This weekend’s exercise is a challenging move that’s super effective at stretching and working the psoas muscles. These muscles, that flex the hips, also have a significant effect on lumbar vertebrae alignment and trunk rotation.
The Upper Body And Hip Toner strengthens the shoulders, arms, and chest as well.
And as you get ready to workout this weekend, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading about a new study that shows dark chocolate helps boost athletic performance (yes, you read this right!).
So let’s get right to it!
One of the major muscles worked by today’s exercise is the psoas muscle. This is a relatively large muscle that makes up the deep muscle of the core.
The main function of the psoas is to bring the hips into flexion, as when you lift your legs up to climb up steps. As you’ll soon see, today’s exercise brings the hips into extension to stretch out the psoas.
What many don’t realize about this muscle is its role in spinal alignment. This dual muscle attaches to the lumbar vertebrae, comes forward in front of the pelvis, and attaches to the top front of the femur.
The two sides of the psoas are a mirror image of one another. When they are both tight, it can cause significant lower back pain that can be exacerbated upon working the abdominal muscles. A tight or weak psoas can also reduce hip joint mobility.
If only one side of the psoas is tight, then it can pull your trunk down to one side, causing lateral flexion of the spine and curvature and compression of your lumbar vertebrae. As you might expect, this can cause pain and stiffness.
Today’s challenge also works the shoulders, chest, and arms, which are all important for maintaining posture and strengthening the shoulder joints and arm bones.
This exercise works best on a hard surface – a wood, vinyl or tile floor works best. You’ll need two dry washcloths.
- Place the two washcloths on the floor.
- Put your hands and feet on the floor, with your feet on top of the washcloths (one per foot). Your toes will be touching the washcloths.
- Bend one knee to slide one foot forward, bringing the washcloth along on the floor. Slide that foot back.
- Repeat with the other foot.
- Alternate feet rapidly without stopping, for 30 to 60 seconds (or fewer if you’re more comfortable).
As mentioned earlier, this exercise is quite challenging, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll see it’ll become progressively easier to do. It goes well with these two previous challenges, the Hip Flexor Strengthener and the Seated Abs And Hips Strengthener.
I encourage you not to shy away from challenging moves like this weekend’s challenge (but when in doubt, ask your doctor or physical therapist).
And as you branch out a bit and challenge yourself, it helps to eat the right foods before and after you exercise. I’ll explain. When you exercise, various biological processes take place. Most notably, your cellular respiratory processes accelerate, producing more free radicals as byproducts. So keeping up a steady level of antioxidants before and after you work out is a very good idea. In fact…
New Research Confirms The Role Of Antioxidants In Exercise Endurance
To perform this study, researchers solicited nine cyclists and split them into two groups. For two weeks, both groups traded their usual daily snack for 1.5 ounces of chocolate, with one group consuming dark chocolate and the other group eating white chocolate.
At the end of the two weeks, the cyclists performed a series of cycling tests while researchers measured their consumption of oxygen and heart rates. Then, after taking a one-week break, the cyclists switched the type of chocolate they consumed – the dark chocolate group ate white chocolate, and vice versa – for another two weeks. Then they performed the exercise tests again.
The scientists found that the cyclists who consumed the dark chocolate both times used less oxygen and cycled a greater distance in the two-minute time trial. The high levels of epicatechin, a flavanol found in dark chocolate, may be the key to chocolate’s ability to boost athletic performance.1
This is exciting research indeed! Of course, eating large amounts of acidifying chocolate is not a good idea; but antioxidant-rich, dark chocolate is a Foundation Food on the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, and in moderation it has many benefits for your bones. And this cutting-edge research indicates there are even more benefits to this sweet, delicious treat.
This concept is not new at the Save Institute. In fact, it is explained in detail in the Densercise Eating Guide, a bonus report that’s included with the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System. Ahead of its time, the Eating Guide points out the importance not only of consuming antioxidants before and after your workout, but it goes into detail as to which specific antioxidants are most effective and how to obtain them via key foods.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
So as you look over your Densercise™ Eating Guide, you’ll find many other delicious ideas for pre and post-workout snacks to help you build your bones and your muscles more effectively and faster.
Have a great weekend!
1 Patel et. al. “Dark chocolate supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of moderate intensity cycling.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 15 December 2015. 12:47. DOI: 10.1186/s12970-015-0106-7