Spring Forward!

By Nicole Flanagan

plankexerciseSpring is finally here!  At last we can enjoy the longer daylight hours and the warmer weather.  It’s time to pack away those heavy winter jackets and pull out our warm weather wardrobes.  This month is a good time to focus on stepping up your workout and getting the results you desire for summer.

Changing seasons is a great time for a fresh twist on an old routine. This spring do something different with your workout.  Head outside, get some fresh air and try some of these exercises to target your arms, abs and thighs.  The best part about this workout is that there are no weights required so you can exercise any time anywhere!

Give your abs a killer workout in just fifteen minutes with these exercises.

  • Abdominal sit and hold- Start sitting on a chair and place your hands on the edge with your finger tips facing forward.  Tighten your abs and lift your feet a few inches off the floor then lift your butt off the chair.  Hold this position for 15-20 seconds and then relax.  Rest for ten seconds and repeat.  Do this for 2minutes.
  • The plank-Start in full push-up position with your hands on the floor under your shoulders.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and hold this position for 20-30 seconds.  Relax for 10 seconds.  Do a set of three planks.  As you gain strength with this exercise hold it longer.
  • Oblique Crunch- kneel on the floor and lean all the way over to your right side, placing your right palm on the floor. Keeping your weight balanced, slowly extend your left leg and point your toes. Place your left hand behind your head, pointing your elbow toward the ceiling.  Next lift your leg to hip height as you extend your arm toward your leg keeping your palm facing forward.  Lower your leg to starting position.  Do 8-10 repetitions and then switch sides.

Get a better butt in just a few minutes with these awesome exercises.

  • Squat Jump- start standing with your knees slightly bent and your feet about hip width apart. Keeping your abs tight jump straight up.  When you land sit back into a squat and hold for a count of 5.  Keep in mind that when you squat your knees should not bend farther than your toes.  From this squat position you will go into your next jump.  Do ten consecutive jump squats and then rest.  Do three sets.
  • Hip lift- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Lift your hips toward the ceiling. Hold for 1 count, and then lower back down. Focus on pressing your heels into the ground and forming a straight line with your shoulders, hips and knees.
  • Toe touches- Lie on your back with your arms on your sides. Lift your feet, bending both knees to 90 degrees so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor.  Now tap your toes on the floor alternating your feet.  Do this for one minute.

Tone your arms and shoulders with three simple steps.

  • Push-ups- start in the full push-up position.  Lower your body to the ground until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.  Watch your lower back and be sure to keep your abdominals tight to support your core.  If full push-up are too difficult start with your knees on the floor.
  • Chair dips-Sit on the edge of the chair with your feet together. Place your hands on the seat on either side of your thighs and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lower yourself toward the floor. Raise your body by straightening your arms.  Do 8-10 repetitions.
  • Opposite arm and leg lift- Begin on all fours, knees under hips, palms beneath shoulders, and abs engaged.  Slowly extend left arm forward parallel to floor and right leg behind you to hip height. Hold for 2 or 3 counts, lower, and repeat on opposite side.  Do 8 to 12 reps per side

Try adding these new exercises to your old routine for a change.  The best part is that you can perform these exercises with very little or no equipment.  Try adding these exercises either before or after an outdoor run or walk.  Changing up your workout will make it more interesting, which will make you more likely to stick to it.

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