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Slow Head-to-Toe Workout

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Slow head-to-toe workout is a great way to hit every muscle group from head to toe, literally, while dragging out each repetition for a 4 count --1 count -- 4 count tempo. In less than 20 minutes, you can achieve a total body workout.

Perform as many repetitions of each exercise for one minute each. If two sides are being worked independently (unilaterally), either split the minute into 30 seconds or do each side for one minute. Your choice.

Minimal equipment: A mat, dumbbells, a medium band, a 3-pound soft medicine ball and a smile.

Find slow rhythmic music to sustain focus, breath and consistency of flow for your slow head-to-toe workout.

Wide Squat

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

With feet wider than hip distance apart, turn your toes slightly out. Keep your chest lifted with your belly tight. When lowering towards the ground, open up the hips and angle the knees over the ankles. Hold the squat at the bottom for a count before pushing up slowly back to a standing position. Repeat.

Alternating Lunges with Reach

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Starting with feet together, slowly step the left leg back, taking your left hand across to touch your right toes. Slowly bring that back leg into starting position and alternate between sides.

Lateral Step Out With Band

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Put the band around your legs, above your ankles. Starting with your feet hip distance apart, posture erect, step your right leg out placing the leg into a side lunge, pushing past the resistance of the band. Shift the right hip out, so that your right knee tracks in line with the right toes. Keep the back leg straight. Return your leg to hip distance apart, keeping tension on the band. Alternate between sides.

Standing External Rotators With the Band

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

With the band remaining on your legs, abduct (move out) your right leg with your toes pointing forward. Rotate the toes outwards and then center them out to face forward again. In the meanwhile, squeeze the glute muscle on the standing leg so that the knee remains neutral despite the pull from the leg that is going into external rotation. Being conscious of where both knees are tracking will avoid unnecessary torque to the knees.

Single Leg Circumductions with Band

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Starting with your feet hip distance apart, grounding through your left leg, extend your right leg forward. Creating an arc shape with your right leg, abduct the leg and then bring your leg behind you into hip extension. Avoid hyperextension in the lower back. Beginners can tap the foot at those three points; forward, side, back for 30 seconds. Then, switch sides.

On the Mat

Bridge Pose with Hip Flexion

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

On your back, gazing upward, bring your feet to hip distanced apart, with knees tracking directly over the ankles. With belly engaged, pull your hips up towards the sky, avoiding hyperextension (arching) of your lower back. Once in bridge pose, first pull your shoulders down towards your heels creating length in the neck. Extend your right leg straight out so that your right knee remains in line with your left knee. Without dropping your hips down, lower your foot and switch sides alternating between sides.

Supine Chest Fly

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

On your back, bring your knees up to ninety degrees, engaging your core. Extend your arms overhead with your palms facing inward, lower the arms down towards the ground, keeping your elbows slightly bent the entire set and exhale as you bring your arms up as if to hug a big bear. Hold your elbows in a slightly flexed position throughout the set.

Skull Crushers

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

In supine position, knees at a 90-degree bend (possibly lighter weights) extend your arms up directly over your chest. Keeping your shoulders fixed to one plane, bend them bringing the dumbbells down to either side of your ears, palms facing inward. Be sure to point your elbows forward the entire set. Avoid arching through the lower back.

Climb the Rope

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

On your back with your feet hip distance apart, brace your core by pulling your navel in towards the spine. Lift your shoulders off of the ground and reach up towards the sky as if to climb a rope. Slowly glide your chest from side to side allowing your obliques to maneuver the action. To modify, place your hand behind the head for support as the other hand reaches up towards the sky. Alternate from side to side.

Bicycle Crunches

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Alternating between right and left sides first extend your right leg out and bend through the left knee as you reach for that left knee with your right elbow. For improved lower back comfort, bend the extended leg and tap the toes on the floor, taking pressure off the lower back. Alternate sides.

Staggered Row to Tricep Extension

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Grab a medium set of dumbbells. Starting with your feet together in a closed legged squat, bring your arms into your body tightly for a row with your palms facing inward and your shoulders drawing down your back. Squeeze your scapula together tight. Step your right leg back as you bring your arms back into extension (which works the triceps). Step the right leg in and row the arms in again. Switch legs to bring your left leg back, bringing your arms into a triceps extension again. Alternate between sides.

Plank Rows

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With medium weights, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, your feet hip distance apart in plank pose. Balance on your hands and toes. With your core engaged, row the arm tightly into the body drawing your scapula in towards the center of your back. Stabilize through the body, avoiding hip rotation. Lower the weight to the ground. Alternate between sides.

Alternating Lateral Raise

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Stand on a single leg (right or left) and balance. Using medium dumbbells, lift both arms up to shoulder height with your palms facing down, hands within peripheral vision. Slowly, lower your right arm down to your side while keeping your left arm up in a unilateral raise. Return your right arm up and switch arms. Alternate between sides.

Medicine Ball Tai Chi

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

Take the medicine ball into one hand. With your feet wider than hip distanced apart, move the ball overhead from the right side body to the left hip. Switch hands and move the ball to the opposite hip while lunging your body from side to side.

Stir the Pot with Medicine Ball

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photo credit: Jerry Lin

With the medicine ball, extend your right arm in front of you and then outward. Once the arm is extended out to the side, bend the elbow drawing the ball back in towards your chest, creating a stirring motion with your arm. Perform this exercise using both hands if one arm stirring is too challenging.

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