Check out some of my favorite combination exercises: More detail on the exercises
I love to pack my classes with combination exercises so my students get a lot done in an hour long practice. Have two sets of weights between 1 lb. and 5 lb. dumbbells). I am using a 3 lb. barbell throughout the five exercises. Listen to your body and instruct your students to do the same. Weight down or put the dumbbells down completely.
1. Crescent Lunge pull backs (*Use your lighter set of dumbbells and if your lower back hurts weight down or use no weights. Also, if you feel pain in the lower back even with active core engagement then come up to a chair pose position to do the pullbacks).
Start with a solid yoga posture, then add the arms movements and add the legs once the arm movement is fluid. In Crescent lunge make sure your core is engaged (draw your belly button to your spine actively bracing your core to protect your lower back and bring the dumbbells to your sides like you are going to do a bicep curl. Reach your arms forward as you flip your palms down and turn them back up as you pull back to the starting position. As you are pulling back squeeze your shoulder blades together opening your chest. As you add the legs; bend into the front knee without bringing knee past toes and when you pull back bring the leg almost straight as you pull up through your knee cap to engage quadriceps. (10 to 20 reps per side)
2. One leg Tadasana shoulder press and leg extension.
Start in one leg tadasana with lifted legs thigh bone parallel to the ground. Start with Dumbbells at your shoulders. Hold the knee bent position and perform the shoulder press exercise by pressing weights straight up (modify by pressing one arm at a time). After five shoulder presses add the leg extension. As you press the weights to the sky, press your flexed foot straight out in front of you as high as you can without rounding your back. Keep your entire core braced as if you are wearing a corset. (10 to 20 reps per side)
3. Plié squat to oblique crunch
Start by coming into plié by stepping your left foot behind your right with enough clearance to perform a squat. Press the dumbbells together isometrically and perform five plié squats to start and then add on by bringing the back leg up to standing with a bent knee and twist toward the knee before coming back to the plié squat. This combination exercise needs to be done slowly so you can maintain your balance throughout the exercise. (5 to 10 plié squats followed by 5 to 10 of the full movement per side)
4. Around the world shifting through skandasana (side lunge)
Set up in goddess squat with toes pointing out and knees tracking towards the second toe (the one next to the big toe) and then straighten your legs with dumbbells to your chest (you can use one weight here if you would like holding on to the ends with both hands). If you are using two dumbbells press them together isometrically at your chest in starting position. Perform the exercise by bending the right knee and bringing the weights toward the inside of the right foot and then bringing the weight low to the floor as you alternate the bent knee to the left side. Finishing by coming back to the starting position. (10 to 20 reps per side)
5. Alternating arm airplane to one leg Tadasana crunch
Start in one leg Tadasana with dumbbells at your chest. Hug your knee in towards your chest as you inhale and then bring your right arm forward as your left arm reaches back and your left leg comes back into Warrior III or airplane position. Come back to the starting position and alternate arms as the same leg comes back into the airplane. Find a drishti (focal point) and concentrate to keep your balance through the transitions. (5 to 10 reps per side)
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