Muscle Balance and Flexibility


Jan 18, 2007
Outside Magazine

There's a reason you feel tweaked after work, and it's not your boss. The problem with our daily grind is that it uses all of the same movements (sitting, reaching forward), leaving the opposing muscles unused and your body out of whack. To reverse these daily muscle imbalances, Karp created this regimen for you to do behind a closed office door (we won't tell) using just an exercise band, yoga mat, and Swiss ball. It's intentionally low-intensity, so you can still make that 1 p.m. meeting without taking a shower.

1. Ball Squats: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, arms extended in front for balance, and a Swiss ball pressed between your lower back and a wall. Roll ball down the wall by bending knees to 90 degrees in a squat position. 15 reps, 3 sets

2. Hamstring Ball Tucks: Lie on the mat face up, with calves resting on a Swiss ball, in a rigid reverse-plank position so that your hips are lifted off the floor. Roll the ball as far as possible toward your butt by bending your knees. 20 reps, 3 sets

3. Exercise-Band Rows: Stand with arms extended, holding on to the ends of an exercise band closed in a door. Pull your hands back to your sides. Maintain a straight back throughout. 12 reps, 3 sets

4. Ball Push-ups: With your legs resting on a Swiss ball and hands on the floor, complete a push-up. 12 reps, 2 sets

5. Arm Board Walks: Lie face up on a Swiss ball, with arms extended out to sides and knees bent at 90 degrees. Shuffle feet to the right so that the ball rolls and your weight shifts farther and farther onto your straight left arm. Continue until you feel unbalanced (probably when the ball is near your elbow), then slowly walk your feet back to the starting position. 6 reps per side, 2 sets

6. Alternate Swiss-Ball Crunches: With a Swiss ball supporting your lower back and your hands behind your head, rotate trunk while completing a crunch to 45 degrees. 15 reps per side, 1 set

7. Starfish and Hamstring Stretch: Starfish (illustrated): Drape yourself face up over a Swiss ball. 45 seconds, 2 sets. Hamstring: With foot on desk, stretch your hamstring. 45 seconds per side, 2 sets

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