Why such small movements you ask?
Before we begin – Let’s clarify how big an inch is: About the length of a regular-sized paper clip. If you don’t have a paper clip, look at your thumb. From the tip to the first knuckle is roughly an inch. Remember this.
Now that we’ve established an inch, we’ll begin with a little hands-on workshop…
Start with a basic squat. Start with feet hip-width distance. Start to bend the knees, imagining that you are reaching for a chair that’s been pulled away from you. Your booty goes toward the wall behind you as you sit in your imaginary char. Keep knees behind toes, to protect the joints. Maybe even lift your toes to make sure your weight is towards your heels. Hug belly to spine and tuck the tailbone slightly underneath you. Work towards bringing shoulders upright and keep a nice long spine, without compromising the lower half of the body. Now hold it here. No movement. Maybe sink into your chair a little bit more. Feel that burning in your legs? Good. Now stay there.
Without coming out of your squat, sit lower an inch, then come back up an inch. Literally, move an inch (think of the paper clip). You should barely be moving, but moving nonetheless. Feel that? Now continue to move up and down an inch for about 32 counts. Each down movement is 1 count. By the halfway point your muscles should be burning. The lower your start point, the more intense it will be.
The idea behind this is to fatigue the muscle. Find the point where your muscles are most engaged, and don’t stray from that point. Tiny, TINY movements with muscles completely engaged will start to fatigue the muscle. You’ll know when the muscle is completely fatigued, or burnt out, because it becomes almost unbearable to continue making tiny movements, but willpower will carry you through. Once the muscles begin vibrating, shaking, wobbling, whichever happens in your body, that’s when you know the movements are working. Try to hold your position about 20-30 seconds longer than you think you’ll be able to. Then afterwards, give yourself a nice stretch.
When combined, the teeny tiny movements, muscle fatigue, muscle vibration and stretching, your muscles start to take on some shape and tone.
For a whole body workout to tone and strengthen your body, come check out our barre classes!