3 Exercises You’re Probably Doing Wrong, And How To Fix It

While I totally support not giving a sh*t about how you look at the gym, I mean don’t worry about sweating and wearing that old sorority date party tank. You still need to care about what your form looks like. If you’re not performing an exercise right, at best you’re wasting your time, and at worst you’re going to injure yourself. This is not limited to the weight machines, either—some of the most common bodyweight exercises you’ve probably been doing for years are the ones that people mess up the most often. Read on for the exercises most frequently done incorrectly, according to Los Angeles based trainer and founder of KICHGO, Kit Rich, and how to fix your form.

Bicycle Crunches

bicycle crunches

If you’ve ever taken a workout class and done crunches, you’ve probably been told to keep your elbows down and away from cupping your ears. That’s not just for aesthetics: scrunching up puts pressure on your neck, causing tension and stiffness. Another common mistake: rocking your hips back and forth too much, because it looks stupid and hurts your back. Basically, if you’re feeling strain or moving a lot in any area that is not your abs, you’re not doing it right. Also, that’s never going to get you that ab crack.

DO IT RIGHT: Unless you’re trying to get a thicc neck (you do you), don’t pull or twist from the neck and shoulders. Keep your elbows pulled down and think about keeping your back flat and lifting through the shoulder blades, which is the opposite of hunching over. In your bicycle crunch, keep your hips stable by extending your legs forward from the hip, keeping them low and parallel to the ground. Think of it more like a lengthening motion than pedaling motion—this is what’s going to target your lower abs and obliques.

Planks

plank

Planks are awesome. Not only do they strengthen every muscle in your core at once, but you don’t even have to move while doing the exercise (my favorite kind). However, because you’re holding the position for a while, it can be easy to slip out of good form once you start getting tired. Sticking your butt up or arching your back will take the work out of your abs and will give you back pain, and that’s not what we want.

DO IT RIGHT: Because planks are hard in general, you may not be able to tell by feeling whether your hips are too high or low, but a quick peek in a mirror will make it obvious. It’s called a plank because your back and shoulders should be as flat as a board, so try to visualize that line from your shoulders to your heels the whole time you’re holding the position. Hold your gaze a few inches in front of you instead of directly under you to keep your neck neutral. Finally, squeeze your butt and thighs as well as your arms and abs to help keep the straight line. Start off with a 30-second plank to make sure you’ve got it down before moving on to longer holds.

Wide Arm Push-Ups

push-up

Push-ups are hard, but don’t sleep on them—they’re great for working out your arms without using additional weights. You’ve probably f*cked this up before, so you already know what it looks and feels like: tucking the chin and looking down, moving your shoulders up and down one inch and calling it a push-up. You’re going to hurt your neck and shoulders that way and not get any benefit to your arms. Remember, a push-up is really just moving your plank up and down, so if you’re teetering out of your alignment, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.

DO IT RIGHT: Don’t try to act cool. If you can’t do a full push-up right now, start by doing modified push-ups on your knees. In the modified push-up, be sure to keep your body in line from the back of your head to the back of your knees instead of bending at the waist when you push down. Extend your arms out wide (slightly past your shoulders) and ground your hands into the floor to firmly support the rest of your body. Bring your chest all the way down to tap the floor and back up. Do this with straight arms and with your core engaged the whole time. When you feel something in your abs as well as your arms, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

THE TAKEAWAY: If it looks weird or feels weird, it probably is hurting more than helping. Slow down, modify, or do fewer reps at first and then work your way up.

Images: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com; Giphy (3)

Does Yoga Actually Count As A Workout?

If you’re like me, going to the gym is as rare as a monogamous Kardashian couple: it just doesn’t happen. The main reason I don’t go to the gym, though (aside from being a lazy piece of sh*t), is that I’m terribly embarrassed by my lack of athletic ability. Three minutes on a treadmill and I’m heaving over the garbage can. And don’t even try me with weights. I’d be lucky to get five pounds off the ground. And SoulCycle? I nearly crapped my pants doing that. Never again. But, admittedly, I do need some form of physical movement in my life. It’s pretty upsetting that I can’t go up a flight of stairs without feeling faint. I am told that’s like, bad for you?

Basically, I need a workout that won’t make me super short of breath, which led me to yoga. I mean sure, yoga can be hard (especially if you’re sweating all your water weight out in a 94-degree studio), but it doesn’t kill me the same way that a Barry’s Bootcamp class would. Which made me wonder: is it too good to be true? Can I do yoga every day and still get the summer body I’ve been putting off working on since…summer 2014? I spoke to personal trainer and owner of Frame Fitness in Toronto, Melissa Bentivoglio, about whether or not we can trust yoga as a main form of exercise.

I need a trainer who will understand that I want to be fit without breaking a sweat or being uncomfortable in literally any way

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) September 3, 2019

Is Yoga A Real Workout?

Yes, but it’s not as simple as that. The point of Yoga is to focus your energy on specific tasks, poses, and flows. According to Bentivoglio, different types of Yoga work your body in specific ways. “The forms of Yoga can vary from physically demanding and vigorous Power Yoga to meditative and Restorative Yoga.”

For example, in a Vinyasa class, if it is instructed in a rhythmic, continuous, and intense fashion, Bentivoglio notes, “it can certainly elevate the heart rate to be considered a form of aerobic exercise.” In slower-paced Yoga classes, though, Bentivoglio says, “there could be more focus on holding isometric poses, which focus more on strength building.” These are examples of less traditional cardio workout circuits, but nonetheless, still a form of exercise.

How Can You Make The Most Of Yoga As A Workout?

So apparently lying in child’s pose and napping meditating for an hour doesn’t really make the most of utilizing Yoga as a workout. Who would’ve thought? Bentivoglio suggests taking classes based on what you would like to focus on. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing. All components of yoga can benefit your health. “Strength training is a key component of health and fitness. Building lean muscle mass helps burn more calories at rest, even if you are not perspiring profusely. Cardio is also an important form of exercise as it improves cardiovascular health,” says Bentivoglio.

Even if you’re not profusely sweating, you’re still getting a lot out of your time. If you want to take a cardio-centric route, that will help benefit your heart health. Pick the type of class that focuses on a part of your body or health that you really want to improve on. Yoga isn’t a fix-all sort of exercise (does that even exist?) and it takes time to work out each part of your body through a variety of flows and methods.

What Is The Most Common Myth About Yoga?

“The most common myth is that you have to be flexible to do it,” says Bentivoglio. If you’re like me and can’t touch your toes, this is a huge relief. “Some forms of Yoga require a greater amount of stamina and power than they do flexibility. But the benefit overall of Yoga is that the more you keep at it, the more flexible you’ll feel yourself become,” she adds.

It won’t happen all at once, so don’t try to do the splits when you’re six shots deep and really want to show off—you’ll just end up with ripped pants and a torn ACL. Patience is key, which is f*cking annoying, because who likes to wait for anything nowadays, but I guess that’s better than the StairMaster, so I’ll take it.

How Can Beginners Get Started?

First, you need to identify what you want to achieve. Pick an end goal, and then find the types of Yoga that help you best work towards that. It doesn’t need to be the same thing every week, but finding a routine and pattern will reap the benefits much quicker. Bentivoglio explains, “if one would like to start doing Yoga to alleviate stress and anxiety, meditative Yoga could help by calming the mind by combining poses with breathing and mantras.”

Meditative combines breathing with calming poses and mantras. If flexibility and strength are your goals, hot Yoga could be a good place to start. If you’re looking to just start with the basics and then find your footing, Hatha Yoga is the way to go. Overall, beginners should start off slow then build their way up to more high-intensity classes like Vinyasa.



What Are Some Apps For Practicing Yoga?

If you’re like me and still having some anxiety about actually being in a room with other people, apps are super useful. Here are some of Melissa’s favorites for different types of flows:

Pocket Yoga: Good for beginners who want to practice yoga and learn new poses. There are also pre-set flows that you can try out.
Universal Breathing: A fantastic app that helps you focuses on breathing. It’s a great way to alleviate stress, headaches, and lower blood pressure, among other things.
Asana Rebel: Provides Yoga workouts that incorporate both strength training and cardio-based poses and flows. Their sessions can last about 30 minutes and are structured in a very effective and fun way.

So it seems like, yes, Yoga can be a legit workout, provided you are realistic about what you want out of a class and you choose the right class based on your fitness goals.

Images: Yayan Sopian / Unsplash; showerthoughts / me.me; betchesluvthis / Twitter

How To Use 6 Intimidating Machines You See At The Gym

Let’s face it, getting to the gym is a battle alone. So when you do get there, you want to make sure you’re making the most of your 12… I mean, 45 minutes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help to be at the gym if you don’t know how the eff to use any of the machines. Looks like another day of the elliptical, huh? WRONG! It’s 2018, ladies, and we’re better than the elliptical. We shouldn’t have to feel intimidated by the five million Transformer-like machines cluttered around the gym. So here are the six most intimidating machines and how to maximize your workout on each of them.

1. Squat Rack

Ugh, the squat rack. This is often the most intimidating of all because it’s constantly hogged by juiced-up frat stars trying to get “swole.” But, if you’re able to actually score it for a mere 15 minutes, there’s a lot of great and effective exercises you can do. First things first, make sure the weight on the bar is the appropriate amount for your level. We’ll start with the OG move, a squat. Begin by placing the bar on the rack below shoulder level. Next, step under the bar and place it on the back of your shoulders, just below your neck. Lift the bar off the rack by pushing it a little bit towards the ceiling. Then, step back from the rack and get in traditional squat position. Lower the bar by bending at your knees and hips. Then, raise up from your squat by pushing up from the floor through your heels.

Another great exercise you can do at the squat rack is a deadlift. Start with the bar at the lowest position available on the rack. Start with your knees bent, feet hip width apart, and back flat. Then lift the bar driving the weight through your heels. As the bar passes your knees, lean back slightly, squeezing your glutes and pulling your shoulder blades together.

Deadlift

Lastly, try a bent over row. Start in the same bent over position as the deadlift with your knees bent, hips bent at the waist, and back parallel to the floor. Lift the barbell towards your waist, with your elbows tucked close to your body as you squeeze your back together.

Bent Over Row

2. Leg Curl

This one is cool cause you can like, lay down and it’s actually part of the exercise. When utilized correctly, this machine will work your hamstrings. Lie on the machine with the calf pad positioned just above your ankles. Bend your knees and draw your heels as close to your glutes as you can. Make sure the pad is positioned properly so you don’t feel like your knees are hyperextending, and be sure to keep the movements slow and steady.

Leg Curl

3. Rower

Here’s the thing: you probably think you know how to use the rower, but you probably don’t know how to properly use the rower. The rower provides an effective total body workout. When using this machine, the majority of the power should come from your legs, not your arms. Start by making sure your feet are placed securely in the straps. Now, push back with your legs and then lean backward from your hips so that your shoulders pass your pelvis. Pull the handle bar up to your chest, holding the handle right below your breasts, with your elbows pointing down against your side. Then return to your original position by doing the reverse, moving back towards the monitor’s first legs, then upper body, then arms. Rowing should be a three step movement, not one full swift one. Make sure you sit tall so that you’re really using your abdominal muscles. This should be a controlled movement and there shouldn’t be any “jerking” of your body.

Rower

4. Cable Bar

Personally, this is the one that always intimidates me the most. You can use this machine for a lot, but I’m going to focus here on the biceps and triceps. For biceps, make sure the handle is attached to a low pulley and pull the handles so that they’re shoulder width apart. Keep the elbows close to your torso, with the palms of your hands facing up. Make sure your upper arms remain stationary as you slowly curl your forearms in towards your shoulders. Hold the position as you contract your muscles.

Standing Bicep Curl

For triceps, try an overhead tricep extension. With the cable still at the lowest pulley, grasp the pulley with both hands. The pulley should be behind you as you pull it above your head, with your elbows in close to your head. Then, slowly lower the cable behind your head while keeping the upper arms stationary.

Tricep Overhead

5. Captain Chair

For the Captain Chair, you’ll want to do a hanging leg raise. It’s important with this exercise to make sure you’re lifting your legs and not swinging them. Stand in the chair frame with arms resting on the chair arms and your feet on the ground. I’d start with lifting your legs with your knees bent so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Concentrate the power of the motion in your abs and your hip flexors. If you want more of a challenge, lift your legs straight. Control is the most important factor in this exercise, so summon that willpower you used in college during your #springbreakdiet when the only thing you’d allow yourself to drunk eat was popcorn and cucumbers.

Captains Chair

6. Chest Press

If you’re done doing “girl push-ups,” then this is the machine for you. This exercise will help you to eventually do a legit push-up… well, someday. Sit on the machine and make sure the handles are positioned at your shoulders, with your elbows angled back slightly. Once you’re all set, press the handles away from your body. Then, slowly reverse the motion and bring your arms back towards your body.

Chest Press

Pro Tip: I recommend you utilize the magical powers of YouTube to remind you exactly how to use each of these machines properly before you get started. Don’t be intimidated by the post-grad d-bags who still wear their letters to the gym. It’s time to make the squat rack yours, betches.

Images: @victorfreitas / Unsplash;

7 Easy Exercises To Sneak Into Your Day

When we’re talking about easy exercises to sneak into your day, I’m not going to tell you to “park farther away” or suggest “taking the stairs.” *Said in annoyingly upbeat fitness influencer voice.* Like, no, I ain’t parking my car a mile away from work just to get some “light cardio in.” That’s super inconvenient and is going to make my mood even worse when I head into work (if that’s even possible). I’m not trying to show up dripping sweat because I thought it’d be cute to park a mile away like some healthy try-hard. So, rather than that bullsh*t, I’ve compiled a list of practical and easy exercises you can do throughout the day. I’m all about practicality here, and these moves are convenient, simple, and work fantastically with your sad 9-5. 

Before You Hop In The Shower…

Do a few sets of push-ups or hold a 1-2 minute plank before getting in. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, do both. It’s a great way to start your morning. Unless you’re like, still hungover or something, then honestly nothing’s going to help. Just stay in bed.

Push-Up

While Brushing Your Teeth…

Do some squats! It alone won’t be enough to get you a Jen Selter butt, but if you do it consistently, will def help you tone and lift. Any little bit helps.

While You’re Waiting For The Subway…

Try some calf raises. Literally just go up on your tiptoes and then back down, as many times as you can until the train finally pulls up. Sure, people may look at you weird, but considering the fact that the homeless guy next to you is casually peeing on the stairs, you still won’t be the biggest freak show in the station.

Calf Raise

While Sitting In Traffic…

Do some arm curls! I keep a 3 lb weight in my car for when I’m sitting in standstill traffic. And, with my commute, I’m really starting to rack up some guns. Jk, but my arms are a lot more toned than they were before. Key word is “standstill”. Like, don’t do this while going 60 mph in a 40 zone or else you’ll have no chance at getting the cop to believe your fake tears.

While Sitting At Your Desk…

Okay, I got a few moves for you nine-to-fivers. When you’re sitting at your desk with headphones in listening to gangster rap and pretending to know wtf you’re doing on Excel, try flexing and un-flexing your abdominal muscles. Tighten your abs in towards your spine, hold, and release. You can also do this with your butt, squeezing your glutes while sitting at your desk. The last move is to try some shoulder shrugs. Raise your shoulders and hold for at least 5 seconds and try for 15 reps. Although, don’t do this too much or people will start to think you’re a chronically unsure weirdo. 

Shoulder Shrug

These moves won’t replace the effect of a 45 minute spin class, but they will make you feel a lot less guilty about your 100 calorie glass of wine at the end of the night. Besides, any additional toning you can sneak into your day is going to make your #summerbod that much better.

Images: Giphy (3)

How To Get Abs Without Spending Hours At The Gym

The internet’s obsession with having abs and how to get abs is kind of insane. I mean, I know obliques look good in a crop top and having a strong core is important, but I literally stumble upon some “How To Get Abs So Toned They Could Cut A Diamond” article at least once a day, and frankly it’s getting old. Every fitness influencer on the ‘gram will tell you to do endless crunches and leg lifts, but attaining visible ab definition is so much more than a 10-minute segment at the end of your workout. In fact, if you really want your abs to show, you may even have to adjust your diet (I know, it’s like nails on a chalkboard). If you’re not down to spend hours at the gym doing the 1000 sit-up challenge, here are some legitimate tips on how to get abs.

 

1. Have Amazing Genes

This reality is so depressing and I’m sorry to be such a downer, but it’s true that genetics play a huge part in having abs. Think of your skinny friend that has had natural abs since seventh grade. I’m guessing she wasn’t doing Russian twists or drinking hot lemon water back then. Some people are just born with the ability to have their abs show at all times, and there’s really nothing else to say. You can def take steps to make your abs look better, but if your body just isn’t made for abs, all you can really do is eat your salad and hate people who are genetically blessed.

2. Stop Eating When Satisfied

A lot of bullshit websites will tell you to count your calories or eat six mini-meals throughout the day, but the real key to slimming down may just listening to your body and not eating until you’re literally too full to function. What does this have to do with how to get abs? Good question. This may surprise you, but everyone has abdominal muscles, and getting them to show is a combination of strengthening them and lowering your body fat. The less body fat you have on your stomach, the more your abs will show. It’s as simple as that. Try to eat until you’re like, 80 percent full and then stop. I know it’s hard, but you’ll feel so much better and may even see some ab definition over time.

3. Add Probiotics To Your Diet

If you’re eating healthy and working out, you should see your abs peek out eventually. BUT, if you have a stubborn digestive system and your body gets bloated or *fluffy* easily, probiotics are a game-changer, and you should get on board. You can buy a probiotic pill over the counter, but honestly some foods are packed with them, so give them a try before resorting to the capsule. (But if you want to just jump to the capsule, we’re here for it.) Professionals recommend trying fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and Kombucha. Probiotics won’t give you abs overnight, but they will help heal your gut and reduce inflammation in your body, which tends to lead to improved digestion, a flatter stomach, and just overall feeling amazing.

4. Eliminate Artificial Sugars

This is another key when it comes to bloating. You may think that dumping three Splendas into your cold brew and sipping on a Diet Coke until lunch is actually making you skinny, but according to recent studies, you’re wrong. In fact, fake sugars like aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin have actually been proven to make you bloated, which will obviously prevent you from seeing your abs. The takeaway here is to basically experiment with what works with your body and what doesn’t. If you know a certain food or ingredient makes you look five times your actual size, you should prob avoid it.

5. Static Holds Are Key

Now let’s talk about ab exercises, because although diet is v important, so is the fitness part. A lot of people think the best ab routines include a million reps and a ton of volume, but sometimes the opposite is even more effective. Static holds include moves like forearm planks, boat pose, bear planks, V sits, and hollow holds. The idea is to engage your core in a challenging position and hold tight for as long as you can. Try to set a timer for 30 seconds, and then work your way up to a minute, then eventually two minutes. If it’s getting easier over time, it’s because your abs are getting stronger, so congrats.

6. Think Slow, Not Fast

It’s weird to think that you should be going slow while working out, because everyone assumes faster equals a better workout. Like, imagine leisurely peddling your bike during a 45-minute spin class. You’d be the joke of SoulCycle. Your abs are different, because when you go fast, you’re more likely to start using momentum and taking the tension away from your core. By doing your ab exercises in a slow and controlled manner, you’re transferring all the tension on the muscles instead of using momentum from your entire body, aka cheating.

7. Non-Ab Exercises Work Too

If you really want to minimize your gym time, you actually don’t have to do any isolated ab work at all. You just have to work on contracting your abs during other exercises. Any workout can be an ab workout if you’re using your core muscles. The thing about strength training is that you have to engage your core during the moves, whether you’re doing squats, lunges, or even dumbbell rows. To fully engage your core, think about bracing your muscles instead of sucking in your stomach, which is where most people screw up. You may need to tuck your pelvis inward a little bit and actually squeeze the muscles in your butt. Another cue is to think about drawing your belly button in while keeping your spine neutral. You may need to try a few different ways, but once you can actually engage your core during any exercise, you’re toning your abs without doing specific ab work. It’s a win for everybody.

Images: PicJumbo / Pexels; Giphy (7)

Pilates Moves For Lean Legs And A Toned Ass

If you are anything like me, you like the IDEA of going to a Pilates class, but you don’t actually like GOING to a Pilates class. Because let’s be honest, half-assing it on the elliptical while watching The Great British Baking Show/dreaming about all the desserts you deserve now that you have worked out is a way more enjoyable use of time. For reals though, how would I ever keep up with my shows if workout hours were not also show-watching hours? But if you are also like me and bought a NYE dress pre-holiday weight gain that would look way better if your legs were a little leaner and your ass a lot more toned, then it might be time to suck it up and give these Pilates moves a try (btw you can totally do them in front of your TV while binge watching Riverdale on Netflix):

1. Basic Bridge

This is a great warm-up and also something every child did during baby gymnastics. Lay on your back with your head closest to the TV with your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor. Use your abs (cuz we all have those) to lift your pelvis off the ground towards the ceiling until you can feel that shit burn in your hamstrings and glutes. Kind of like you’re pelvic thrusting the air. Hold for one minute or until your next bathroom break.

Bridge

2. Kneeling Leg Lift

Facing the television now, get on your hands and knees (but not in a gross way). Keeping your weight on your forearms and knees, lift one leg straight up behind you in a 90-degree angle so your heel is facing towards the ceiling. Repeat with each leg for 30 seconds or until your popcorn is ready.

Kneeling Leg Lift

3. Side Lying Lifts

Lay on your side and support your head with your bottom arm (best to time this exercise with a particularly juicy scene, because it will put you in ready-for-drama position). Stretch out your legs with the bottom leg slightly bent, and your top leg straight at about hip height. Lift the top leg about two feet in the air and lower back to hip height. Repeat 20 times on each side while reaching for popcorn with your extra hand.

Leg Lifts

4. Heal Beats

Not conducive to TV watching, so save this one for in between episodes. Lie on your stomach with your head on your forearms and your legs straight out behind you. Lift your abs (yup, still got ‘em) away from the mat/floor, lengthening your spine. Keeping your thighs together and your abs tight, lift your legs off the floor and pull them slightly apart and then back together again at the heels. “There’s no place like home” it 20 times, then rest and repeat until your cell phone buzzes. 

Heel Beats

5. Wall Squat Rolls

This last one will get you on your feet and in ready position to answer the door when Seamless arrives. Stand up against a wall with a Pilates ball behind the center of your back. Kick your feet out about a foot from the wall and slowly roll down the ball into a squat position—not letting your knees go out past your ankles. Slowly roll back up and repeat 20 times or until the doorbell rings. 

Wall Squat Roll

Read: 6 Back And Shoulder Exercises To Trim Your Waist
 
5 Exercises To Tone Your Legs So They Look Amazing In Heels

Not only is it Chrismahanakwanza season and gain 15 pounds season, it’s also holiday party season. That means that more than likely, at some point in the next month, you will have to dress up in some sort of cocktail attire and squeeze your blistered, frozen, malformed toes into heels. But all those cookies likely didn’t do much good for your calves. You may be waltzing around sporting some cankles for all I know (gross).

Because this is the time of giving or something, here are five ways to get your legs heel-ready without having to go to the gym with the other losers promising themselves that this is like, REALLY the year they’re going to lose 10 pounds. Stop lying to yourself—I’ll see you at Taco Bell in February.

1. Planks With Leg Raises

Ugh, planks. Get into plank position, but lift your right leg up so it’s at least parallel to the floor, higher if you can. Put it back down and do the same with your left leg. Keep doing this till you die (or for 10-15 reps per side, whichever comes first).

2. High Knee Toe Taps

Grab a chair and put your hands on your hips like you mean it or something. Tap your left food on the bench, then swap and tap your right foot. Do this until you’re so tired you can’t breathe. This is more of a cardio exercise than a leg move, so go fast, like you’re running away from a guy who puts “good vibes only” in his Hinge profile. Anyway, with this exercise, go for bursts of 30 seconds and work up to longer intervals.

3. Side Lunges

You should know how to do a lunge, and if you don’t? Shame. Stand with your feet together, then take a big step to your left—bending your left knee and pushing your butt back—while keeping your right leg straight. Repeat on the other side, and alternate until the lure of cookies outweighs your desire to look nice. 10-20 reps per leg should be enough.

4. Inverted Inner Thigh Openers

These are my fav cause I can lie down and pretend I’m not actually working out. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then lift your right leg up, keeping your thighs touching, and extend your leg up to the ceiling. Lower your right leg—still straight—out to the right side as far as you can without moving your hips off the floor. Repeat with your other leg until your boyfriend/husband/roommate comes in and laughs at you, or 10-20 reps depending on your fitness level.

5. Lying Side Leg Raises

Like planks, but easier! Lie on your side with one arm flat on the floor in front of you, or propping up into a side plank for some additional ab work. Leave the other arm at your side, behind your head, whatever is easiest. Place one foot on top of the other with your legs out completely straight. Keeping them straight, raise your top leg until you like, can’t bring it up anymore, then bring it down. Do this 10-20 times on one leg, then switch to the other side until you feel like you’ve reached a new plane of consciousness via exhaustion.

Read: Do These 6 Back And Shoulder Exercises For A Sexy Back And Smaller Waist
 
6 Exercise Moves You Really Should Be Doing By Now

Remember when Thanksgiving was literally just about eating good food and spending the day watching some Snoopy float make its way through Midtown Manhattan? The holiday used to be so sweet and innocent, and now that we’re older, we literally need three bottles of Merlot just to get through the first course. Like, if I’m asked one more time about what the “dating scene” is like at my age, I’ll throw this turkey across the room. Being home with family for the holidays can make you a little batshit, so we’ve decided to put together a short HIIT workout that’ll help get out your rage, release some much-needed endorphins, and obv burn a few calories before you stress-eat your way through all your mom’s side dishes. Perform each of these moves for 30 seconds with 20 seconds of rest in between, and then repeat the circuit two more times.

1. Mountain Climbers

Starting a HIIT workout with mountain climbers is a good call, because you’re engaging your core and getting your heart rate up at the same time. Plus, they’re basically a full body move. If you’re doing these right, you should feel it in your abs, shoulders, and legs. Place your hands on the floor with your shoulders over your wrists and your legs straight back in a plank position. Then, climb your knees into your chest one at a time while engaging your core. The faster you go, the higher you’ll get your heart rate and the more calories you’ll burn.

Mountain Climbers

2. High Knees

High knees are one of those moves that look like they’d be really easy, but once you start doing them you’ll hate yourself for thinking that. High knees are so much more than just running in place. You need to lift your knees high enough—like, at least to your waist—and engage your core to bring your legs up each time. You’re warming up your leg muscles while working your hip flexors and increasing your heart rate, so there’s a lot going on here. Plus, pumping your arms at the same time helps burn more calories, so even though you’ll look like an idiot, you’ll be using more muscles and expending more energy than you would by just using your legs.

High Knees

3. Plank Jacks

Sometimes people think workouts need to be so complicated to get results, but when you’re in a time crunch, simple movements do the trick, and that’s why plank jacks work. They combine the two classic exercises of planks and jumping jacks, so you’re getting an ab workout while also doing cardio. Everyone wins. Start in a forearm plank with your feet shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. Then, jump your feet in and out, making sure your butt stays low the entire time and your abs stay engaged. If you can’t stay still while jumping, just hold a plank for the 30-second interval.

Plank Jacks

4. Squat Jumps

Because your legs are the biggest muscle group in your body, any leg-based cardio movement will burn the most amount of calories in a short amount of time. Squat jumps use multiple muscles in your glutes and quads to burn calories, and that’s why we’re obsessed (and also why they’re so damn hard). Start in a squat position, making sure your knees are behind your feet so you don’t hurt yourself. Get super low, and then jump up explosively while straightening out your legs and arms. Your butt might be on fire by the end of the 30 seconds, but that just means you’re doing something right.

Squat Jump

5. Bicycle Crunches

Bicycle crunches are such a winning ab move, but sometimes people get carried away with how fast they can go, and they end up screwing up their form and completely missing the point. I know this is a HIIT workout, but for this one move you’ll have to slow down a bit and feel the burn in your abs without trying to die in 30 seconds. The point is to lie on your back with your hands behind your head, crunching your right elbow toward your left knee, and then doing the same on the other side. When you bring the opposite leg in, make sure you’re twisting with your core and not just pushing your elbow toward your knee without the crunch. Try doing 20 seconds super slow, and then speed up for the last 10.

Bicycle Crunches

6. Burpees

If there’s anything more painful than your aunt asking you why you’re not married yet, it might be burpees. Burpees are the ultimate HIIT move because they force you to use every muscle in your body to get down to the ground and back up as fast as you can. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Then, lower your body into a squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you, jumping your feet back so that you’re in a plank position. Once your body is in a straight line, lower your chest to the floor and then bring it back up as quickly as you can. Jump your feet forward outside of your hands, and jump up with your arms in the air. You’ll be pretty dead after 30 seconds of these, but then again, it’s *probably* better than the screaming political debate currently going down in the living room. 

Burpees

Read: 6 Moves That Will Get Rid Of Your Arm Flab Once And For All