Let’s Get Your Legs Warm and Ready To Base
Solo and Partner Leg Warm-ups
Before you get right into your AcroYoga practice, take care of your muscles. Treat yourself to a simple warm-up session and get the juices flowing, while helping you to prevent injury too. Since injuries can occur from cold or tight muscles, warming-up is a really healthy choice for our bodies. If you do have injuries, please be mindful of them as you move forward in this warm-up series. I have compiled 6 AcroYoga warm-ups to help you get loose and become stronger. There is a mix of solo and partner warm-ups that I encourage you to try. Our bodies are our temple, and when we treat them as such they will serve us when we call upon them. I have included timed reps for these exercises as an option , feel free to modify as needed.
Solo Leg Exercises
- Ankle Rolls
- Mountain Climbers
- Chair Pose
- Squat Jumps
Partner Leg Exercises
- Koala Crawl
- Backpack Step-up/Step-downs
First of all, before you begin, I recommend you hydrate. The muscles in our bodies are much more limber and willing to activate when they are properly hydrated. Also, keep in mind these are just a few options for AcroYoga warm-ups. If there’s anything outside your comfort range, please modify as needed. That being said, I gently encourage you to question your comfort range. Are there any areas in your body that you can breathe into a little more while stretching, in order to expand your comfort range? Can you move slowly and bring focus into the subtle areas where you feel resistance in your body? Can you soften them? Can you challenge yourself to stay in a pose just a few seconds longer than you think you can?
Let’s start slow and simple with some ankle rolls.
Solo Leg Exercises
Begin by finding a comfortable sitting position on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Focus on your right ankle as you begin to point and flex your right foot. (Point means to push your toes away from you, while flex means bring them towards your body). As you point and flex, really engage the quads, calf, and buttock muscles. Hold the point and flex position for about 3 seconds each. Do 3 points and flexes on the right side and then shift your focus to the left foot and ankle. Repeat the steps you just did for the right side. I recommend doing 3 sets on each side, for a total of 9 points and flexes for each foot.
Now begin to roll your right ankle clockwise, doing a full circle 3 times. Do the same on the left side, then back to the right side for 3 counter-clockwise rolls. Continue switching back and forth between left and right ankles, as well as clockwise and counter-clockwise, until you do 18 rolls on each side. After you have completed both of these exercises, relax your ankles and shake your feet out. I want you to do these one ankle at a time, so that you can really focus on whats happening as you roll out each side.
2. Mountain Climbers
Next, it’s time for Mountain Climbers. Some of you may already know what this is, and for those of you who don’t, I will explain. Start in a push-up position or plank pose, wrists directly under your shoulders, fingers spread wide and active. From here, bring your right foot so that it’s next to your right hand (or as close to there as you can), putting you into a deep lunge. From this lunge position, place weight into the arms that are still in push-up position. Then jump upwards to elevate your hips enough to switch leg positions. Now, you are in a lunge on the other side with your left foot forward and right leg straight back. Continue to jump back and forth, slowly at first. Begin to increase the speed, but make sure to reach as deep of a lunge as possible on each side.
I recommend you get a timer device, and set it for 15 seconds. Do 3 rounds of Mountain Climbers, 15 seconds each round with 5 seconds rest in-between rounds. This is a total of 1 minute with rest time. When you complete the 3 rounds, stand up, shake your legs out and get some water. If for any reason 15 seconds is to long for you, that’s okay. Start with 5 or 10 seconds and work your way up.
3. Chair Pose
Are you ready to feel your quads burn?
Well it’s time to find chair pose, a great work out for your legs. Begin in a forward fold, arms reaching down towards the floor, legs together or hip distance apart. Find a slight bend in the knees and bring your arms towards your ears, but keep them straight. From here, sink your buttocks down until your thighs are as close to parallel with the floor as you can get them. Now start to raise your chest away from your thighs to bring your back towards an upright position. You might not be able to get a vertical back line, but try to work towards that. Imagine you are in a chair, while you stretch your hands to the clouds and elongate your spine. Your arms are by your ears, but your shoulders are drawn back and down.
Again, bust out the timer and this time set it for 10 seconds. If this chair pose is new to you, take it slow, breath, and listen to your body. Get into a strong chair pose position and hold this for 10 seconds. To come out of this pose, either reverse how you went in or press firmly into the ground and stand up. If you haven’t caught on yet, I love rounds of 3. So for this pose I want you to do 3 rounds of 10 second holds, for a total of 30 seconds of chair pose. Feel free to increase or decrease how long you hold each round. Remember form is more important than length of time.
4. Squat Jumps
Now that you have learned chair pose, it’s time to build off that. Start in chair pose, then bring your chest towards your thighs as you bring your buttocks towards the ground. Hinge at your shoulders to bring your arms towards the floor. From here in this deep squat, I want you to explode upwards. Raise your arms above your head as you jump up as high as you can. Create a straight line with your body in the air and bend at the knees to soften as you land. Continue to bend at the knees going back into a deep squat position with your arms forward and down. Explosive jump up and soft low landing, that’s a squat jump.
Let’s put these back to back and set the timer for 15 seconds. Ready, set, go! I suggest you start with 3 rounds at 15 seconds each round, with 5 seconds rest in-between rounds. All these high energy jumps and soft lands are working out many different muscles in the ankle, calf and thigh. This exercise has a fast pace to it, so it really gets your heart pumping. Excellent for your blood flow as well as a healthy work out for your heart.
Partner Leg Exercises
1. Koala Crawl
This is a fun exercise, and it probably has many other names, but I like Koala Crawl. Since we are working out the bases legs, the base is going to start by standing. Find a strong standing stance, with your feet a little wider than your hips, arms up and out in a T shape. Now invite the flyer or training partner over to climb on your back. Next, try to remain in a strong standing stance as the flyer crawls around you. Around your side, across your belly, around your other side, and on to your back again. The idea is the flyer does not touch the ground during the shuffle and the base stays standing.
This is a great work out for both the base and the flyer. I recommend you have the flyer crawl around you 2 times, changing direction each time, then take a break. Repeat this 2 more times for a total of 3 rounds. If you feel really unstable with this exercise, ask a friend to be a spotter. Have fun with this one, it’s not the easiest thing to do. It really helps the base feel how to shift weight from the toes to the heels. If your still confused after my explanation, maybe the video will help demonstrate the Koala Crawl a little more clearly.
2. Backpack Step-Up/ Step-Downs
After your done laughing and smiling with Koala Crawls, it’s time for some step-up/step-downs. Invite the flyer on to your back again, and ask them to hold on tight as if they are a backpack. From here, you are going to step down to your right knee then to your left knee. (If you need to protect your knees, place a yoga mat on the ground in front of you.) Now raise your right knee to place your foot on the ground. Engage your right leg muscles and stand up, both feet on the ground now. The flyer’s job is to hold on tight and the bases job is to rise up and lower down with controlled movements.
Grab your stopwatch or timer and set it for 30 seconds. Base, begin stepping down and up and continue until the timer sounds. Take a 5 second break then repeat 2 more times, with a 5 second break in-between each round. When you complete 3 rounds, gently place the flyer on the ground and your done. Are your legs warm yet?
Now You’re Warmed Up and Ready to Base!
Your body is silently thanking you, and so are all your ankle, knee and hip joints. When you put the time into a good warm up it helps to prevent injury, get your blood flowing, and stimulate your lymphatic fluids to move. Here is a link to an interesting article I recently read about the –The #1 Exercise to Detoxify and Move Lymphatic Fluid. Interesting enough, the squat jumps are similar to the exercise they mention in the article. So now your warm and ready to base. Have fun and thank you for checking out this warm-up series. Have a great day.