All week I have been teaching my fitness classes without using equipment, so that my class members can take these moves along with them for Thanksgiving and other holiday travel. It’s easy as pie to work off those desert calories without needing to get to a gym or pack a suitcase full of dumbbells. All you need is my Fit Travel Workout DVD shot in China, Mexico, Italy, Chicago, NYC and Tampa that proves you can work out wherever life takes you. If you don’t have the DVD, you can also print out my three Military.com fit travel columns for free.
Here is a 10 minute portion of the 30 minute workout that slims you with cardio and sculpts you with muscle toning.
1) Traveling push-ups (works chest, triceps, shoulders and abs): Start in a plank position (the top of a push-upon your toes and hands wider than shoulder width apart) perform one push-up by bringing the chest to the floor and keeping your arms wide so that your wrists and elbows remain in line. Push back to a plank position while engaging your abs. Take right hand and cross it over the left and then bring left hand out to the left and under your left shoulder, moving your body in a counter clockwise direction. Do a push-up here. Cross left hand over right and return to start. Do a push-up. Cross left hand over right again and move body toward the right in a clockwise direction. Move right hand out again to a normal push-distance and do another push-up. Return to start by crossing right hand over left and moving back towards center. That completes one rep and 4 push-ups. Perform 5 reps for one set.
2) Squat, rock and lift (works glutes, outer thighs and quads): This is also a great move to perform if you are around kids for the holidays. I perform this one with my baby in the Baby Bootie Camp DVD. Even without extra weight, its a great booty burner. Start in a standing position, feet shoulder width apart. Squat by shifting weight into the heels and bending knees to 90 degrees. As you return to standing, rock the weight to your left leg and lift your right leg out to the right with a flexed foot. Place right foot back on the ground and squat again, this time shifting weight to the right and lifting the left leg to the left to complete one rep. Do 20 reps for one set. This hip abduction works the outer thighs and quads. Target the glutes by doing a second set and instead of lifting the leg to the side, lift it behind you between squats.
3) Down dog shin reach (works abs, shoulders, chest): Start in a plank position like in move 1. Tightening your abs, lift your hips to the sky and shift weight back into the toes, keeping heels lifted off the floor. While shifting the weight back, also take your right hand off the floor and reach it toward your left shin for an oblique challenge. Move back into plank and return right hand to the floor. Push weight back toward down dog with hips lifted and weight into the right hand while reaching your left hand towards your right shin. That completes one rep. Perform 15 reps for one set.
4) Airplanes (works upper and lower back, glutes, hamstrings and rear delts): Lay on the floor, face down, with both arms extended away from the body at shoulder level forming the letter “T”. Lift your legs, arms and head off the floor by contracting your glutes, upper and lower back. Hold in the “up” position and move your arms to the front of your body reaching past your head. Return to the “T” position and lower the entire body down for one rep. Do 15 reps for one set.
Cardio Intervals: Perform jacks and jump rope moves for 3 minutes in between each set. Keep it interesting by changing the feet to knees up, one leg hops, pogo stick hops, heel taps, etc.
Pack this workout, an iPod and a pair of sneakers to stop you from packing on the pounds this holiday!
You’ll be perched at the dinner table, and maybe slouching in a car, plane, train or bus to travel for your Thanksgiving meal next week. Your booty will need a break from all that sitting, and instead of packing weights or finding an open gym, there is an easy way to pack some boot camp toning for the backside while you’re on the road.
1) Glute rainbows: On all fours, straighten your right leg and lift it in a half circle (or rainbow) at hip level, and lower to left side to arch over your left heel. Tap the floor, lift back to hip level and tap toe back on the right side. Repeat the rainbow 15 times per leg before changing sides.
2)Floor kicks: Remain in all fours position and with your weight distributed on both hands and your left knee. Bend right knee in towards the belly and then straighten it to kick it back diagonally to the ceiling/wall behind you.Return the bent knee towards the floor for one rep and repeat 15 times on the right leg. Do another set of 15 on the left.
3) Front thigh lifts. Lay on your side, supported on your right elbow and right hip. Bend the right knee to 90 degrees under you. Bend your left leg on top so that your flexed foot drops in front of the right knee (if you do this move in front of a mirror you should see the reflection of the sole of your left sneaker, not your shoelaces). Lift the leg so the knee is close to your chest and left shoulder, and lower the bent left leg 15 times.
4) Side lunge and twist. Start in a standing position and lunge to the right side, facing forward. Your right knee should bend at 90 degrees, while your hands support you on your right quad (above the knee) and your toe points diagonally to the right. Your left leg is straight, with the foot on the floor, toe pointing diagonally left. From here, push off the right leg to transfer to a standing position with your weight now on the straight left leg. Your hands should reach diagonally up and to the left, creating a twist for the abs. Your right straight leg will lift up for a glute raise of the floor. Transfer the weight back on the right to a side lunge for one rep. Repeat 15 times on the right and then switch legs.
Do two-minute cardio intervals between the moves to complete your 30 minute routine. Good cardio moves for travel include jacks, mountain climbers, simulated jump rope, squat thrusts, plie squats, and jumping lunges (or get the moves in real time on my DVDs).
After your workout and dinner you can be thankful that these Fit Travel Booty Camp moves will help make sure that the turkey, potatoes, gravy and pies don’t spend forever on your hips.
I admit it, two years ago I got what I think was MRSA (bacteria called methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, often seen on the news and pronounced like “Mersa”) on my shoulder after using a dirty gym mat or machine.
Ever since then, I have been super careful with using towels on top of my mats, cleaning gym equipment before I use it and showering immediately afterwards. If gym germs gross you out as well, I found a solution. SilverSport towels, hot yoga mats and fitness rollers let you take your mind off of bugs and bacterial and let you focus on your form instead.
Hall of Fame football player Franco Harris and consumer product expert Thomas Davis founded SilverSport with one goal in mind: to make exercise as clean as possible. The two saw a need in the market after hearing the multitude of stories about the prevalence of germs in fitness environments, such as gyms and yoga classes, and even when working out at home.
The grey towels are super-soft, made from bamboo are anti-microbial…elminating odor-causing bacteria. The black yoga mats might be the thickest I’ve practiced on, making yoga poses comfy on the knees and intense crunch sessions easy on the back.
Earth-friendly and manufactured in the USA, Eco Product Group created the SilverSport line — the nanoscale silver additives are registered by the EPA and leverage silver¹s long established antimicrobial properties to release ions that keep your equipment clean during use. Even when you sweat is out in a hot yoga class or drip while pumping iron.
So if you are a germ-a-phobe like me, use silver to fit in your fitness and keep it clean.
The SilverSport anti-microbial line includes:
The SilverSport SilverMat™ Hot Fitness Mat provides total comfort and style – along with a specially textured surface that helps to resist slippage. ($49.99)
Turn your ordinary fitness roller into a massaging experience with the SilverSport SilverShaper™ Massaging Fitness Roller Cover. The textured ‘bumps’ on the SilverShaper help increase circulation and temporarily reduce the appearance of cellulite while revitalizing your everyday workout. ($39.99)
The SilverSport Silver Towel™ is made with super soft bamboo, which is three times more absorbent than cotton. (Silver, 20” x 30”: $19.99; Black, 20” x 60”: $34.99)
The SilverSport Silver Prenatal Fit Kit provides the lumbar and abdominal support you need for a well-rounded fitness routine during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Includes fitness mat and foam comfort support wedge. ($49.99)
If you’re looking for a way to challenge your abs more than crunches and planks on the floor, the key is instability! A stability ball will put you off balance to add an extra level of toning to each move. I have many abdominal ball workout moves, and these pictured below place you on the floor, next to and on top of the ball. Next week I will list other ways to work your abs (along with arms and legs) with a stability ball.
Elbow plank (works abdominals, chest and arms)
Start in a kneeling position with the ball in front of you. Roll up onto the ball on your stomach and place your forearms and elbows on the ball and clasp your hands together beneath your chest. Straighten your legs to balance on your toes and slowly push into the ball with forearms to raise the belly off the ball. Hold the plank for 30 seconds at a time for 3 sets, and work up to 60 seconds per set.
Hip Crunch (works obliques)
Kneel on the right side of the ball and straighten your right leg out to the right side of your body, with your foot on the floor. With your left hand hug the ball in close to your hip and then push your weight into the ball so the left hip is anchoring the ball down. Start with your left hand still on the ball and put your right hand behind your head. Lower your left side ribs onto the top of the ball and engage your right side obliques to bring you back upright. Once comfortable with the move you can put the left hand behind the head as well because your hip is anchoring the ball. Do 15 repeat on the other side for one set. Do 3 sets.
Jackknife (Works abs, quads and hip flexors)
Lay face-up on the floor with the ball between your feet and arms extended overhead. Lift the legs off the floor as you raise the arms and shoulders by “crunching” and engaging the abs. Transfer the ball into the hands and lower the legs and arms back to the floor slowly. Crunch and transfer the ball back to the feet, keeping the arms and legs straight, to complete one rep. Do 10 reps for 3 sets.
Stability Ball Workout for Abdominals
If you’re looking for a way to challenge your abs more than crunches and planks on the floor, the key is instability! A stability ball will put you off balance to add an extra level of toning to each move. I have many abdominal ball workout moves, and these pictured below place you on top of the ball. Next week I will list other ways to work your abs with a stability ball or a power ball (power balls have 7–8 pounds of sand inside).
Here are some of my favorites:
If just starting out, chose the plank, if you’re looking for a challenge, add the pike to the plank. Start kneeling with your stomach on the ball push forward to roll onto your feet and hands and continue walking your hands out so that the ball rolls from your stomach to your shins/shoelaces and you are facing the ground. Hold here for 30 seconds for the plank. Make it harder by contracting the abs and pulling your feet and the ball in closer to your hands while raising your hips up to the sky. Repeat 15 times.
Start sitting on the ball and walk your feet away so that your slide down to a bridge position, with your head and shoulders comfortably resting on the ball. Your head should be in line with your hips while you contract your glutes and quads to hold you up. Place the hands in prayer position extended directly above your neck. To perform the move, roll up onto your left shoulder and bring your gaze and your hands directly to the left as pictured. (Be sure to roll onto the shoulder and not just move your hands! our head will come off of the ball.) Return to center and repeat on the other side for one rep. Perform 15 repetitions.
Start in a seated position on the ball with your hands behind your head and lay down, then return to sitting by engaging the abs. That is a normal crunch. Start there if you are a beginner. If comfortable with the regular crunch, then lay back and engage your abs while sitting up and twisting your shoulders, head and torso to the right. Lay back down and twist to the left for one rep. Perform 20 reps. (Make it even more difficult by crunching up half way, pausing there, then twisting to the right without coming completely up to a sitting position, so your abs engage throughout the entire move.)
Check back in next week for more moves and have a ball working those abs!
There’s no shortage of combo workouts out there… dance+martial arts, pilates+rollerblading, even boots that go “boing.” Then there are extreme workouts that separate the body parts so drastically that one day is just for pull-ups, the next just 50 ways to do a push-up, taking a week and hours of DVDs to get a full body workout in.…
But you shouldn’t have to quit your job to work out full time, combine things that don’t go together, or buy gimmicky equipment! So I decided to design my own no-equipment combo workout that is extreme without being ridiculous. I combined training from my college cheerleading and gymnastics days with favorite strengthening yoga poses and vinyasas, then added my boot-camp fitness class favorites and personal training results-based moves. In fact, I am writing the book on it! Think p90 for females, done in just 30 minutes. Yoga meets cheerleading meets bootcamp!
NikkiFitness “Slimnastics” is an athletic workout, not for beginners, that gets you ripped in a radical new way:
– A yoga-based summer sun saluting warm-up readies the body
– Slim and tone your legs while melting away fat and cellulite with gymnastic/cheerleading inspired explosive plyometric cardio drills
– Alternate the cardio intervals with upper body and core-cutting balance moves from gymnastics and yoga
– Finished off in a yoga-based stretch and cool down for the mind and body.
And it looks fun too! Don’t want to wait for the book? Here are a few sample moves to get you started this week!
Yoga portion– Keep your sneakers on, you are going to need them!
Swimming dolphins work your core, upper back and shoulders while stretching the legs:
Start on all fours and lower your elbows onto the floor. Lift the hips to the sky by straightening the knees. Dropping the head between the shoulders, look at our knees. Keeping the core engaged, move forward so that the shoulders move over the elbows and you are in a fore-arm plank position. Then use your upper back, core and shoulder strength to push back into an inverted V.
Make harder: when moving hips back towards feet, lift off your elbows into a down dog and lift one leg. Swim forward into dolphin with one leg hovering off the floor, push back to down dog and switch legs.
Stepping off the mat sets the scene for cheerleading inspired moves like X and split jumps.
Perform 3 squats in fast succession counting 1,2,3. On the “and,” jump into the air using your leg muscles and punching the hands to the sky. Land on “four. Repeat.” I– squat/stand, 2– squat/stand, 3– squat/stand, and– jump, 4– land.” Make it advanced: turn the X into a toe touch (pictured).
Visual balancing poses bring the heart rate down and the mind in focus to prepare for upper body burn and core-cutting to sculpt the arms without using weights, boost the bosom, strengthen the back, stretch the muscles and shred the abdominals.
Plank heel-stretch: Start in a side plank position on your right hand (directly under shoulder) with left foot stacked on right foot. Balance by engaging the arm and core muscles, and lift and lower your left leg to burn the outer thigh. Repeat on the other side. Next get back into the side plank and grab your left insole with your left hand. Stretch the hamstrings as you lift the hips and pull the heel to the sky. Hold for 10–15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
That’s a tiny taste of this killer routine. Slimnastics uses your own body weight and balance to create shapes you never thought you could get into, while shaping the body in a way you only dreamed of. It will let you clean the over-sized clothes out of your closet — along with those hours of X-treme DVDs, kangaroo boots and other contraptions.
Planks are one of the cheapest, easiest and quickest ways to tone your body anywhere you go. They work your abs all over, and if you get creative you can also add glutes, and thighs, triceps, shoulders, upper back and pecs to the list! Here are some of my favorite plank variations (From my Fit Travel Workout) for your next sweat session.
Note: When I mention a regular plank position, I mean balancing on your elbows (forearms) or hands (the top of a push-up) and toes, facing the floor, with hips in line with the shoulders and knees and hands or elbows directly under shoulders. Look in front of our hands to keep neck in line with spine. You’ll look like a perfect straight plank — parallel to the floor, lifting the belly button towards the spine. In a side plank you will balance on one arm and face the side of the room instead of the floor.
1. Forearm plank hold:
Balance on your forearms and toes, hold this for 30 seconds and work up to 3 minutes!
2. Push-up plank (pictured):
Do a push-up, then turn to the right, balancing the weight on your left hand, opening right hand to the sky and staggering or stacking the right foot on top of the inside of the left as you balance on the outside of the left foot. Come back to a full plank, do a push-up, and then repeat on the other side.
3. Plank knee cross:
Hold a regular plank and then balance on your left foot and bring your right knee under you towards your left elbow. Keep your hips low to the ground. Return to full plank and repeat on other side. Make it harder by taping the opposite hand to the foot or by “can caning” the leg — after you bring the knee toward the opposite elbow, straighten the knee and kick the leg out toward the left. Bend it again and return to start.
4. Outer thigh side plank (pictured):
Plank on your right hand or forearm and lift your left straight leg off the right leg and toward the sky. Lower leg and repeat 10 times. Move into a plank on the other side and repeat. Make it harder by bending your lower leg and holding a weight in your top hand. Straighten the arm to the sky as you lift the top leg. As you lower the leg lower the hand and weight behind your neck, keeping the elbow pointing to the sky the whole time to work the triceps in a half french press!
5. Glute plank:
Balance on our hands or forearms and lift your left straight leg off the floor, move it over the right foot and then return to start. Repeat on that side 10 times and then switch to the right leg lift and cross. Make it harder by bending the left leg at 90 degrees, with the sole of your foot facing the sky. Lift and lower in pulsing motion for 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.
6. Hip Taps:
Get into a side plank on your left forearm. Lift hips off the floor and then lower them to tap the left hip to the floor and lift again. This works your obliques in an extreme way if you do 20 or more! Repeat on the other side
7. Thread the needle (pictured):
Get into a side forearm or full side plank on your right arm. Lift left arm to the sky and stagger the feet so the top (left) leg is in front. Sweep your left (top) arm toward the mat and “thread” it under your right armpit, reaching for the back of the mat, while rotating your hips to face the ground and balancing on your toes. Rotate your body back to a side plank and repeat 15 times then do the same on the other side.
8. Plank crunch:
Hit the obliques again by getting into a full plank on your left hand and stagger your feet with the bottom (left) foot in front this time. Bend your right elbow and put your hand behind your head. By balancing on your right (top) foot, bring your left knee across to your right elbow to “crunch” then return to start. Repeat 15 times and then switch sides.
9. Spiderman plank:
Get into a full plank on your forearms or hands. Balance on your right toes as you bend your left knee out to the left and towards your left elbow. Return to start and repeat 20 times, then do the other side.
10. Upper Back Plank Rows (pictured):
Get into a full plank position with medium weights under your hands. Lift the right elbow to the sky and return to the ground. Repeat on the other side. Do 20 reps switching arms each time. Wrists hurt? Instead of balancing on weights, you can also work the upper back by doing down dog planks or dolphin planks. Start in a plank on your forearms or hands and then push hips to the sky and push hands into the mat like you are trying to rip it in half between your feet and hands, Your biceps should be next to your ears. Return to start and repeat 20 times.
BONUS Reverse Plank stretch:
Get some relief from your hard work and sit on the floor with your hands on the floor next to your hips, fingers pointing towards feet. Your knees should be bent and feet flat on the floor. Push into your hands and lift your hips off the floor, letting your neck be an extension of your spine and looking at the ceiling. This stretched the chest and shoulders while toning the core, glutes and quads.
So next time crunches make you crazy, fight the plateau with this plank series!
One of the biggest workout requests I get in class and over email and twitter is moves to tone the lower abs. Here are three of my favorites, all done in the same basic position — laying face up on the floor — for quick transitions between moves, and then you can take a nap right on the floor when you are done!
1) Long Leg Lift
Lay on your back with hands palm down on the floor by your hips for support. Extend both legs to the ceiling with knees mostly straight. Lower legs towards the floor while contracting the lower abs (your lower back should not lift off the floor, if it does, keep legs higher.) For an advanced move, take legs a few inches off the floor and raise back to the sky for one rep. For modified move, only lower legs half way and bring them back up. Do 20 repetitions.
2) Hip Hop
Keep lying face up and place hands behind your head. Keep the legs straight and extend them to the ceiling. Flex your feet and use your low abs to lift your hips off the floor to the sky. Return hips to the floor for one rep.
For more intensity, add an upper body crunch so that you lift your shoulders off the ground at the same time you lift your hips. (Be sure to keep looking at the sky and do not drop your chin toward your chest, keep the chin lifted and neck in alignment with the spine.) Do 20 repetitions.
*For extra abdominal toning, after your last rep, hold the hips up at the very top of the move, feet reaching for the sky, and do 10 extra crunches with the upper body, holding the lower body steady with hips off the floor.
Continue to lay on your back and place hands back on the floor, palms down, next to your hips. Keep legs straight and over hips with feet extending to the ceiling. For level 1 drop legs a quarter way to the floor; for level 2 start half way to the floor; for level 3 start with legs just a few inches from the floor as shown. Once you found your level, separate legs out about 3 feet into a “V.” Bring them back together, crossing your right foot over your left. Separate feet again, and then bring them back together with the left leg on top. Repeat for 20 repetitions.
If you are not ready for a snooze, repeat all the moves again for 3 sets. Either way, you’re sure to wake up sore tomorrow and with flatter, fitter low abs!
Fitness, Fit it in.
Studies show that if you have friends to work out with or motivate you towards healthy behavior, your success rate increases. Try to find positive influencers in your life, from friends and family to people at work, church, etc.
Rather get your social workout support online? The popular Military Wife Workout, radio show interviews, Military Magazine articles and Miltiary.com blogs and columns have spurned the interest in a Military Wife Workout group on Facebook.
This just launched this week and you can join by clicking here:
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Fitness, Fit it in.