So Christmas is finally just around the corner! This makes me so happy and whilst most of the Christmas period is about seeing family and friends and eating plenty of food.. it can be so easy to overindulge and end up starting January feeling completely rubbish, so why not balance that out with workouts that will leave you feeling fresh and ready to head into 2017 in style? Below are my 12 absolute favourite moves split into various categories, most of which can be done from home with limited equipment, to keep you feeling fit and strong over the festive period:
Legs and bum
Probably my favourite body part to workout as it makes me feel so strong! Here are my 3 favourites:
Fire Hydrants with leg extension
To complete this exercise, get onto all fours to get a really stable base. Start on your left leg, keeping your knee at a right angle, lift your leg out to the side until it is parallel with the floor (if your body allows, if not just get as far as you can) then straighten the leg out, hold for a second then bend at the knee again and return to the all fours position. As weird as this sounds, it absolutely burns and I love it! I’d recommend keeping this move slow and focus on keeping your hips parallel with the floor, trying not to tilt them to the side as you lift your legs. Aim for 3 sets of 12-20 on each side for a real booty burn.
Goblet pulse squats
By adding the goblet (a weight, usually a kettle bell or a dumbbell held close to your chest) the intensity is raised and you can really feel the squat. I like to do 3 pulses at the bottom between each full squat, keeping the pace slow but ensuring you keep good form throughout. Remember to keep your back straight and chest lifted instead of leaning forward, keep the weight through your heels (you should be able to wiggle your toes) squat so that your knees are directly above your ankles and no further forward than that. Again aim for 3 sets of 12, maybe more or less depending on the weight that you’re using.
Glute bridge with resistance band
Another amazing at home workout companion is the resistance band. You can pick these up super cheap on Amazon and can pack them with you when you go away and can get a really great workout anywhere. So lie flat on your back with your knees bent, the band around the middle of your thighs and feet flat on the floor close to, but not touching, your bum. Squeeze your glute muscles and lift your bum into a bridge position as high as you can, then release back down to the bottom. You can add extra burn to this move by holding a dumbbell on top of your hips when you thrust up, or by pulsing the move at the top. Aim for 3 sets of 12-20 again based on how difficult you want to make it!
Not my favourite body part to train but you do get some serious satisfaction from the strength it can give you. I for one definitely feel like I’ve got a mismatch in terms of strength between my upper and lower body so arm training is really important to balance this out:
Lay down push up
As i’ve been working through the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide I’ve been doing a lot of these. It’s simply a normal push up but you go down all the way to lying on the floor then push up back onto your hands. To make this really challenging I try to hold the push up at the bottom of the contraction, keeping your body about a fist distance away from the floor for a couple of seconds before dropping to the floor, this just ensures that you’re not falling down to the floor! Another thing to try is performing the move with your elbows close to your waist to work more into your triceps. This can be really tough so maybe start with less than 12 reps per set for now but increase as you get stronger.
This is one of my favourites and you can use either a barbell or a pair of dumbbells to complete this move. The key thing to remember is keeping a good posture, standing up straight (especially being careful not to arch your back), press the weight up from being in line with your shoulders, up to a full extension but being careful not to lock out your elbows. Hold briefly at the top of the move then lower the weight back down so that it is inline with your shoulders. Aim for 3 sets of 8 of these and aim for a reasonably challenging weight to really work on your strength!
It feels like all over instagram these days there is a focus on being strong and not just skinny. Whilst I still don’t think we should compare ourselves to others, remember to just do you, and I don’t think we should measure ourselves against our favourite fitspos based on the number of pull ups we can do, having personal goals in this area is great. Instead of stepping on the scale, setting targets in terms of strength is a positive way to keep yourself motivated! I am no expert in this area but to get started it’s best to work assisted with either a machine in your gym or with a thick resistance band looped either into your knees or under your foot to support you as you gain strength. I wouldn’t set a particular level of sets and reps for this as it depends on how you are doing the pull ups and what strength you already have, but just be persistent and see how strong you can get!