Need to fight some crime this weekend? Expecting to be hauling tail after some villains? You’ll need strong muscles and a lot of stamina to keep up with them! Prepare yourself with this intense stamina-building workout.
A full body workout!
An arm workout that’s a bit harder! Make sure you use something sturdy, like a solid coffee table, for the inverted rows, and press your heels to the ground while in downward dog for a good stretch.
Upper Back Lifts
- Lay your belly on the ball, spread your legs wide, and plant your toes on the floor.
- Bend your elbows and gently touch your fingertips to the back of your head. Keep your arms strong and resist the urge to rest your hands on your head.
- Take a breath in and, as you exhale, raise your upper torso as much as you can, so your chest comes off the ball. Inhale to slowly lower your torso back to the starting position. Keeping your movements slow allows you to work your abs.
- This counts as one rep. Complete three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Written by Greg Presto:
Disclaimer: Your downstairs neighbors may be the ones to go crazy.
Insanity is, in many ways, amazing: It reproduces the at-home intensity of P90X, but with shorter workouts (35 minutes versus more than an hour for P90X) and without expensive equipment like dumbbells and pull-up bars—basically, the barriers to entry have been smashed, and replaced with intervals of pushups, squats, and LOTS of jumping.
That jumping can be worth every hop: In a study from 2006, researchers from Western Michigan University and UT-Arlington found that a six-week plyometric (jumping) regimen improved athletes’ agility compared to those who stayed flat-footed. And while you may not need to juke away from a defender, that agility can help you when you’re trying to avoid a pothole while running, or when you need to weave through a crowded concert to find your friends in the front row. Plus, the pounding of plyos can also increase bone density.
But that pounding is also the rub: The up-and-down slamming of so many jumps can, with the wrong form, increase the risk of ACL injury, which is already 8 times more prevalent in women than in men. See a doctor before you start this program to be sure your knee is tracking correctly. And then go downstairs and talk to your neighbors—Insanity’s high flying might melt away fat, but it may also land you in a meeting with your landlord over all that thumping on their ceiling.
This is how you do squats and deadlifts, if you did not know they existed you better start doin’ em.
We always say that summer bodies are made in winter. But if you spent your winter drunk on spiked eggnog and chocolate Santas, spring will just have to do! Fortunately, you’ve got plenty of options to shape up besides dejectedly shuffling along on a treadmill. Here are some of the season’s most buzzed-about workouts:
The Workout: PILOXING
The Goal: Cut the sleeves off all of your t-shirts. A blend of boxing, Pilates, and dance moves, Piloxing utilizes interval training to maximize calorie burning—up to 900 per hour. Meanwhile, weighted gloves and controlled punching work your back, biceps, and triceps faster than you can say “do you have your tickets to the gun show?”
The Workout: HOOPING
The Goal: Make Pink jealous of your abs. Finally, use that hula hoop for something other than role-playing “naughty rhythmic gymnast” in the bedroom. Hoop fitness classes are kind of like doing crunches, except that you’re standing. And you’re swinging a weighted hula hoop around your waist. And you’re not grunting obscenities. The circular motion of hooping also works a wider range of muscles in your midsection, hitting all the spots crunches and situps miss. And unlike crunches and situps, hooping is also a cardio workout, helping you burn the fat that’s hiding those ripped abs.
The Workout: BIKRAM YOGA
The Goal: Be able to reach your toes. With your elbows. If you get weird looks when you do downward-facing dog at the public sauna, Bikram yoga may be for you. Bikram is a series of 26 yoga poses done in a 105-degree room with 40% humidity. Experts say that the heat loosens muscles, allowing a deeper stretch and increasing range of motion. Meanwhile, the humidity induces a faster heart rate, giving you extra cardio benefits.
The Workout: CAPOEIRA
The Goal: Dance off the pastrami weight. A combination of dancing and minimal contact-partner sparring, this energetic Brazilian martial art dates back to the 16th century—but stars like Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez have put it back in the spotlight. Back bridges, cartwheels, squats, and handstands make up capoeira’s core movements, which are done in a fast-paced, non-stop sequence that stacks up to any aerobics class. And the muscle engagement required to keep balance as you shift your weight works all of your muscles, head to toe.
The Workout: BARRE
The Goal: Get a booty that won’t quit. The basic technique behind this ballet-inspired workout has been around since the 1970s, and it’s gotten supermodels and professional ballet dancers in ridiculous shape ever since. Barre focuses on small, highly targeted movements that tone your thighs, hips, and butt without bulking, so it’s your go-to if you want a seriously sculpted rear view. Plus, now you can hold your own when you challenge Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis to a dance-off.
These exercises may look easy (they’re not!) - but they are easy to do incorrectly. Check out this article and check your form!
Also, you can do crunches all day and they aren’t as effective as planks. Do more planks!
Jessica Smith is such a happy, perky trainer. Her articles like this one make me smile.
To do it, assume a pushup position with your hands holding dumbbells directly below your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Maintaining this body line, bend one elbow to row one weight up next to your rib cage. Return it to the floor, and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Start with 12 to 15 reps and work up to longer sets.
Elevated Pushups: Basic, Single Leg, Spiderman
Time to level up? :)
When I first started doing full pushups, it was awesome, but after awhile I wasn’t progressing/getting better at them. I still had a hard time doing more than 20-25 in a row, and I stayed there for a long time.
Once you mastered a move for the first time, you have a few options to get better at it: do more (high volume, like our pushup challenges), do harder modifications, add resistance/weight or plyometrics and be consistent about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Elevating my pushups was much harder ( I could do dozens and dozens from the floor, but less than 10 elevated), but within a few workouts, I was already feeling stronger. My burpees got better, my plank time improved, and yes, pushups from the floor felt like recovery.
START SLOW: If you’re used to doing a certain number of reps from the floor, know that your reps will be slightly less. That’s okay! Add in short intervals until you get stronger. If you’re still struggling with pushups from the feet, this may be too advanced.
1. Make sure your hands are lined up with your shoulders and take your hands wide. Your eye line should fall in front of your hands (when you look down). You should be able to see a few feet in front of you without straining your neck.
2. Keep your hips lifted (don’t sag) and engage your core and legs (quads). Keep hips facing the floor at all times (especially for single leg or spiderman modifications).
3. Place chair on a secure surface like a mat or against a wall. The first few times, take a peeksie to make sure your feet are in the middle of the chair seat.
4. Push the floor away from you instead of lifting from it.
Beginners: Flip these around to make them easier! Place your hands on the seat of the chair and feet on the ground. The higher the surface, the easier it is. (Easiest: against a wall on an incline).
Give these a try this week in a few of your workouts!
More options here: Working Your Way to Perfect Pushups…