By now, most of us have probably tried at least a few home workouts. With gyms still closed in several states, the art of working out from the comfort of your own home is still essential. But can you still feel the burn with limited or no equipment? Incorporating plyometrics (aka plyos or jump training) can be an easy solution, but if you live in an apartment, that can also be a problem. Your neighbors probably won’t be too happy with you if it sounds like a herd of elephants is about to fall through their ceiling once a day.
The answer to all your problems is HILIT, or high intensity, low impact training. HILIT workouts use short intense bursts of activity followed by brief rest periods that never require jumping movements. You read that right: no jumping.
I’ve been an athlete my whole life and a personal trainer and fitness competitor for several years, and this is the method I’ve used during all of quarantine to maintain my fitness level. HILIT uses little to no equipment, increases your metabolism, and is also gentle on your joints. If you ask me, it’s a win-win-win. If you’re looking for a home workout that burns fat while toning your body, this is it! Here are a few moves you can do for a full at-home HILIT workout.
Low To High Wood Choppers
This is a dynamic exercise that works your obliques and shoulders. To begin, squat, twist your torso to the right, and hold your hands to the outside of your right leg. If you have a dumbbell at home, you can hold that as well. Exhale and swing your arms diagonally across your body so that you end with your arms above your left shoulder. Return back to your starting position to complete one rep. Continue the movement on this side for 30 seconds, then switch.
Standing Supermans strengthen your upper back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Stand on one leg and extend both your arms out to the side as you bend forward. Let your raised leg stretch all the way behind you as you bring your back to a table-top position. Squeeze your glutes and pull yourself back to a standing position. Repeat the Superman on this side for 30 seconds.
Start in plank position, then bring your left knee up to your left elbow. While holding this position, do a push-up. Alternate your legs back and forth for 30 seconds. Iguana press-ups require more stabilization than traditional push-ups and are excellent for building core stability in addition to working out your chest.
Standing Knee Drive
Stand with your hands behind your head and forcefully drive each knee in towards your chest. For maximum results, move as quickly as you can for 30 seconds straight.
Reverse Plank Leg Lift
Begin by sitting on the ground with your legs bent and your arms behind you—your fingertips should be facing towards your toes. Push your butt up off the ground and begin raising one leg at a time up towards your chest. Keep your movements controlled, squeeze your abs at the top of each leg raise, and always keep your hips lifted.
Squat Hold To Calf Raise
Stand in sumo position (feet outside your hips and shoulders) and sit into a squat. Hold this position for 30 seconds while you raise your heels up and down off of the floor. You should keep your weight in the balls of your feet throughout the movement. Prepare to feel an intense burn in your thighs and calves!
Hip Bridge with Hamstring Curl
You’re going to need to wear a pair of socks for this one! Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet placed hip-width apart. Bridge your hips up into the air and slide your feet forward as far as you can without dropping your hips down. Then pull your feet back in towards your glutes and repeat the movement for 30 seconds. Don’t lower your hips for the entire 30 seconds.
Images: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash
There are two things that everyone has become obsessed with in quarantine: baking banana bread and at-home workouts. Let’s face it. We have no control over what’s going on in the world, so we’re turning our focus to the things we can control, like canceling our gym memberships and tuning into Instagram Live workouts instead (whether or not we actually do the workouts is another story, but we’ll still watch).
With the overwhelming amount of Instagram Live workouts that are available to us every single day, it can be hard to know which ones are actually worth it. Don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for. Below are the best Instagram Live workouts, so you don’t have to risk accidentally tuning into a live that sucks, being the only person there, and having to frantically exit out before you get called out.
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The popular LA pilates studio full of A-list celebrities, models, and your favorite influencers tops this list. Offering classes every day, I promise you your abs, arms and butt will definitely feel the burn.
@HotPilates instructors go live for a 30-40 minute body-based workout. With the hottest music, amazing energy, and moves that will make you sweat in seconds, it almost feels like you’re in the luxury studios, working out next to the hottest people in Hollywood. Instead, you’re working out next to your dog in your living room, but it is what it is.
Classes are offered every day of the week, usually beginning around 10am ET and through to the evening. The times, types of classes, and instructor information is posted daily on the Hot Pilates Instagram account.
If you really want to feel like you’re in a Hot Pilates class, crank up your heat to 85 degrees, dim your lights and light your sexiest candle. It might jack up your utility bill, though.
Barry’s At Home
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We miss our fit fam! Now, more than ever, it’s important to band together, support one another, keep our bodies moving, and stay connected. Tune in live @barrys twice tomorrow: once at 9am PDT as Barry’s CEO, Joey Gonzalez, and again at 12pm PDT as VP of Curriculum, Chris Hudson, lead us through 20 minute total body workouts. Bodyweight only. No equipment needed. 9am: Joey Gonzalez 12pm: Chris Hudson
Known as the best workout in the world, Barry’s Bootcamp now offers Barry’s at Home on IG live.
Barry’s At Home typically offers two workouts per day, at 12pm or 3pm ET, every day of the week. Depending on the class time you choose, it will most likely be a total body or band workout. Both can be done without any equipment, but if you want the exact bands they use in the workouts, you can buy them through the Barry’s website.
Classes are around 25 minutes long, followed by a cool down, and are taught by Barry’s instructors across the country. To no surprise, their energy is just as high and the music is just as good in their living room as it is in the Red Room.
If you really want to feel like you’re in the Red Room, buy red LED lights and turn them on during the workout. Is it just me, or does working out in red lighting make you so much more attractive?
The only con to this workout is that we can’t go to the fuel bar and pick up our skinny b*tch smoothie. Really can’t wait for that day.
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Thank you guys again for donating to the link in my bio for my collaboration with @nokidhungry 💜 We are at $77K today!! So close to our $100K goal! 2000+ have been getting @torchdbyisaac with us and I am so thrilled about that. The more we get the word out, the more we can help dem kids who need it! Thank you @terez for my dope tights today. Was feeling extra festive 😋 @zaratisch #torchd #fitness #sweat #workout #quarantine #corona #nokidhungry #charity
Torch’d creator @isaacboots hosts Instagram live workouts everyday at 11am ET. Torch’d is a workout full of targeted repetition and body resistance. Celebrities like Kelly Ripa and Vanessa Hudgens swear by it, so that’s when you know it’s worth it. For this hour-long workout, no equipment is needed, but Isaac will usually wear ankle and wrist weights for that ~extra~ push.
If you love the workout, Isaac asks his followers to consider paying it forward and donate to the No Kid Hungry campaign. Together, over $140,000 has been raised so far. You can donate here.
@Karaliotta x Women’s Health Magazine
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Ever heard of paper circuits? Me either, until I found Kara Liotta workouts on the @womenshealthmag Instagram. Every Monday and Friday at 12pm ET, the CO-Founder of KK Sweat and celebrity trainer (NBD) Kara Liotta hosts a 25-25 minute workout on Women’s Health IG live, and all you need is an 8.5×11 piece of paper and a wall. The workouts are usually total body or booty inspired, and don’t require a lot of space.
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| SOCIALLY DISTANT BUT EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED | Let’s keep sharing positive energy and good vibes! 20-30 minute 9AM daily #COREntine on Instagram Live! We can start there and evolve it as we see fit athletes. All you will need is your body and or things from around your house for this core intensive workout! I look forward to staying right and tight with all of you! The proceeds raised from COREntine will be directly distributed to small businesses, organizations, and charities that are in need of assistance from COVID-19. When: Daily 9AM EST Where: Your Living Room Platform: INSTAGRAM LIVE @KeoniHudoba #GoodVibes #ShareTheShaka
Every day at 9am ET, Co-Founder of Cyc Fitness and Barry’s Chief Instructor Keoni Hudoba hosts #COREntine on his IG live. All you need is your body, so no excuses! You can expect a 20-30 minute core intensive workout. Keoni always ends the IG Live with an inspirational message which really helps you get out of a quarantine funk.
Keoni is raising money from #COREntine and is directly distributing it to small businesses, organizations, and charities that need help due to COVID-19. You can send the donation to @keoni-hudoba on Venmo. His motto during this time is “socially distant, but emotionally connected”.
Tyler Cameron x Phil Fit
I mean… duh. America’s sweetheart, Tyler Cameron, has Instagram live workouts with his friends and trainer Phil Fit almost every day. Sometimes they’re outside with palm trees swaying in the background (jealous), and sometimes they’re in his living room working out with his dining room chairs. There isn’t a set schedule throughout the week, but Tyler always goes live for the workout at 11am ET.
Expect to see Phil Fit break out into a TikTok song or say “Turn Up”, which I really appreciate. I miss turning up.
Most of the Instagram Live workouts are around 30 minutes long and you may need a chair or wall, but that’s it. The cardio usually consists of jogging around Tyler’s living room (okay, brag that you have a living room), and when they are tired they actually take a second to breathe. #Relatable
Although it’s not IG Live, I just needed to mention Obé Fitness. It’s an online workout experience with instructors who really know what they’re doing. Some classes you can expect to see are sculpt, barre, dance, cardio, and yoga. Classes are around 28 minutes long, and you can either tune into a live class which are available every day, or pre-recorded sessions. Depending on the day, you’ll be able to join live classes starting at 7am throughout 2:30pm ET on weekdays, and 9am to 4:30pm on the weekends. Obe Fitness even has wine bottle workouts. They’re currently offering a 7-day free trial, so trust me on this one—you’ll be obsessed.
Images: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash; hotpilates, barrys, isaacboots, womenshealthmag, keonihudoba, tylerjcameron3, obe_fitness)
Much like when the gym gets super crowded in January due to the assholes I affectionately refer to as “Resolutioners”, people are suddenly gaining a newfound interest in fitness in this quarantine. I get it, while I’m here eating my weight in salt and vinegar chips, you all have visions of emerging from lockdown with six-pack abs. However, since everyone and their mom now thinks they’re the next Jillian Michaels, workout equipment has gone the way of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It is sold out everywhere. But fear not! You don’t have to jog up and down your hallway to meet your workout goals at home! I’ve done some research and found equipment that you can still purchase and have delivered to you. Congratulations on actually having a summer body this year instead of looking like a blobfish like me! Or we can just decide blobfish is the new sexy body type and all be happy doing nothing?
Me at the beach this summer:
Anyway, here’s workout equipment you can actually buy right now that doesn’t cost $3,000 on Amazon.
Tone Fitness Anti-Burst Stability Ball
A stability ball is one of those universal fitness items that you can do almost anything with. Plus, you could sub it as your desk chair when you work from home to engage your core and prevent back issues. You can do planks, abs, and any of these awesome ideas for a full body workout. Plus, it’s deflatable, so once we’re out of quarantine, you can deflate it and stash it for when you need it next without it taking up your entire apartment.
4-in-1 AB Wheel Roller Kit
This wheel roller kit includes four things and is super easy to store when the gym comes back and you’re not stuck at home. You can do all kinds of abs and pushup exercises with these, and then it also has a jump rope to get your cardio in. Although it might make your downstairs neighbor insane. If you’re not sure how to use a roller wheel, check out this video. You’ll have abs of steel in no time.
Everyday Essentials AB Trainer Abdominal Machine
The thing about crunches is that most people actually do them wrong. Since you can’t hire a trainer to perfect your abs routine, an ab trainer will help. Instead of swinging your body forward using other muscle groups, this super cheap piece of equipment forces you to engage only your abs to pull yourself up. That six-pack will appear in no time. Once I decide to start Postmates-ing salad instead of Dog Haus, it’s over for you hoes.
FILA Fitness Mat
Yoga mats are out of stock almost everywhere, or the price is jacked up to like a million dollars (for what? It’s literally a piece of foam), but this FILA one is functional and cheap. Even if you’re not doing yoga, a yoga mat is perfect for a ton of exercises and way more comfortable than the weird slanted floor in your apartment. I’m not sure why every apartment I’ve ever lived in is slightly crooked (seriously, is it just me?), but a little cushioning for your stretches and body weight workouts makes a big difference.
P90X Adjustable Weighted Jump Rope
A jump rope is a great way to get cardio without risking getting coronavirus at the overcrowded park. Although maybe do it in a community space in your apartment so your neighbors don’t attempt to assassinate you so they can get some peace and quiet. This jump rope even has a removable weight in each handle to up the resistance. Hey, maybe you can invent a dark jump rope song about coronavirus, like how Ring Around The Rosie is really about everyone dying from the plague! Too much?
FILA® 3-Pound Neoprene Hand Weight
You can use hand weights for a full body workout, plus these ones are both affordable ($7.99!) and in stock! They also have heavier versions. Use these weights for arms, abs, and pretty much anything else. Find some inspiration on YouTube with videos like these. Plus, using weights is a quiet activity that will not make your roommates or neighbors insane.
I’m totally kidding. This is apparently a Boxing Fight Ball on a headband. But like. Doesn’t this look like something else? Use it for exercise or for scary bedroom games, I guess.
What are your at home workout tips? How are you staying fit in quarantine? Or are you just saying f*ck it and that it’s Future You’s problem? Let me know in the comments!
Images: The Creative Exchange / Unsplash; Giphy; Walmart (4); Kohls (3)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
If you’re smart, you’re spending your time at home, interacting with people as seldom as possible. I know that sounds a little dramatic… but like… it’s true. The only downside of sitting on your couch and not talking to people for days on end is that you might start to feel like if you don’t move your legs soon, they could fall off. But how are you supposed to get a workout in if your gym is closed and it’s too cold to run outside? (Or you just hate running, no matter how hard you try?) The answer is at-home workouts. If you’re itching for a way to move, now is the time to get into exercises you can do from your living room. So we linked with Katie Austin, the daughter of fitness legend Denise Austin and fitness influencer in her own right, who has worked on Amazon Live’s new fitness initiative “Get Fit” and appeared on Dr. Oz, The Today Show, and more. She’s given us her top 7 cardio ab moves that tone your abs while burning fat. This way, you get two workouts in one—toning and cardio. We love a workout that can do both.
Crunch To Straight Leg Toe Tap
This one’s a double move! Only one side at a time, bring your opposite elbow to knee, and then lower your leg. Before your leg hits the ground, bring it straight back up for an opposite hand to toe tap. Continue on one side for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
High Knee To Back Kick
In a ready stance position with your hands held up towards your face, bring your knee up towards your chest. As you lower it back down, balance through your core, and kick back with the same leg right behind you. Continue these two moves on one side for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Jumping Jack Crunches
Standing with your hands straight in the air, bounce to bring one elbow in toward your opposite knee. Shoot your arms straight back up, and bring the opposite elbow to the other knee. Keep repeating this in a fast-paced manner, like jumping jacks. Do this cardio move for 30 seconds.
Side Lunge With Cross Crunch
First, complete a side lunge with your hands behind your head. Make sure you are sitting back with that side lunge, and pushing off through your heel and glutes. As you push away out of the side lunge, bring that knee to your opposite elbow. Repeat this on one side for 30 seconds before switching sides.
I’m sure you’ve done bicycles before! But just in case you need a refresher, here’s what ya do: Lying on your back with your head and shoulders raised off the floor, bring each knee toward your chest, as you rotate your torso to bring your opposite elbow to tap your knee. You know what to do: continue for 30 seconds.
Squat and Box
Come into a squat position with your hands protecting your face. As you come up from the squat, punch across your body with force. Go back into a squat, and repeat boxing but with other arm. Continue for 30 seconds!
Start with your hand behind your head in side plank position, but with the knee closest to the floor resting on the ground. Bring your straight leg toward your same elbow, for a crunch. Continue on the same side for 30 seconds before switching.
Do the circuit as many times through as you can until laughing causes you extreme agony.
If you need more at-home cardio and ab workouts, head to KatieAustin.tv/videos for over 120 at-home workout videos, and follow Katie on Instagram for more tips.
Katie Austin is a fitness personality, entrepreneur, and sports host. After being a Division I lacrosse player at USC, she decided to follow in her mom, Denise Austin’s fitness footsteps. Katie’s grown her workout brand to over half a million social media followers, an app, online program, and more.
She has been featured on shows such as the Today Show, Rachael Ray, The Doctors, On Air with Ryan Seacrest and more. She was named one of the top ten Instagram’s to follow by Seventeen Magazine.
On top of her fitness brand, she co-hosted a show on Fox Sports West for 2 years, hosted at the Super Bowl, NBA awards, and more. She was just honored on Create + Cultivate’s Top 100 Women in Digital List.
Images: fizkes / Shutterstock.com; Courtesy of Katie Austin (7)
One of the hardest things for me is trying to fit in a workout when I’m super busy. Or I just like, don’t feel like it. It’s easy to cut out a workout because you simply don’t feel like you have enough time. HOWEVER. An easy way to streamline this process is by working out at home. That way, you can do it even if you only have 30 minutes, when you get home from work, first thing in the morning, whatever you want without wasting any more time. So if you’re trying to find what you can do that won’t take up a ton of space in your teensy, closet-sized apartment, here are some things you should have on hand.
Resistance bands are so easy to use, super versatile, easy to store, and the best part, really cheap. This band is only $10! You can do tons of workouts with it that are just as good as strength training with weights, as well as increase your flexibility. Just wrap it around anything or step on it for resistance and boom, instant gym! And when you’re done using it, you can just fold it up and toss it literally anywhere because it’s so compact. I think most at-home workout equipment is such a scam (like, why buy a $400 squat machine when you just can just squat with your body? I don’t understand?) and usually way overpriced, but a resistance band is a have-t0-have. If you’re unsure of ways to use your resistance band, you can even buy a poster full of workout ideas, not to mention the one million Youtube videos available for free to give you ideas.
I used to be so obsessed with yoga, but because of my recent health issues, I’m not allowed to go to a public gym right now. Yoga studios in general are very expensive (at least in LA!) and you often pay per class instead of just a monthly membership. Enter: yoga cards. You just shuffle them up, pick a card, and there’s your new yoga teacher. It’s especially awesome for people who already know the basics but just are not sure what to do when working out at home without an instructor. Plus, you’ll be doing a new “class” every time since the cards will be in a different order, and you can do as much or as little as you want.
There are so many workouts you can do with just a tiny weights set. The cool thing about having a set of dumbbells is that you get strength training and cardio at the same time if you do a circuit system. If you don’t know where to start, check out YouTube, or there are posters and cards for these also. Plus, this particular set is cute enough to sit out in the open without taking up half your apartment or being a total eyesore.
Les Mills On Demand
My friends all swear by Les Mills classes, and while tons of gyms do their classes, they also have really good at-home instructional videos. They have all kinds of strength building, cardio, barre, and even yoga classes, and it’s only $14.99 a month. In addition, their classes are between 15-55 minutes so if you’re really short on time, you can still fit a workout in. You can stream them on any device too, including your phone. This is perfect for the unmotivated, or the idiot who doesn’t really know what they’re doing (hi). *Disclaimer: I don’t know if they’re doing Les Mills in the GIF, I just like the dog.
Okay, a Fitbit isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s cheaper than paying for a gym for the rest of your life that you never set foot in. We take for granted one of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise without going to the gym, and that, my friend, is walking. It is free. But if you don’t walk or move enough, it may be time to invest in a Fitbit (or Apple Watch, or whatever wearable tech you want). Having a Fitbit can motivate you to just move more in general, and anything can be exercise as long as it puts you closer to getting those 10,000 steps. Putting away laundry, cleaning your apartment, taking the stairs—all of it counts toward your steps for the day and will help to get you off your ass. Of course, you could just do this without the Fitbit, but it’s nice to actually see exactly how much progress you make.
You definitely need a yoga mat to exercise at home, and not just for yoga. A yoga mat provides extra cushion for your weird, textured vinyl apartment floor for you to do tons of different exercises, like abs, pilates, and your pre- and post-workout stretching. It also makes you feel more in the zone for working out, as opposed to lying on your rug while your dog tries to make out with you. Like, I am ~*exercising*~ now, dog kisses need to wait.
This one can be kind of annoying to store, but exercise balls are SO cheap, and you can always deflate it and stick it in a closet before The Queen (your mom) visits. You can do a ton of exercises with just the ball, particularly abs and core stuff. And, as an added bonus, it’s way better for you and your body to use an exercise ball in lieu of a chair for studying or working out at home.
This is great in addition to or even instead of a dumbbells purchase. Kettlebells are awesome because they’re pretty compact and you can do a lot with them. Hold one (or even two) to squat and get a Kim K ass without the surgery, use them to up your leg workouts, and to tone your arms. Plus, you can just up your reps when it starts to be too easy and replace it with a heavier weight when you’re strong enough, instead of storing an entire set. And they’re really inexpensive! See how you can use them here.
Images: Amazon (5); Giphy (2)
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I don’t know about you, but my favorite moment in television history was when Bella Hadid strutted past The Weeknd on stage during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, looking hot as hell, while he just stood there looking mad regretful. Honestly, I would do just about anything for that kind of high, because I can’t imagine that anything feels quite as good as reminding a guy who didn’t want to be with you just how hot you are. If you are feeling a little meh and want to change that, getting in shape is a good way to start. To quote the great Elle Woods, “exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy…” The rest isn’t really relevant to my point, so I’ll just stop there. So if any of this sounds appealing to you, you’ll love what’s to come! Trainer to the stars Autumn Calabrese—you probably know her from Khloé Kardashian’s Revenge Body—created a special ab and glute workout just for Betches readers! What’s more, Khloé’s revenge-seekers aren’t the only people Calabrese has whipped into shape. She used to be Kendall Jenner’s personal trainer, too. Tbh, this workout is not for the meek. It’s hard af, but so is life, so get to work.
Weighted Side Bend
This one is pretty straightforward, so I won’t spend too much time explaining it, but I will take a second to tell you why it’s amazing. Ok, so you know how Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing has those really subtle yet very enviable ab dimples on either side of her torso? That’s probably because she was doing weighted side planks all damn day!
Even though it does a lot, the actual movements aren’t super challenging. To start, grab a weight that feels heavy, but not so heavy that you might drop it. Stand with your feet parallel and about hips-width apart. Place the hand that isn’t holding the weight behind your head like you would for crunches, and then, without breaking your posture, lean sideways toward whichever side the weight is on. So your upper body bends sideways at the waist and your lower body doesn’t move at all. Calabrese says, “I love this move for sculpting the obliques. Perform two sets of 15-20 reps on each side.” You’ll def feel this one the next day.
Dumbbell Hip Hinge
Or as I like to call it, the weighted bend-and-snap. Grab two weights and stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Hold the weights in front of your body (as opposed to down at your sides) with the backs of your hands facing forward. Now, without curving your back, slowly bend your body forward at the waist. Your legs should also bend as your upper body hinges forward about 45 degrees. Then, snap back up. Don’t lift slowly; you want that part to be pretty fast. Calabrese says, “This move is great for lifting your butt. It works the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus. To build your butt, you need to lift heavy, so pick a weight that allows you to perform 10-12 reps where you can’t do any more with proper form by rep 12.” And then you will probably keel over and need a nap, but you’ll get results.
Single Leg Tap Back
Hearing the phrase “tap back” is giving me major SoulCycle PTSD, but I’ll pull it together. Doing single leg tap backs every day will give you a Kardashian butt…in that it will be round and shapely, not full of silicone. For this one, start with your feet touching and a weight in one hand. Just for simplicity’s sake, let’s say the weight is in your right hand. Bend your left leg and step your right foot all the way back so that your toes are touching the ground. It’s kind of like you’re in a modified runner’s lunge. Now, the hard part! Without sacrificing your flat back, lift your right leg up slowly so that it’s at the same height as your hips. Do not, I repeat, do not let your upper body dip down. Keeping that weighted balance is what strengthens your butt and will ultimately make it look like a peach emoji. Calabrese says, “This move is great for working the gluteus maximus and helping lift the butt. It’s also going to help you build your backside. You want to pick a weight that allows you to perform 10-12 reps and you’ll want to do three to four sets of the move.” Ugh, ok fine.
Plank Triple Knee Tuck
Luckily, there are no weights involved in this ab exercise, so if your hands were starting to develop calluses, congrats, you’re done with the weighted portion of the program. You do, however, need two gliders, which are cheap af on Amazon. To start, get in plank position with your arms extended, and place the gliders under your toes. Then, glide your knee to the opposite elbow and then extend back to plank position. You’re going to alternate each knee and do both knees toward their same-side elbows at the same time. This kind of looks like the position you do in leapfrog right before you leap. Good visual, or did I just make that more confusing? You decide. Calabrese says, “This move works the whole body with a strong emphasis on the core. It will help tone your obliques as well as your lower abs.” I like the sound of that.
Glute Bridge With Knee Opener
Get a mat for this one if you don’t want a bruised tailbone. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet together on the floor. Cool, you’re done! Kidding. Place a resistance band around both legs right above the knee, slowly lift your hips up and then spread your knees, but keep your feet together. Move your knees back together and then slowly lower your hips. This may sound easy because you’re lying down, but don’t be fooled. Your butt will feel like it’s falling off the next day. Calabrese says, “This move is great for shaping and toning the sides of the glutes or the gluteus medius. You want to use a heavy resistance loop for this. Perform two sets of 15-20 reps.”
I did this on a Sunday morning and seriously considered working from home the next day so that I could take an ice bath every few hours. It hurt so good. I fully trust Autumn Calabrese because I’ve seen her magic unfold on Revenge Body, so if you need an at-home workout that will actually challenge you, you’re welcome.
Images: Courtesy of Per Bernal, Autumn Calabrese (5)
All these exercises strengthen butts and legs at the same, but most importantly, without a strong core (which, in pilates, we refer to as The Powerhouse), your shoulder and hips will tighten as a result of bearing the brunt weight of your body.
These exercises are typically performed in a systematic order of the classical pilates to be more effective. Before taking on any of these exercises, make sure you’ve already exercised. For example, jogging, bicycling, Soulcycle, etc. would all work. This is to ensure that your muscles and joints are supple, to sustain and keep the form of these exercises with consistency.
Single Legs Kicks
Setup: Lie flat on your stomach, nose to the mat, and place your palms in line with your ears. Engage your abs, press the floor away with your palms into straight arms, lift your chest up and stretch it forward, bending the elbows just under your shoulders, with each hand in a fist to anchor you, and your head in line with your spine, eyes leveled.
Movement: Kick the heel of your foot to your bottom in a dynamic motion like “kick kick” and switch, “kick kick” and switch. As you kick your heels, keep your hips and butt stable by pressing the hip flexors to that mat, zip the inner thighs, and keep the knees together. Engage your glutes, and kick for 3 sets. Do not let your booty pop up, hence why you press the hips to the mat. Be mindful not to let your lower back collapse either, which is why your abs must be engaged with a pull in and up.
Modifications: Lower your abs down to the mat with your chest up and forward, with your elbows slightly forward, and your hands in a fist in line with your elbows, and kick your heels to your bottom.
Double Leg Kick
The double leg kick is the next progression after double kicks.
Setup: Remain flat on your abs after the single leg kicks, with your chest down, on the right side of the face on the mat. Keep your neck long, and stack the palms on top of each other in the small of your back, ideally in the mid back close to the shoulder blades.
Movement: Kick the heels of your feet to your butt, 1-2-3. Lift the chest forward, then stretch and reach the arms behind you, over your butt and hands folded, to further open your chest. Then, turn your head to the left side of the face, lift and reach arms again, and repeat. Abs must be engaged, and legs stretched long when straight. Repeat 3 sets.
Modifications: If your shoulders or arms are tight, and it’s too difficult to stack them on top of your lower back, rest the back of your hands on top of your butt or on the mat when kicking your heels to the bottom, and lift your arms up in line with your hips when you lift your chest up and forward.
Leg Pull down
Setup: In a plank position, put your elbows and wrist right under your shoulders, with your legs straightened out, and the heels of your feet together, toes apart, navel to spine.
Movement: Pull navel to spine. Flex toes to rock back in a straight line, and point your toes to lengthen your whole frame forward. Keep pulling your navel to the spine, and resist the gravity of your back collapsing down into the joints by lifting back up to the sky. After 3 sets of repetitions, lift the right leg and rock back and forth and repeat on the left side.
Modifications: If balancing your upper body on your palms is too much pressure on the joints, bend the elbows and rock back and forth on elbows with hands in a fist. Just remember to resist the gravity of the body upwards. Imagine you’re balancing a tray with glass on it on your back, and don’t let it slip off while moving. You have to balance it by keeping your back straight and level.
Leg Pull Up
The leg pull up is the next profession from leg pull down.
Setup: Start by sitting on the mat, knees bent, feet flat on the mat, arms stretched behind in line with shoulders, and palms on the mat. Lift your hips up in line with your knees and straighten the legs in front in two steps, heels together and toes apart.
Movement: Engage your abs and lift your right leg up, pointing the toes. Do not scrunch your feet, reach them like you’re trying touch something in front of you, and maintain the height on of your hips as you lower the leg down the mat. Flexing, lift the left leg, reaching the toes, and repeat the same motion. Repeat for 3 sets.
Modifications: To modify this exercise, keep your hips up, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor and your feet and knees together. Keeping your knees in line with your ankles, progress to extend the right leg straight up from and in line with the hips, and with both knees leveled in even height, lower the right leg straight down to the mat to the height of the left ankle. Lift it back up to the knee’s height, bend the knee, and switch to the left. Repeat the same exercise as the right leg. Repeat this in 3-5 sets.
Caution: This exercise is very challenging on the hips and shoulders, as you can stiffen up when locking your joints. The key to sustaining this exercise is to keep the heaviest parts of the trunk (i.e. chest and hips) up.
Images: Michele Paniz Photography
Summer is on the way, and if you’ve spent the past few months avoiding the gym or any kind of strenuous work (I feel this), then you might be not feeling in the right kind of shape to stunt on your ex this pool party season. But it’s not too late to get fit (for summer, or in general). A lot of my clients come in wanting to work on their arms, so I’m here to show you an absolute KILLER arm workout circuit you can do right at home, with NO equipment necessary. Not even weights. Trust me, you won’t need ’em. And, even better? All you need is FIVE minutes. If you’re an overachiever, maybe like 15 minutes if you want to do this set a few times through. Set a timer on your phone, and just get to it. Like, you literally can’t ask for an easier workout, so there are really no excuses.
Disclaimer: I’ve created this workout for use on myself and my clients under my supervision. Do not do these moves if you feel excessive strain or pain anywhere in your body.
Bend And Stretch (1 Minute)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms out by your side, slightly bent at the elbows, with palms facing the ceiling.
Flip your arms so your palms now face the floor. Focus on LENGTHENING through your lats, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
Return to starting position.
Shoulder Press To Lat Pull (1 Minute)
With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your palms facing out in front of you, bent at the elbows. Your elbows should be slightly behind your back.
Straighten your arms up above your head.
Return to starting position.
Straight Arm Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your arms in a T position with palms facing front. Slowly bring your palms together to touch in front of your chest, keeping arms extended.
Return to starting position.
Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms out like a goalpost (football, not soccer) by your head.
Bring the palms and inside of your elbows together, make sure you don’t create a tent shape with your arms. You want to get the inner elbows close, not JUST the palms.
Return to starting position.
Deltoid Raise And Lengthen (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, create a 90-degree angle with your arm with your palms facing each other (like you’re about to do the robot).
Swing your arms up to shoulder height so the palms now face the floor.
Keeping the elevation, slide your arms out in front of you so they’re straight.
Pull back in, return to starting position.
Try to do all 5 of these without resting, then take a minute to shake it off/stretch—and then repeat! Aim for 3 rounds.
Images: Nicole Nam; Shutterstock