The grapevine is a movement that is done in aerobic group exercise classes. It can be incorporated into warm-ups and cool-downs, high- or low-impact class and into step-aerobics routines. After you learn the basic steps for the grapevine, add variation and intensity to this exercise by using the arms and adding more movements with the legs.
Begin by standing with your feet together. Be sure you have plenty of space, enough to allow you to make four big steps to your right. The grapevine is a lateral movement, so you will be moving to the right and back to the left.
Step your right foot out to the right so that your feet are a little wider than hip-width apart. Pick up your left foot and step behind your right foot so that your legs are crossed in this position with your right foot in front and your left foot behind it. Step your right foot to the right again, uncrossing your stance. Bring your left foot to meet your right foot so that you are in the starting position. Now repeat the move to the left, leading with your left foot.
Adding arm movements to a grapevine exercise will increase your heart rate and overall calorie burn. Begin by swinging your arms naturally with the movement. Swing both arms forward to about chest level during the first step to the right, pull them in as you cross the legs, swing them back out as you step out and pull them in when you step together.
Push and pull the arms in a similar manner. Do a chest press with the movement. Keep the hands at chest level, press out as you step, pull in as you cross and press out as you step. The same can be done with raising the arms over the head. Raise them with the step, pull down with the cross and press up with the step.
Kicks and Knees
Kick, knee and leg lift movements can be added at the end of each grapevine for variation and intensity. Using the basic movement as an example, this is done instead of stepping the left foot to meet the right foot at the end of the grapevine. Instead of stepping the foot in, kick the leg forward and then continue the grapevine back in the other direction. Change to a knee lift after you have completed four grapevines with kicks, and then try a leg lift out to the side to engage the outer thigh. Next, try a leg curl to engage the hamstring.
Add More Intensity
To make the exercise even more challenging, add a bounce to your step and make the exercise higher impact. This creates a hopping or jogging movement instead of stepping or marching. Move more quickly from side to side and make the arm movements more dramatic up, overhead and back down. Do a double grapevine to make it more challenging. Move to the right and continue for another grapevine to the right before doing two to the left to return to your starting point.
- woman stepping in a fitness center image by .shock from Fotolia.com