We’re also guilty of telling ourselves we will lose weight and get fit when we have time to go to the gym, while the truth is, a gym membership is not necessary for weight loss. It is entirely possible to workout at home and lose weight, even if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
While working out at home, most people tend to focus on cardio and high-intensity workouts. While these are great, there is an important aspect many often forget: stretches.
It important to note that stretches do NOT burn a lot of calories, but they DO burn fat. Not only do they warm up your muscles before a workout and relax them after, they also help build muscle mass, which means lesser fat.
Here are 10 of our favorite stretches you can do at home to burn fat fast!
1. The Warrior
The Warrior Stretch is excellent at focusing on several muscles in the body at once, including core muscles and abs, as well as buttocks, upper and lower legs.
How to do it: Start off by standing straight up with your feet together and your arms by your side. Begin to extend your right leg in front of you, and your left leg behind you, ending up in a ‘lunge’ position. Make sure your front foot is flat on the ground, while the one behind is on the toes. Your left foot may be turned towards the side to provide extra support. When you begin to feel your muscles straining, stop in that position; slowly inhale, raise your face upwards and slowly bring your arms up for your hands to meet on the top of your head. Slowly exhale, and return to the original standing position by gradually bringing your right leg back. Repeat with the left leg. This is considered one set. Repeat this 5 times, with 10 second breaks in between sets.
2. The Bow
While this one may appear daunting, it does not have to be very extreme, and you do not have to be extremely flexible to be able to do it. Only beginning to attempt it will tone your abs, thighs, back and buttocks, if done regularly.
How to do it: Lie down flat on your stomach. Slowly, lift your arms up behind you, while bending your knees to bring your legs towards your head. Hold your toes or your ankles with your hands, and hold the pose for 15-20 seconds. You may require assistance if you are doing this for the first time, and it’s completely fine if your thighs are touching the ground. Make sure you feel your muscles straining, and then repeat 3-5 times with 15 second breaks.
3. The Cobra
The Cobra Stretch strengthens arms, abs, back and buttocks, burning fat in all of these areas. It also strengthens core muscles and overall body stamina.
How to do it: Lie down flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and your palms flat. Slowly begin to bring your hands closer to your body and lift your upper body, while keeping your legs flat on the floor. Rise till your arms are perpendicular to the floor. Deeply inhale, while rising your face upwards. Hold it as long as you can, then exhale while bringing your face down and returning to the lying down position. Repeat 3-5 times.
4. The Board
The Board, also known commonly as The Plank, is one of the best exercises to not only lose weight but also to strengthen your core muscles. It is often said that if you can hold a plank pose for a minute, your body is at its optimal muscle strength.
How to do it: The Board has several variations, with the most basic one looking similar to a standard push-up. Lie down on your stomach. Then rise yourself on your ankles and your forearms, with your lower arms and hands flat on the floor. Make sure your back and buttocks are stiff and straight in a line; they should not be curved in either direction. Face downwards while looking at your hands, and hold the position for as long as you can.
Initially, you may be able to do this for 10 seconds only. Increase the duration every day. You can eventually move to more advanced versions, like one-handed plank or even a side plank.
5. The Bridge
The Bridge is a versatile stretch that can vary from very easy to very advanced. It targets the back, buttocks, abs and upper thighs, as well as hamstrings.
How to do it: Lie down flat on your back, with your arms by your side. Bring your heels backwards and raise your knees, so that your legs form a 90 degree angle when you rise. Keeping your palms on the floor to support you, life your back and buttocks as high as you can while still keeping your head on the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can, preferably 2-30 seconds. Lower your body back down on the floor, and repeat with a 15 second break.
6. The Frog
Thigh fat can often be your biggest enemy. With the daily toxins that we inject in our bodies, thighs and buttocks tend to accumulate the most fat since toxin-cleaning organs are located in the lower body. The frog stretch helps lose inner thigh fat, and also prevents sore muscles after an intense thigh workout.
How to do it: Sit up with your back straight and your legs stretched out front. Slowly, bring your legs inward as you would sit with your legs crossed, but don’t cross them all the way; join the soles of your feet, holding them in place with your hands placed on your ankles. With your back upright and while looking straight ahead, bend forward very slightly. You should immediately feel strain on our inner thighs. Hold the position for 10 seconds and then sit straight back up again. Repeat 3-5 times. You may add to this by slightly raising and dropping your knees while still holding your feet in place.
7. The Crab
The Crab focuses mostly on abs, with some focus on thighs. It is ideal for those looking to burn belly fat, since this will strengthen your ab muscles and ensure you lose belly flab fast.
How to do it: Lie down flat on your back, looking upwards. Start bringing your knees towards your legs, with your feet suspended in the air. Try to do this without support, and hug your knees with your arms when you can’t support your legs anymore. Hold the position for 20-20 seconds, and repeat 5 times with 15 second breaks in between.
8. The Child
Targeting the hips, thighs and ankles, the child pose relaxes muscles, leading to better fat burn. It is also ideal for relieving stress and anxiety.
How to do it: Sit on the floor with your back straight, looking straight ahead, with legs folded so that you are sitting on your heels. Take your arms above your head with your hands placed on one another, both facing downward. Bring your joined hands down to the front, while also bending your head, till you are kneeling. Your stomach should be flat against your thighs and your breasts against your knees, with arms stretches out front on the floor. Hold the post for 20 seconds, then sit back up. Repeat 5-6 times.
9. The Sphinx
The popular Sphinx/Cat pose is ideal for ab and buttocks muscles, as well as for releasing stress and backaches.
How to do it: The Sphinx Stretch has three main poses, each of which should be held for 5-10 seconds. Start off by sitting on your heels, with hands on your knees. Gradually kneel forward and put your hands flat on the floor. Stay in the position for 10 seconds, then begin to curve your back outwards as much as you can, while keeping your legs in a 90 degree angle. Look downward and inhale while sucking your belly in as much as you can.
After 10 seconds, begin to slowly exhale, while curving your back inwards and pushing your buttocks outwards, keeping your legs in the same position. You should feel your back muscles relaxing. Hold this for another 10 seconds. Repeat the set 5 times.
10. The Tree
Popular for stress-release as well as fat burn, The Tree Stretch focuses on the overall body and core muscles. It is one of the most popular yoga poses around the world.
How to do it: Stand upright, looking straight ahead with arms by your sides. Stretch your arms out on your sides, bringing them together into what is commonly known as the ‘namaste’ position. Simultaneously, bring on of your legs up and place the sole of your foot on the upper inner thigh of the other leg. It is recommended that you look at an object directly in front of you, since this will help maintain balance. Hold the position for 30 seconds, while taking deep breaths. Repeat with the other leg, and repeat the set 3-5 times.
Stretches are an essential part of working out and must not be forgotten. If you practice at least 5 effective stretches every single day along with your cardio workout, you will find that your body feels fresher, your muscles feel stronger, and that your fat burns faster!