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Strategic Standing

Motivate participants to transfer these three core moves to the home or office.

How many of your class attendees sit most of the day? Between work, commuting and Facebook scrolling, a lot of people are chronically “sedentary in the sagittal plane.” Empower participants to strengthen their cores outside of class in novel ways with an often-overlooked piece of fitness “equipment”: a stable, stationary desk (or table). These standing core moves will activate, innervate and stretch clients’ muscles beyond the sagittal plane of sitting.

Note: Teach these exercises using a mat, a wall, or steps and risers to simulate a desk.


Standing Biplanar Hip Drop and Trunk Twists


Purpose:

To activate the core muscles in the frontal and transverse planes.


Setup:

Line up body diagonally, parallel to floor, legs scissored slightly so superior leg is forward. Right elbow is flexed at 90° against stable desk or bookshelf. Open supporting palm against desk, instead of making a fist, to give additional support and decrease shoulder stress.


Movement:

  • Lower hips toward floor so entire body is in “curve” moving away from ceiling, and return.
  • Repeat 12x–15x.
  • From neutral spine, abduct left shoulder toward ceiling.
  • Rotate trunk and “thread” arm down and under body until you can see something behind you, and return.
  • Repeat 12x–15x.
  • Progression: Combine movements for each repetition.
  • Repeat on opposite side. If time permits, do 2 more sets (3 total), each side.

Desk Push-Ups With Rotation and Knee Tuck


Purpose:

To engage the body in the transverse and sagittal planes while activating the chest, shoulder and arm muscles. (The unilateral leg challenge is often too challenging from the floor.)


Setup:

Face desk and place hands wide on edges. Walk feet back to challenging plank position. Extend R leg few inches off floor, for unilateral stance.


Movement:

  • Lower chest to push-up position, turning toward L shoulder.
  • If appropriate, progress by bringing R knee toward L wrist area, and return.
  • Repeat 12x–15x.
  • Repeat on opposite side. If time permits, do 2 more sets (3 total), each side.

Anterior Line Stretch and Trunk Twist


Purpose:

To stretch the obliques and lower-body muscles, typically overcontracted from sitting.


Setup:

Stand with L side against desk edge. Place L knee and quadriceps on top, padding knee with papers or small cushion if necessary.


Movement:

  • Bend L knee and slowly reach for L ankle with L hand.
  • If you can’t reach foot or ankle, use belt, strap or rope to close the distance.
  • Slowly turn torso toward L foot, reaching for L hip with R hand.
  • Lift chin slightly to promote neutral spine, and continue breathing as you pull yourself into twisting stretch.
  • Hold for 20–30 seconds.
  • Repeat on opposite side. If time permits, do 2 more sets (3 total), each side.
Lawrence Biscontini, MA

Lawrence Biscontini, MA, has made fitness history as a mindful movement specialist, winning awards that include the Inner IDEA Visionary Award. He is a philanthropist, presenter, keynoter, and course development specialist for various companies, including ACE, AFAA, FIT and NASM. He also serves on the advisory boards for the International Council on Active Aging and Power Music®, and is an International Spa Association reporter-in-the-field for its #ISPAInterviews series. Lawrence teaches with yoga RYT 500 and decades-long certification experience. His company, Fitness Group 2000 offers scholarships to professional conferences and competitions on several continents. Lawrence runs fit camps in Puerto Rico in the winter months and has authored more than a dozen books.

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