March 4, 2013

Ok, get ready– this month, I want to make you sweat and burn!  These moves are challenging, building on last month’s basic routine.  Each exercise works many different muscles and body sections at once.  This allows for more work done in a shorter amount of time, and (more importantly) the more muscles you have working, the higher your heart rate goes.

Move through exercises 1-8 quickly to keep your heart rate up.  Try to complete the circuit twice, and add in some intervals (treadmill, jacks, toe taps) if you have time to really work in that cardio.   I used 10 pound dumbbells, an 8 pound medicine ball, and a large inflatable exercise ball.   Remember, good form above all, and have fun!

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1.  4-count lunging arms:  Begin with feet one leg length apart, toes pointing forward, arms shoulder height, palms facing in.  From a lunge position (front knee at 90 degrees) extend legs straight while arms extend above.  Return to beginning lunge, hold the lunge while arms extend straight in front you.  Return to beginning position.  Complete 12 reps.  4 counts to work all those leg and arm muscles.  Beautiful!

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2.  Upright row/leg extension:  Begin with weight on your left leg, right leg is slightly bent behind you, two inches off the ground.  Arms are in front of the thighs, palms facing back towards your body.  As you pull the arms up, lead with the elbows and keep the wrists straight.  The right leg lifts and extends behind you at the same time.  12 reps for each leg (you might need a smaller hand weight for this one).

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3.  Kettlebell squat with side leg extension:  Start in a squat position, toes forward, hips back.  Keeping the spine straight, bring the right hand (weighted) to the left knee.  As you lift out of the squat, transfer the weight to your right foot and extend the left leg to the side.  At the same time, the right hand pulls up 180 degrees (bending through the elbow) to a high diagonal.  Return to the beginning squat.  12 reps on each side.

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4.  Ball burpee: Grab a weighted workout ball (mine is 8 lbs), begin from a low squat position, feet and knees together with ball extended in front of you.  Jump your legs back to a push-up position, hands below the shoulders.  Jump back to beginning squat and stand up straight extending ball and hands over your head.  Can you do 10?  This is a core killer!

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5.  Inner and outer leg lifts:  For the adductor and abductor muscles (the long inner and outer thighs).  Lie on your side, supported by the elbow directly under the shoulder.  Bottom leg can be bent or straight, extend the top leg straight out from the hip, toe facing front.  Place your weight on the outside of the thigh and lift the leg up and down 6-8 inches, 12 times.  Next, bend the top leg and move the weight to the bottom inner thigh.  Now lift the bottom leg 6-8 inches, 12 times, working the inner thigh.  Roll over and repeat on the other side.

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6.  Side plank hold:  On the floor with your body weight supported by one elbow (directly under shoulder) and feet side by side (if this is too difficult drop the knee of your bottom leg).  Hold the pose, keeping belly pulled in and body open, for 30-60 seconds.  Breathe!

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7.  Push-up with side extension:  This is a two-step exercise, beginning in a push-up plank position.  Perform one push-up, and on completion rotate the torso open to the side and extend the free arm to the ceiling.  Come back to the center plank position, perform another push-up and rotate to the opposite side.  Continue rotating push-ups to fatigue (hopefully at least 12!).

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8.  Ball row:  Hopefully you have access to a big exercise ball, if not, you can modify by performing this exercise in a supported side plank (hand and bottom knee on the floor).   Support yourself on the ball with your left side hip and elbow.  You should have to work to hold this position.  Grab a heavy weight in your right hand, palm facing in towards your body.  Pull the elbow up and back, while not allowing your body to slouch.  12 reps on each side.

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This routine will get you out of that rut, help you push through that plateau, and keep you on track for swimsuit season!

Photos by Veronica Reeve

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