Tired of the same old exercises? Are curls, raises, rows and squats no longer doing it for you? Fret not, fearless exerciser, for we have a fun workout that will change all of that!
These seven exercises require a little imagination but otherwise no equipment at all. You can do them outdoors, inside a tiny apartment or even on an empty soccer field. As a bonus, this is a workout that your kids will LOVE to do with you—because it feels more like play than exercise. So if you're a mom or dad who needs to squeeze in exercise on top of childcare responsibilities, this is a win-win-win. (The extra "win" is because your little one will become your accountability partner and will ask to do the whole routine with you again and again!)
Try these exercises in the order listed up to 3 non-consecutive days per week.
Rake & ShakeStand tall with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped together in front of you as if you are holding a rake (1). Lunge to the left bending your left knee (toes pointing forward and hips pressing back), keeping your right leg straight, rotating your torso toward your right leg, and reaching your clasped hands toward your right hip (2). Slowly "rake" the leaves back to center, returning to the start position. Repeat on right side to complete one rep. Continue for 15 repetitions. Finish by shaking your legs out one at a time as if you were trying to shake leaves off your legs (not pictured).
Works inner and outer thighs, butt, quads and hamstrings.
Football FeetStand with your hands at chest height, arms bent, knees soft as if you are ready to catch a football. Lifting knees as high as you can, take three jogging steps to your left (left-right-left), landing with your right foot in the air (1). Repeat three high-knee jogs to the right (right-left-right), landing with your left foot raised (2). Now run three steps backwards, swinging your arms and torso back as if to catch a football (3). Finish by running three steps forward to "catch" the ball (4). Repeat side to side and back to front for at least 10 sets.
A core, cardiovascular, speed and agility exercise all in one.
Roll a Pumpkin, Pick an Apple! Works entire lower body, core and cardiovascular system.
With feet wider than hips, back straight and knees and toes turned outward, bend the knees and squat straight down, keeping chest lifted and reaching toward the ground as if picking a pumpkin (1). Stay low and walk forward in your squat position for 10 steps as you pretend to roll your pumpkin across the patch, then stand back up, straightening legs and reaching up to the right as if plucking an apple from a tall tree (lifting your left leg up at a diagonal (2). (Add a little hop on the right leg here if you want more challenge!) Squat back down and roll your pumpkin backwards for 10 steps, then stand and reach (or hop) to the left to complete one rep. Repeat for 10 total repetitions.
Slippery HikerBegin standing tall with arms at your sides, feet hip distance apart and back straight (1).Take a big step forward with the right foot into a lunge, bending the front knee over the ankle but keeping the back leg straight (2). Hinge from the hips to place your hands on the ground on each side of your foot, keeping abs tight (3). Walk or slide your front leg back into a plank position with arms and legs straight, back straight, and body in one long line (4). Pause for a moment, then walk or drag your left leg forward, keeping hands on the ground (5). Slow straighten back to an upright position, then step left leg back to return to the start position (1). Repeat, this time starting the series by stepping forward with the opposite (left) leg and finishing the whole series by stepping the right leg back to complete a single rep. Repeat for 5-8 total repetitions.
Works legs, glutes, core, shoulders and cardiovascular system.
Witches' BrewBegin by kneeling with your glutes touching your heels, hands clasped together as if you were holding a large wooden spoon in front of your chest, elbows bent (1). Slowly press your hips forward and raise your glutes off of your heels to come to an upright kneeling position, stirring your imaginary cauldron in a circle toward the right (2), then return to center. Deepen the bend in your knees to bring the hips halfway to the glutes (3). Come back up and stir again, this time toward the left side (not pictured) to complete one rep. Repeat for 5-8 repetitions, altering direction each time.
Works legs, glutes, abs and obliques.
Frankenstein AbsLie on your back with your legs straight up in the air and in line with the hips (knees bent if needed), and arms extended straight up in line with the shoulders (1). Keeping your core engaged and your head on the floor, begin your Frankenstein walk: Simultaneously lower your right arm and your left leg toward the ground without touching the floor (2). Hold for a count of 2 (Frankenstein moves slowly!), then return to the start position (1). Switch arms and legs (not pictured) to complete one rep. Aim for a set of 10 reps per side. Try to keep your limbs as straight as possible as you do this, just like Frankenstein, but only lower your leg as close to the floor as you can while maintaining a neutral spine.
Works abs, hips.
Black CatBegin on all fours with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips (not pictured). Lift both knees up off of the floor, keeping back straight, and hover for a count of 10 (1). Lower your knees down and round your back like a black cat (2). Hold for a count of 4. Release and arch your back looking all the way up to the ceiling (not pictured). Repeat 1-3 more times.
Works core, improves balance, and stretches the spine, back and abs.
Which exercise above are you most interested in trying? Do you change up your workouts with the seasons?
About the Author
Armed with more than 20 years of fitness and dance training, Sara Haley is certified through ACE, AFAA, & AFPA (Prenatal & Postnatal Exercise). As an international fitness expert and master trainer for Reebok, Ultraslide® Slideboard and willPower® method, she has traveled the globe educating other fitness instructors and trainers, developed programs such as JUKARI (a joint venture between Reebok & Cirque du Soleil), and starred in numerous Reebok and Gaiam workout DVDs. Sara has trained many celebrities and currently teaches for the prestigious Equinox health clubs. She is most well-known for her best-selling pregnancy workout program, Expecting More® and her own fitness and lifestyle brand The Daily Sweat®. Her newest DVDs and downloads, Sweat UNLIMITED, are the perfect time-efficient workouts for the busy professional or parent. She volunteers her time with Common Threads, a national non-profit company dedicated to teaching children how to cook healthy meals.
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