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The Cheap and Simple Piece of Equipment That Can Challenge Every Inch of Your Core While Strength Training

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You may think that the only way to level up your strength training is by lifting a heavier set of weights or increasing your reps. While it’s true that these are two solid options for challenging your body, sometimes the simplest tweak (like trying 1.5 reps or adding a resistance band) is all you need to progress. And on the latest episode of Trainer of the Month Club, Nike trainer Tara Nicolas proves that adding a yoga block to your resistance training can unlock muscles you didn’t even know existed.

This week’s workout is a 20-minute, moderate-intensity strength session that only requires a mat, a block, and (if you’re feeling it) an extra-vibrant one-piece like the one Nicolas is sporting.

Throughout the workout, you’ll squeeze the block between different parts of your body, including your arms, feet, inner thighs, and even between your elbow and knee. You’ll feel the effects of this immediately: The muscles you’re using to grip the block will engage even more, and you may also have an increased awareness of your muscles as you move from exercise to exercise.

This means that if you’re about to feel a few of your tried-and-true fitness moves like you’re doing them for the very first time. Even the warm-up, which simply involves gripping the block and lifting it over your head, will feel new to both your muscles and your brain. After that, you’ll move into variations on glute bridges, bicycle crunches, and sumo squat crunches that all incorporate this simple, affordable piece of equipment.

Don’t worry: You’ll also get a well-deserved cool down at the end. So if you’re ready to sweat, go ahead and queue up this week’s episode. If you don’t have a block, you can even just grab a thick book or anything of that size and shape.

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