Take Our 12 Days of Fitness Challenge to Stay Active Through the Holidays
Happy holidays and happy sweating!
The holiday season is upon us, which means lots of merrymaking (read: sips and sweets). And while it may not be your intention to slack on your fitness routine, it does happen. In an effort to help you stay (somewhat) in line, we tapped 12 top trainers to provide some of their must-do moves. They are super simple–meaning they don't require any crazy equipment– but will still help you work up a decent sweat. Try adding one to your current routine daily. Or, if you've been sprawled out on the couch watching TV all day (no judgement), use the next commercial break to do at least one of these moves. Happy holidays and happy sweating!
On the first day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Bridge Pose
Per Meg McNeal of Lyon’s Den Power Yoga: “This is an accessible way to stretch the front body and strengthen the back muscles. Your quadriceps strongly engage bringing the power of this pose into the legs.”
How to do it: Lay down on the ground bending both knees so feet are flat on the floor and you can graze the backs of your heels with your middle fingers. Feet should be about hip-width distance apart with toes facing forward. Lift hips up and walk the upper arm bones underneath your body, interlacing the fingertips underneath you. Pressing the four corners of the feet down into the floor to engage the leg muscles and keep rotating the inner thighs toward one another as if you were squeezing a yoga block (use a block if you want!); hold for 5 full breaths. Release the arms out from underneath you and roll down through the spinal column. Take one breath to rest and then come right back up. Repeat 5 times total.
Modification: Slip a yoga block (at its greatest height) underneath the body and rest your sacrum on the block. This is a resting bridge pose, which will stimulate and invigorate the body as a backbend but with a lot less work involved.
On the second day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Seated Dumbbell Front Raise
Corey Calliet of Calliet X-treme Fitness, AKA the man who helped Michael B. Jordan get the drool-worthy body for his staring role in Creed, says: “This shoulder sculptor targets the front delts to build and define the muscle. Feel the burn!”
How to do it: Sit tall on an exercise bench with an 8-10 pound dumbbell in each hand. Raise arms with an explosive force; hold and squeeze for a count of two at the top. Slowly and with control lower dumbbells back down, and then repeat. Complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
On the third day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Walk Out Plank Push-up
“This is a great at-home workout that targets multiple muscles— core, chest, anterior deltoids and triceps — without any need for equipment," explains Lena Marti, instructor at HIIT-based Orangetheory and star of Bravo’s fitness reality series Work Out New York.
How to do it: Start standing; bend knees slightly and place hands on the floor. Keep back flat. Walk hands out into a plank position and perform one pushup. When you rise back to plank, walk hands back to toes and stand. Do 4 sets of 8 reps with 45 seconds to 1-minute rest in between sets.
Modification: Perform the push-up on your knees.
On the fourth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Kettlebell High Pull
“This is a great lower and upper body exercise that will really works those shoulders,” explains Tyler Manzo, CrossFit coach at Brick Grand Central. “And the higher the reps the bigger the shoulder burn.”
How to do it: Start with feet an inch outside of shoulders with a kettlebell on the ground between feet. With chest up and eyes forward, bend knees and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Keeping arms straight, stand up with force, pulling the kettlebell up to chest by bending elbows out to the sides and raising forearms. Do 4 sets of 10 reps.
On the fifth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Hip Drive into Step Up and Lift
“This combo makes a great workout finisher or super-efficient mini workout that hits all your largest muscle groups for a metabolic shock that will have you burning calories and fat for the rest of your day,” says Brynn Putnam, founder of Refine Method, a boutique fitness studio in NYC.
How to do it: Sit with your hips on your heels holding an 8-10 pounds medicine ball at your chest. Brace your abs and drive from your glutes, coming to your knees. Step your right foot forward, then use your left foot to step up onto a 6- to 12-inch box, lifting up until right toe, and then lifting the ball across your body towards your left shoulder. Step down and return to seated position. Perform for 60 seconds and then rest for 30s, alternating sides. Do 6-10 rounds.
On the sixth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Lateral Burpee
“This bodyweight move, which can be done anywhere with very little space, works the chest, shoulders, legs and core and is fantastic for burning fat and improving overall conditioning,” says Adam Rosante, founder of The People’s Bootcamp and author of The 30-Second body: Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Live Hard.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Squat down and place hands on the floor under shoulders. Jump feet back to land in a push-up position. Perform a push-up. Jump feet back to start, then explosively jump straight up and over to the right. Land softly and repeat the entire movement, this time jumping up and over to the left. Keep alternating sides. Perform the move for 30-seconds, resting up to 30-seconds before repeating. That's 1 round. Do 8 total rounds.
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On the seventh day of fitness my trainer gave to me…Plank
“Planks are a great ab-targeting exercise that incorporate the whole body— shoulders, arms, upper and lower back, glutes, thighs, hamstrings, calves and feet,” notes Danny Musico, celeb trainer who has whipped everyone from Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg to Jessica Simpson and JoJo into tip-top shape.
How to do it: Get into the “up” part of a push-up, aligning your shoulders, arms, upper and lower back while contracting your core down through your glutes. Keep your body as straight as possible with the focus on your mid-section stability. Do 3 sets starting at 30 seconds and then build up.
On the eighth day of fitness my trainer gave to me…Lynx Hamstring Curl
How to do it: Lie face-up, legs extended out in front of you with heels on Lynx discs (or Valslides, Sklz Slidez, or even towels). Slowly move feet in toward butt as you lift butt and lower back off the ground to come into a hip bridge. Slide feet back out and then using your core lift up to a seated position with hands straight out in front of you. Lower back down and repeat entire move. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
On the ninth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Backwards Lunge Jumps
“Not only will this explosive move help elevate your heart rate, but it is a great sculptor for your quads, hamstrings, calves and abs while simultaneously working on your coordination,” explains Alonzo Wilson, Founder of Tone House, an extreme athletic fitness studio in New York.
How to do it: Start with feet together, take a giant step back with the right leg, and lower down into a lunge. Explode off the left leg jumping up and driving the right knee forward. Land back in the lunge position. Do all reps on right and then repeat move on left side. Do 3 sets of 20 reps per leg.
Modification: Can't jump? Lunge back and then rise up and drive your working knee forward.
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On the tenth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Renegade Row
“Not only will this help stabilize your core, it will also help improve posture and tone arms when done correctly,” explains Joe Holder, Nike running and training coach and elite trainer at S10 Training. "This is crucial as proper posture creates a better-perceived physique. The back, especially mid-back, is an often under targeted area for women and this exercise hits key muscles that will assist in posture improvement and overall strength.”
How to do it: Grab a pair of 8- to 10-pound dumbbells and get in plank position with your hands on weights and feet hip-width apart; press into dumbells for better balance. Bend right elbow and then raise dumbbell until your elbow passes your torso. Lower arm back to start and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
On the eleventh day of fitness my trainer gave to me…Hand Step-Up
"Many women shy away from machines in the gym for chest work and have truly poor form when doing push-ups," says Andia Winslow, founder of the Fit Cycle and a running coach at New York City's indoor running studio Mile High Club. "That's why the Hand step-up is a great starter move. It works the chest and shoulders yes, but when down properly, the core as well. It also helps with posture and body control."
How to do it: Find an elevated surface— curb, back of a treadmill, low plyo box, stack of hard back books—and situate body in push-up form in front of elevated surface with legs extended and shoulders stacked over wrists. For 30 seconds, with right hand leading, place right hand on elevated surface followed by left and then return right hand to lower surface, followed by left. Take a one-minute break and repeat the move for another 30 seconds, leading with the left hand. Do 3 rounds.
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On the twelfth day of fitness my trainer gave to me… Bent-Leg Butt Lift
“This is the ultimate butt-lifting move,” says Jason Bayus, trainer at YG Studios in New York City. “With your shoulders set up lower than your hips, you’re enlisting gravity to help strengthen and tone those glutes. The slow descent of the leg challenges your right obliques while also toning the supporting arms isometrically."
How to do it: Start on all fours with hands clasped together and head lightly resting on hands. Lift your right leg as high as possible, leg and knee turned out with your foot flexed. Slowly begin to bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle as the leg drops to your side almost to the floor. (Keep foot higher than knee) Next, press the leg and heel of your right foot back up high into the air as your leg straightens directly behind you. Switch legs. Work up to 3 sets of 25 reps per leg.