In the final part of our summer body countdown, we progress to weeks five and six – strengthening your arms and finally completing a full body strengthening routine. Read on for Nicola’s advice.
Week 5 | Strengthen your arms
As we continue to work up your body, we’ve reached the arms – an essential focus when strappy dresses and vest tops feature so prevalently through summer. Try these two yoga poses a couple of times a week… not only will they deliver big improvements to the strengthen and tone of your arms, but you’ll also see improvements in your core and legs.
Four-Limbed Staff Pose (takes two minutes)
- Start in Plank Pose. Keeping your elbows directly over your wrists, slowly lower your body to hover a few inches above the floor. Keep your back flat.
- Lift through your chest, keeping your shoulders in line with your elbows. Do not let your chest drop.
- Fully engage your abdominal and leg muscles (this pose handily also strengthens your core, as well as your arms and wrists).
- Hold for 10-30 seconds, and then lower your body all the way to the mat and rest. Repeat the cycle two to three times.
Downward Facing Dog (takes around three minutes)
- Begin on your hands and knees. Place your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Spread your fingers wide and press firmly through your palms and knuckles to distribute your weight evenly across your hands.
- Exhale as you tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling, then draw your sit bones toward the wall behind you. Gently begin to straighten your legs, but do not lock your knees. Bring your body into the shape of an ‘A’.
- As you lengthen your spine, lift your sit bones up toward the ceiling. Now press down equally through your heels and the palms of your hands.
- Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, gaze between your legs or toward your navel.
- Hold for 20 breaths.
- To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to your hands and knees.
As you begin to focus more on the strength and tone of your arms, you’ll undoubtedly also notice the smoothness and appearance of your skin here. Your daily dry skin brushing will be making a big difference, but adding a rich dose of nourishment will make for the perfect finishing touch.
Smooth and Firm Body Butter is a real hero here. It contains intensely hydrating Larch and Pumpkin Seed extracts, as well as deeply nurturing Vitamin E, Rosehip and Argan oils. The result? Bright, even-toned, soft and supple skin. Don’t forget to bring this moisturizing down onto your hands, working down and in-between fingers, as well as into cuticles.
Week 6 | Reconnect and reward
Well done! You’ve worked hard and accomplished something that has such positive results for your skin, body and mind. It’s time to and reconnect with the intention you made in week 1 and congratulate yourself on achieving it.
Slowly but surely over five weeks, you’ve created new, positive habits… but this isn’t just about the end goal of your vacation.
Keep up these daily and weekly habits – working now on the complete yoga routine you’ve built over the last few weeks to continue reaping rewards.
Every day the world will drag you by the hand, shouting “This is important and this is important and this is important! You need to worry about this and this and this!” Each day, it is up to you to pull your hand back, put it on your heart and say “No this is what’s important”.
Nicola Baillie, ESPA Senior Trainer