Deepen stretches, ignite your core, or invite awareness into movements and poses you’ve done a thousand times—just by adding the versatile yoga block.
Below are 24 ways to add a yoga block into your workout routine.
- Stand with your feet under your hips, arms in front of you, squeezing a yoga block (lengthwise) between your forearms.
- Sweep your arms straight overhead, keeping the block pressed firmly between your forearms and hold.
- Draw your shoulders down away from your ears and breathe.
- Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent, yoga block in your hands.
- Place the block under your head at the base of your skull. Keep your hands on either side of the block for stability as you press your hips toward the ceiling and hold the stretch.
- Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent, yoga block next to your hips.
- Lift your hips to the ceiling, and slide the block under your tailbone to support your backbend.
- Begin kneeling on your right knee, left knee bent in front of you, left foot flat on the floor. Both knees start at 90 degrees.
- Place the block under your left foot lengthwise so it elevates your forward foot a few inches off the ground.
- Tuck your pelvis and lean forward into your left leg to feel a stretch in your left hip flexor. Hold onto your left knee for support.
- Release and switch sides.
- Lie on your back. Place the block under your thoracic spine.
- Bring the bottoms of your feet to touch and let your knees drop out and down to the floor for a butterfly stretch.
- Breathe into this backbend and let your chest open.
- Begin in a prone plank position, hands under shoulders and toes on the ground, feet hip-width apart.
- Place the block under your right foot to elevate it.
- Press your hips up and back to the ceiling to come into a Downward Dog stretch. Press your chest toward your thighs and keep your arms straight, externally rotating your inner elbow.
- In this stretch, work to keep your hips level. You may need to bend your elevated knee.
- Stand tall on the block (lying on its long end) with your right foot.
- Bring your left foot to the inside of your right ankle or thigh, and find your balance.
- When you’re ready, bring your arms up overhead and stretch them out like a tree’s limbs.
- Hold and breathe, then switch legs.
- Lie on your back, holding the block in both hands, arms extended. Your knees are bent and feet are flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
- Bring your knees over your hips and toward your chest as you lift your shoulders off the ground to perform a crunch, bringing the block to meet your knees.
- Place the block between your lower legs or ankles, then fully extend your arms overhead and legs out straight, squeezing the block between your legs.
- Crunch back in and grab the block, then extend, bringing it overhead. Repeat.
- Lie on your back, arms out at your sides to form a T.
- Bend your knees to 90 degrees, stacking them over your hips, and squeeze the block between your knees.
- Let your knees fall to the right, twisting through your lower torso.
- Reverse the move and then drop them to the left. Repeat.
- Begin in a side-plank position, with your right elbow on the ground stacked under your shoulder and feet staggered. Press your top hip to the ceiling, and hold the block in your left hand above your shoulders.
- Reach the block out and down to thread it under your body, rotating your hips toward the floor to a hover.
- Reverse the move to come back to side plank and repeat.
- Sit in a seated butterfly stretch with your feet together, spine long and tall.
- Place the block under your right ankle so it sits on the lowest side, and flex your foot on the block.
- Lean forward to bring your torso toward your ankle. Hold and then turn your torso toward your right ankle. Hold and then turn your torso back to center and come back up to sit tall.
- Place the block under your left ankle and repeat this sequence on the opposite side.
- Repeat on both sides, this time with the block on its second highest level. Repeat again on both sides (if desired) at the block’s highest height.
- Begin in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and the block under you at chest height.
- Perform a triceps push-up either on your knees or toes. Let your chest land on the block and bring your hands off the floor while maintaining a stiff core and legs.
- Press your hands back down to the ground and push back up to start. Repeat.
- Start in a push-up position with your hands wider than your shoulders and your right hand on the block.
- Perform a push-up, then walk your left hand onto the block and your right hand off the block to the other side so your hands are outside your shoulders.
- Perform a push-up here, then walk your hands back and repeat.
- Start in quadruped position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees on the ground hip-width apart.
- Place the block behind your right knee, bending your knee and flexing your foot to keep the block stable.
- Press your right foot up to the ceiling, squeezing your right glute as you raise your knee to hip height.
- Brace your core to keep your lower back from dipping during the movement. Repeat and then switch sides.
- Stand tall, holding a block in one hand out in front of you at shoulder height.
- Stand on your other leg and perform controlled leg swings forward and back, trying to reach the block with your toes without compromising your upright posture.
- Repeat and then move the block out to the side and perform lateral leg swings. Then hold the block in your opposite hand at a diagonal from your hip and swing your leg to bring your foot toward the block.
- Repeat on other side.
- Place the block on the floor.
- Stand on one side of the block and hop over it, first landing on one foot and then the other and eventually landing with both feet.
- Hop over the short side and back, and then front and back lengthwise.
- Progress to the next height level and repeat.
- As you get stronger, work toward level 3 height.
- Stand with your feet under your hips, block on the ground by your left foot.
- Balance on your left leg, and hinge forward from your hips to bring your left hand onto the block and your right leg out behind you at hip height.
- Reach to the sky with your right hand, rotating and opening through your chest and torso.
- Maintain stability through your standing leg, and roll your right hip down to bring your hips to neutral as you hold the pose.
- Stand with your feet under your hips, right foot on the block.
- Hinge forward to come into a forward fold. You may need one more block to place your hands on in order to relax your torso forward and fold your head toward your knees.
- Work to anchor both feet flat while leveling out your hips. You may need to stagger your feet slightly to find a comfortable stretch.
- Lie on your back, holding the block in both hands on your belly.
- Practice full three-part breathing using the block as a tool for awareness to train your breath. (Breathe in through your nose for three counts, out through your mouth for three counts.)
- Lie on your right side, using your right arm to support your head and neck.
- Place the block between your ankles or lower shinbones.
- Keep your knees slightly bent, or extend your legs straight for more of a challenge.
- Contract your obliques and lift both legs off the floor as high as possible. Repeat and then switch sides.
- Stand with your feet under your hips, holding a block in each hand.
- Bend your knees slightly and tilt from your hips until your torso is near parallel to the floor.
- Bring the blocks together under your shoulders.
- Contract your back muscles and lift your arms out to the side to fly the blocks to shoulder height, and then bring them back down with control. Repeat.
- Begin kneeling, toes turned under, and sit back on your heels.
- Place two blocks on first or second height by each foot and put your hands on the blocks.
- Roll your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Start with one hand on a block and the other hand on your hip.
- Pull your chin into your chest as you push down into your hands and feet and come into a Half Camel Pose, with one hand on the block and the other free arm reaching up above your shoulder.
- Drive your hips forward, chest up, and allow your head to extend back.
- Sit your hips back to release. Repeat on other side.
- Sit with both legs stretched out and fold your torso toward your knees.
- Place the block on your shins or knees or thighs to support the weight of your head as you relax into the pose.
- Sit cross-legged on a block or two and allow your knees to relax down toward the floor.
- Lengthen through your spine, and meditate on your breath.
MEET THE MODEL
24Life: Why did you become a personal trainer?
Erica Johnson: I became a personal trainer after a long road of modeling and being in the entertainment industry. I knew I wanted to be in a healthy environment and help people, so I started at 24 Hour Fitness as a sales adviser. The general manager encouraged me become trainer because of my background in dance. So I went ahead and did it.
24Life: What is your favorite and least favorite workout move?
EJ: My favorite workout move of all time, because I like to lift really heavy, is a high bar barbell squat. I’m working on increasing my PR and trying to do it every week. My least favorite is definitely any core exercise. Even though core is involved with squatting, I do not like to feel the burn in my core at all.
24Life: What’s your go-to stretch?
EJ: My go-to stretch typically is pigeon pose, because it opens up the hips, and I tend to have really tight hips from my years of dance. So pigeon pose is definitely a morning, afternoon and evening routine for me.
24Life: Finish this sentence: When I am not working out I am…
24Life: What is your favorite fit tip?
EJ: Be balanced overall. Fitness always starts in the mind for me. The more mentally strong we are the more we can push ourselves physically, and the more we push ourselves physically the mentally stronger we become as well.
24Life: What’s your power pump-up song?
EJ: I don’t listen to music when I work out. To get pumped up for the gym I love watching motivational videos. A few of my favorite speakers are E.T. the Hip-Hop Preacher (Eric Thomas). Inky Johnson is one of my favorites, and C.T. Fletcher.
24Life: Finish this sentence: I love 24 Hour Fitness because…
EJ: I love 24 Hour Fitness because of the community.
24Life: What is your most inspired moment or favorite moment as a trainer so far?
EJ: My favorite moments––and I say moments because they happen multiple times––are when clients come to me telling me that they want to become trainers. That’s my job as a trainer. It’s not to say, “Here’s a workout” and help them burn calories. That’s great. But it’s to show them that they can help others, too, and that they have as much knowledge and information and drive that I do.
Photo credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com
Model: Erica Johnson, 24 Hour Fitness