Aaahhhhh, VALENTINE’S DAY! A time to remind those you love that you care about them. Oh yeah, and purchase CARDS, ROSES, CHOCOLATE and LINGERIE! Today is also an opportunity to love YOURSELF! Put your health and happiness on the top of today’s priority list! To assist you with a little self-love, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite exercises here. These four exercises make for a full body toning workout. Do three sets of this circuit every other day for two weeks for noticeable strength improvements and full-body toning in all the right spots. When your two weeks are done, bust out that lingerie again and feel even more FIERCE in it!
Side Plank + Shoulder Raise – For ‘love-handles’ and shoulders
Target your obliques to tone your midsection, particularly on your sides, above the hip bone. Add a dumbbell shoulder raise to increase your time and distract you from the work your core is doing! Working shoulders is a great way to feel firm and strong in your upper body. Also, most clients note that as they see an increase in muscle and tone in the shoulder, all parts of the arm begin to look leaner as well. An 8#, 10# or 12# dumbbell will work for most.
HOW TO: Plank on your elbow with a DB in your top hand, start by resting it on your hip. Raise the DB from your hip to over your shoulder and back down. *Make it harder: After every shoulder raise, bend at the waist to tap your bottom hip on the floor and back up. Try 12 on each side.
Plank Pushups – For CORE and Upper Body
While most women wouldn’t think to work their chest, exercises targeting the chest muscles also target the area where your chest connects with your arm, right near the armpit. The spot where a tight fitting bra, swimsuit or strapless dress can easily create a clump or ‘pouch’ of body fat. Without firm muscles in this area, women of all sizes might notice and wish to target and tighten this spot. Pushups are one of the best ways I have seen clients reduce body fat in this area. Try this exercise to get all the benefits of a pushup plus the added challenge of a plank.
HOW TO: Start in a plank on your hands, drop onto one elbow and then the other, pause here in elbow plank, then press up one hand at a time. Try to minimize the amount of rocking that your hips do as you transfer one arm at a time into each position. Doing so maximizes the challenge from the plank. Try 6-10 pushups on each arm.
Watch this video for a full tutorial of the Double Leg Stretch.
Something not noted in this short video is the importance of the abdominal connection. To start the exercise you will lie on your back and engage your transverse abdominals (drawing your belly button in toward your body). Beginners will also want to tip their pubic bone up, shortening the space between pubic bone and ribs, pressing the low back into the mat. This position (Imprint) is safe for all levels when working with your feet off the ground. Now that your abs are drawn in and engaged, you can continue with the exercise via this video.
VIDEO HOW TO: Do a Double Leg Stretch – Pilates Try 8-12 repetitions.
Single Leg Hip Lift – For GLUTES and HAMSTRINGS
Great for muscle development in your butt and the back of your legs, this SL Hip Lift can help you tighten your ‘Rear View’ for a ultra-boost in confidence! Feel awesome wearing lacey little under things, booty shorts and tiny skirts.
Lie on your back with one foot on the floor or on the edge of a bench (as shown). Your other leg will be in the air, out of the way. Keeping your abs tight, use your glute to press your hips up toward the ceiling until you’re in a straight line from your shoulders to your knee, then return your hips back toward the ground before pressing up again. Try 12 lifts on each leg. *For a glute emphasis, the working leg should be at 90 degrees (as shown). For more of a hamstring emphasis, straighten your leg almost all the way, leaving about a 10 degree bend in the knee. Using your glutes and hamstrings, lift your hips a few inches off of the floor. Try 12 lifts on each leg.