Did something get lost in the translation? "BodyART," a workout that has taken off all over Europe, brings to mind tattoos and navel piercings more than some kind of sweaty exercise. Then again, I suppose you could call muscle sculpting "art." And the truth is, this is nothing like any fitness class I've ever taken. I'm trying to put my finger on what's so cool about it.
The Swiss creator, Robert Steinbacher (he's not too hard on the eyes, ladies), has been a dancer, a physical therapist for handicapped children, a personal trainer, and a yoga instructor-and he took everything on his bio palette and mixed it up into a whole new color. The result is a workout that saturates the body-strengthening it from the inside out, while burning fat, and making you limber, all in a seamless flow of unusual movement.
"He built his philosophy basically on yin and yang," says Taj Harris, a BodyART instructor at Crunch, which brought the workout to the U.S. this spring. "For everything masculine and strong, there has to be something soft and feminine." And because every move involves the whole body, your core gets a super buff job.
Taj, who was trained by Steinbacher, demonstrates 4 moves here. Try them a couple times a week in addition to your regular fitness routine, and see if your body doesn't start feeling less like a problem and more like a work of art.
Mountain StormWorks: Abs, quads, glutes, triceps, deltoids (back of the shoulders)
1. Start in a classic yoga Mountain Pose, arms extended over your head, standing super tall (right.)
2. Exhale as you bend your knees, squatting low, and bringing your hands to your ankles (below). In all these moves the exhale should be strong. Think of fogging up a mirror as you breathe out.
3. Inhale back up to your starting Mountain Pose (above).
4. Now exhale with force as you sit back with your hips and reach your hands above your head, so the pinkies are turned inward. "We call this Storm," says Taj. The more your arms twist inward (so the palms turn out), the more you work the triceps. You also want to bring the arms high and back, so they're next to your ears.
Do the whole sequence 10-15 times.
Sumo WarriorWorks: Abs, inner and outer thighs, and arms
1. Start standing, feet hip-width apart, with your arms crossed, pushing against each other (left). The arms are not crossed passively; you're using force.
2. Step back with your right foot, turn your whole body to right, and bend your knees into a low sumo squat, feet turned out (second position in ballet.) Imagine that you're holding a bow and arrow, and pull back with your right arm, keeping it bent, while the left extends straight (below). Squeeze your abs, and tighten your back muscles: This is a strong pose. The lower you squat, the more you'll work the glutes, quads, and thighs.
3. Step back together (above).
Do 20 to the right, and on the last squat, hold and count to 30. Then bring your feet together, rest a few seconds, and do 20 more squats to the other side. On the last, hold for 30 seconds, before coming back to center.
Absolutely AbWorks: the abdominals and inner thighs
1. Lying on the floor, raise your legs straight up, heels together with feet turned out. Push the soles of your feet toward the ceiling to engage your inner thighs. In addition, raise your head, shoulders and arms, interlacing the fingers (left). Tighten your abs. On each exhale try to get your shoulders a little higher. Exhale in this position 15 times.
2. Now, keeping the turnout, drop the left leg down, and push the left forearm next to the inside of the right thigh (below)-it's an isometric workout. Exhale 15 times.
3. Go back to the first position (above) and repeat for 15 exhales. Now drop your right leg down and press your right forearm into your left thigh for 15 exhales. Note: This is a really tough exercise so start with fewer exhales if you need to.
Physical Therapy StretchWorks: neck, shoulders, and side of the body (the antidote to computer hunch)
1. Lie comfortably with your hands behind your head, holding it up off the ground as if you're going to do a crunch and look down at your toes (left). Don't use your neck muscles; just let your head rest in your hands. Take a few breaths.
2. Now shift your upper body to the right and slightly lean back to let your head rest in your hands (right). Feel the lateral stretch on the left side of your body. Just breathe.
3. Come back to the center (No. 1) and stretch again in that position. Now shift to the left and do your stretch to the other side.
Repeat the sequence twice. Remember, you're not competing against anyone. BodyART, like any true art, is ultimately for you.
Hey there, we're curious which makes you feel better. A basic sweat workout like running, or spinning, or gym equipment? Or do you prefer a mind-body workout?
For more workouts that engage the mind as well as the body....
A workout the sharpens the brain, too
When you can't stand exercise
Yoga poses you can do anywhere
[Photo Credit: First image: JupiterImages]
[Photo Credit: Taj Harris by Liz Brody]
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