Tag Archives: abs

One Simple Change to Get More Out of Your Workout!

When it comes to fitness, more isn’t always better.

Simply put, the QUALITY of your workout is more important than the amount of time you spend on it.

For years, we’ve been told that the best way to burn fat is through long, aerobic workouts, such as long distance running or hours on a similar cardio machine. In recent studies, though, we’re learning that shorter interval workouts are actually just as effective for burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and lowering insulin resistance.

Here are some other benefits of interval workouts:

– simple to create using any kind of exercise, which keeps you from getting bored!
– easier to fit into your schedule because they can be done in less than 30 minutes and still give you a great workout
– they can be done anywhere – I’ve done them at parks, in my basement, and in hotel rooms
– increases your RESTING metabolism rate – meaning, your body will burn more calories throughout your day, even when you’re resting. Long aerobic workouts might burn a lot of calories DURING the workout, but interval workouts cause you to burn more calories overall because you continue burning throughout the next 48 hours

Without further ado, here are the simple steps to creating a great interval workout:

Creating an Interval Workout

You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want, but a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 30-60 seconds. So, following the 2:1 ratio, if your intervals are going to be 30 seconds, your rest periods will be 15 seconds. The short rest period keeps your heart rate elevated and is guaranteed to give you a great workout!

A couple years ago, I started incorporating intervals into my running workouts and saw a noticeable increase in my speed. Lately I’ve been using intervals for various exercises on the floor or with weights, primarily using movements that work multiple muscle groups.

Here are some of my favorite exercises for intervals workouts:

  • Burpees – Everyone hates them (myself included) but they are one of the best total body exercises you can do without any equipment
  • Push-ups – If you can’t do military-style push-ups, put your hands on a bench,Β or just do the push-ups on your knees
  • Squat jumps – squat with your feet shoulder-width apart; as you rise from the squat, jump off the ground with both feet
  • Lunges – many variations you can do on this one! Lunge forward, backward or sideways and add an overhead press with dumbbells if you can
  • Plank – if you’re able to plank easily, add in an alternating leg lift or other variation to make it more difficult!
  • Scissor Legs – you can use ANY ab exercise in your interval workout, but scissor legs are one of my favorites. I also love doing Russian twists and In-and-Outs
  • Tricep Dips – all you need is a bench or chair
  • Bench Step-ups – exactly what it sounds like: find a bench or flight of stairs and step up and down, alternating your leg each time
  • High Knee Sprints – great exercise to get your heart rate going!
  • Jumping jacks – simple and old-school!
  • Side shuffles over a step
  • Mountain climbers – this one targets your abs and also hits your shoulders, glutes and legs

Those are just a few of the exercises you can incorporate into your interval workout.

Here’s a sample routine that I created for myself a few days ago:
Full Body Interval Workout cropped

This circuit will give you a great full-body workout in less than 20 minutes!

I’ll leave you with a little workout humor that made me laugh today…

funny-workout-quotes

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Two At-Home Workouts: Shoulders + Abs

Tis the season…of allergies SPRING! The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and my throat is scratchy. Allergies have never really bothered me in the past, so when I felt my throat slowly closing up and my nose getting stuffy on Saturday night, I was caught off guard. The tree pollen has been incredibly high this week (so high that my Weather Channel app is sending me alerts about it, whatever that means!) and as a result, I’ve spent most of my time indoors. It’s frustrating to not be outside enjoying the glorious sunshine, but it’s given me the motivation to get back into strength training in my workouts this week.

allergies ecard

I haven’t been in the mood for the gym the past few days, so I decided to create a couple simple workouts that I could complete in the comfort of my own basement. All you need for these is dumbbells and a stability ball.

On Saturday, I completed this shoulders workout, circuit-style. Meaning, I didn’t rest at all between the exercises and completed the set 3 times. (I did rest about 1 minute in between each set.) It was a tough and sweaty workout that left my shoulders completely spent. For circuit-style workouts like this one, I often use a slightly lighter weight on all the exercises for the first circuit, then increase to a heavy weight for the second, and back down a little bit on the third.

Shoulders Circuit:
(15 reps each, with no more than 10 seconds in between each exercise)

– Seated Arnold Press on Stability Ball
– Side Lateral Raise
– Standing Overhead Press with Dumbbells
Bent-over Rear Delt Raise (you can do this exercise either bent-over while standing, or sitting on a bench)
Dumbbell Front Raise

< repeat 3x >

I followed this workout with a 30-minute HIIT run on the treadmill and called it a day!

On Sunday, I was in a little bit of a rush to workout before making it out to church for an earlier Easter service, so I jotted down a simple at-home abs workout that took me less than 25 minutes to complete.

This workout consists of 2 circuits of 10 different exercises that are each done for 1 minute with no rest in between. My favorite way to do these workouts is to set up my interval timer app and just start and stop it when I do each exercise, without clearing the accumulated time. That way, I can see the minutes adding up and know that I’m getting closer to the end of the circuit! Pausing the timer in between exercises for a few seconds allows me to grab a dumbbell, stability ball, or whatever I need, without cutting into the “1 Minute” of the next exercise. Β πŸ˜‰

Here’s the workout:

abs circuit workout

Abs Circuit Workout:
(Do each exercise for 1 minute and complete the entire circuit without resting, if possible! Repeat twice.)

1) Hanging leg raise (if you don’t have a pull-up bar at home, do some mountain climbers for this segment instead)
2) Russian Twists (with dumbbell)
3) Side Tilts with Dumbbell
4) In-and-Outs
5) Scissor Legs
6) Plank with Feet on Stability Ball (or a Medicine Ball, if you prefer!)
7) Crunches on Stability Ball (the ball should be under the “small” of your back)
8) Side-plank with Leg Raises
9) Stability Ball Leg Lift (squeeze the stability ball between your ankles/calves; lay on your back and slowly raise the ball up off the ground, while tightening your abs)
10) Bicycle Crunches (left elbow to right knee, and vice versa)

If you aren’t sufficiently sweaty at the end of this workout, throw in a minute or two of mountain climbers to finish it off!

I hope you had a great Easter weekend!

πŸ™‚

Post-Thanksgiving Ab Workout!

Thanksgiving is often looked upon as an opportunity to throw all semblance of a diet caution to the wind and enjoy every fattening food you can possibly imagine. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with indulging as a special treat and eating some things you might not want in your diet every day. Enjoy the special time with family and friends – and enjoy a piece of pie if you want!

For Thanksgiving this year, my family had another family over for the midday feast. They are lifelong friends that my siblings and I pretty much grew up with, and we are still great friends to this day! Their family brought over a few dishes for the meal and we my mom made a few as well. The result was an enormous spread of delicious casseroles, green beans, stuffing, turkey, sweet potatoes, rolls, corn, and cranberry jello. Yummm!

Since I eat gluten-free, I filled up on the sweet potatoes, green beans, and spinach casserole. I’m pretty sure I had 4 helpings of sweet potatoes. My mom cubes them and bakes them in the oven with some olive oil and rosemary and they are so delicious!

I had time for a quick workout this morning and decided to knock out some abs exercises! I don’t focus a lot on my abs because they get worked in a roundabout way by other weight-lifting exercises I do throughout the week. I also find that running keeps my abs pretty naturally flat. However, I love creating ab workouts and challenging myself to “feel the burn.” Β πŸ˜‰

Here’s the random medley I created today:

60 Second Plank on Elbows (add variations such as lifting one leg and then the other, if you desire!)

50 Crunches on Stability Ball

40 Knees to Elbows, hanging from chin-up bar

30 Russian Ball Twists, holding 15lb dumbbell

20 Scissor Legs (10 on each leg)

10 Dumbbell Side Bend with 40lb dumbbell (10 on each side)
Repeat this sequence 3 times for a great overall ab workout!

And, just for fun, I had to include some hilarious “abs ecards” that made me laugh today…

 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! πŸ™‚