Brand New Moves for a Brand New You
Once you begin to work out regularly, you’ll need to switch it up from time to time to keep from getting bored. You’ll also eventually want to kick your workout up a notch to make sure you’re working all your muscles. Here are three suggestions for moves you can work into your exercise routine.
Overhead trunk extension
Here’s an exercise for toning the tummy, from fitness trainer Holly Perkins, creator of ki Green Fitness Club in Los Angeles. The overhead trunk extension focuses on the underused transversus abdominis muscle, the muscle responsible for drawing the belly inward and supporting the spine. “It makes your abdomen look great and, more important, function well,” says Perkins.
a) Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Hold a 5- or 10-pound dumbbell in your hands and extend your arms up toward the sky.
b) Actively lengthen your spine as you extend your arms up toward the ceiling. This should feel like you’re lengthening the space between your hips and ribs. The goal is to lift the spine and lengthen the torso as much as possible.
c) Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Breathing may feel awkward, so be sure to take short but regular breaths.
The Bulgarian split squat
The Bulgarian split squat is an excellent calorie burner that will give your butt and legs a great workout, says Rachel Cosgrove, personal trainer and author of “The Female Body Breakthrough.” You can do this exercise anywhere — all you need is a chair behind you to rest your foot.
a) Stand a couple of feet in front of a chair facing away from it. Place your foot on the chair behind you.
b) With your torso upright and your core (abdominal muscles) tight, lower yourself into a lunge, with most of your weight on the front foot. (Feel the stretch in your back hip flexor muscle.)
c) Lower yourself until your back knee almost touches the floor.
d) Return to the start position.
e) Switch legs and repeat.
10-minute mini workout
Here’s a mini circuit resistance training workout you can do outdoors — in the park, on the basketball court or in your own backyard, recommends Mary Gillis, an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and founder of Anything But The Gym. “It’s quick, efficient and you can use your own body weight,” says Gillis. Do each exercise as many times as you can during the allotted time.
a) Start with 1 minute of jumping jacks. Rest for 15 seconds.
b) Find a park bench or picnic table and do 1 minute of incline push-ups (hands on the bench or table). Rest for 15 seconds.
c) Bring your hands straight in front of your body, legs shoulder-width apart, and do 1 minute of body squats. Rest for 15 seconds.
d) Return to the bench or table for 1 minute of knee-ins (resting your hands on the bench or table, bring one knee to your chest, then the other). Rest for 15 seconds.
e) Repeat the circuit.