You've probably seen ads for Spartan Races, and other obstacles courses designed to challenge your endurance and fortitude. (Picture wall climbs and freezing water plunges!) Training for these events can whip you into killer shape. But they require a lot of planning, money, and sometimes travel. That's why I developed a similar-style workout you can do anywhere. This circuit combines cardio and strength training, and is guaranteed to bring out your inner warrior (without all the mud).
Start by dividing your run—either outdoors or on a treadmill—into four segments. (So if you’re running 4 miles, carve it up into 1-mile legs.) Then as you complete each leg, do the exercises described below.
Repeat 2 times
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. Push your butt back and squat down until you are parallel with the floor. Push through your heels to stand back up to starting position.
10 Reverse lunges
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop your right foot behind you and sink into your left hip. Bring your right foot forward to meet your left, and repeat on the other side. (Weights are optional.)
Repeat 2 times
Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight and your body in a straight line, lower down as far as you can. Press back up while engaging your chest, arms, abs, and legs to return to your starting position. If needed, you can drop to your knees, but make sure that your body still forms in a straight line from the knees up.
Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Bring your right knee toward your left elbow, while engaging your core, then return it to the ground. Repeat on your left side. Continue alternating until you've completed 5 reps on each side.
Repeat 2 times
10 Curtsy lunges
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your right leg and step back and to the left as far as you can. Make sure that your left knee stays at a 90-degree angle and doesn't go past your toes. Push through your left leg to bring your right leg back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating until you've completed 10 reps per leg. (Weights are optional.)
10 Single-leg toe touches
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, chest out, and shoulders back. To begin, lift your right leg and keep your weight on your left leg. From here, keeping your chest out and shoulders back, reach down to touch your left toe. Your left leg should stay slightly bent throughout the movement, but should not change position from the start to finish of the exercise. Come back up without allowing your right leg to touch down, and repeat until you've completed 10 reps on your left leg. When you're finished, repeat on your other leg. (Weights are optional.)
Repeat 2 times each
Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, abs tight, and body in a straight line. Hold for 30 seconds.
30-second Squat hold
Get into a squat position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, toes flared out, and your knees above your toes. Hold for 30 seconds.
For more workouts like this, check out A Fat-Burning Treadmill Workout That's Actually Fun!
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.