Fitness may be the last thing on your mind over the holidays, but there’s no better way to beat the cold weather blues and holiday overindulgence than by moving your body. Getting your circulation going and continuing to strengthen and sculpt your muscles will make returning to your routine after the vacation is over so much easier. There might not be a lot of time or space available to you to workout over the holidays, but with these 6 moves, you can slim and sculpt every part of your body just about anywhere.
1. Changements– Tone your abs and upper thigh area with this ballet-inspired exercise. Lie on your back with your legs straight up in air. Turn your legs out slightly so that your feet are in a Pilates V with the heels together and toes apart. Curl your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground with your hands behind your head. Lower your legs down slightly until you feel your abs engage. This is your starting point. Cross one leg slightly over the other using your inner thighs and then switch. Continue to beat your inner thighs together with each change of the legs. Take six beats to lower the legs down as low as possible without letting your back lift off the ground and six beats to come back up to your starting point. Each leg switch counts as one beat. Remember to scoop your abs in and try your best to keep your upper body stable as the legs move. Do 5 sets down and up.
2. Single Leg Shoulder Bridge– Strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Your arms stay on the ground by your sides. Lift your hips into the air by squeezing your glutes and pressing through your heels. Be careful not to arch the back to get more height in your hips. Your abdominals should stay pulled in at all times. Once your hips are up, lift one leg straight up in the air while keeping your pelvis square. Flex the foot as you lower the straight leg down towards the ground and point the foot as you lift it back up. The challenge is to keep your hips lifted even as you lower the straight leg, so press up through the glute and hamstring even more as the leg comes down. Do 5-10 leg lifts on each leg and at the end of each set, hold the leg up and pulse your hips up for an additional 5-10 reps.
3. Tricep Push Up with Leg Lift– Sculpt your arms, obliques, and hips all in one. Lie on one side of your body with the bottom leg bent and the top leg straight out to the side in parallel with the foot flexed. Wrap your bottom arm around your waist and place your top hand on the ground in front of your chest. As you press up onto the hand on the ground by straightening the arm, you will simultaneously lift your top leg up into the air. Keep the knee facing forward to get a true crunch in the obliques on that side. Do 15 on each side.
4. Plank Hip Twist– Slim your waist with this twisty move. Get into a plank position on your forearms. Keep your shoulders over your elbows and your abs pulled in and up into your back to prevent sinking into your shoulder blades. It’s also very important not to sink into your hips here. Squeeze your inner thighs together as you dip one hip towards the ground without letting your torso drop. Repeat to the other side and continue to twist your hips to each side using your core. Your shoulders do not move at all. Your feet may move slightly to each side but there should always be tension in the legs. Do 2 sets of 10.
5. Single Leg Knee Stretches– Work your quads and core. Get onto all fours and curl your toes under so you are on the balls of your feet. Drop your head and round your back like an angry cat by pulling your belly button all the way up into your spine. Lift your knees off the ground about an inch or two. The lower your knees are to the ground without touching it, the harder the exercise. Take the pressure off your knees by really pulling up into your abdominals. Inhale as you straighten one leg out behind you without changing the shape of your torso. Using your abs, pull that straight leg into your chest as you exhale. Repeat this action with the leg ten times at a rapid pace before switching sides.
6. Swimming– Lengthen and strengthen all the muscles in the posterior side of your body, especially your erector spinae, the muscles along either side of your spine. Lie down on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and your legs long behind you. Squeeze your entire backside to lift the arms, chest, and legs off the ground as much as you can. The legs may separate slightly here. Start moving your arms and legs up and down alternating opposite arm and leg as if you were swimming in water. Keep your arms and legs toned and straight as you swim at a quick and consistent pace. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for getting out of shape. There’s always something you can do to stay active!
Also by Crystal: 4 Brilliant Exercises to Lift and Sculpt Your Bust
This Pilates Ab Challenge Will Tighten Your Core In 10 Days
Related: 3 Ways to Reconnect with Your Body
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Video: Crystal Chin; Music: “Sapphire” by Bonobo