Lovely Legs and Killer Core

This is a great workout to work those legs and engage your core. This is a circuit I did at the gym last week and LOVED! So of course I wanted to share – not only the workout but my personal experience and thoughts on it as well.

This is a weight training workout – but I really focused on keeping my heart rate elevated as well. Be sure to take the time to get the form correct, but try to rest minimally between exercises. I’ve integrated a few exercises that are meant to be done at a faster pace. Keeping your heart rate up will insure more calorie burn, especially post-workout when combined with the weight training.

I did this workout in about 50 minutes (warm-up included) and I burned 479+ calories!! Weight training is great because you continue to burn calories 24 hours or more post-workout!

The first group of exercises will work your legs primarily. Be mindful of your core and keep it engaged. Do 3 sets of these before moving on to the second group, which will work your entire core. I will advice you when you should pick up the pace or slow it down. I started with a 10 minute warm-up.

Warm-Up

10 minute walk on treadmill (4.0 speed and 6.5 incline) – Keep your arms pumping and do not hold on. If the incline or speed are too challenging then drop either or both. The incline will get your hamstrings warmed up.

Group 1 – 3 sets

Bosu Ball Side Step-ups (12 reps/side) – Stand to the right side of a bosu ball (flat side down) with your left foot placed in the middle of the ball, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Squat down and then come up onto your left foot, raising your right leg up knee to chest. Pause briefly and land right foot back down into a squat and repeat. This should be a continuous flow – try to do this as quickly as possible while maintaining balance. I do running arms with my arms, but you can hold them in front of you at your chest or on your hips – whichever keeps you balanced. If you don’t have a bosu ball, you can use a step or low bench. Complete all reps, then repeat on the other side.

Elevated Deadlifts (12-15 reps) – For these deadlifts, you will stand with each foot on a box or bench that are about a foot apart. I used a 30lb weight in each hand, but you can also use a barbell. Start with a lighter weight if you don’t do a lot of deadlifts. Being elevated adds challenge to the normal deadlift by maintaining a little more balance than usual. Stand with a slight bend in the knees and slowly lower the weight down toward the front of your feet. Only go as low as comfortable – and until you feel a decent stretch in your hamstrings. Lift back up keeping your weight toward your heels and using your hamstrings to lift you, and squeeze your gluts at the top. The pace should be 2-3 counts down and 1 count up. If you don’t have 2 boxes, you can stand with both feet on one platform. Do 12 reps if using a heavier weight, and 15 if using lighter weight. With 60 lbs I couldn’t do much more than 12 reps!

Quick Clean and Press (12 reps) – For these use a lighter weight than you may usual use for a clean and press. I used a 30lb barbell. The idea here is to do these as quickly as possible and continually from rep to rep.

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Group 2 – 3 sets

Standing Diagonal Obliques (12 reps/side) – This move is somewhat inspired by kickboxing. I just added some weight to it! I used a 10lb medicine ball. Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands overhead and to the right. Almost all of your weight will be on your right leg with the left extended almost straight out to the side with your toes touching the ground. Bring your left leg up and to the right toward your chest as you lower the weight down to the left. Extend both back to start briefly and repeat. Keep the weight focused on your standing leg and keep your core engaged. Do these as quickly as you can while keeping balanced. Complete all reps then switch sides. You can also do this without weight – place your hands behind your head and lift your knee and twist to meet the opposite elbow to your knee (see pic).

Oblique Sit-ups (10 reps/side alternating) –  I used the same 10lb medicine ball I used for the previous exercise for this one – but use whatever works for you. You can also do the without weight. Lay flat with legs straight, holding the weight (or with hands together) straight back on the ground. Sit up and twist and lower the weight (or hands) down to the right hip – keeping your arms and legs straight. Raise arms back up overhead and lower back down. Repeat twisting to the left. Continue alternating sides. It’s key to keep your arms straight overhead, and hands together if you aren’t using weight. Do these at a steady pace, just be sure not to lower back to laying too quickly.

Dead Bug (10 reps/side alternating) – This is one of my new favorite ab exercises. It’s a little deceiving and worked my abs harder than I thought it would! Lie faceup on floor with knees bent, feet flexed, holding a stability ball in front of chest. Your shins are parallel to floor, and the ball is suspended above your torso by pressing into it with hands (arms extended) and knees (see pic). Simultaneously lower right arm directly behind head and extend left leg forward so that both hover a few inches off floor. Bring right arm and left knee to touch ball again. Repeat with the opposite arm and leg. Keep the ball as steady as possible, and keep your lower abs engaged so that your back remains flat.  I used a large weighted medicine ball – the added weight makes it even tougher!

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Nicki P’s HIIT Combat Workout

I’m a big fan of kickboxing and HIIT workouts….so why not combine the 2? I get a lot of workouts and inspiration from dailyhiit.com and I love that they have kickboxing-inspired HIIT workouts. I went ahead and created my own, since they haven’t posted any in a really long time.

If you aren’t familiar with kickboxing, that’s ok. Not all of the exercises are “kickboxing” moves, but are meant to keep your heart rate up. However, if you are new to kickboxing or need a refresher, check out my blog “Kickboxing Guide and Techniques”. Click here –>   (http://wp.me/p3zrlq-3X)

With any kickboxing workout, the key is to keep moving. You burn a lot of calories kickboxing….it’s amazing! Go at your own pace, just don’t stop. That’s why incorporating kickboxing into an HIIT workout makes so much sense! Be sure to keep your core tight when executing any move, especially punches and kicks. Also try to start with and maintain a proper stance – feet about shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knee and fists in guard position up by your chin.

For my kickboxing workouts, I wear a pair of 2 lb weighted gloves. Set an interval timer for 50 seconds of work and 10 seconds rest for 18 rounds. There are 6 exercises and you will go for 3 sets.

1) 10 Hooks + 5 Jacks – From kickboxing stance alternate left and right hooks 10 times (5 per arm) then do 5 quick jacks and repeat. Execute the hooks and jacks as quickly as possible.

2) Kick Over (Left) and Lunge + Jab (Left) + Upper Cut (right) – This will get those legs and glutes involved! If  you have an equalizer, place one vertically in front of you.  If not, use a chair or anything about hip height. (Or you can also just pretend something is there!) Start in stance with hands in guard. Kick your left leg up and over the equalizer then directly step behind you into a lunge. Step forward back to stance then do a left jab then right uppercut. Repeat the sequence. Keep that core tight as your kick over and execute your punches.

3) Kick Over (Right) and Lunge + Jab (Right) + Upper Cut (Left)  – Repeat the previous sequence but switching legs and punching sides.

4) Leg Lift + 2 Cross Punch Abs – Lay on your back with knees lifted off the ground and slightly bent, arms in guard. If you have an equalizer, place it so your shins are underneath it. Lift your legs and tap the bar, then sit up keeping your legs off the ground and do alternating cross punches left and right. Return to start and repeat. If you are unable to keep your legs elevated throughout, touch them down slightly as you sit up and do your cross punches. Remember to be leaned back slightly and hallow out your stomach when punching. If you do not have the equalizer, you can use a bench or nothing at all.

 

5) Squat and Side Kick (Left) + Squat and Side Kick (Right) + Duck Unders (x4) – For this you can use a sandbag or barbell or you can do it without weight. Place the weight back on your shoulders and stand in stance. Do a squat, then come up and do a side kick to the left. Return to start and do a squat and side kick to the right. Then do a duck under to the left and then to the right twice. Repeat the sequence. If it’s too hard to perform the kicks and keep a straight back on the duck unders, do not use the added weight. This is still a very effective sequence without weight. On the kicks, be sure to lead with your heal (like you’re pushing something away from you). You can also modify by doing a side leg lift instead of a kick (only if you can’t do the side kick…see pic). On the duck unders, keep your back straight and gaze forward. If you’re not using weight, make sure your hands stay in guard throughout.

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6) 8 Weighted Cross Knees (Left) + 8 Weighted Cross Knees (Right) + Burpee – You can do this holding a weight plate or medicine ball, or perform it without. Start with cross knees on the left, reaching the weight overhead to the right, then bringing your left knee up and across your body to meet the weight. Raise the weight back up as you straighten your leg to the left. Just tap the ground and repeat. This is a quick motion – your core should remain engaged and your foot should barely touch the ground. Do 8 reps and then repeat with the right knee. You will then drop down into a burpee as you place the weight on the ground. Grab the weight as you come up out of the burpee and repeat. Speed is a must for this one!

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(Burpee)

Feel The Burn HIIT Workout

The exercises in this circuit are designed to make your muscles burn! Each move targets a specific muscle – and you want to do as many reps as possible in the time given. HIIT workouts are designed to be quick and efficient workouts, so make the most of that short time. If you’re not feeling the burn, up your weight or intensity!

Complete 3 rounds of the following exercises with 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. This should only take you 15 minutes.

Pogo Hops (Left) – Stand on your left leg hands by your sides. Squat down and touch the ground next to your foot and come up and do a hop, reaching your arms above your head. Try to land and go directly into another squat. Your right leg should be off the ground the whole time. Keep your back straight and eyes forward to help with balance.

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Pogo Hops (Right) – Repeat the previous exercise balancing on your right leg. This will really target your glutes and hamstrings!

Tricep Dips – Be sure to do these at a quick pace, to insure that the muscle is constantly working. Really focus on using your arms and not your feet to lift your body. Keep your legs straight, balancing on your heels. for an extra challenge, rest your feet on another bench or a stability ball.

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In and Out Squats – Place a barbell or sandbag on your shoulders behind your neck, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down and remain squatting as you jump your feet together (still squatting!). Jump your feet back out…yes, still squatting. Continue hopping your feet in and out while remaining in a squat position. Your quads will hate you for this one!

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Oblique Sit-Ups – Start laying down with your legs straight and your arms above your head with your palms touching. Sit up, and at the top twist and touch your hands down to the right – trying to twist to behind your hip. Return to start and repeat twisting to the left. Continue alternating sides. This will work every muscle of your core! Be sure to keep your hands together and your legs straight throughout.

Ron Burgandy/Guns Workout

“Oh, it’s the deep burn! Oh, it’s so deep! Oh, I can barely lift my right arm ’cause I did so many. I don’t know if you heard me counting, I did over a thousand. You have your ubulus muscle which connects to the upper dorcinus.”

This is a weight training upper body workout. I won’t expect you to do over a thousand reps of anything….and I wouldn’t recommend it! You will feel a burn though! (But…not in your ubulus or upper docinus).

Complete 3 sets of these exercises, resting about a minute in between exercises and 2 minutes between sets.

Try to increase your weight with each set, going for failure by set 3.

Upright Row w/ Lateral Raise (10 reps) – Stand with feet hip width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand straight down in front of you, palms facing your body. Perform an upright row bending your elbows out to your side and bringing the weights to below your chin. Lower and turn the palms facing each other and raise your arms out to the sides into a lateral raise keeping a slight bend in the elbows (1 rep). Make sure to keep your neck and your traps relaxed throughout both exercises.

Tricep Punch Outs (12 reps) – Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lean forward with a slight bend in your knees. Bring the upper arm up to the side of your rib cage, and position your arm so that it is parallel to the floor and in line with your spine. Your elbows should be pointing directly backward. Keep your upper arm close to your body and punch the dumbbells back and up by extending the elbow joint. You must make sure that your upper arm remains parallel to the floor throughout the exercise. Stop the dumbbell just short of having your elbow locked out straight. Pause for a count of one at the top position. Be sure to keep control of the weight, and keep your arm in the correct position. Slowly lower the dumbbells over a count of two, by flexing the elbows back to start.

Pull Over (20 reps) – Get in a tabletop position with shoulders planted on a bench and feet on the floor. You can also use a stability ball (see pic). Hold a dumbbell by one end with both hands straight overhead, engaging the glutes and back muscles. Lower the weight in an arch behind your head until you feel a good stretch. Bring the dumbbell back to starting position. Keep your butt lifted throughout….can’t forget to work that badunka dunk!

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Single Cross-over Lateral Raise (12 reps/arm) – Start standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Holding a dumbbell in your hand, start with your arm fully extended and dumbbell resting on the opposite quadricep wherever your arm naturally falls. Start the motion by raising the dumbbell diagonally across your body in an upward motion, keeping your arm straight. Bring the dumbbell back down to the starting position and repeat motion. For stability, feel free to rest your empty hand on your opposite hip. Complete all reps then switch arms.

Concentration Curl (10 reps/arm) – Now for the guns! Standing with a dumbbell in one hand, bend over slightly with the weight hanging straight down (palm facing behind you). Your feet should be wider than shoulder width, with your knees bent slightly and your toes turned out. Rest your free hand on you knee for support. Rotate your wrist in and curl the weight up toward your shoulder keeping your upper arm and elbow stationary. Squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement and slowly lower down to the starting position. If you need to, do this sitting on a bench with your tricep rested against your inner thigh. Complete all reps then switch arms.

Ugi Ball Workout

I know most of you out there may not own an Ugi Ball, but if you’re looking for a new piece of equipment I HIGHLY recommend the one! It’s very versatile and can be used to work muscles throughout the entire body. It’s sort of a mix between a bosu ball, stability ball and medicine ball. If you’re interested in one, or want to just check it out, here’s a link to the website.  http://www.ugifit.com/en/what-ugi/ugi-ball

It’s about the same price as a bosu ball, but you can do a lot more with it – plus most of the exercises you would use a bosu ball for.

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Now for the workout….

You can still do this workout if you don’t own a bosu ball. You can improvise by using a bosu ball and/or a large medicine ball.

Complete 3 sets of the following exercises – moving from one to the next with minimal rest. Take a 1-2 minute break between sets.

Lunge and Twist (10 reps/side) – Start standing in a staggered stance holding the ball above your head. Lunge down and bring the ball down and to the outside of your front leg’s hip. Raise the ball back up and do a slight hop to switch legs. Lunge with the other leg forward and lower the ball to the other side. Continue alternating legs. You can also use a medicine ball or dumbbell.

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Plank Toe Touches (10 reps/side) – Come up into plank position with your toes on the ugi ball (or bosu ball). Keeping your core engaged and legs straight, lower your left foot down and tap your toes to the ground. Return to plank and repeat with the right foot. Continue alternating sides. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line throughout.

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Single Leg Bridge-Ups (10 reps/leg) – Lay on your back with one foot on the ugi ball with knee bent, and the other leg straight up. Push into your heel, lifting your hips off the ground as high as you can. Slowly lower and repeat, keeping the opposite leg lifted. Complete all reps and then switch legs. A bosu ball or large medicine  ball can also be used.

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Straight Leg Toe Touches (10 reps/side) – Sit on the Ugi Ball with your legs straight out in front of you and right arm on the ground behind you. You should be leaning back with your other arm extended. Crunch up  and lift the right leg and reach for your foot with the left arm, keeping your arm and leg straight. Lower the leg and arm as you lean back and repeat before your foot touches the ground. Complete all reps and then switch sides. You can use a bosu ball for this as well.

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Cross Mountain Climbers (20 reps) – Start in plank position with your hands on the ball. Bring your left knee up under your chest and toward your right elbow. Return foot and immediately bring the right knee to the left elbow (1 rep). Continue at a quick pace. A bosu ball or large medicine ball can also be used.

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Plie Squat and Swing (12 reps) – Stand in a wide stance with your feet turned out slightly, holding the ball down in front of you. Lower into a squat, bringing the ball between your legs slightly. As you come up raise the ball up to just above chest level and lower back into a squat. Make sure to keep a straight back. A medicine ball, weight plate or dumbbell can also be used.