I think that one of the toughest aspects of Lithe is getting your cardiovascular stamina up to par or back up to par after some time off.  As a newbie, you may find yourself feeling really defeated trying to finish our 1 hour classes, numerous times a week, and having to devote some time to learning some of our Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting cardio choreography.  Here are some tips for safe and efficient cardio:

1.  Protect your feet-but not with sneakers (unless you have a foot injury).  We barefoot train at Lithe.  Why?  It makes you stronger from head to toe and simply builds a better, stronger, leaner body.  If you have a foot injury you should wear a studio sneaker and avoid stilletto. You want to work correctly, stay on a mat and NEVER over-bounce on the balls of your feet.  Our feet work instinctively, but to prevent stress fractures, shin splints and plantar issues, stay on your mat, use your quads to launch a jump and keep a gentle point to your ankle, then roll through the forefoot, and heel.  Your goal is to 'sponge' and not be bouncy. That 'up' energy should be an illusion:  your entire body is active, but you're working the bands' resistance down into the ground.  You want to work harder by getting low (think: squashing grapes) and grounded, not through bouncing high and beating up your feet.

2.  Keep you shoulders open, depressed and lift from the heart.  This instantly engages and elongates your abs. 

3.  Activate your arms.  Think about how you punch out those perfect sharp high v's and low v's...Do this with every movement and feel your heart-rate climb! 

4.  Don't stop as soon as your heart rate starts to really climb.  So many people get nervous once their heart-rate gets in the zone.  Breath, stretch, shake.

Image of Lithe Instructor, Krista DeNofa in perfect form via Dominic Episcopo.


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This is so so helpful, I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of jumping onto the balls of my feet during calf pumps. Is it supposed to be more of a releve (sorry, I was a ballet dancer) with a slight jump onto the full foot? I've also heard you all say "work the waist" during these - is that more of an upward motion or from the upper body coming forward and back, or both?

Hi mt! It's a prep (cheer speak) or a releve-but you always really want to work from your center (rather than your feet) and pull up on your knee caps to engage the quads and work the front of the body. As you lower, you want to use that exhale and lower your heels to the floor. You'll feel it in the glutes; and you're working the back of the body here. With strong sharp arms and depressed shoulders, something as simple as calf pumps are total body. You should aim to do all of our cardio work with sharp precision and then watch for rapid results! ; ). Think of barre work the same way. Try not to think of it as feet/leg work.

Def not waist (rotation) work or foward and back movement. It's very vertical (up and down) in movement, but you should work from your center. Focus on your breathing (ribs open on the inhale and close on the exhale) and the core will lead you. Your core is the area from your nipple to your knees.

Got it! Thanks Lauren. Definately should have asked earlier! It's going to be a whole new calf pump from here on!

Thank you!!!! I've taken a few more 101's lately to relearn form, but it's hard to focus it all into singular movements. I'm guilty of killing my feet and I've tried studio sneakers. Still hurting the plantar. I find a good foot wrap works with "sponging".

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