While it’s true that doing ab exercises alone won’t get you anywhere near that coveted six-pack, it doesn’t mean you should avoid them altogether. Ab exercises make for great additions to your normal workout. We asked Mark Kiersh, who just joined Mint DC as a personal trainer, to demonstrate some ab exercises to intersperse into our next workout. They may look simple, but we can guarantee your core will feel way more burn the next day than if you did boring old crunches.
Exercise 1: Windshield Wipers
Reps: 3 x 20
Lie on your back and grasp a sturdy pole behind you (your bed frame works). Lift your legs so your body forms an L shape. Slowly lower your legs to one side, then lift and lower them to the other side (think of the movement windshield wipers make). That’s two reps.
The pushup is one of the most common exercise moves, but the problem is many folks don’t know how to do one properly. A few months ago we featured a video demonstrating how to perfect your form, and now we’re going to show you how to progress from the basic, modified pushup to a super-advanced pushup using TRX Suspension Trainers and kettlebells. Read on for photo demonstrations of Will Noel of Mint DC performing each exercise.
Exercise 1: Modified Pushup*
Reps: 3 x 10
There’s nothing wrong with starting out on your knees if it means you’ll eventually perform a successful pushup. Start with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart and directly under your shoulders. Your knees should be slightly apart and toes should touch the ground. Slowly lower your torso down to a pushup, elbows back. Return to starting position and repeat.
*You can also perform a modified standing pushup by placing your hands on the back of a sturdy chair, a wall, or a bench press bar in the gym.
It's likely most of us will be stuck indoors for days, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. But don't let that be an excuse for you to pack on the pounds with all of those snacks you stocked up on. We rounded up a bunch of our at-home workouts for you to try. Now get to work!
4 Stay-at-Home Workouts
These workouts use household equipment such as a gallon of milk, a bottle of laundry detergent, and a towel. You'll work your quads, gluts, hamstrings, core—pretty much every muscle in your body.
The At-Home Chair Workout
Grab your nearest sturdy chair and start sweating! This customizable workout focuses on muscle strength, endurance, and stretching to improve flexibility.
When we tried a kettlebell workout for the first time, we couldn’t believe how sore our quads were from swinging that thing around. But that was almost a year ago, when the kettlebell fitness craze was just beginning. We wanted an update to the now-tired swings and squats, so we turned to personal trainer and Lululemon ambassador Errick McAdams.
Turns out you can perform almost any normal bodyweight exercise with a kettlebell and really work up a sweat. McAdams is using a 25-pound kettlebell, which is a good range for men to work with. If this is your first time using one, he recommends starting at a lower weight. We’re excited to introduce this new series of Well+Being workouts. Check back every Wednesday for a new one!
Exercise 1: The Upright Row*
Reps: 3 x 10 or 15
Stand hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell at your waist. Raise the kettlebell to your chest, keeping elbows out. Lower and repeat.
*Add a squat to the beginning of this exercise for more of a challenge.
Good news! New research shows workout effectiveness is not about how long you exercise, but how hard the workout is. The Danish study found that those who exercised to the point of perspiration reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 35 to 50 percent. On the other hand, those who walked for an hour each day experienced no reduction in risk of MS, which includes high blood pressure, glucose levels, and large waistlines.
Even better news: We’ve featured tons of workouts that take 20 minutes or less to get you the intense workout you need in the short time you have. Take your pick!
The 20-Minute 100 Workout
This quick calorie-busting routine works every muscle in your body in less than half an hour. (Want to focus on shaping your legs? Try the 100 Workout for Toned Legs. Want Michelle Obama-esque arms? Try the 15-Minute Workout for Toned Arms.)
We all know the dangers of sitting in our office chairs all day, so why not turn that simple piece of furniture into a workout tool? City Fitness trainer Amanda Schmidt has created a set of seven exercises, all performed using a basic chair, that you can fit in on your lunch break or even during a long conference call.
Note: Be extra careful if using a chair with wheels. Lock the wheels if possible, or use a steady chair instead.
How to Perform the Workout
10 to 15 pushups: To perform incline pushups, place your hands on the seat and do a pushup, keeping your core tight and avoiding an arched back. For the more difficult decline pushups, place your feet on the chair and your hands on the floor.
Last week we gave you a relaxing yoga workout, but now it’s time to kick it into high gear again. Grant Hill, the founder of MyBootcamp and an indoor cycling instructor at Revolve Fitness, knows that no exercise is quite as intense as the exercise we love to hate: the burpee.
"The burpee is loved for its effectiveness at working just about everything you can possibly imagine at once—and loathed for the absolute butt-kicking it delivers,” says Hill.
The jump-squat-pushup combo is a total-body workout that targets your upper body, lower body, and core while including both cardio and strength-training elements.
Even more intense? Doing Tabata intervals of burpees. “The key with Tabata is intensity. You must give maximum effort if you want the gains Tabata can deliver,” says Hill.
Read on for his seemingly simple yet crazy tough workout.
A yoga session is a great way to unwind after a stressful day. But personal trainer Tanya Colucci of Synergy Training Solutions knows it can be harder to motivate yourself to get to the yoga studio as the weather cools, so she created a quick and simple at-home routine perfect for after a long day of work or even in the morning. So drag out your yoga mat, clear a space in the living room, and let the tension melt away. Namaste.
How to Perform the Workout
10 reps of high plank to down dog: Move from a high plank to down dog, focusing on inhaling
to high plank and exhaling to down dog.
We’ve brought you workouts to improve your pushup abilities and get toned arms and legs, and today we're tackling abs. What better way to target the core than with that reliable standby, planks?
Mike Hamberger, the brains behind DC Running Coach, created a customized workout with five twists on the standard plank. “Performing variations of the traditional plank exercise engages your core muscles and strengthens the stability of your trunk,” he says. “[This] will benefit your performance in other activities, not to mention help tone your midsection.”
How to Perform the Workout
Perform each exercise for one minute. Rest for 10 to 20 seconds between each set.
1) Five- to ten-minute light cardio warmup.
2) Standard plank position: Starting face down, keep your weight on your forearms and the toes of your feet, with eyes on the floor. Don’t let your knees or hips sag or arch your lower back. Make sure your feet are together and forearms are parallel to each other.
We’re all about taking advantage of the cooling weather and moving our workouts outside. And thanks to trainer Laura Yochelson’s Beyond Bounds routine, outdoor exercise doesn’t have to mean just going for a run.
How to Perform the Workout
Head to your local school or community center with an outdoor basketball court for Yochelson’s workout, as you will use the court baselines for many of your exercises. A tennis court or a football field’s sidelines will also work.
Part 1 (warmup)
Perform five exercises from baseline to baseline on the court—light jogging, butt kicks, high knees, grapevines, and skipping—followed by jogging backward between each exercise.