Vigor Improvement Practices (VIPs) – FlexSkill #8

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Want to feel better than you’ve ever felt? 

Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of VigorHow to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy


Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:

*Lose Weight

*Get in Shape

*Reduce Stress

*Get Healthier

*Win the Lottery


The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment. 

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.


VIP: FlexSkills

In addition to the twenty-eight-minute walking program outlined above, you should consider also adding the flexibility exercises described below to further improve your circulation, balance, and strength. I call each of these ten exercises “FlexSkills,” and I’ve used them to help elite athletes in virtually every type of sport improve their stress resilience, flexibility, and resistance to injury. 

For each FlexSkill, you want to “hold” the position for thirty to sixty seconds. Each “cycle” of ten exercises, then, takes only five to ten minutes and can be performed either as a warm-up/cool-down on the days that you also do your Interval Walking or as an exercise circuit on its own. For example, you could go through all ten FlexSkills two or three times as your workout instead of walking. You may also want to use a floor mat or large towel when performing these skills.


8. Superman (Targets: lower back, spine, hips, shoulders, neck, and shoulders)

Also known as “the Locust” position in some forms of yoga, the Superman position is popular as much for its strengthening and balancing qualities as for its flexibility benefits. As a FlexSkill, the Superman movement can be performed in several variations, from easy to advanced, depending on your degree of flexibility.


Start from a lying face-down position, with your forehead flat on your mat. Your arms should be stretched out in front of you with your palms flat on the floor. Breathe slowly and deeply for a few moments. Keeping your forehead flat on the mat, slowly raise your right hand/arm and left foot/leg off the mat as far as comfort allows. You should feel a slight stretch in your front torso and through your entire back, hip, and butt region. If you feel any low-back pain at all, you should lower your hand and/or foot until you feel comfortable again. Continue taking slow/deep breaths, and hold this extended position for fifteen to thirty seconds. Slowly lower your right hand and left foot, take a deep breath in the beginning (face-down) position, and repeat the movement with your left hand and right foot.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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