Burn It Bodyweight Workout

Here it is…the workout you’ve all been waiting for…*insert evil laugh here*…no, I’m not totally serious, but this workout will get your heart pumpin’.

It is a tough workout, but it is done quick, (just 20 minutes) which means you can’t whimp out, you need to go all out during your work intervals and really push yourself. This workout is a mix of cardio, plyometrics, and bodyweight strength moves all wrapped up tightly in a HIIT style workout.

I did two rounds on Saturday combined with the Leg & Arm Burnout (more on that below) and it was a perfect, super schweaty 30 minute workout.

*Remember: Modify exercises when needed, and honor your body and injuries. If you are just starting to get in the workout groove I would recommend doing only 1 round. 

Now, get your favorite jams ready on your ipod, or call up one of your workout buddies and let’s “get this” together!

P.S. If you look closely you can see my little feline photo bomber in just about every pic. He’s a darling.
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– Burpee jacks: Perform a regular burpee, but when you jump back to high plank you will jump your feet out to the sides like you are performing a jumping jack in plank. Jump your feet back together, and complete the burpee.
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– Mtn Climbers: In high plank position bring your knees into your chest one at a time quickly like you are running up the face of a cliff. Keep your abs tight, head level, and booty down.
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– Dive Bombers: Start with hands a little wider than shoulder width and feet on the floor, and hips raised to the ceiling so your body is in a “V”. Lower your shoulders and glide your chest forward just above the ground between your hands and then push towards the ceiling. Your hips will be lifted just off the floor a few inches. Next reverse the move gliding your hips back up making an inverted V with you body like at the start.
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– Lateral lunges w/jump (Left): Step to the left with your left leg sinking into a lateral lunge. As you lunge reach down and touch the ground with your right hand. Upon the touch push up out of the lunge and reach your right hand for ceiling while jumping up off of your right leg.
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– Plank shoulder taps (5) + pushup: In high plank position bring your hand up to tap your opposite shoulder, repeat on the other side for 5 reps, then perform a pushup. Move as quickly as possible, keeping your core tight, back flat, and don’t let your belly sag.
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– Lateral lunges w/jump (Right): Same as the lateral lunges above, but lunging onto your right leg, and jumping up off your left leg.
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– Prisoner squats: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width and your hands placed light behind your head. Keeping your head and chest lifted, squat down and back until your thighs are parallel with the floor, press back up to start. Move through your squats as quickly as possible with good form.
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– Plank walk out + tricep pushup: From a stand bend over placing your hands on the floor in front of your feet, walk them out until you are in high plank, perform 2 tricep pushups (elbows close to your sides), and walk back to the start. Repeat, move quickly.
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– Jump lunges (3) + kick:  From a stand jump up into the air scissoring your legs to land in a lunge with your right leg forward. Immediately jump up from the lunge and switch, landing in a left lunge, repeat again. After your 3rd lunge, swing the opposite leg forward into a front kick. Repeat….3 jumping lunges, kick, 3 jumping lunges, kick, etc.
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Candlestick: Stand with your feet together arms lifted above your head. Roll back into an inverted candlestick position, arms above your head, hips extended, and toes lifting upwards. Roll back down placing your feet on the floor and rolling to a stand, immediately spring upwards into a jump.
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*This is HARD…so feel free to use your hands to help you stand up.

Once you’ve completed 1-2 rounds, you can collapse in a pool of your own sweat…or….you can finish up with this:

Leg & Arm Burnout

30 pulsing squats (regular squat with a pulse, up/down, rise up to start)
30 second squat hold
30 pulsing plie squats (legs wide toes turned out slightly)
30 second plie squat hold
30 jump squats

20 pushups
30 second low pushup hold (hold your body in the low portion of your pushup)
20 plank shoulder taps (tap R, tap L= 1 rep)
30 second low plank hold (resting on your elbows)
30 up & down planks (walk from high to low plank using just your arms)

DONE!

High fives! That’s a serious workout!

If you try this workout let me know how it went….what you liked what you didn’t. I love getting your feedback. Also, a lot of the exercises are new, so if you have any questions at all put them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you.

Happy Workouts!!

~ Liesl

Finish February Fit Challenge – Week 3

Hey Friends!

How was your Valentines Day? Mine was fun, and relaxed. The hubby gave me beautiful flowers and beaded earrings made by my little 14 year old neighbor.image

We celebrated with a dinner of grilled chicken, tasty grilled veggies and sweet potato around a crackling bonfire in our back yard.

A little of this banana blueberry softserve was consumed for dessert…and I’d be withholding information if I didn’t say it was fabulous bathed in some melted dark chocolate. 🙂image

In other news…we are into the 3rd week of our Finish Feb Fit Challenge! I can’t believe it.

If you are just reading about the challenge or getting a later start here’s what we did for Week’s 1 & 2:

Week 1 – HIIT
Week 2 – High Rep

For those of you doing the challenge currently, I want to encourage you to stay strong. It’s the 3rd week and I know you’ve been pushing yourself mentally and physically. Only two weeks to go, so keep up the excellent work, and push strong through through the next two weeks.

When planning for this week’s challenge the fact that I will be traveling came into play. We will be on the road for 22 hours, one way, and then back. Ugh…I know.
Staying active and fit is HARD when you are traveling, all the odds seem to be against you, and there is always an excuse for not getting in a workout. But, this is not my story. I’m ready to hit this challenge hard with you guys no matter what adjustments I may have to make to get my workouts in. 🙂

So…what’s the challenge?image

Bodyweight workouts!!

I LOVE bodyweight workouts because they FUN, versatile, and can be done virtually anywhere… in a small hotel room, a local park, a parking lot, basketball court, open field, driveway, kitchen, wherever…no excuses! 😉

Usually I incorporate at least one “bodyweight only” workout into my routine every week. Bodyweight workouts encourage you to use and practice good form, and allow you to push yourself to a new level because you aren’t hefting weights. You can challenge yourself by pushing your exercises to failure, adding in holds, plyometics, and cardio bursts to really burn out those muscles.

Also, bodyweight workouts are super fun and easy to create. All you need is a few exercises, an open space, and 15-20 minutes and you can pump out an amazing workout.

Here are some of my favorite bodyweight exercises:

1. Burpee – Squat down placing your hands securely on the floor on the outsides of your feet. Jump your feet together back to pushup position, core tight, back flat, no saggy tummy, or booty in the air. Jump your feet back to the start and jump up into the air reaching your arms over head.
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*Looking for a new challenge? Try one of these variations.

2. Prisoner Squat – Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, toes slight turned out and hands placed lightly behind your head, elbows out. Slowly lower back and down into a squat, almost like you are sitting back into a chair. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor and then push through your legs back to the start. Be careful you knees never come out over your toes when you squat.

3. Pushups – With hands shoulder width apart securely on the floor, and legs together toes on the ground behind you, back straight, booty level, no saggy tummy; bending your elbows lower your body down until your chest is just a few inches from the ground. Push up to the start.
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*Rockin’ your pushups like a fitness goddess…try, a variation of the pushup: military, diamond, incline, plyo pushups are all challenging in a new way.
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4. Walking or Jumping Lunges – Basic lunge position shown below. Stepping forward perform a lunge on your right leg, push back to the start and moving forward like you are walking, lunge on your left leg.
Jumping lunges, from a stand jump straight up into the air and scissor your legs landing lightly in a lunge position. Immediately spring upwards, scissor your legs in the air again and land in a lunge on the opposite leg.
Backwards lunge (left)

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5. Plank (and all it’s variations) –
High PlankLow side plank
 

6. Box, Bench, Jumps – Find a bench, stair, or step that is stable. Stand in front of it and using your legs spring up into the air coming down to land on the step with soft knees. Keep your core engaged throughout the movement. Immediately spring down of the step back to the ground.
 Source

7. Pistol Squats – Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body, and raise your right leg, flexing your right ankle and pushing your hips back. Then lower your body standing only on your left leg, while keeping the right leg raised. Hold (yes, I know it hurts) then return to standing.
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*When first trying these I used a low bench to squat down on. Then as I got stronger I used a chair with my hand on the back of it to help me keep good form. Now I can do a few on my own.
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However, if you are a beginner, this is an advanced move and I recommend mastering the squat first. 

8. Handstands – Being a former gymnast I love the handstand as a whole body, bodyweight exercise. If you are just starting out please don’t try this without someone spotting you. If, you have strong upper body strength try kicking up to a handstand against a wall. Or if you’ve conquered the wall handstand, try kicking up to a full handstand, just make sure you know how to fall, and are on soft grass or a well cushioned area. Do not do this move on a hard surface.image

Handstand a piece of cake? Try handstand pushups. Use a wall or spotter until you have mastered the move.

9. Mountain Climbers – Great for your core, legs, and for a boost of cardio. Start in pushup position, arms straight, back flat, legs together resting on your toes, and no sagging bellies. Bring your left knee into your chest, and put it back, then your right. Do this quickly like you are moving quickly and efficiently up a mountain. You can also add a pushup after you bring each knee in once. This adds intensity to the exercise.
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10. Tuck Jumps – Stand up straight, arms at your sides, as you jump straight into the air, bring your knees up to your chest, and try to extend them as you come down to land. Keep soft knees upon landing. Avoid kicking your heels back to kick your butt when you jump, your want your knees up. These are great tacked onto a burpee, or as a burner after a series of squat jumps.
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Excuse the cute little photo bombin’ pooch.

Those are just a few of my favorites…but there are many more.

Feel free to use some of these bodyweight moves to put together your own workouts, or there are some great bodyweight workouts on my fitness/workout page as well.

Plus, Monday I’ll be posting a new (to me!) bodyweight workout, to keep things fresh and fun for this weeks challenge. So be sure to come and check that out!

Have a lovely Valentines Weekend!

~ Liesl

Friday Fit Focus: Why you should be Bodyweight Training + Workouts!

Happy Friday! Hope today kicks off a fabulous holiday weekend for everyone filled with family and friends.

This Friday I wanted to talk to you all a little bit about bodyweight training.

While I’m a huge advocate for a good weight session in the gym or at home; lately I’ve been experimenting with adding bodyweight workouts and training to my routine. And you know what? I’m loving the change!

There are SO many reasons to incorporate bodyweight training into your normal fitness routine. Below I’ll cover a few that I think give bodyweight training the merit that it deserves.

Reason 1: Bodyweight training saves TIME & MONEY.

Lets be honest, a good number of us don’t have the time to get to the gym, or money for a gym membership. Or in my case, there is no gym. With an arsenal of bodyweight workout routines you can work out at home, at a time that is convenient for you, and for FREE! Plus you cut out your travel time to and from the gym, and in the long run save yourself even more time and money! Awesome right?!

Reason 2: Bodyweight workouts help to beat heavy lifting/cardio boredom. Seriously they do.

Have you ever had those days where you can’t get excited about circuiting through some bicep curls and tricep kickbacks…again. Or you see 3 miles on your calendar for Mon, Wed, and Friday ugh…where’s the motivation. I’ve been there probably more often than I’d like to admit. But, who wants to dread their workout? If you truly want to make working out regularly a habit, then you have to enjoy what you are doing.

I believe bodyweight workouts do just that. It is so easy to go to the gym and sit at a machine or do that same set of squats and lunges you always do. In my opinion bodyweight training throws  new challenges into your normal workout regimen, and changes your body in new ways. It also teaches you fun and new twists to workout moves you have already mastered, giving you more exercises to chose from when you are writing your own workouts.

Reason 3: Bodyweight training challenges your entire body in ways that heavier weights sometimes don’t.

When you are doing bodyweight exercises you are using your entire body. You are engaging muscles you don’t even know that you are engaging. Plus it gives you a chance to really concentrate on your form while you are doing each exercise and know how it feels to complete the exercise correctly.

An added challenge to bodyweight training is that you are able to push yourself past your usual limits when you are using heavier weights. For example, instead of eeking out  those 8-10 weighted lunges, you can do walking lunges until your legs are jello and then finish it up with some jumping lunges to really torch your legs and burn some serious fat! Your muscles will be screaming in a new way, I guarantee it.

Reason 4: Bodyweight training encourages creativity, and motivation to challenge yourself in your workouts.

Lately I’ve been including at least one day of bodyweight training into my workout schedule. Why? For the reasons above, and also because I like a personal challenge. With creating a bodyweight workout you can challenge yourself in different ways; including reps, working to failure, time, adding lots of plyometrics or cardio moves to your workouts, and the list goes on.

Plus, you don’t have to do it alone. Creating a bodyweight workout is super fun to do with a fitness loving friend/workout partner and then you can schedule a time to meet and do the workout together! What better motivation can you have than that?!

Here are some Sample Bodyweight Workouts that I’ve done, to get you started!

This first one is a total body workout incorporating some plyo and cardio moves into each circuit. I love to do this circuit while I’m traveling as you can do it anywhere, and doing it early in the morning, before a busy day, gives me energy and keeps me feeling great all day.

Bodyweight Workout 1.bmp

Looking to get your arms and upper body lean and toned and ready for that strapless number you just bought, or do you just want to feel stronger while lifting your toddlers into the shopping cart at WalMart?  Try this pure pushups workout. You’ll work yourself to failure, which means you can’t possibly complete another repetition of the pushup you are doing, and then you will immediately move on to a modified version of the pushup and work until failure again.

This workout will make your arms cry for mercy! (should there be an exclamation point there? no pain no….)

Pushups Workout

*Tricep pushups – hand under your shoulders, dropping down keep your elbows close to your sides, and use your triceps to push up.
**Wide pushups w/shoulder tap – place hands wider than shoulder with, drop down, push up and lift you right had to tap your left shoulder, repeat with your right hand, then complete another pushup.
**Decline pushup – put your feet on the seat of a chair and walk your hands out until you are in pushup position. Do pushups.
*Incline pushup – put you hands on the edge of your couch and feet on the floor, body in pushup postion. Do pushups.
**1-2-3down/up pushup – count 1, 2, 3 as you slowly lower into your pushup, like and elevator stopping at every floor you are briefly stopping your body. Do the same on the way up.
*Fast pushups – do standard pushups as fast as you can with good form.

Personally I love incorporating bodyweight training into my leg workouts. It gets my fast twitch fibers firing, and helps to create lean muscular shape in my quads and thighs.
This workout incorporates strength for a duration of time, and cardio and plyo intervals come right after. Hello skinny jeans…your welcome.

Lean Legs Bodyweight Workout

Want to get outside and run? Try this heart pumper of a workout. I love doing this workout along the boardwalk that runs along the beach when we are in town. It’s much more exciting than “just a run!”

Get Outside & Move Workout

Well, I hope that you found this post helpful, and that it inspired you to try something new. Feel free to use any of these workouts as inspiration to create your own. That’s the beauty of bodyweight training it is flexible in so many ways, and challenging at the same time!!

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you try any of the workouts, or write one of your own, I’d love to try it!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!!

What kind of bodyweight exercises are your favorites? What plans do you have for the 4th weekend?

~ Liesl