Spring is just around the corner so I've put together a simple, total body workout with a few twists to some traditional moves—no equipment needed!
Use a small mat or towel for comfort if you like. Find a bench or a wall, but all the moves can be performed on level ground, or inside as well. Always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, stay hydrated, and most importantly, listen to your body.
Warm up with a brisk walk or a light jog for at least 5 minutes. Take a few minutes to stretch if you like, and stretch anytime you need to during the workout. Aim to perform each exercise for 10 to 15 reps, or you can do a timed workout, performing each exercise for 20 to 30 seconds followed by a 10-second break. Try to move quickly from one exercise to the next to maximize calorie burn and reap the benefits of a high-intensity workout.
One round of the routine should take about 10 minutes. Boost intensity to the workout by adding in one to two minutes of cardio between each exercise such as jumping jacks, sprints, or even jog in place. Always maintain good form during each exercise, keep core engaged, shoulders down and back, and connect with your breath.
1. Lunge with a twist
Standing with both legs together, step right leg forward and come into lunge position, bending the right knee over the right ankle and coming onto ball of left foot. Extend arms in front of you at shoulder height and clasp hands together. As you lower into your lunge, twist upper body with control over left thigh. Perform desired reps/time then take a quick break and perform the same move on the other side.
2. Triceps dips
Sitting on the edge of a wall or bench, place palms close to either side of hips, fingers pointing forward. Slide your butt off wall, keep your shoulders down and back, and slowly lower your butt toward the ground as you bend at the elbow. Try to aim the elbows in toward each other as opposed to out to the side. Press back up to start position making sure not to "snap" out elbows at the top of the move. Perform desired reps/time.
3. Bridge lift and lower
Lie on your back with knees bent and heels firmly pressed into the ground. Extend arms alongside you with palms flat for support. Relax face and neck as you peel up the tailbone to bridge position, engaging butt muscles. Extend one leg toward the sky. Begin lowering and lifting extended leg with control to just above the ground, then back to sky. Modify: Do exercise with hips on the ground. Perform desired reps/time. Gently lower hips, hug in knees, repeat on the other side.
4. Plank jacks
Come into plank position using wall or on the ground. Create a long lean line with your body from crown of head to heels. Begin "jacking" legs in and out, staying light on the toes. Keep abs zipped up and connect to your breath. Perform desired reps/time.
5. Lateral leap
Stand with feet together, knees soft, and tuck in hands toward chest. "Leap" off with right leg to the right as far as you can comfortably go, land lightly on the right foot, then immediately leap to the left with the left leg. Modify: Step side to side. Perform desired reps/time.
6. Single-leg push-up
Using the edge of a bench or wall, come to a push-up position. Keeps abs tight as you lift right leg behind you, staying on ball of left foot. Perform push-ups keeping your body aligned and core engaged. Take a break and repeat with other leg lifted. Modify: Keep both feet on the ground. Perform desired reps/time.
7. All-fours butt-buster
Come into a tabletop position on all fours (wrists underneath shoulders, knees under hips). Take a moment to stretch through a few cat/cows if you like and come into child's pose (sit back, heels on butt) to take a break when needed.
Exercise one: On all fours with a flat back and engaged core, extend right leg behind you and bend at the knee, taking foot toward the sky. Keeping body stable draw knee in toward chest then back toward sky. Perform desired reps/time, take a child's pose break, then repeat on other side.
Exercise two: On all fours (as above) extend right leg behind you parallel to the ground. Bending at the knee take heel toward butt then extend back to start position. Perform desired reps/time, take a quick break, then repeat on other side.
8. Forearm and side plank
Come into a forearm plank position with palms flat, shoulders down and back, and core muscles engaged. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Move to forearm side plank and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Go back to forearm plank, then side plank on the opposite side, repeating the moves for desired reps.
Repeat the routine several times for maximum benefit and get a jump on that shaping-up summer body!