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10 Animalistic Moves To Sculpt, Strengthen & Burn

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    There’s a new beast in town — your body. "Primal" workouts have been quickly gaining in popularity; they require little to no equipment, include functional movement, and are just plain fun. The exercises mimic the movement patterns of the strong, graceful, and powerful animals found in nature — with a human-fitness twist, of course. Crawling like a leopard helps increase flexibility in your hips and shoulders, balancing like a bird engages your core, and leaping like a frog will spike your heart rate.

    Our from-the-wild workout is designed by Dasha Libin Anderson, MS, NASM-PES, MKC, NASE, M-KBIA, creator of the Kettlebell Kickboxing program. The moves, featured in the "animal calisthenics" routine on Anderson's latest DVD, are inspired by animals but also pull from her background in martial arts. The end result: improved strength, flexibility, agility, endurance, and killer muscles.

    The 10 exercises ahead are anything but basic — no squats, burpees, or curls here. Instead, you’ll engage your muscles by moving, twisting, and balancing like you're on top of the food chain. Haven't you always wanted to find your fitness spirit animal?


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    Bird Balance
    Sit on the floor with your hands in prayer position in front of your chest. Cross your left leg over your right and plant your left foot on the floor. Sit tall, keeping your spine straight.

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    Push through the heel of your left foot to stand, coming through a half-kneeling position.

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    Now, begin to stand up and slowly lift your right leg behind you, keeping your foot pointed.

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    Reach your right leg as high as you can, remaining balanced on your left leg (you can bend your left knee if needed). Reach your arms behind you with your palms facing up. Pause here and then slowly reverse the movement to come back to a seated position. Do 10 reps, then switch sides.

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    Leopard Kick-Out
    Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your feet should be flexed so that the balls of your feet are pressing against the floor.