Activate your entire body in the time it takes to change class
If you’re teaching online, it means you’re already a certified smiling champion. Showing off your pearly whites is as essential online teaching as a steering wheel is to a truck driver, and as such those 20-odd muscles in your cheeks get their fair share of exercise. But what about the other 650 or so muscles in your body?
There’s a good chance that, between classes, you get up and stroll around a bit to try and loosen up. Or, if you’re like us, randomly tug an appendix or two in the vague hopes that you’re stretching something out. But sometimes knowing what to stretch, or how to stretch, is deceptively tricky. For example, pulling your fingers does approximately zero for your finger muscles… because you don’t have any.
Therefore, we’ve put together 8 helpful exercises that will get you feeling fresh all the way from your extensor digitorum longus to your infraspinatus. Our goal here is not to turn you into a super-buff online educator of Schwazerneggian proportions, but instead to help you maximize the impact of those 5 minutes of appendix flailing between classes.
If you like these stretches, and would like more blogs on short-interval exercising and sneaky between-class workout routines, drop us a comment below! Also, we are not medical professionals, just happy stretchers, so if you experience discomfort or have any other scary sounding conditions, it’s best to chat to a pro.
Here we go:
There are 8 exercises that should be completed in about 4 minutes.
There’s Water in My Ears: Neck (30 seconds)
Take your right arm and reach over the top of your head so that your fingers touch your left ear. Then (gently) pull your head down towards your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side. Finally, put both hands behind your head and pull your head forward gently, holding for 10 seconds.
Crossing the Road: Neck (30 seconds)
Look straight ahead and then then turn your head 45 degrees to the right, your chin should remain parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and then return to your original position before doing the left side. Do it 3 times on either side, trying not to move anything else in your body, like a chicken.
The Serial Shrugger: Shoulders (30 seconds)
Exactly like your child’s go-to response when questioned about the mysterious disappearance of the cookie jar, this one is all about those exaggerated shrugs. While sitting, place your hands on your thighs and bring your shoulders straight up as close to your ears as possible. Hold them there for 1-2 seconds, then relax and repeat 15 times.
I Don’t Belong Here, Better Look Important: Shoulders/Chest (30 seconds)
This one is particularly good to counter sitting in front of a computer all day. While sitting up straight with your hands on either side of you, pull your shoulder blades together behind you while pushing your chest forward. Pinch them together as tightly as possible and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 6 times.
Hold Tight: Glutes/Abs (30 seconds)
This beauty of this exercise, is that it can be done almost anywhere, and without anyone being the wiser. It’s also a total game changer for toning your glutes and strengthening your core. Very simply, while sitting down clench your buttocks as tight as possible, while keeping your abs tightened as well. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 6 times. This can be done throughout the day, although people might wonder why you’re gently rising and falling on the subway, so watch out.
(No picture for this one… literally, it’s impossible to detect)
Someone Bring Me a Bucket for this Leak: Arms/Lats/Back (30 seconds)
Interlock your fingers and push directly upwards, with your palms facing the ceiling. Push as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Rest for a second or two, and repeat 2 more times. This will stretch out your laterals, shoulders, arms and even loosen your back up. If you want to get fancy, you can even try bending your body to the left or right while stretching up.
I Might Have Stepped in Dog Poop: Legs/Feet (30 seconds)
This one is an all-rounder for the legs, and can even help stretch out the sciatica nerve a little. While sitting on the edge of your chair, place your feet on the floor in front of you and hold onto the edges of your seat. Then, extend your right leg out in front of you so that it’s parallel with the floor. Try to point your toes back at you as much as you can and squeeze all your muscles. Hold it for 5 seconds and repeat 6 times. If you are not super flexible, just focus on the stretch without squeezing too much.
Did Someone Just Walk into the Room? Back/Torso (30 seconds)
Act like you’ve just heard the door slam behind you. While sitting with both feet on the floor and with your hands on your legs, take you left hand and place it on your right arm rest and twist ONLY your upper body to look over your right shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat on the left side. Do both sides 3 times each.
That should get you feeling loose! And if you need any inspiration for the neck exercises, here you go: