7 moves that challenge your mobility, strength, and more

Yogis use blocks during their practice to regress poses, but make them part of your strength routine and they present an unexpected challenge. “Yoga blocks require a level of stability and range of motion that not every tool demands,” says David Otey, personal training manager at Equinox Sport Club New York. 

The reason is twofold. First, the blocks provide a much smaller base of support than the ground does, explains Jenna Matroni, Tier 3+ trainer at Flatiron in New York City. “Their instability forces your body to work harder to find balance.”

Second, they prop you a few inches off the ground, like exaggerated platform shoes. That’s not negligible: When it comes to push-ups, lunges, weighted depth squats, and more, going the extra distance under tension tests your mobility. 

Otey created a seven-move routine, demonstrated by Matroni in the slideshow below, that puts a fresh spin on classic moves to improve core stability and joint motion. Plus, you can do it anywhere: at home, in the gym, and on the go, as you can easily add them to your vacation or work trip packing list.

Perform 3 sets of the routine twice a week for an eight- to 12-week stint. It may take a couple tries to recruit the right muscles and find your balance, so don’t rush the learning process. You’ll have more stamina, strength, and mostability as a result, Matroni says.

Photography by Coty Tarr. Art direction by Kathryn Marx.