Jay Sullivan

Plus, 20 animal-inspired workout moves that are actually good for you.

Priscilla Ward
March 03, 2015

http://youtu.be/f66GcJGQ_OI

Let’s face it, being prim and proper all the time can be a bit of a drag. We guess that’s why some folks recently got in tune with their animal instincts and filmed themselves in workout clothes mimicking man’s best friend at their local dog park. Seriously. (Check it out above--it's actually meant to encourage people to adopt shelter pups.)

While we don’t expect you to literally go full-on dog, getting a little wild with your workout can offer some big body benefits. So we rounded up 20 moves to add to your training routine to help tame (get it?) your body:

1. Dirty Dog

Targets your core, hips, and thighs

Here’s how to do it: Start on all fours, with your back in a neutral position and your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Lift your left knee from your hip out to the side, approaching parallel. Then kick your leg out, pointing your foot. Bring your foot back in, then lower your knee back to the floor.

2. Lateral bear crawl

Targets upper body

Here’s how to do it: Begin in “up” part of a push-up with core tight and body in straight line, hands outside shoulders, feet together. Do one push-up, then move right hand next to left hand and right foot out to the right so feet are wider than shoulders; do another push-up. Return to start. Repeat entire move 10 times; do 10 reps in other direction.

3. Alternating bug

Targets core

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back with arms and legs pointing toward ceiling, core engaged, feet flexed. Lower left arm and right leg until parallel to floor. It’s OK if you aren’t in a perfect 90-degree angle. Return to previous position and repeat on opposite side. Arm and leg movements should be fluid and slow. Continue to alternate for 30 seconds.

 

Photo: Jay Sullivan

4. Tricky cat

Targets arms

Here’s how to do it: Begin on all fours, knees slightly back, toes tucked under. Lift left leg so it’s parallel with floor. Bend elbows, reach chest forward, lower chest toward mat. Then press back up and pull left knee in toward chest while rounding back and bringing head down to meet knee; straighten leg. Do 10 reps, then switch legs and repeat.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

RELATED: A 5-Minute Yoga Routine for Strong, Slim Arms

5. Eagle arm abs

Targets abs

Here’s how to do it: Lie on back with knees bent to 90 degrees so calves are parallel to floor. Bend elbows, crossing right elbow on top of inside of left elbow; bring palms around and together. Engage abs; lift shoulders and butt off floor, bringing knees and elbows together; lower back down. Continue crunching for 30 seconds, then switch arms around and repeat.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

 6. Scorpion

Boost, power, speed, and agility

Here’s how to do it: From hands and knees, push into feet and raise hips to come into inverted V position with knees slightly bent and weight equally on hands and feet. Lift left leg back and up, bending knee so flexed foot points up. Keeping hips high and left leg up, hop right foot toward hands; move hands forward and repeat hop. Continue for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat. Too hard? Keep both feet down for entire move.

 

Photo: Jay Sullivan

7. Shifting monkey

Boosts strength, speed, and agility

Here’s how to do it: Stand with feet wider than hip-width, toes turned out. Push hips back and squat low, bringing butt close to floor and arms up in front of chest; shift weight over to right side, keeping left knee pointing to side and bringing right knee forward (right heel lifted with butt hovering over heel). Staying low in squat, shift weight and pivot feet until right knee is back out to side and left knee is forward with heel lifted; that's 1 rep. Do 20 reps.

 

Photo: Jay Sullivan

8. Swan dive

Targets triceps, shoulders, lower back; stretches abs and chest 

Here’s how to do it: Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms overhead, point your toes, and lift your arms and legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 1 count, imagining your legs being pulled out and back, away from your hips. Next, circle your arms out to the sides and behind you. Exhale and reach your arms toward your toes, palms facing in (shown). Hold for 1 count, then bring arms back to starting position and relax entire body to ground. Repeat 6–8 times.

Photo: Tom Rafalovich

RELATED: 10-Minute Moves For Strength, Speed and Agility

9. Butterfly extension

Boosts strength, speed, and agility

Here’s how to do it: Sit with knees bent and open to sides, soles of feet together; bring hands together in front of chest. Keeping core tight, slowly extend legs, allowing them to hover a few inches off floor (raise them a bit higher if that’s too challenging), and lean back until your mid-back almost touches floor. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly return to previous position. Do 10 to 20 reps.

 

Photo: Jay Sullivan

10. Donkey kickbacks

Targets triceps, biceps, core, butt, hamstrings, back

Here’s how to do it: Kneel on all fours, toes tucked under, keeping your back neutral. Draw your belly in toward your spine as you contract your abs and lift both knees about 2 inches off the ground. Keeping abs engaged, bring right knee to nose (shown). Then kick right leg straight out behind you, squeezing your butt (shown); keep lower abs contracted and hips facing the ground to protect your back. Repeat 8 times; switch legs and repeat.

Photo: Tom Rafalovich

11. Caterpillar plank

Targets upper back

Here’s how to do it: Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, bend forward at the waist and place your hands on the floor; crawl forward to plank position with shoulders directly over wrists. Bend elbows to lower your body toward the floor, then push back up. Next, bend your left knee, bring it up and in toward your chest, then rotate your waist as you raise your bent left leg out until it’s parallel to the floor. Return to plank and repeat on the opposite side. Return to standing.

 

Photo: Jay Sullivan

12. Dolphin

Targets biceps and triceps

Here’s how to do it: Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrist directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips. Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders, tuck your toes and lift your knees, then gently begin to straighten your legs. Inhale, lifting hips toward the ceiling. Move your shoulders away from your ears and think about drawing your front ribs toward each other.

Photo: Jason Todd

RELATED: 15-Minute Workout: Get Total-Body Toned

 13. Dolphin plank

Targets your back and shoulders

Here's how to do it: Get into plank with core tight and wrist directly under shoulders. Lift your hips into an inverted V, pausing for five seconds, then return to plank. Do three sets of 15.

14. Eagle Pose

Helps strengthen inner thighs

Here’s how to do it: Stand with your feet together, bend your knees enough to connect to those inner thigh muscles, stretch your arms out to your side, take one arm and cross it over the other and press the palms together, bend your knees a little deeper now and take the opposite leg and squeeze it tight so those inner thighs are wrapped together, if you can wrap your leg around the bottom ankle do so, keep squeezing those inner thighs the whole time to help you control this move, find that focus and take a deep breath in, come up to stand and repeat it on the other side.

Photo: Thomas Hoefgen

15. Monkey Push

Targets arms and shoulders

Here’s how to do it: Get into the "up" part of push-up position with hands directly below shoulders and body in a straight line from head to heels. Keeping core tight, push through toes and hop forward, landing gently with feet on the outside of hands. Hop back to starting position (for less challenge, lower knees to floor).

Bend elbows (keeping them close to body) to lower body toward floor, and then push back up; that’s 1 rep. Do 10–12 reps.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

16. Downward dog

Helps stretch back and legs

Here’s how to do it: Inhale as you tuck your toes and push back up into Low Plank, then exhale as you lift your hips and thighs and straighten your arms (don’t lock your elbows), moving into Downward-Facing Dog position (shown). Keep your hips lifted high as you press your heels down. Hold for 5 breaths.

Photo: Larry Bartholomew

RELATED: 12 Yoga Poses For People Who Aren't Flexible

17. Inchworm

Targets abs and back

Here’s how to do it: Get into the "up" part of push-up position; draw navel in toward spine. Keeping feet in place, walk hands as far forward as you can; rotate elbows in, and hold for 5 seconds. With legs straight, walk feet forward to hands until you’re standing with fingertips on floor. Walk hands away from feet to return to plank position; that’s 1 rep. Do 10–12 reps.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

18. Crab crunch

Targets abs and back

Here’s how to do it: Sit with legs in front of you, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart on the floor. Place hands shoulder-width apart on floor behind you, with thumbs forward and fingertips at a slight diagonal. Lift butt and extend right leg just barely off floor; bring left hand behind head. Crunch forward, bringing right knee toward chest and rotating left elbow in to meet it; for more challenge, simultaneously bend right elbow to dip toward floor. Return to previous position. Do 12–15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

 19.Leap frog

Targets legs and butt

Here’s how to do it: Stand with feet wide apart and toes turned out to 45 degrees. Lower hips down and back to come into a squat (knees behind toes) with thighs parallel to floor; clasp hands in front with fingers intertwined. Keep abs tight, shoulders back, and weight on heels. Squeeze glutes as you push into heels to spring up (and forward, if room), landing gently in plie squat again; hold 3 seconds, then repeat. Do 15 reps.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

20. Flamingo

Targets legs and butt

Here’s how to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend right knee and lift leg so thigh is parallel to floor; bend elbows. Keeping back flat and abs tight, bend left knee slightly and hinge forward from hips; reach right hand toward floor as you extend your right leg and left arm back. Push into left heel and squeeze left glute to return to standing on left leg; that’s 1 rep. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

Photo: Jay Sullivan

RELATED: Tame Every Bulge With These Animal-Inspired Moves

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