Three moves can help your hardest-working parts work better together.
Our hands and feet are composed of complex tissue systems that do extraordinary things for us—things that we probably take for granted, just like breathing. Celebrity fitness and self-care expert Jill Miller has three moves to refresh hands, feet and core—and strengthen the collective function of their muscles, tendons and fascia.
To get started, you’ll need one Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball.
Total Wrist-Flexor Stretch
Your hands are amazing. Each finger can move separately, but when they plot and plan together, their grip can be a lifesaver. Their strength comes not from muscles but from tendons that stem from your forearms. Give this group a much-deserved break after they’ve been holding on to cellphones, barbells or the edge of a cliff all day!
- Sit on the floor and extend your arms in front of you. Pivot your shoulders and place your hands on the floor so that your fingertips are pointing back toward you.
- Lean forward onto your palms. Create an angle that’s tolerable—if your range of movement is limited, try rising onto your knees to reduce the angle of your wrist.
- Activate the muscles of your hands and forearms by trying to grip the floor.
- Lift your palms to stretch your fingers and then release your fingers. Your hands and wrists should feel refreshed.
If you’ve followed my work, you know that I equate deep core conditioning with a healthy breath pattern. You cannot have healthy abs without respiratory muscles that do the right thing. So this month, your challenge is to move your breath into its full range of motion for a minute while maintaining an impeccable plank. This means that your body unifies and every tissue pulls its own weight.
- Start on your hands and knees. Step your feet back and lift your hips into plank position, making sure your shoulders are aligned over your elbows and wrists.
- Squeeze your legs together and pack your abdominal muscles.
- Breathe fully from your gut to your rib cage, consistently and without losing your perfect plank form.
- Don’t let your upper back collapse between your shoulder blades.
- Hold this position and continue breathing for one full minute.
Toe-ken of Appreciation
Equipment: One Yoga Tune Up Therapy Ball
Your feet have the most bones, joints and possibilities of motion. But your three middle toes, strangely enough, work together as a trio with their common extensor and flexor muscles. They are often overshadowed by the ever-popular big toe and the adorable, tiny, fifth toe. This movement helps identify the strengths of this unsung middle group.
- First, check in on those three middle toes. Standing, see whether you can lift your toes without moving your big toe.
- Next, place all your toes except for the big one on the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Ball. Let your big toe dangle and try to grip the ball with the other four. Then try to lift your toes up off the ball.
- You’ll feel your flexors activate and contract. They might spasm, indicating that you need to give them some more attention.
- Put your heel down and stretch the flexors.
- Finally, take your foot off the ball and place it on the floor. Recheck whether and how you can lift your toes; you’ll probably notice improvement. Repeat on the other side.
Videography: Todd Cribari
Hair and Make-up: Chanel