The end of the year is usually a time to wind down, reflect on the year past, and set goals for the year ahead. In terms of fitness goals, you may or may not have met all of the ones you set out to achieve in 2017. I like to tell my clients that their body is a constant work in progress. Fitness and health are not just about reaching one size or weight–it’s an ongoing lifestyle. Our discipline can fluctuate and that’s completely normal. I found this to be true even in the height of my professional dance career when I trained several hours a day.
What’s important is that we always get back to it regardless of when that is. Having that mentality tends to create more positive results than a temporary diet or workout regime that burns you out too fast. Rather than “starting over” in the new year, how about finishing this year off strong and carrying that with you into next year?
Here is a full-body, easy-to-do-at-home, muscle-defining workout to finish 2017 off strong! (I am in the third trimester of my pregnancy and have been approved by my doctor to continue working out. If you are far along in your pregnancy or not used to working out regularly, please consult your doctor before doing these exercises. While these exercises are all pregnancy safe, they may need to be modified depending on how your body feels.)
1. Single Arm Bear Plank– Challenge your core with this plank variation. Get onto all fours with your hips directly over your knees and shoulders over your wrists. Pull your abdominals in with a slightly rounded back. Lift your knees about one inch off the ground and hold for 30 seconds. If this is challenging enough for you, repeat 2 more times. Otherwise, for the ultimate core challenge, take one arm out to the side for 15 seconds and then switch arms.
2. Single Leg Tricep Dip– Sit on on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh to create a figure four position with your legs. Place your hands behind you on the ground with your fingers facing your body. Lift your hips off the ground as you straighten your arms and stay lifted in your chest. Bend your elbows to lower your body down to the ground. Press through your palms to lift back up. Do 15 reps before switching legs and repeating another set.
3. Plié Squat With Calf Raise– From your glutes, inner thighs and calves, this move works the entire leg. Stand with your legs wide apart, slightly turned out from the hips. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows open. Bend your knees to lower down into a squat with your back straight. Your knees should remain in line with your toes, try to get your thighs parallel to the ground. Adjust your depth if it is too intense on your inner thighs or if you are far along in your pregnancy. Press through your heels to straighten your legs and return to your start position. Do 15 and then hold the last squat. Perform 10 calf raises, lifting your heels off the ground without allowing your body to rise. Finish off your set with 10 one inch pulses up and down either with your heels still up or lowered back down. Rest for a minute and do two more sets.
4. Negative Pushup– Taking more time on the negative phase of a move is so much more effective in building muscle strength. Usually when we do pushups, we rush through the coming up motion, missing out on a lot of strength training. Try doing pushups with an emphasis on the negative phase to get more by doing less reps! Pushups can be modified by getting onto your knees or if you are far along in your pregnancy, on an incline or against a wall. Once in your preferred pushup position, lower your body down in 1-2 seconds and take 4 seconds to come back up. Do 2 sets of 10.
5. Side Plank Crunch– Carve out your abs–and especially your obliques. This move can also be modified by going onto your knees instead of extending your legs all the way. Prop yourself up onto your right forearm either with your knees stacked, or for more of a challenge, legs extended left on top of right. Keep your left hand behind your head. Lift your hips up and turn out your top leg so that your toes point up. If your knees are bent, you will need to straighten the top leg. Bring your left knee up to your left shoulder, allowing your left elbow to come down to meet your right knee for a light tap. Bring the arm back behind your head and extend your leg back out and repeat for 10 reps. Switch sides and do a total of 3 sets.
6. Single Leg Dead Lift– Sculpt the back of your legs and butt while working your core. This move can be done with or without weights in your hands. Stand on one leg with a soft bend in that knee so that you can access your hamstrings. Do not lock the leg. Once in position, don’t bend that knee anymore during the exercise. Slowly hinge forward at the waist, keeping a tight core and straight back. Your arms will reach straight down towards the ground as your free leg extends up behind you until your body is parallel to the ground. Return to your upright position squeezing your supporting glute as you come up. Do 2 sets of 15 on each leg.
Mentally, physically or spiritually, what are some ways you are finishing your year (and starting the next one) off strong?
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Music: “Lying & Loving (feat. Mothica)” by Electric Mantis; Video: Crystal Chin