Friday Feel-good 15 Workout

Over on my Facebook page, I post a short workout video every Friday. I call it the “Friday Feel-good 15”. The idea behind it is similar to the concept of making your bed first thing in the morning. If you start off your day with this small success, this single accomplishment, then you’ve already set up your momentum for getting things done and you’re much more likely to have a happier, more productive, more successful day overall. The same thought process is at work here with the “Friday Feel-good 15”.

If we begin our weekend with (at least!) 15 minutes of fitness, we are much more likely to continue making healthy choices throughout the weekend. That way, we don’t make it to Monday feeling like we need to reset or make up for our choices over the weekend. Weekends can be a notoriously difficult time to stick to our health and fitness plans because we are out of our day-to-day routines and doing things we don’t normally do. Maybe we are spending time socializing, or even just relaxing, but due to these changes in our schedules, we are more likely to make choices that aren’t in-line with our health and fitness goals. So, by starting out on Friday with this “little win” of getting in 15 minutes of fitness, we create some positive momentum that we can use to help motivate us to continue making healthier choices throughout the weekend.

Also, keep in mind that making healthier choices doesn’t have to mean not enjoying ourselves or participating in activities! Go out to eat with family and friends but choose a healthier menu option, or share a meal! Take the kids for ice cream, but eat it at the park so you can play afterwards! Do a few minutes of food prep to ensure that you have fresh fruits and veggies ready to snack on so you don’t grab for chips or cookies when you get hungry while you’re just hanging out at the house! Remember, there are lots of little ways to stay on track and it’s those little decisions that add up to the big success of achieving and maintaining our health and fitness goals!

So, to help facilitate making healthy choices for you, it occurred to me that this would be a great way to also share workouts here on my blog. Maybe you don’t do Facebook, or maybe you prefer to see the workout printed in black and white rather than following a video. Either way, this is for you! And! The idea of grabbing 15 minutes of fitness as a way to create positive momentum applies to any given moment of any given day, so feel free to return to the blog for a workout anytime you need to work a quick fitness routine into your schedule!

A little side note though, if you’re trying to match this written explanation to the workout videos over on my Facebook page, you should know that this gets published a week after the video. So this post corresponds to the video I posted on 4/28 and I am posting a new video today but the written version of that video won’t be up until 5/12 and so on and so forth!
Also, to get the pics to go with the descriptions of the exercises, I went through the video and grabbed some screen shots so, you’re welcome for the laughs you’re sure to get from some of the awesome facial expressions I managed to capture 🤔😉🙃!

Alright! Enough chit chat! Let’s do this!

• seated lateral bends
• letting-go breaths

You’ll get started by finding a seat on your knees, sinking the glutes toward the heels (if this is comfortable for you, if not feel free to begin in a cross-legged position.) Begin by inhaling and reaching the fingertips toward the sky. Then release the right fingertips down to the mat, reaching the left arm overhead and to the right. Ground down through the left sits-bone and reach through the left fingertips, creating a long line of energy on the left side body, breathing space between each and every rib. Stay here for 3-5 long, slow inhales and exhales. Now inhale the fingertips back up to the sky, and on the exhale come into the bend on the opposite side, left fingertips finding the mat, right arm extending up and over to the left. Use the same engagement of grounding down through the right sits-bone and reaching through the right fingertips to find the long line of energy on this side of the body. Again, breathing into the side body, take 3-5 long, slow breaths on this side before inhaling the fingertips back up to the sky and, on the exhale, allowing the fingertips to float back down to the mat.

Repeat this last step, taking 3 letting-go breaths. Inhaling through the nose, lifting the fingertips to the sky, and exhaling, sighing the breath out of the mouth, while allowing the fingertips to float down.

Floor work:
• side plank thread-the-needle and leg lifts
• 10 reps of each on each side
• high plank
• 10 hip lifts
• 10 leg lifts (Right)
• 10 leg lifts (Left)
• 10 hip lifts
• hamstring kicks and pulses
• 10 kicks, 10 pulses, 10 kicks
• knee touches and heel-to-sky pulses
• 10 knee touches, 10 heel-to-sky pulses, 10 knee touches

Side plank thread-the-needle and leg lifts

Begin by setting up in a side plank with your supporting palm in the center of the mat, extend the legs out and lift the hips, stacking one foot on top of the other and creating a long, straight line with the body. The top picture in the series shows the modification to lessen the intensity and/or protect the shoulder by setting up the bottom leg as a kind of kick stand for a supported side plank. Remember to always honor your body by choosing the option that’s best for you today! You’re doing the same work either way and there’s no good, better, best hierarchy here. “Best” is the place where you’re working your balance between effort and ease, the place where you find challenge but you can maintain proper form so that you’re not risking injury.

For thread-the-needle, with the top arm reaching toward the sky, inhale to prepare and on the exhale sweep the arm out in front and then under the opposite side of the body. Maintain the engagement of the core to keep the hips lifted and the body stable in the plank while working the strength of the torso and obliques to rotate in and out of the twist.

Do 10 reps on this side and then, on the same side, without lowering down, perform 10 leg lifts, lifting the top leg away from the bottom leg and then touching them back together before lifting again.

Come down and switch sides doing 10 thread-the-needles and 10 leg lifts on the other side.

High plank hip lifts and leg lifts

Now come to plank. Engage the core, level out the hips so that they’re neither lifted nor sagging, and lift the gaze to prevent rounding the shoulders. Begin with 10 hip lifts (a.k.a pikes). Again, you can modify by lowering down to the knees to find a supported plank. From the modified position, you would lift and lower the knees rather than the hips. You can further modify by alternating, lifting one knee and then the other, rather than lifting both together. If you are in full plank, engage the core to lift the hips high to the sky and then lower back down to your plank. Now, hold plank and perform single leg lifts, picking the foot up and lowering it back to the mat. Do a set of 10 with the right leg and then a set of 10 with the left. Finish it out with one final set of 10 hip lifts. Try to complete all of the exercises without lowering down in between.

Hamstring kicks and pulses

Now find your table top position with knees directly beneath the hips and wrists directly beneath the shoulders or just forward of them. If you have wrist sensitivity, come down to the forearms. Lift one leg behind you so that the quad is parallel with the mat and the heel is pressing toward the sky. Perform 10 hamstring kicks by slowly and with control drawing the heel of the foot toward the glute. Next, hold the heel in close to the glute and pulse, a tiny one inch movement, toward and away from the glute. Then, 10 more full range of motion hamstring kicks.

Knee touches and heel-to-sky pulses

With the same leg lifted, come back to the starting position with the quad parallel to the mat and the heel pressing up to the sky. From here, touch the knee down to the mat right beside the other knee. Do this 10 times, touching the knee down and then lifting up. After 10, hold the leg up in the starting position and pulse the heel toward the sky in a tiny 1 inch lower and lift motion. Complete the 10 pulses and then do one more set of 10 knee touches.

HIIT Intervals: 30 seconds on/30 seconds off
• lateral hustle touchdowns
• crossbody mountain climbers
• knees to squat
• basketball shots
• plank jacks

For these HIIT intervals we are looking for super high intensity engagement and then total rest to allow the heart rate to slow as much as possible when we aren’t working. This gives us a greater difference between our active and resting heart rates in the intervals and puts us in the best zone for calorie and fat burning. You should be working at 80-90% of your capacity in the 30 seconds on. You want to be slightly out of breath and not have enough energy to move around like you would during an “active” rest period.

Lateral hustle touchdowns

Begin at one end of your mat, sink down into as low a squat as feels good to your body and move the feet laterally (to the side) until you reach the other end of the mat, reach down and tap the floor before coming back up to your squat and heading back to the other end of the mat where you’ll touchdown again. Stay as low as you can and move as fast as you can, moving side to side from one end of your mat to the other!

Crossbody mountain climbers

Begin in high plank, or modify by coming to the knees. Instead of drawing the knee toward the nose like you would in traditional mountain climbers, you will draw the knee to the opposite tricep. So, right knee to left tricep and left knee to right tricep. Perform this move quickly, as though you were running, alternating right and left knee to opposite tricep. Keep the core engaged and try to stay as low in your plank as possible, resisting the urge to raise the hips!

Knees to squat

Begin on both knees and step forward with the right foot so that you’re kneeling on only the left knee. Now, step the left foot forward so that you’re in a low squat. From the low squat go back the way you came, lower the right knee to kneeling and then the left so that you’re on both knees. Keep going through this cycle moving as fast as you can and staying as low as you can!

Basketball shots

This is basically a squat plus a cross body twist and a jump. So really nothing basic about it 😂. But it’s fun! So let’s do it! Start in a chair squat and reach down and to the left as though you’re grabbing a basketball. Then, jump up, reaching up and right as though you’re making a shot! Tip! Do 15 seconds reaching left and jumping right and 15 seconds reaching right and jumping left. I tried alternating 1 for 1 and I feel the coordination required slows you down too much for HIIT work.(Also, these are my goofiest screen shots to be sure, so let’s appreciate that with a moment of laughter.)

Plank jacks

This one is pretty simple, but don’t let it fool you! There’s hard work here! Begin in high plank and jump the feet out and in as though you were performing jumping jacks. That’s it! But it’ll fire up your core and leave you sweating for sure! You can modify by coming to the knees and stepping side to side or you can just stand up and do jumping jacks. Remember, the goal is to lose your breath!

Yoga flow
• Virabhadrasana II
• Reverse warrior
• High lunge
• Tree
• Virabhadrasana II

Begin in downward facing dog and lift the right leg high to the sky. Level out the hips by pointing the toes toward the mat and notice the engagement this creates in the left leg. Take an inhale to prepare and then slowly and with control, draw the right knee in toward the nose before very gently setting the sole of the right foot at the top of the mat finding your low lunge. Turn the left foot down to about a 45 degree angle and check to see that the feet are in heel-to-arch alignment (the front heel is in line with the back arch) or wider to create more stability. Ground down through the back left heel to activate the glute and check to see that the front right knee is stacked over the ankle rather than forward of it. Ground down through the pinky toe edge of the front right foot to keep the knee tracking over the second toe rather than collapsing inward. Rise up into virabhadrasana II (vira II or warrior II) squaring the hips toward the long edge of the mat (only as far as you can without causing the knee to collapse) and extending the arms, right arm forward and left arm behind you. Engage the core, lift the chest and heart, and roll the shoulder blades down the back while gazing out over the right middle finger.

Inhale to prepare and flip the front palm, extending the right fingertips up to the sky and then reaching behind you, creating the backbend and finding reverse warrior. Bend the left elbow and send the left fingertips to look for the right hip crease (you can also extend the left arm down the back of the left leg but take care to avoid putting pressure on the knee! That’s why I prefer the bent arm variation.) Take a few breaths here, settling into the pose and then come back through vira II.

This time you’ll lift the back heel, square the hips to the front of the mat, and raise the fingertips to the sky, opening the chest and heart, drawing the shoulder blades down the back, finding the baby backbend, and drawing the biceps back behind the ears so that they are out of your peripheral vision, coming into high crescent lunge.

From high lunge, you’ll move into standing balance. Take an inhale to prepare, and on the exhale lift the left foot, bending the knee and drawing the leg up so that the femur is parallel with the floor. Try to make this transition using strength and control rather than momentum and see if you can avoid setting the foot down as you make your way from lunge to balance.

From standing balance, begin to open the left hip, pointing the left knee out to the side, then reach down and bring the sole of the left foot to meet the inner, upper part of the right thigh, coming into tree pose. Tree is a balance challenging pose so feel free to take a variation if you need by bringing the left foot instead to the right calf or simply resting the left toes on the floor. Find the place where you experience the balance between effort and ease and begin to extend the branches of your tree by reaching up to the sky. Breathe here, enjoying your strength and stability.

Now, return the hands to heart center, release the left foot from the standing right leg and come back through standing balance before shifting the leg back behind you, slowly and with control, setting it down at the back of the mat and returning to the place we began in vira II. Then, release the hands down to the mat and step back finding down dog and then lowering into child’s pose. Rest a moment in child’s before pressing back up to down dog and repeating the flow on the other side. 

Cool down
• Seated wide legged fold with twist
• Parivrtta Janu sirsasana and The pose which has no name 😉

Seated wide legged fold with twist

We’ll make our way all the way down to the mat here and just find a comfortable wide legged seat. Begin by inhaling length through the spine and the crown of the head and then hinging forward at the hips coming forward only as far as you can with a strong, straight, flat back. Now, the walk the hands over toward the left foot, coming as far as feels good to you, maybe finding both hands on the outside of the left leg. Take a few breaths in this twist and then come back through the center before walking the hands over to the right and moving into the twist on this side, inhaling to lengthen the spine and exhaling to move deeper into to twist, perhaps bringing both hands outside the right leg. Breathe here a moment before returning to the center.

Parivrtta janu sirsasana and the pose which has no name*

(*I’m not positive that this pose actually has no name but I remember my first teacher calling it that when I asked about it, so that’s what I’ve stuck with and now I call it that in my own classes. 😊 I fell in love with it the first time we did the pose and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have!)

From your wide legged seat, bend the right knee drawing the sole of the right foot to meet the inner upper part of the left thigh. Then place the left forearm on the inside of the left calf and tuck the peace fingers ✌🏼of the left hand under the ankle to help anchor you. Now inhale the right fingertips to the sky and exhale bending to the left and reaching for the left toes with the right fingertips. Remember that this is a lateral bend rather than a forward fold so you want to keep the right shoulder rolling back and down to keep the chest and heart open and the shoulders stacked, right over left. Breathe into the right side body and create space between each and every rib.

From here, inhale to prepare and exhale sweeping the right palm out in front of you and then behind, planting the palm on the mat at a diagonal from the right hip. Rise up onto the right knee and extend the left fingertips out and overhead changing the line of energy to the left side body. Lift the hips to the sky and open the chest and heart into this baby backbend. To come out of the pose, lower the hips on an exhale and sweep the right hand back around the body returning to the side bend before coming back to center. Now, switch sides, extending the right leg, bending the left leg and moving through the series on this side.

Cool down

We will finish our practice the way we began it by taking 3 long, slow letting go breaths. Inhaling through the nose, lifting the arms up overhead and exhaling, sighing out the mouth, allowing the fingertips to float to the floor.

That’s it! You did it!! 🙌🏼💪🏼😁 Good job! 

Thank you for joining me and thank yourself for doing the work! Check out the new video on my Facebook  page today and look for the corresponding written workout for that video here on the blog next Friday!

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