THE INFORMED SLEEPER
Sleep Science

The Ideal Morning Workout

BY FURTHERMORE / AN EQUINOX DIGITAL PUBLICATION • OCTOBER 20, 2017


Furthermore and DUXIANA present Life, Awakened - a series of videos and articles promoting deep, regenerative sleep as the foundation for an active, healthy lifestyle.

Working out is lauded for its natural energizing effects and can have a particularly strong impact when done in the a.m. “Morning exercise increases blood flow to brain, stimulating the central nervous system,” says Susan Hart, a Tier X coach and yoga instructor at Equinox Franklin Street in Boston. “The resulting endorphin rush gives you energy to take on the day.”

And while any type of fitness can be beneficial, it so happens that focusing on specific movement patterns and types can take a good workout to an ideal workout. The routine detailed below, created by Hart, incorporates all four quadrants of motion (linear loaded, linear unloaded, nonlinear loaded, and nonlinear unloaded) and is divided into three parts: The warm-up, with stimulating breathing exercises and mobility drills, increases internal body temperature and range of motion and primes the sympathetic nervous system; the high-intensity segment includes both cardio and strength exercises to help get your heart rate up and trigger exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC), so your body will continue to burn calories long after you’re done; and finally a cool-down with stretching and down-regulating breaths creates space for healthy breathing and movement throughout the hours to come.

Get inspired by the video above, demonstrated by biologist and conservationist Phil Torres and his fiancé Norwegian model-foodie Silja Danielsen. (Read more about the globe-trotting power couple here.) Then, get a good night’s sleep and try this routine upon waking.


PART I: WARM-UP

Stimulating Breathing Exercise

With your left hand over your heart and your right hand on your belly, inhale slowly through your nose for a count of 4 to 6, then forcefully exhale through your mouth. Repeat as many times as possible in 2 minutes.

Sun Salutation A

Complete two 2 rounds as described here.

Sun Salutation B

Complete two 2 rounds as described here.

Lateral Lunge With Partner-Assisted Rotational Warding

Complete a lateral lunge on your left leg. Extend both arms straight out in front of you, palms together. Your partner should be ready in an athletic stance a few feet in front of you with arms extended out, palms together. Press the back of right hand (hands still together, arms locked out) against the back of your partner’s hand. Focus on using your core muscles to create the tension. Hold this isometric tension for 3 to 5 seconds. Then, bring feet back together. Complete 8 to 10 reps on the left side. Then, switch with your partner and they should complete the same number of reps on their left side. Switch again and complete the same rep count on the right. Do one set on each side per person.


PART II: HIIT

Complete each of the following exercises for 60 seconds. Move on from one to the next with little to no rest in order to keep your heart rate elevated.

1. Partner Plank with Contralateral Cross-Body Pull

Get in a plank position on your hands, feet hip-width apart, glutes and abs engaged, facing your partner (also in a high plank). With your right hand, grasp your partner’s right hand or forearm and pull for 5 seconds. Simultaneously lock down the right leg and the right oblique. Return to start, then repeat on the left side. Continue alternating sides.

Partner A will complete exercise 2a while partner B completes 2b. Then, switch. Do two rounds of each (make sure to switch sides on the deadlift for round 2).


2a. Agility Ladder Drills

Learn more about how to use the agility ladder here.


2b. Single-leg Romanian Deadlift with Dumbbell

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell (women should use 15 to 20lbs; men can use 25 to 35lbs) in your right hand. Lightly flex the left knee as you lift right leg up behind you. Keep your back naturally arched, hinge at your hips, and lower your torso (and dumbbell) until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Briefly pause at the bottom, then squeeze the glutes, thrust your hips forward, and raise your torso back to the starting position. Repeat. On the next round, switch sides.

3. Eccentric Push-Ups

Get in a plank position on your hands, feet together, glutes and abs engaged. Slowly lower your body to the ground, taking at least five seconds to get there. When your chest is the distance of one fist off of the ground hold for one second, followed by a one second count to return to the top of the push-up position. Repeat.

4a. High Plank Isometric Hold

4b. Partner-Assisted Eccentric Hamstring Curls

Come into a tall kneeling position with toes tucked under. Your partner will set up in a high plank position with their hands mounted on your ankles. Keeping glutes and abs engaged, focus on controlling your entire upper body to the floor by using your hamstrings. Once your hands hit the floor in a low push-up position, explode back up and return to the starting position. Continue for 60 seconds and then switch roles. Each person should complete both exercises two times before moving on.

5. Light Dumbbell Shadow Boxing

Select a light set of dumbbells you can fully extend out in front of you (2.5 to 5lbs for women, 5 to 10lbs for men). Set up in a fighter stance, with the left foot in front of the right, soft knees, dumbbells in front of the face. Mix and match the following boxing combinations for 60 seconds: jab, uppercut, cross, left hooks, and right hooks. Focus on speed and quickness.

6. Battle Rope Power Slams

Much of the power will come from syncing up your body’s movement with the ropes. Raise both arms to shoulder level. Your whole body should also rise up, finding triple extension through your ankles, knees, and hips. Then use the downward momentum and all your might to forcefully slam the rope. As the rope comes down, your hips will drive back and your knees will bend. This will allow the chest to stay up and the spine to stay neutral. It is very important to keep your core engaged on the downward part of the slam. If you feel your form breaking down it is better to relax for a few deep breathes and continue when you are ready.


PART III: COOL-DOWN

Kite Position with Single-Arm Extension

Sit with your back against a wall, legs extended straight out in front of you. Let your palms be flat against the floor by your sides, left fingers facing 9:00, right fingers facing 3:00. Close your eyes, imagining the crown of your head and the tips of your shoulders in the shape of a kite. Start to crawl your left finger tips as far away from your body as possible while still maintaining some contact with the floor. Lower your right ear towards your right shoulder. Start to breath into the left side of your neck. Take 10 breathes. Slowly return to center. Repeat on the other side, then return to center and take 5 more breathes.

Down-Regulating Breathing Exercise

Set a timer for 3 to 5 minutes. It’s important not to focus on counting reps; simply focus on your breaths. Begin seated as you were in kite position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Slowly inhale through the left nostril only, filling your belly with air. Close the left nostril with your left ring finger so both nostrils are held closed. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause. Lift the thumb to open the right nostril, release the breath slowly through the right side only, pausing briefly at the very bottom of the exhale. Slowly inhale through the right side only, taking as much time to fill all the way up. Close the right nostril with the thumb, pause with both nostril closed for a moment, then release the ring finger and slowly exhale through the left nostril only, pausing briefly at the bottom. Continue repeating the cycle allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales. You'll know you're improving when your inhales, pauses, and exhales are taking longer to complete without effort.

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The Informed Sleeper endeavors to become your sole information resource for better health through deeper sleep.

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