Summer’s coming, and we all know what that means… after counting down the weeks you have left until you need to get your all new ‘summer’ body out, it’s time to run through your list of viable attack options in a mad panic and figure out just what you are going to be able to do.
And what are you thinking?
Dukan Diet? So 2014.
Crossfit? So much effort!
Running in the park? Towie just isn’t in anymore!
Here’s an idea. Why not start performing exercises that will actually help you in the long term? Not only will these five moves burn fat and leave you looking slimmer than before, they will also help you to live your life – whether it’s playing with the kids or improving your posture.
Before performing any of the listed exercises it is essential that you spend at least five minutes warming up properly first – light jogging, star jumps and high knees will help get your blood flowing fast and keep you safe and minimise injury risk when exercising.
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds in a circuit fashion with no rest at all. Once you have completed all five exercises, rest for one minute and get to it again. Complete the circuit three times for an intense workout taking you around 10 minutes!
For those of you with good knees (read – no knee pain) the squat jump is the perfect exercise for you. Push your hips back slightly and then sit down through the heels of your feet, keeping your chest up and back straight. When you reach the deepest comfortable point of your squat, explode by driving through your feet and jumping into the air. Land softly and drop straight into another squat. Jump again. Repeat. Enjoy. (If jump squats are too hard for you, e.g. you feel pressure or pain around your knees, or in your lower back, regress to normal squats onto a chair placed behind you.)
The benefits: squat jumps are not only one of the most superior fat burners going by raising your heart rate quickly, but they also target your entire body, most seriously your legs, thighs and backside!
Start on your forearms in a plank position. This means your hips are in line with your upper body and they don’t sag down towards the floor. Keep your body in a straight line but shift your weight to the left or right so that you can lift an arm up and put your hand down, eventually bringing yourself to a full push up position. From this full push-up position, go back to your forearms and original plank position. Repeat as many full reps as you can in 30 seconds.
The benefits: the push up plank is a supreme upper body exercise, working your arms, shoulders, chest, abdominals and glutes all at the same time!
Take a big step behind you with one foot, and by keeping the weight on the heel of your front foot, slowly lower your body into the gap you’ve just made by spreading your feet, keeping your chest up high and facing forward. At the same time, as lowering your body, your hands should be in a shoulder press position, up in the air. Lower your knee towards the floor and then drive back up to the split standing position. As you drive up, also press your arms overhead. Consciously think about your back leg working, by squeezing your glutes on the back leg and driving to propel yourself to a standing position.
The benefits: a move that focuses more on the lower body than just about anything else, the lunge works your thighs, calves, hamstrings and glutes all in one move! Due to all the muscles used, your heart is pushed hard which will promote fat burning and improved cardio. Performing the overhead press at the same time increases muscle activation and balance in your abdominals and core.
Lie with your lower shoulders and upper back supported on a bench or sofa and keep your feet on the floor inside shoulder width apart. With your feet flat on the floor, keep your weight through your heels and lower your backside towards the floor. Complete the rep by utilising your glutes and driving back to a straight position again, (e.g. don’t drive up until your pelvis is higher than your shoulders or upper back. This exercise is very effective for working the back of the legs and glutes, even more so in ladies that have very dominant thigh muscles.
The benefits: the hip thrust may look strange, but it specifically targets your hamstrings and glutes in safe, practical way. Start with bodyweight but you will very quickly feel the need to introduce some resistance. Achieve this by adding weight to your lower stomach area – a light dumbbell or medicine ball is perfect.
This final move combines strength, flexibility and coordinated cardio and will literally get you moving around the house! Using your hallway or a bigger room, start on all fours and walk forwards, using your hands first then following with your feet. Try and keep your hips up high and it will look like an awkward shuffle. Bear crawl for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat for three crawls.
The benefits: this gets you moving, raising your heart rate high whilst using your shoulders, chest, arms, back, abs and legs to make you move and stabilise you. Like the other exercises in the circuit, you are getting the most work done in the shortest time by using a large number of muscles!
So, there are five exercises, but with a hidden sixth in case you didn’t spot it! When you do the circuit you should be performing six exercises as you will lunge with each ‘side’. My bad!
Make sure you’re putting in the effort for the full 10 minutes; you should try and do as many reps with good form as you possibly can in the 30 seconds.
This circuit will send your heart rate sky high resulting in massive calorie burn and muscles worked, and as an additional bonus it will keep you burning calories for at least four to six hours after you’ve finished training!
The workout involves using your bodyweight for resistance, and features a large cardio portion (exercises that raise your heart rate and therefore burn bodyfat) to ensure that you will be both as lean as possible and as strong as possible, without bulking up!
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