Monkey see, monkey do – fitness expert and personal trainer, Will Torres takes it back to the basics.  Clients channel their inner animal as they move, stretch and lengthen muscles during these dynamic exercises at WILLSPACE in New York City.

Referred to as ”animal movements” inside the gym walls, these dynamic stretches are more effective because they work to lengthen muscles through movement as opposed to static stretching.  The benefit is that you improve flexibility while strengthening the connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. Practicing these animal movements improve stability and balance in joints while also developing muscular strength.

This homage to the mammal and reptilian species is an effective way to warm-up and cool down the body.  They can also be sprinkled into your normal strength routine.  “One combination that we love to do is performing lunges followed by Scorpions or Spidermans,” says fitness expert and founder of WILLSPACE, Will Torres. “In this combo you are strengthening the muscle then dynamically stretching it to create a long, lean look. After a 9 to 5 love affair with your desk chair, these movements allow the body to open up and provide a much-needed stress relief. ”

1. Inchworm: Stand tall with shoulders back. Hinge at the hips, keeping legs as straight as possible. While keeping your legs straight, walk your hands out as far past your shoulders as you can. Keeping core tight, walk your legs up to your hands. Right before you get to the point where your knees bend, push your heels into the ground and walk the hands back out repeating the move 10 times.

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2. Flamingo: Stand on your right leg with your right arm extended toward the sky. Reach your left hand behind and grip your ankle from the outside. While pulling the left leg up, hinge at the right hip, reaching forward and towards the ground with the right arm. Think of a flamingo’s head dipping down towards the water.  Lower as far as you can while maintaining balance.  Come back up.  As you release the foot, step forward with the left leg and repeat on the other side.  Repeat for 5-8 times on each side.

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3. Scorpion:  Stand in downward dog with right knee bent and leg curled up toward the ceiling. Keep the knee even with the hip or higher. Walk hands out slightly in front of the shoulder and take a small hop forward with the left leg. Stabilize and repeat 10 times then switch legs.

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4. Bullfrog:
 Begin in a high plank position.  Hands are shoulder width and below the shoulder.  Lower the entire body towards the ground.  Push down through the hands and straighten the arms while jumping the feet toward the outside of your hands.   Work to perform both pushing and jumping actions at the same time.  Walk hands out to a high plank position and repeat 10-12 times. (photo credit)

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5. Spiderman: Begin in a lunge with your right knee bent and your left leg straight behind you. Lean your upper body forward, keeping your right elbow on the inside of your knee, as close as you can drop it to the floor. Keep the left arm bent on the floor for support. Drag left leg forward staying close to the ground into the same lunge formation as you repeat on the other side. Repeat 10-12 times. (photo credit)

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Willspace is located at 254 West 10th St at Hudson Street, Suite B. To learn more about Will and his gym, check out his site here.

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