Emily Long understands how challenging it can be to dive headlong into an exercise program this time of year, but the West Seneca gym owner sees no reason that should mean it’s time for folks to turn their backs on fitness completely during the next few weeks. Here’s what she advises when it comes to throwing some exercise into your holiday schedule:
These exercises integrate the largest muscle groups in your body in order to maximize your calorie burn. Consider alternating the workouts for a total of four days during the week. Perform three sets of 8 to 10 reps per side.
1. Single leg squats
Stand with feet hip distance apart about 12 inches in front of a chair. Shift your weight to the right foot and lift up the heel of your left foot to ensure you don’t shift weight back over to that foot. Leading with your hips (not your knee), push your hips back toward the chair, keeping your chest lifted and your eyes straight ahead until your hips touch the chair. Use books to boost the height if necessary. Press into the heel of your right foot to engage your glutes on the way back up to standing. Complete reps, then switch sides.
2. Plank to pushup
Start in pushup position, in a straight line from your shoulders to your heels and hands directly below your shoulders. Keeping your abs and glutes nice and tight, lower onto your right elbow, and then down to your left elbow, keeping your abs and glutes tight the entire time and without allowing your hips drop to either side. From there, press one arm at a time back up into a pushup position to complete one rep. Lead with the left arm next. (To increase difficulty, add a pushup at the top of each rep.)
3. Modified deadlift
If you don’t have weights at home, fill two grocery bags with books, milk jugs, etc. Make sure it is enough weight. Start with the grocery bags on either side of your feet, which should be hip-width apart. Keeping your chest up and eyes forward, sit back into your hips until your hands reach the handles of the paper bags. Engaging your glutes and pressing into the ground with your heels, drive your hips forward until you are in an upright position. Reverse the movement by leading with your hips, engaging your hamstrings and slowly lowering the bags back into their original position.
1. Cossack squat
Standing with feet wider than hip width and toes turned out slightly, sit hips back and shift weight toward the left leg. Make sure that your left knee remains in line with, or slightly behind, your left toes. Remove weight from the right side almost completely by flexing your foot so that only your heel is resting on the floor. Stand up to center and repeat other side.
2. Bulgarian split squat
Elevate back right foot behind you about 12 inches off the floor, resting the top of the foot on a flat surface like a weight bench or low chair. Make sure hips stay square and slowly lower your right knee toward the floor, keeping your front knee in line with your ankle. Straighten back up and repeat. Once set is complete, switch sides.
3. Static row
Standing inside a door frame, facing the frame, bend knees slightly by pushing hips back. Grab the edge of the door frame with your right hand so that your arm is in a 90 degree angle with your elbow at your side. Without allowing your body to move forward or back, pull the door frame toward your body engaging your back and arm (nothing will move, but all the proper muscles will be engaged). Hold for 10 seconds, release and switch sides.