Resistance Sprint Drills to Boost Speed and Acceleration

One of the best ways for any athlete to boost his or her acceleration, top speed, and agility is to practice sprinting against resistance. This training technique has been around for decades, but advances in equipment and gear make the methods of practicing sprint-resistance drills more widespread, safe and even more fun. Whether you are an athlete or a coach, you may want to add a variety of the following resisted sprint exercises to your workout bag of tricks.

Why Sprint Against Resistance?

The main reason to do these drills is to help athletes build functional power to generate faster accelerations and attain higher maximum speed. Resisted training helps athletes increase their speed-to-strength ratio which improves their ability to generate greater force during sprint starts, or during any quick accelerations while running. It sounds complicated, but it’s a fairly simple concept. The more power an athlete generates when pushing off against the ground, the faster they will propel themselves away from the ground. It’s the key to sprinting.

As with other forms of strength training, the best way to build muscle is to overload it by working it to fatigue and then allowing it to rest and rebuild. That is typically done in the weight room and that works well. In fact, squatsand deadlifts are ideal for building power. But weight room training doesn’t always build functional strength, and it doesn’t always translate to more speed on the field.

Building functional strength, power and speed require that an athlete use the same muscles in the same movement patterns as during their sport. It’s not always easy to find ways to overload the muscles while performing the movement used during a sport. Two of the best ways to accomplish this are to increase either the athlete’s body weight with the use of weight vests or to add resistance to the movement.

Some of the best ways to add resistance to movement include the use of weight sleds, parachutes, hills, stairs and even sand.

How to Sprint Against Resistance

The most important factor of a successful sprint-resisted training exercise is to increase the drag on the athlete without altering good running mechanics and form. This is often where athletes and coaches go a bit sideways in the training principles. To maintain proper form, an athlete needs to add resistance extremely slowly and pay attention to any changes in form. As soon as running form is compromised, the effect of this sort of training will be reduced. One rule of thumb is to add no more than 10 percent resistance and make sure the load doesn’t cause the athlete to slow more than 5 percent from his or her maximum, un-resisted speed.

Speed Parachute Sprints

Sprinting with a parachute attached to the athlete via a harness is a great way to begin resisted sprint drills. These parachutes can add a little or a lot of resistance and rarely affect the running form. Have a partner hold the parachute at the start of the sprint to get the chute properly inflated. Speed parachutes create an overload on the muscles used for sprinting during the sprint.

The faster the sprint, the more resistance is generated, so parachutes create an even and steady resistance. General recommendations are to use 20 to 50-yard sprints repeated for three to ten repetitions with a long rest between sprints. Some coaches have the athlete release the chute after 20 yards to create additional speed bursts.

Weight Sled Sprints

Using a weight sled or otherwise dragging weight while sprinting creates a constant load on the muscles used for acceleration and top speed sprints. It’s basically a mix of sprint drills and weight training. When done correctly with proper form, weight sleds are a great training tool.

The basic structure of the drills is the same as when using a speed parachute. Most weight sleds should be pulled on grass or turf, and the amount of weight should be varied to accommodate the surface resistance. Again, don’t use so much weight that your speed drops more than 5 percent from your regular sprint speed over the same distance.

Weight Vest Sprints

Weight vests can increase the resistance during sprint drills as well. As long as form and speed are maintained, most athletes can see good results using a well-fitting vest. Another option is to wear the weight vest while stair or hill running, or while practicing jump and land drills. Speed athletes will usually start with no more than five to eight pounds of weight. Practicing skills drills while wearing the vests also help build power and strength through a variety of sport-specific movement patterns.

Stair and Hill Running Sprints

If you have limited equipment, hill and stair drills can also provide a good resisted sprint training workout. While it may not mimic the movement patterns in a given sport, it will create a full-body overload and help an athlete build functional and dynamic strength and power. Start slowly to avoid injury or delayed onset soreness, and gradually build up intensity and time. Use the return phase as recovery, rather than sprinting back down. The repetitions will vary based upon the length of the stairs, so work with your coach to determine the best routine.

Sand Sprints

Sand is one of the most challenging surfaces on which to practice sprint drills. The softer the sand, the more force an athlete will need to produce to move forward. It also requires more energy, more balance, and more strength than a hard surface. The downside of sand sprints is that it is nearly impossible to maintain proper running form due to the sliding motion of the surface. So, while it’s a killer workout, and will build speed and power, it’s not ideal for all athletes. For ultra-intense athletes, consider adding sand hill sprints, and then prepare to suffer.

Cardio Workouts for The Beginners

Are you a complete exercise beginner who is ready to get started with cardio workouts? You can begin with two different workouts. Once you have built up your stamina, you can progress to the cardio endurance workout.

These workouts are for you if you match any one of these criteria:

  • You have never exercised.
  • It’s been a long time since you’ve exercised and you’re ready to get back on track.
  • You’ve been on a break due to an illness or injury and you need to start slow and easy.
  • Your lifestyle is the very definition of sedentary.

No matter where you are or how long it’s been, you can still get back to working out without hurting yourself, getting bored, or feeling miserable. The idea is to start with one small goal—consistency. More than anything, consistency is what you need to build that exercise habit and these workouts are designed to do just that. If you have any health conditions or you have not been active, consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Tips for Cardio Workouts

Be sure to monitor your intensity. You can use a perceived exertion scale, target heart rate zones or the talk test. Modify the workouts according to your fitness level. Add more time or reduce the workout time as needed. If you can’t talk, feel dizzy, or feel any sharp pains, stop your workout.

If you don’t feel any better after a rest, call the doctor for a checkup.

The rate of perceived exertion (RPE) helps you track intensity on a scale of 1 to 10.  Choose a pace you can maintain the length of the workout. It doesn’t matter how slow it might be, the idea is to finish the workout and stay close to your comfort zone.

  • RPE Level 3: You are comfortable but you are breathing harder than when not exercising.
  • RPE Level 4: You are now beginning to sweat a little, but you can still carry on a full conversation without any noticeable effort.
  • RPE Level 5: You are now less comfortable, you are sweating more but you can still talk easily.
  • RPE Level 6: Now talking is more difficult, you are a little breathless.

Walking and Biking Beginner Cardio Workout Routines

The workouts below are shown on a treadmill and a stationary bike, but they can actually be done on any cardio machine or outside. Both are designed to ease you back into cardio training. Do the walk outside, if you like, or use a real bike instead of a stationary bike if you have one.

The key is to pick a workout and make a plan to stick with that workout at least three days a week. If you can do it every day, that’s even better. Try working out at the same time each day so you get into that habit. It may be tough at first but, over time, your mind and body get used to it.

Keep going and, at some point, your mind will just know when it’s time to workout. Momentum and discipline are a big part of sticking to an exercise program.

  • Perform this workout at least two to three times a week, resting between workouts if needed.
  • To progress each week, add two or more minutes to each workout until you can workout continuously for 30 minutes.

Beginner 13-Minute Walking Cardio Workout

This walking workout is a perfect choice if you’re a beginner and you want to start out nice and easy. It requires no equipment except a good pair of shoes and you can do it outside or indoors on a treadmill or elliptical trainer.  Feel free to adjust the workout according to your fitness level.
Time (minutes)     Exertion  Description
3 RPE 3-4 Warm up at a comfortable pace.
4 RPE 5 Increase your pace so that you’re working harder, but still able to carry on a conversation.
3 RPE 4 Slow down just a bit.
3 RPE 3 Slow down to a comfortable pace to cool down
Try a stretching workout after your cardio to increase flexibility and relax.
Total Workout Time:  13 Minutes

Beginner 10-Minute Bike Cardio Workout

The stationary bike is another excellent choice, whether you’re just getting started or you want to change things up a bit. Bikes offer resistance for you to work against rather than your own body weight, allowing your body time to get used to exercising without impact. If you have joint problems, the bike might be the best way to start.  Modify this workout according to your fitness level
Time (minutes)     Exertion  Description
3 RPE 3-4 Warm up at a comfortable pace and keep the resistance low.
4 RPE 5 Increase the resistance a few increments to work hard but still able to talk. You’ll start to feel it in your legs, so slow down if you feel too much burn.
3 RPE 3 Decrease the resistance and slow down to a comfortable pace to cool down.
Try a stretching workout after your cardio to increase flexibility and relax.
Total Workout Time:  10 Minutes

Basic Cardio Endurance Workout

Once you have built up your time with the beginner workouts, you are ready for a 35-minute cardio endurance workout. This basic endurance workout is designed to keep you at a moderate intensity while changing your settings to keep the workout a little more interesting.

You’ll be switching between a level 5 and 6 on the perceived exertion chart. The difference between the two is subtle, but level 6 takes you just a bit more out of your comfort zone. Pay attention to how you feel to notice the difference.

This workout can be done using any cardio machine—treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, stationary cycle, spinning cycle, ski machine, etc. You can do it outside with a brisk walk, run, bicycle, rowing, skiing, or swimming.

Simply maintain a steady pace for as long as you can, increasing intensity slightly every five minutes until cool down. You can increase intensity in several ways. First, increase your speed, which is easily done on most equipment or with outdoor exercise. You could also add incline, which is easier to do on a treadmill, while outdoors you will need to find a hill to tackle. Other machines allow you to alter the resistance so you have to put in more effort, such as with a stationary cycle, rowing machine, or elliptical.

Basic Cardio Endurance Workout

Time (minutes)     Exertion  Description
5 RPE 3-4 Warm-up: This is an easier effort or pace so your body gets into gear to perform at a higher level of effort.
5 RPE 5 Increase speed, incline, or resistance from the warm-up pace so that you’re working at a moderate level. This is your baseline pace
5 RPE 6 Increase speed, incline, or resistance (if an option) 1 to 3 increments
5 RPE 5 Decrease back to baseline, reducing your speed, incline, or resistance accordingly.
5 RPE 6 Increase speed, incline, or resistance 1 to 3 increments
5 RPE 5 Decrease back to baseline, reducing your speed, incline, or resistance until you are back at RPE 5.
5 RPE 3-4 Decrease your speed to cool down.
Total Workout Time:  35 Minutes

When and How Often to Do the Endurance Workout

This workout is one that satisfies the minimum daily recommendation for moderate-intensity physical activity for good health and to reduce health risks. Once you are able to do this workout without strain, you can do it daily. If you encounter muscle aches the day or two after this workout, you may want to do it only on alternate days to allow your muscles to become accustomed to the effort.

Using the Endurance Workout for Weight Loss

You can extend the workout to 60 minutes to burn more calories for weight loss, but you should do this incrementally.

  • Add another round of five minutes of RPE 6 and five minutes of RPE 5 for a 45-minute workout first, doing this for one workout.
  • Do the workout for a week at this level before adding another five minutes RPE 6 and five minutes RPE 5 to total 65 minutes.

A Word From Verywell

Congratulations for getting started with exercise. While even 10 minutes can seem like a lot at first, most people find that they can progress steadily and build up their exercise time. If you stick with it consistently, in a few weeks you should be able to meet the suggested amount of exercise everyone needs to reduce health risks and build fitness.

Fresh Ideas for Serving More Fruit

Most people don’t get enough fruit, especially fresh fruit. There’s nothing wrong with cooked, canned or dehydrated fruit, but fresh fruits are so much more appealing. The average adult needs at least one cup of fruits per day, along with two or more cups of vegetables. We think the first step to increasing your fresh fruit intake is to dump all the candy, cookies, and ice cream you’ve got in your kitchen right now. Temper your sweet cravings with delicious fresh fruit.

Here are four easy ways to help you and your family members eat more fresh fruit. Flip through the slideshow to learn more.

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Dig Into a Fruit Salad
Fruit Salad

istockphoto

Fruit salads are a staple at summertime picnics. They can be light and refreshing, or they can be full of extra sugar and fats and higher in calories than you might think. How can you tell? If the fruit is covered with gobs of whipped cream or smothered in sugary syrup, it’s probably got a lot of calories from the extra sugar. A low-calorie fruit salad will have just a light dressing that doesn’t overpower the flavor of the fruit. You can also add fruit to a traditional garden salad.

Make a simple low-calorie fruit salad by combining fresh melon cubes, pineapple chunks, grapes, and strawberries. You can look for more festive fruit salad recipes; just stay away from ingredients that add too many calories or rely on fruits canned in heavy syrup.

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Keep Fruit on the Counter
Keep a fruit bowl handy to eat more fruit.

Tim Hall / Getty Images

Out of sight is out of mind so don’t hide all your fruit in the fridge, keep a few day’s worth of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter. That way you’ll be tempted to pick up an apple, orange, or pear instead of a candy bar. Nectarines and bananas also keep well at room temperature for a few days, as long as the peels are still intact. Just remember to keep the apples away from the bananas, unless you want them to ripen quickly.

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Make Fruit Smoothies
Make a smoothie to get more fruit in your diet.

LWA / Jay Newman / Getty Images

Enjoy fresh fruit in smoothies. A basic smoothie includes a banana cut into chunks, a cup of berries, a dollop of plain yogurt and a cup of milk or juice. Put everything in a blender for a minute or so and serve. If you have a heavy-duty blender, you can also add some ice cubes for a milkshake-like texture. Once you have this simple recipe down, you can explore more smoothie recipes.

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Fresh Fruits for Dessert
Eat fresh fruit for dessert.

Riou / Getty Images

Make a simple and delicious dessert by serving a bowl of strawberries and blueberries with a little dollop of whipped cream, topped with a sprinkling of nuts. If you want to eliminate the saturated fat from the whipped cream, you can use plain yogurt instead (Greek yogurt has a wonderfully smooth and creamy texture). When you look for dessert recipes featuring fruit and berries, remember to look for recipes that don’t add too much sugar or fat.

Cheat Meals You Can Enjoy and Feel Good About

Healthy Choices That Don’t Cut Back on the Flavor

Barre Workouts to Do at Home

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Have you wanted to try a barre workout in a studio or gym? The trendy workouts are designed to give you the lean, flexible, strong body of a dancer. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money or travel very far to try the workout regime. You can do a barre workout at home.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never danced before. Each of these dance-based routines can be performed by anyone at any level. You don’t even need special ballet shoes or equipment. If you have some dance experience, however, you’ll probably recognize some of the basic movements.

Before you begin, find a space in your home where you can extend your arms and legs fully. A wood floor or other smooth surface is best. Avoid carpeted surfaces. If you don’t have a barre, find a sturdy chair or countertop to use for balance. You’ll find it most comfortable to do the workout in bare feet.

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Basic Barre Workout Instructions
Legs of a ballerina
 Feet in first position. Image Source / Getty Images

Before you begin your beginner barre workout, you may want to learn a few basic ballet foot positions. You’ll do many of the exercises in one of these three positions.

  • First position: Heels are placed together (pictured above) and legs are rotated out slightly from the hips so that the feet form a “V” position.
  • Second position: Heels are about hip distance apart (pictured on the next slide). Legs are rotated out slightly.
  • Third position: Start in the first position. Slide the left foot forward slightly so that it lines up with the arch of the right foot (see slide #4). This position can also be reversed so that the right foot slides forward and lines up with the left arch.

Don’t worry if your feet don’t look exactly like the pictures. Rotate your feet comfortably, but never force them into position. As you get more flexible, your feet will turn out more naturally.

When you first start doing barre workouts at home, you may want to relax your arms down at your sides or hold onto the barre or chair for balance. As you become more comfortable with the movements, do the exercises using basic ballet arm positions.

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Beginning Barre Workout Benefits
Legs of ballerinas
 Feet in second position. Image Source / Getty Images

This first beginning barre workout was designed by Lisa Goldschein. Lisa has a master’s degree in dance education and has been teaching barre workouts for over 25 years. She is currently a ballet teacher and choreographer for the Performing Arts Magnet at Hollywood High School in Los Angeles, California.

So do you have to be an expert to do her routine? Absolutely not. She does this fitness and dance inspired workout with new students to help them ​get healthy and strong. “The ballet workout is not just for trained dancers. It is a complete body workout that not only strengthens your core and tones the body but it develops balance, increases flexibility, ​improves posture and overall confidence.”

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Basic Barre Workout for Beginners
Ballet dancer's feet in dance studio, close-up
 Feet in third position. Hans Neleman / Getty Images

For this basic barre workout, use a chair, a barre or a counter top for balance. Try not to grip too hard. Simply place your hand on the surface for a little bit of support.

  1. Plié pulses. Starting in the first position, bend the knees slightly and gently bounce or pulse in that position. Do 25 pulses in the first position, 25 in second position, 25 pulses in third position with the right foot in front and 25 with the left foot in front.
  2. Développé leg lifts. Start in first position. With your weight on the right leg, lift the left toes and trace a line up the right leg to the knee. Now extend the left leg in front of you. Beginners will extend the leg just a few inches off the floor. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to extend the leg higher. Hold the leg in the air for a second, then touch the toes to the floor and slide the working foot back to the starting position. Repeat the process extending the leg to the side and then to the back. Repeat the exercise on the other side.
  3. Small battements. Start in first position. Extend the right leg in front of you with toes pointed and touching the floor. Now quickly lift the leg 2-3 inches and then bring the toes back down to lightly touch the floor. Repeat ten times, quickly lifting and gently lowering the leg. Repeat the sequence extending the leg to the side ten times and then to the back ten times.  As you get stronger, add a set of grand battements, lifting the leg to hip height each time.
  4. Ballet-inspired lunges. Start in first position. Step forward with the left foot into a lunge position. Straighten both legs using your core to keep the body upright. Bend the front leg, so you return to the lunge position and then push off the front leg and return the feet to first position. Repeat 5 times to the front, then 5 times to the side. Do the same exercise with the right foot. To add a challenge, do this exercise with arms extended out to the side or overhead.
  5. Ballet jumps. Begin in first position. Bend the knees slightly and jump slightly into the air. Return to the starting position landing softly back in first position with knees slightly bent. Repeat eight times. Do the same exercise in second position, and in third position (right foot front) and third position (left foot front).

You may want to finish your beginning barre workout with a series of gentle stretching movements.

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Ailey Barre Workout
Ailey Barre at The Ailey Extension
 Ailey Barre Class at The Ailey Extension. Ailey Barre/ Kyle Froman

The next at-home barre workout comes from Sarita Allen, a former dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Sarita founded Ailey Barre in 2015 and teaches the class to students of all levels at Ailey Extension in New York City.

“Ailey Barre improves posture, increases equilibrium, and enhances core and leg strength,” says Sarita. “These improvements will enable you to move through life with power and grace.” The exercises are designed to achieve the maximum results in a minimum amount of space. You can use a chair or counter top for support, but all the exercises should be performed with abdominal muscles  scooped in and up, and with the spine as long as possible.​

  1. Hip stretch and leg warm-up.  Hold a chair with your right hand and stand tall with the feet in a parallel position beneath you. Lift the left arm to the side so that it is even with the shoulder. Extend left leg forward, raise and hold the foot six inches off the floor. Rotating from the hip, turn the leg out (clockwise) then return back to starting position. Repeat 8 times on each side.
  2. Plié. Face the back of the chair with legs in second position. Slowly bend the legs as far down as you can go without letting heels come off the floor. Return to straight legs and repeat four times. As you move through the plié, make sure the knees move directly over the toes.
  3. Leg swing. Hold the chair with your left hand, and extend right arm straight up towards the ceiling. Extend the right leg behind you with toes pointed on the floor. Now swing the right leg freely forward and back 16 times. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Plié 2. Face the back of the chair with legs in second position. Slowly bend the legs as far as you can go without letting your heels come off the floor. Now lift the heels off the floor and hold for three seconds. Lower the heels, straighten the legs, and repeat the sequence eight times.
  5. Hamstring stretch. Face the front of the chair. Place the right leg on the chair, and slowly walk the hands down the leg until they rest on either side of the chair seat. The chest will move closer to the knee. While in this forward stretch position, bend and straighten the standing leg eight times. Then return to an upright position and repeat the sequence on the other side.
  6. Leg extension. Hold onto the back the of the chair with the feet in first position. Lift the right leg placing the toe just below the knee cap. Your leg should remain turned out. Extend your toes away from the body until the leg is straight at a 90-degree angle at your hip. Lower the leg to the floor and repeat 8 times. Then do the entire sequence on the other side.
  7. Hamstring stretch. Facing the front of the chair, place the right leg on the chair and slowly walk your hands down the leg until they rest on either side of the chair seat. Bend the right knee to create a lunge position. Raise your torso to an upright position and softly pulse your hips forward eight times. Change legs, and repeat the entire exercise on the other side.
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Fluidity Barre Workout at Home
Fluidity Bar
Fluidity Bar

If you love to do barre workouts at home, you may want to consider investing in a barre of your own so that you don’t have to stand next to a chair or countertop. You can purchase a wall-mounted barre from companies like Pure Barre.  Or you may want to consider an adjustable system like Fluidity Barre a portable barre and workout system that stores underneath a bed or in a closet. Both Fluidity Barre and Pure Barre sell online workouts and workout DVDs that you can do at home.

Michelle Austin founded the Fluidity Barre program. She says that her barre workouts promote a balanced and symmetrical body. But she also says that her system helps to strengthen the pelvic floor which helps with incontinence, a condition affecting millions of women.​​

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Use Barre Workouts
Fluidity Barre System
Fluidity

So can you use a home barre workout . If you are consistent with the program and pair it with a healthy diet.

“You can generally expect to burn approximately 300-400 calories per hour,” says Michelle Austin about her Fluidity workout, adding that the number can vary depending on your body type. “And you don’t need to spend hours and hours working out!”  Austin recommends doing two 30-minute workouts a week to start, with at least 48 hours in between each session to maximize recovery.

Michelle says that Fluidity users often feel results immediately, and start to see results in just ten days. “The workout activates and integrates nearly all of your 630-plus muscles including the large and small muscles that give shape, flow, and function to your whole body. So results do happen quickly.”

And the trainer suggests that you add a cardio component like walking, running, dancing or swimming to your fitness routine as well, “as these are natural forms of movement and complementary to Fluidity.”

How to Do a Clean and Press

The clean and press is a magnificent exercise that builds stamina, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and even strength. Not only that, but the clean and press offer another benefit that many strength exercises cannot boast: power. What’s so special about power? Power is a combination of strength and speed. Power training is important for athletes who need a sudden burst of activity in their sport, such as sprinting or jumping. Even those not focusing on specific sports use power exercises to push the heart rate to anaerobic levels, adding a higher calorie burn to their overall workout.

Why You Should Add the Clean and Press to Your Strength Training Routine
Group of people doing clean and press

Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Originating as an Olympic lift, the clean and press work no fewer than eight different muscle groups. The lower half of the movement strengthens your hips, glutes, and hamstrings, while the upper half of the movement targets your shoulders, chest, back, and arms. Meanwhile, the entire move relies on you engaging your core. Talk about a powerhouse exercise!

Barring injury, the clean and press is something anyone can and should do as part of a regular strength training routine. This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell. The barbell allows you to go a bit heavier and provides a bit of stability with the bar. The dumbbells encourage each side to work individually rather than the stronger side covering for the weaker side. Of course, your fitness level will determine how much weight you decide to lift. If you are new to the clean and press, start with lighter weights and learn how to do the form properly. Once you are certain of your technique, start to add weight until you get to the point that 6-8 reps are making you breathless!

A clean and press can be done paired with other leg exercises such as squats or lunges to superset the lower body. It can also be placed in any upper body mix to push the heart rate higher. That being said, this move is a full body exercise. It would be a perfect move to use in a circuit-style workout. For instance:

  • 4 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical
  • 8 repetitions of clean and press
  • 4 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical
  • 8 repetitions of clean and press, and so on.

Follow that pattern and in 15-20 minutes you have a solid workout!

Below is step-by-step instruction on how to perform the clean and press. You can even practice with an empty bar. If possible, do it in a room with mirrors so you can really make sure your body is doing what you want it to do.

Step 1
Start the clean and press with this one simple step.

Start with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the barbell approximately two inches away from your shins. Push your hips back and grab the barbell so your palms are facing your body and your hands are shoulder-width apart. Keep your hips down, chest lifted, eyes forward and arms long.

Step 2
The clean and press is a powerhouse move.

Keep your core very tight and drive through your heels to pull the bar quickly up to your chest, just in front of your collarbone. Keep your spine tall. Be explosive and fast in your movement as you pull the bar, keeping it as close to your body as you can.

Step 3
Push the bar up to the sky in a clean and press.

As soon as the bar reaches your chest, drive through your heels again and press the directly overhead and straighten your arms and legs. Keep your core very tight. Return to starting position with control

Stretches for Office Workers

Sitting in front of a computer every day can wreak havoc on your body, especially since most of us don’t have the best posture.

Hunching the shoulders and slumping in your seat can cause back pain, headaches, tension, and tightness in your back, neck, and shoulders.

Studies show that regular stretching can help reduce neck and shoulder pain and they also show that regular breaks to stand and stretch increases productivity at the office.

Not only do you reduce pain and tension, but those flexibility breaks allow your eyes to rest and your entire body to feel more comfortable.

The following flexibility exercises are designed for office workouts with an emphasis on the neck, back, shoulders, hips, and glutes. Do them as often as you can and you’ll notice less tightness and maybe even more productivity.

How To

  • Set an alarm to go off every 45-55 minutes and perform the stretches as shown.
  • Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds.
  • Avoid any exercises that cause pain or discomfort.
  • Do as many reps as you can and enjoy!
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Chest Stretch
Older woman using resistance band

Westend61/Getty Images

Stretching the chest may be one of the best exercises you can do for your body, since most of us spend much of our time hunched forward.

Fo this exercise, you can use a resistance band and take it overhead to get a deeper stretch of the chest muscles. If you don’t have a band, don’t worry. Just lace your fingers together or take the arms straight out to the sides.

You can also find a doorway and put your forearms on either side, gently pressing forward until you feel a stretch in the chest.

Do It Right

In a seated or standing position, take the arms behind you and, if you can, lace your fingers together. Straighten the arms and gently lift your hands up a few inches until you feel a stretch in your chest.  Hold for 10-30 seconds. Avoid this move if you have shoulder problems.

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Shoulder Shrugs

The shoulders and neck hold a lot of stress and tension from typing, clicking, and scrunching.

In fact, most of us probably hunch much more than we realize, making the traps and the shoulders muscles tight with tension.

Get the blood moving through your traps and shoulders with shrugs.  After typing or working for a long time, this move just feels good.

Do It Right

Seated or standing, lift the shoulders up towards the ears, squeezing them as hard as you can. Hold for 1-2 seconds and roll them back as you relax down. Repeat for 8-10 reps and then roll the shoulders forward.

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Upper Back Stretch

While the shoulder shrugs will help get the circulation going, this upper back stretch will get all the muscles between the shoulder blades as well as the traps and the shoulders.

Just think how tight your shoulders and upper back are right now and you’ll make this stretch your go-to stretch all day long.

Do It Right

Seated or standing, stretch the arms straight out and rotate the hands so that the palms face away from each other. Cross the arms so that the palms are pressed together, contract the abs and round the back, reaching away as you relax the head.

Don’t collapse but, instead, imagine you’re curving up and over an imaginary ball. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds. If twisting the arms doesn’t feel good, simply lace the fingers together.

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Spinal Twist

Sitting for prolonged periods of time can also affect the lower back, leaving it tight and achy.

This twisting stretch will help gently work out some of that tension.  Don’t go too far on this — you only need to rotate a little to feel this stretch.

Do It Right

In a seated position with the feet flat on the floor, contract the abs and gently rotate the torso towards the right, using your hands on the chair handles to help deepen the stretch.

Only twist as far as you comfortably can and keep the back straight while keeping the hips square. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

5
Torso Stretch

Even if you pay attention to your posture, you may find yourself sinking back into a hunched position, which can make your back ache.

This simple move will stretch all the muscles in your back, sides, and arms. You can also take the arms to either side to deepen the stretch down the sides of the torso.

Do It Right

Seated or standing, lace the fingers together and stretch them up towards the ceiling.

Take a deep breath as you stretch up as high as you can, then exhale and open the arms, sweeping them back down. Repeat for 8-10 reps.

6
Forearm Stretch

You may not even realize how tight your forearms can get from typing until you stretch them out. This simple move helps stretch those muscles in the forearms and wrists.

Do It Right

Seated or standing, stretch the right arm out and turn the hand down so that the fingers point towards the floor.

Use the left hand to gently pull the fingers towards you, feeling a stretch in the forearm. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other hand.

7
Neck Stretch

How tight is your neck right now?  If you do this neck stretch, you’ll find out.

Holding tension in the neck can lead to headaches and upper back tension as well.

Many of us drop the head forward when working on the computer, which can put extra stress on the neck muscles. ​

Your head can weigh up to 11 pounds (more if you’re smarter!), so just imagine how much stress that puts on your entire body.

Do It Right

Sitting in your chair, reach down and grab the side of the chair with the right hand and gently pull while tilting your head to the left, feeling a stretch down the right side of the neck and shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

8
Hip Flexor Stretch

The lower body also gets tight from sitting too much, especially the front of the hips.

When you sit, the glutes stretch while the hip flexors get tighter. Stretching this area several times a day can help reduce that tightness and, plus, it gets you up and out of the chair, which offers some immediate relief.

Do It Right

While standing, take the right leg back a few feet. Bend the back knee, almost like you’re doing a lunge and lower the knees until you feel a stretch in the front of the right hip.

Squeeze the glutes of the back leg to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

9
Seated Hip Stretch

All of the muscles in the thighs get tight from too much sitting and this very simple move helps open up the hips.

This helps stretch the complex series of muscles in the hips and glutes. It feels great after a long day of sitting.

Do It Right

While seated, cross the right ankle over the left knee and sit up nice and tall.

Gently lean forward, keeping the back straight and reaching out with the torso until you feel a stretch in the right glute and hip.

You can also press down on the right knee to deepen the stretch. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Skip this move if it bothers the knees.

10
Inner Thigh Stretch

This stretch doesn’t look very professional, so you definitely want to do this when no one’s around.

Beyond that, it’s an excellent stretch for the inner thighs, hips, and groin.

This builds on the previous exercise, opening the hips and get rid of tightness and tension in the lower body.

Do It Right

While seated, take the legs wide, toes out and lean forward with the elbows on the thighs. Keep the back straight and the abs contracted.

Gently press forward while using the elbows to push the thighs out until you feel a stretch in the inner thighs. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat as many times as you like.

Why putting milk in scrambled eggs is a huge mistake

We need to talk about scrambled eggs. Those plump, silky things so inviting on top of toast. You’ll need some tomorrow morning.

A lot of people put milk in their scrambled eggs. Ask someone near you. They probably do it.

In a recent poll on a BuzzFeed article about egg opinions , more than 60 per cent said they add milk when cooking the dish. Doing so “makes scrambled eggs creamier,” apparently.

The thing is, according to chefs, adding milk is slippery and tragic. Never has the culinary sentiment, “Scrambled eggs are easy to make, but difficult to do well,” sounded truer.

So how do you make the perfect scrambled eggs?

Before we go any further, let’s remember that food is a matter of taste and, frankly, you can do whatever you like. They’re your eggs, after all.

But it was interesting to learn that so many people add milk to their mixture. Surely you just melt lots of butter in a saucepan and cook the eggs on a low(ish) heat, stirring infrequently, so that they gently emulsify and clump together.

Perfect, oozy, delicious scrambled eggs (Image: Getty images)

Afterwards, season with lots of salt and pepper, and maybe some chives, and then you’re sat in front of a smooth, rich, slightly runny mountain of gold like an excited hobbit on a hot day.

But what do chefs say?

We asked some about their scrambled eggs

Dan Joines, who runs several award-winning restaurants in London, told me: “Never add milk to your scrambled eggs – it dilutes the flavour and makes them more likely to turn out rubbery.

“It’s always butter for me. Make sure your butter is golden, but not brown, before you put your eggs in. Keep stirring on a medium to low heat.

“Keep them moving and folding with a spatula until slightly runny, but bound together.”

And Luke Selby, chef at the much lauded Hide restaurant in London, agreed: “Putting milk in your scrambled eggs is a cardinal sin!

“It just makes them too wet, like school dinners.”

Not so appetising

Food writer Rachel Phipps said: “While putting milk in your scrambled eggs may make them go a little further, they become pretty flavourless, and take on the sort of colour you’d expect from a mass catering facility.”

Like most cooking, there’s a science behind technique. Basically, adding liquid to eggs is ultimately unnecessary, and probably came about when everyone suddenly became scared of butter and fat. But milk dilutes the flavour, and can cause the mixture to separate during cooking.

What’s more, it means it’s far easier to overcook the eggs – you’re either left with a floppy, soggy mess, or that bitty, white scrambled thing you might associate with well-known hotel chains. The ones with the urns of orange juice and incredible hash browns.

Should you add anything to eggs?

Scrambled eggs in a frying pan with a knife and fork on a wooden kitchen worktop
A low to medium heat (Image: Getty)

While milk is a big no, some chefs like to add cream or crème fraîche to their scrambled eggs. Gordon Ramsay is one example, as is Delia Smith, who follows the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier in her recipe.

Laoise Casey, a food writer and chef from Ireland, says butter is the key to beautiful eggs. But she has another trick up her sleeve.

“While I’m not a fan of milk, milk powder is a whole different thing.

“I learnt this tip from one of the chefs, Eloise, I work with at [restaurant] Paradise Garage.

“Whisk in a teaspoon of milk powder with the eggs and the result is a wonderful almost cheese-like scramble. In fact, milk powder can enhance a lot of dishes…from ice cream to pastry and butterscotch sauce.”

Revelatory indeed.

We’ve added some other tips and tricks when making scrambled eggs below

Don’t cook on a high heat; remember to occasionally stir; try to use fresh eggs; don’t whip up too early; but wait until you’re about to put into the hot pan.

Finally, season at the end as, according to Gordon Ramsay, doing so means there’s no risk of the salt “breaking down the eggs” and making them watery.

Teacher reveals why he left student to rest after she fell asleep in class

The English teacher explained the reasons behind his decision not to wake his pupil, when many would have been annoyed

If you ever fell asleep at school, we’d bet you were quickly woken up and berated.

Depending on the teacher, you might’ve been slapped with detention too.

Some educators would probably take sleeping students personally. It probably isn’t directly their fault. A lot of children find maths boring and school is tiring.

Although some teachers, we seem to recall, did drone on a bit.

Whether Monte Syrie is boring or not doesn’t matter.

A nice teacher (Image: @MonteSyrie/Twitter)

His pupil Meg recently nodded off in one of his English classes, but rather than rouse her and tell her to pay attention, he let her doze.

Monte did so not because he couldn’t be bothered to do anything. He wasn’t at the end of his tether. He didn’t not care. Quite the opposite.

The teacher, who works at a high school in Cheney, Washington, explained why he left Meg sleeping on Twitter:

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

Meg fell asleep in class yesterday. I let her. I didn’t take it personally. She has zero-hour math, farm-girl chores, state-qualifying 4X400 fatigue, adolescent angst, and various other things to deal with. My class is only a part of her life, not her life. No, she did not use

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

her time wisely in class yesterday. She didn’t get her essay turned in. She knew that. I knew that, but I didn’t beat her up about it. Didn’t have to. She emailed it to me last night at 9:00 PM. On her own. I know we all somewhat subscribe to this notion that there’s a right way

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

of doing things, and letting kids sleep in class falls outside the boundaries. I get it, and I’m not suggesting that we make it a permanent part of repertoire /routine, but I am suggesting that we sometimes trust our instincts, even if it goes against the grain, maybe especially

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

if it goes against the grain, for I am not always convinced the grain best considers kids. In a different room, Meg may have been written up for sleeping in class and given a zero for a missing essay, but she wasn’t in a different room; she was in my room. My room.

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

And in my room there are lots of things I CAN do. I can’t control the world outside. I can’t offer Meg a math class later in the day. I cannot feed her horses (many horses) in the morning or evening. I cannot run 6 race-pace 300’s for her. I cannot spirit away her teen trouble.

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

But I can give her a break. She was not being rude or disrespectful yesterday when she nodded off. She was tired. So I gave her a break. I can do that. And I want to believe, I have to believe–else my life is a lie, that it will come back in the end. And it did. Meg got her

Monte Syrie@MonteSyrie

essay done. In fact, serendipitously, she proudly told me so when I ran into her at the grocery store at 6:45 this morning. She was getting some breakfast before her 7:10 math class. She’d been up since 5:00 doing chores.