Trend Alert: Jumping Warrior? Three New Workouts Combine Yoga and Plyometrics

Ever stretched into down dog, then practiced your jump tucks? A new trend for fall and 2013 is yoga workouts with plyometric intervals.

Plyometrics, if you are new to the term, are explosive jumping and level-​​changing moves that use your body weight as resistance, and require your muscles to fire away in short, intense bursts of power.

As a former college cheerleader, and current personal trainer and yoga instructor, I didn’t want to have to chose between my “ohm” days or my jumping workouts from the squad, so I created a new book and DVD workout called Slimnastics®! It combines gymnastics-​​inspired plyometric cardio intervals — like jump tucks, split jumps, and squat thrusts — with advanced balancing yoga moves — like firefly (titibasana), wheel push ups, warrior III booty boost, rockstar, handstands, side crow and 8 angle pose (astavakrasana) — that build upper body strength, boost your booty and require a lot of breath control and mental focus. The 30 minute, no-​​equipment workout is advanced, but the book has modified moves, tips on how to “get in shape for Slimnastics®” and mantras to get you moving. These core and toning moves coupled with the major calorie burn from plyometrics helped me get my body back after having a baby.

Soon after Slimnastics, I am happy to report that two similar results-​​based classes are taking New York City and the country by storm: BUTI® and Deep EXtreme. BUTI is a high-​​intensity Crunch workout that fuses yoga and dance with circuits of plyometrics and conditioning. BUTI® dance moves taken from various styles that focus on an intense shaking of the hips including Miami Booty Dance, Brazilian Baile Funk, Hip Hop, Crunk and African Tribal. Between the heart-​​pounding cardio deep stretching and dance moves, you¹ll be in BUTI®-ful shape in no time and feel sexy doing it.

The Equinox workout Deep EXtreme mixes up cardio like tribal swinging arm moves, flexibility yoga poses and strength training like squats in intervals of rest and intensity. It is based on Robert Steinbacher’s European bodyArt technique that was all the rage last year in the United States. Like Slimnastics®, and BUTI®, Deep EXtreme is a strengthening, energizing and calming series of moves for the entire body. The rhythmic beat music playlist keeps you flowing seamlessly from one move to the next. You’ll have a cardio high and a yoga calm after this trance dance.

If you don’t live near a Crunch or Equinox, try flipping your workout on it’s head with these Slimnastics sample moves to see if the workout is for you:

L Stand:

Sit on a mat facing the wall, with your legs extended in front of you. Your feet should touch the wall with them flexed, and place your hands next to your hips. This is how you measure your distance for the L Stand. Keep one hand on that mark where your hips were, and flip yourself over to face the mat. Place both hands where you measured, shoulders width apart and get into a tight down dog with your heels against the wall. Walk one foot then the other up the wall until your legs are parallel to the floor. (It helps to have a partner spot you so that they can tell you if your feet are too high or low. Look at the wall and push your hands strongly into the floor. Your body should look like an “L” in a 90% angle. You can also play with lifting one leg away from the wall at a time.

L Stand

Cardio Interval – X jump to Split jumps:

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).

See a sample video of Slimnastics at

Burn 200 Calories in 2.5 Minutes!

By Nicole “NikkiFitness” Glor for Shape Magazine

If working out for 45 to 60 minutes a day takes too much time, cut back your gym session to less than three minutes—but be ready to sweat—a ton!

According to a new research from scientists at Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, two and a half minutes of intense exercise performed in 30-second intervals can burn an extra 200 calories by the end of the day.

In the study, men performed a half-minute sprint on a bike, then recovered with four minutes of easy pedaling and repeated this for a total of five times. The thing is, they really pushed it during those 30 seconds.

“The men in our study sprinted at 100 percent of their ability for each of the sprints,” says lead researcher Kyle Sevits. “This is why a four-minute active recovery was needed between each sprint.”

While the men performed all five sprints and recoveries in a row for a total of about 30 minutes, Sevits says men and women may see similar results by performing five 30-second sprints over the course of the day. He also says a bike isn’t the only way to go—any extremely intense exercise, such as running uphill on a treadmill or plyometrics like jumping lunges or burpees, would also work.

To be sure you’re giving your absolute max effort, Sevits recommends working with a personal trainer so you have someone there to make you take your effort to the highest level possible.

Sound too extreme? Try these other interval workouts:
Bob Harper’s 30-Minute Bikini Body Cardio Workout
3 Short Workouts for Weight Loss
Tabata: The 4-Minute Fat-Burning Workout

Nicole Glor is a fitness expert on Fox & Friends, author, and star of eight fitness DVDs, including Hard Core Abs. She is also an AFAA-certified NYC personal trainer, group instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, 200 RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor, author of the new book The SLIMNASTICS Workout, fitness columnist for and, and spokesperson for SilverSport antibacterial fitness products. Get her newsletters, music playlists, video demos, and DVDs at or follow her on twitter @NikkiFitness.

Winter Workout: Turn S.A.D. into Sculpt and De-​​stress!

It’s the time of year when winter seems like it has gone on forever. The dark, cold days make you tired and sometimes depressed. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a serious condition and there are ways that doctors can treat it, with light therapy for example.

If you feel tired and just need a winter workout that heats you up and gives you a “cardio high” try my winter-​​themed cardiosulpt moves like:

–Nordic Track
–Scissor Ski Lunges
–Snow Angels
–Mountain Climbers

Watch the 2 minute demo video here!

Fitness — fit it in for a bright, warm spring!

Improve The Move! Power Up Your Push-Ups with 15 Variations

By Nicole Glor of NikkiFitness

I’ve written about improving your push-up power for beginners, and about my 100 push-up boot camp, but what if you want to break the mold and try some new tricks for the pecs? In honor of my intense Slimnastics workout book coming out this June, I wanted to share with you my favorite variations on the amazing arm toner move we all love (and love to hate).

1-Old Fashioned: the traditional move with arms wider than shoulder distance, so that when you lower, your elbows stack over the wrists

2-Traveling Push-Up: do the old fashioned, but after the first one, come back to plank, and cross the right hand over the left and then open the left up so that you have traveled a few feet to the left. Do a push-up here. Then cross the hands again and push-up at center. Cross again farther to the right and do a push-up, then cross the hands and push-up in the center. Repeat to the left, center, right and center.

3-Triceps Push-Up: same as the old fashioned, but put the hands much closer lined up under the shoulders and hug your elbows to your rips as you lower down. This will work the triceps and shoulders more.

4-Alternating Push-up:

5-Push-up Row: do a push-up with your hands on two heavy weights. At the top of the move, when at plank, lift the right weight off the floor and raise the right elbow to the sky (a row). Put the weight down and repeat on the left, then perform another push-up and repeat.

6-Side Step Push-Up: get into plank with your right hand on top of a step or a block. Do 20-30 push-ups here, then repeat with the other hand on the higher surface.

7-Spiderman Push-up: do a push-up but on the way down, pull your right knee toward your right shoulder (same side). Press back up and repeat on the left. This also works the obliques.

8- Knee Twist Push-up: Working the other set of obliques, you do a push-up and then twist your right knee toward the opposite (left) elbow. Push-up and repeat with the left knee toward the right elbow.

9-Diamond Push-up: put your hands together under your heart to form the shape of a diamond. These are hard as diamonds!

10- Push-Up Side Plank: do a push-up, then a side plank, balancing on your right hand, then push-up and plank on the left. Repeat.

11- Push-Up with Glute Raise: do a push-up balanced on the right toe, with the left leg lifted (keeping the knee straight) and pulse it once at the top of the move. Switch to balance on the left toe, do a push-up then pulse up the right leg up.

12-Incline Push-Up: do an old fashioned with your upper body elevated on a step, bench or stability ball.

13-Decline Push-Up: do an old fashioned with your legs elevated on a bench or a stability ball.

14-Down Dog Push-Up: Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width in plank. Lift your hips up to the sky so your body forms and inverted V (like the yoga pose) with head between the elbows and your gaze on your knees. Bend the elbows so that the crown of the head almost touches the floor and return to down dog. This move with work the tops of the delts (shoudlers) more.

15-Airplane Push-Up: Do a traditional push-up but lower all the way to the ground and then extend the arms out to the sides so your body forms the letter “T.” Lift your head, shoulders, hands, knees and feet off the ground, balancing on your belly. Lower back down to the floor and place the hands under the shoulders to return to a push-up plank. This works the upper and lower back more to balance out the pecs.

It is critical to balance out your muscles and work the opposing group – your trapezius and rhomboids muscles in your upper back with this last airplane move, and also dead rows, reverse flys, and machines. Some great hard core yoga poses like the wheel, wheel push-ups, forearm stand and handstand will work the opposing muscle groups. For my upper back moves, email

Fitness – fit it in with power. Nikki

Kick Your Butt Off

Boost your booty with proper side-​​kick form!

Group fitness classes are most efficient when they can give you cardio and toning moves in one session, which is one of the reasons kickboxing remains so popular. However, the move that can provide the most bang for your booty-​​sculpting buck is the most common mistake made in cardio-​​kickboxing classes. Usually participants do a front kick to the side and call it a side-​​kick.

If done correctly, the side-​​kick will chisel your glutes and outer thighs, if done wrong, it just puts more stress on the hip flexor, a muscle that is already tight from sedentary modern life.

1) Stance: For a left side-​​kick, put your weight on your right leg, with the kneed and toe pointing out to the side at 45 degrees.

2) Chamber: Think of the kick in 4 counts. Count one is hinging at the hip and dropping your right shoulder to the right, kicking the core into action while bending your left leg and bringing the left knee toward your navel.

3) Impact: This is count two. The common mistake is for class participants to kick to the side with their toe pointing to the sky. To correct this, flex the foot and straighten the left leg and impact with your heel diagonally up and toe diagonally down. Think of it like this, if inside a room your heel should aim for the corner where the back wall and the ceiling meet. Your toe should point to where the floor and front wall meet on he other side of the room. Another way to visualize this is that your front hip bone or “front pocket” of your kicking leg should turn down towards the floor and your “back pocket” should be rotated up to the ceiling. Look at your foot with each kick to ensure appropriate form.

4) Retract: For count 3, quickly retract the knee back towards the core and place foot back to the floor for count 4.

Trainer tip: Adjust your target height. If you find it difficult to align your kick properly, instead of aiming for your opponent’s head, aim for their stomach or knee. Master the foot alignment first, then work on the height. Even with a kick aimed at the (imaginary) opponent’s knee, you are challenging your core and backside.

You’ve just mastered the booty-​​kicking side-​​kick.