding is usually a low-impact exercise, and other variations include using a mini-trampoline to complete workouts. 

The Kangoo Jump shoes are designed for several cross-training workouts, and are used in rebound exercises. 

The spring on the bottom of the shoe helps remove much of the negative impact that one might feel on the knees or back when running or jumping. 

A Kangoo Jump Class

Kangoo Jumps are great for group classes. 

To prepare for your first class: 

  • Do a little research on the studio you’re attending to evaluate whether or not you’ll need to bring your own Kangoo Jumps. 
  • Make sure to wear comfortable clothing. 
  • Stretch before your session for optimal range of motion. 

The Kangoo Jump Workout 

Each instructor and class will focus on different techniques with each session. 

However, if you want to try Kangoo Jumps on your own, determine the focus of your workout. Kangoo Jumps are great for cardio and lower-body training, and can also be used for balance and stability. 

Once you’ve determined the exercise that you intend to do: 

  1. Put on your Kangoo Jump boots. 
  2. Position yourself for your exercise, and move as you usually would in regular shoes. Keep in mind that balance may be a new factor in your exercise, especially if you’re just getting used to the Kangoo Jump boots. 

How Kangoo Jumps can Help 

There are a myriad of reasons why Kangoo Jumps and other rebound exercises are great to use as part of your workout routine. 

With Kangoo Jumps, you can build on your cardiovascular exercises and fitness, all while burning calories, building posture, and having fun. 

Expanding your Exercises

Depending on your skill level and comfort with the boots, you may want to make variations to your regular exercise routine while wearing the boots. 

Your instructor for your Kangoo Jump exercise classes will have specific workout routines and goals that they work on with the class during each section. 

If you’re looking to tone down or ramp up the exercise you’re getting, speak to them about how you can use the Kangoo Jump boots to achieve your exercise goals. 

Take your Exercise to New Heights

With Kangoo Jump boots, it’s possible to bring some fun into your exercise routine while still getting a powerful workout! Using these boots can help with your strength, balance, stability, and more, making them a great investment for your exercise regiment.

Forza (Samurai Sword Training)

Have you ever imagined being skilled with a sword, much like a Samurai? 

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With Forza, it’s possible to bring the techniques used in Samurai sword training to your exercise regimen!

The Samurai Sword Workout

This relatively new exercise class is intended to provide the kind of workout that helps you concentrate and focus. The name “Forza” is Italian for “strength and power” – and that’s exactly how creator Ilaria Montagnani designed the exercises that are part of a regular Forza class. 

A High-Intensity Workout 

This high-intensity workout provides a great full-body exercise. 

The class involves a wooden sword and takes a lot of inspiration from classic Samurai warrior sword teachings. 

There are three movements that make up most of a Forza class. This involves: 

  • Diagonal cuts – coming down with your wooden sword over your shoulders 
  • Full cuts – bringing the sword down in front of you so that the tip is at the belly button 
  • Half-cuts – bringing the sword down from overhead so that the tip is about neck-height

Getting Prepped For Forza

Because Forza is such a unique exercise, you’ll want to discuss the best preparation tips with your instructor. However, there are still some things that you can do to generally prepare for your class, such as: 

  • Come wearing comfortable clothing for optimal range of motion 
  • Keep an open mind and open ears to listen to the instructor 
  • Stretch out both your upper and lower body before your workout to minimize soreness

Learning the Forza Ways

Once you’re ready to join your class, you’ll find that each class is a little different depending on the instructor and the kinds of things they’re going over. 

As you continue through your classes, you’ll likely end up focusing on maintaining proper form and in the process build strength in both your upper and lower body!

A Zen Exercise 

There are several physical and mental benefits to Forza that make it a great choice for your next exercise class. 

First off, you’re getting a really well-rounded full-body workout when participating in Forza. With the weight of the wooden staff and your work to balance yourself, both upper- and lower-body strength is used. 

On top of that, however, the kind of focus needed to participate in Forza is what makes the exercise something of a zen experience. Mindset is key for success in Forza, so this can be a great chance to relieve stress. 

Taking Forza to the Next Level 

If you’re already familiar with Forza and how to do many of the moves, talk to your instructor about ways that you can build upon some of the moves that your class is doing in a given session. 

In doing so, you’ll be able to further tailor the workout to your personal needs and workout goals. 

Learn to be a Warrior

With Forza, you’ll find strength, stability, and mental training that gives your entire body – and well-being – a fantastic workout. By keeping the right mindset and tone throughout the workout, you’ll soon begin to see improvements not only in your strength, but in your focus as well.

Pound Class

Are you the kind of person who’s always looking to add something a little fun to your exercise routine? 

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If so, attending a pound class might just be a great way for you to go!

Music and Movement

Created in 2011, pound classes use music, dancing, and exercises that can be found in yoga and pilates. It was created to inspire some fun in a daily exercise routine, and break away from the more traditional pilates classes that are available. 

However, the creators were inspired by the kind of workout they got when drumming and making music. They used this inspiration to create a class that is dedicated to helping men and women of all ages and abilities to enjoy exercise. 

A Musical Workout 

This multi-layered workout comes from several different kinds of exercise. Music is a necessity for pound classes, and is almost like a piece of equipment in and of itself. 

The workout also uses drumsticks that are used to help build the idea that you’re creating music and working with the music as you exercise. 

Movements that you may recognize come from yoga and pilates, but there are also cardio and conditioning exercises involved in the workout for a full-body experience. 

Your First Class

If you’re going to your first ever pound class, here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind: 

  • Stay open-minded about trying new moves and working with the music. 
  • Wear comfortable clothing to prevent any issues with range-of-motion. 
  • Remember to try and have fun with the exercise!

Doing the Pound Workout

Each pound class you take will be a little different from the rest, as your instructor may be focusing on specific exercise or teaching you certain things to build on your repertoire. 

Follow the lead of your instructor for an effective full-body workout. Whether your goals are strengthening, stretching, toning, or cardio, you’re sure to find something for you during your class. 

An Exercise that’s Fun and Effective

There are several benefits to taking a pound class. Not only are the exercises perfect for strengthening your core, but they also include cardio training and improvements to your focus and conditioning. 

Plus, music and movement have been shown to improve your overall mood, which can further benefit your health. 

That’s not all, though. Being in a class with other people can help you with setting goals for yourself. The social aspect of the class is a great way to motivate your own exercise, as you’ll be able to push yourself further than you might otherwise do during your at-home exercises. 

Finding what Works for You 

Of course, there are many ways to make the class both more accessible and more challenging, depending on your experience and skill level. 

Speak to your instructor about ways the specific exercises in your class can be modified to fit your needs and exercise goals. 

Get Ready for Pound 

If this sounds like the perfect thing for you, check out where your nearest pound class might be! You’ll certainly learn a lot – and get a great workout at the same time.

Aerial Yoga

What if you could add something like a trapeze act to your regular exercise routine? 

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With aerial yoga, it might not be impossible! 

A Modern Form of Yoga

While the roots of yoga go back for centuries, aerial yoga is a modern yoga form that was created in 2014. It combines a few different types of movements from Pilates, dance, and traditional yoga poses you might already be familiar with. 

The Trapeze Exercise 

This exercise is a unique variation of yoga and Pilates. It works with a specific kind of hammock which is necessary to perform any of the aerial yoga moves. 

And this isn’t just any kind of hammock, either. It can support just under 700 lbs and is designed with a webbing strap, silk hammock, carabiners, and support chains for safety. 

As aerial yoga has a history in yoga, you’ll find that several moves are the same. One popular pose is “flying pigeon pose,” a variation of the regular pigeon pose that you might be familiar with from regular floor yoga practices. 

Going for the First Time? 

If you’re going to try aerial yoga, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

  • Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothing. 
  • Keep a relaxed mindset when going into your poses, and remember not to rush. 
  • Try not to eat too soon before joining an aerial yoga class, as you won’t want to cramp up during the exercises. 
  • If you’re doing this exercise at home, make sure you have the correct equipment and that your hammock is securely fastened to the ceiling. 
  • Make sure you’ve got a spotter with you. 
  • Stretch out before getting into your hammock. 

Performing Aerial Yoga 

Once you feel that you’re ready to begin, start out with a basic lunge: 

  1. Stand in the center of your mat and hold the sides of the hammock apart. 
  2. Slip one leg through the hammock. Keep in mind that the hammock should support the weight of this leg while the other one is still on the mat.
  3. Gently lunge forward, inhaling and keeping your weight on the hammock. 
  4. Carefully move back to your starting position and exhale. 
  5. Repeat the move again before switching legs for a balanced workout. 

Physical Health 

Though aerial yoga hasn’t necessarily undergone clinical trials, fans of the unique exercise have noted that it includes not only stretching the entire body, but strengthening the muscles. 

On top of that, aerial yoga takes a lot of stress off the spine as the body is supported by the hammock. 

More Aerial Yoga Moves

If you’re looking to get more out of your aerial yoga, here are a few popular poses to try: 

  • Cross position – leaning back against the hammock with arms outstretched
  • The Star Inversion – bending your body backwards while supported by the hammock
  • One-legged king pigeon pose – bending your body back with one foot hooked into the hammock 

Get Some Air With Aerial Yoga

If you’re excited by the idea of this unique and stress-relieving exercise, you should definitely consider joining a class or adding it to your regular yoga routine!