It’s that time again’the festive season is right around the corner. It may be ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ but for many of us, it’s also a period where finding the opportunity to squeeze in a workout becomes a real challenge, due to a busier-than-usual social schedule.
This year, rather than waiting for holiday stress and calorie overload to pile up and take their toll, make an effort to get into the swing of a fat- and tension-burning home fitness routine before the season even begins.
This cardio- and strength-building program can be completed in as little as fifteen minutes‘no matter where you are. Apart from helping you stay fit, it will also help you to feel mentally and physically prepared for the inevitable hustle and bustle of the holiday season’from last-minute shopping to celebrating with friends and family.
Tip: Repeat the whole sequence twice for additional calorie burning and muscle toning.
1. Power Skip
This blood-pumping cardio move will help you get warmed up. Begin with both feet flat on the floor. As if you were marching in place, lift your left knee to your waist while simultaneously pumping your right arm to the sky. Switch sides and alternate movement 32 times. Keep your chest proud and back straight while performing the exercise, using the lower abdominals to assist in lifting the leg.
Variation: Boost the intensity by jumping the standing foot off the floor.
2. Walk the Plank
This lateral move incorporates the core training of a traditional plank with the increased resistance of a push-up.
Starting in a prone plank position, with weight on the hands and balls of the feet, walk your hands and feet out simultaneously to the right, keeping your abs tight, shoulders away from ears and core strong. Make sure your body stays long and keep your buttocks down. Repeat, before switching directions and walking out with your left hand and foot, twice. Complete this exercise four times, each direction.
Variation: Add an additional pectoral challenge to this move by incorporating a push-up after each sideways walk.
3. Can-Can Kicks
This move is fun and flirty, and adds a great cardio interval to your home routine.
Using a dining room chair or low stool, stand up straight with hands on your hips, feet parallel, with the chair in front of you. Being careful to not kick the chair, swing the right leg over the chair from the left side to the right. Next, swing the left leg over the chair from the right side to the left. Focus on creating an arc of motion with your leg from one side of the chair to the other. Alternate legs and repeat eight times each side.
Variation: Ramp this move up a notch by adding a squat in between leg kicks.
4. Plie Squat
This ballet-inspired move is designed to work your quads, glutes and core.
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes pointing outward. With hands on your hips, squat down until your buttocks is parallel to your knees. Return to standing position. Repeat this move 16 times.
Variation: Turn up the heat of this already challenging move by placing your hands behind your head.
5. Bench hops
This classic compound move will help to heighten your heart rate.
Grab your chair or bench (make sure it’s sturdy). Facing the seat, bend over and place hands on both sides. Grip the edges of the seat and hop your right leg out laterally, bringing your left leg to meet it. Repeat on left side. Do 16 alternating reps.
Variation: Ramp this exercise up by jumping both legs together to either side of the bench.
6. Tricep Dips
This power move uses your body weight to tighten and tone the backs of your arms.
Sitting on your chair or stool, place hands on seat beside your hips, fingers facing forward and feet flat on the floor. Lift buttocks off sitting area, arms straight’but don’t lock your elbows. Next, bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the ground, keeping your body close to the chair. When elbows are bent as far as comfortable (aim for around 90 degrees), push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 16 times.
Variation: Add an extra challenge to this move by extending one leg straight out for a count of eight, then switch sides for remaining reps.
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