Favorite Workouts for 2014

When the new year came around, I wrote on the blog that I would be writing more about my own personal fitness journey. As part of this journey, I wanted to share a couple of my favorite workouts that I have been doing with my trainer. If you’re looking for a great calorie burn, or even just a good burn, then these are all good things I would recommend doing. Some require some equipment, others do not.

The Kettle Bell Swing

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I don’t know a whole lot about the many different ways to use a kettle bell, but if there’s one thing I DO know is that the kettle bell swing is one of the most effective workouts you can do. It activates so many muscles in your body, gets your heart going and helps you improve your balance too!

What you do:

  1. Get a kettle bell. Start light (15 pounds if you can).
  2. Standing upright, hold the kettle bell with two hands
  3. With your feet hip width apart, squat down, with your butt back as far as you can go, and as deep into the squat as you feel comfortable
  4. Stand up, using the force of your core to swing your arms up with the kettle bell. If your back hurts, you’re not using your core and the momentum generated from thrusting your hips forward as you stand.
  5. Repeat, letting the kettle bell swing under you when you squat.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_XjJjLc7NE

The Kickback

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Something I’ve learned from doing personal training is that my left glutes don’t activate very well. While this may not sound like a problem, it has really impacted my lunges and step ups, leaving me with soreness in muscles that shouldn’t be used, limited range of motion, and achy knees. So, my trainer and I have been working on strengthening my glutes. We do LOTS of kickbacks and let me tell you….they will make you sweat and make your ass burn. In a good way.

What you do:

  1. Get on the floor, in all fours
  2. Chose whichever leg you want to start with; Bend at the knee and lift behind you.
  3. Don’t twist your hips, keep them parallel with the floor
  4. Lift your bended leg up as far as feels comfortable and squeeze your butt
  5. Release and bring your leg back down, not touching the floor
  6. Repeat

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45YVKSQN88E

The Leg Raise

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This is the most insane core exercise I have ever done, and yet it is so, so simple to do. I promise this will make your abs burn like the fire of a thousand suns. In a good way.

What you do:

  1. Lay on the floor, on your back
  2. With your legs straight, lift them up, preferably perpendicular to the floor
  3. Slowly lower your legs, not letting them touch the floor
  4. Then raise them again
  5. Repeat
  6. Don’t forget to exhale when you bring your legs up, and inhale as you lower your legs

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMo97vRBg5A

The Fire Hydrant

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Again, referring to my shoddy glutes, this is another great exercise to encourage glute activation. Yes, you will look ridiculous doing it. And will probably feel ridiculous. But this makes me sweat like crazy and really works.

What you do:

  1. Get on all fours
  2. Keeping your leg bent, raise one leg to the side, like you are a dog peeing on a fire hydrant
  3. Lower your leg
  4. Repeat

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koh2eoSdG2Q

The Squat Press

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I have a killer squat, and like most people, I enjoy doing things I know I am good at. The squat press is a great way to work many muscles and is kind of low impact (if you have bad knees, it may be high impact for you)

What you do:

  1. Get two hand weights….they don’t have to be heavy, especially if you are starting out. Try 2 lbs each. Hold them at shoulder height
  2. Standing with feet hip width apart, go into a squat. Remember to push your butt out so that your knees do not extend over your toes when you squat down. Go as deep as you feel comfortable
  3. Stand up; When you stand, press both weights up, above your head
  4. Repeat

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aGJzxRQxO4

So these are just a few of my favorite workouts so far this year. I am also a big fan of the weight squat and the leg press because I have strong legs (I pressed 350# with my legs today!!). What are your favorite workouts? Let me know in the comments!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a trained fitness professional, nor am I a physician. Common sense recommends that you consult with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity for the first time. Also, know your limits. If you’ve never lifted weights before, start small. If something hurts, stop. Don’t push yourself if you are going to be sick. Know your body and listen to it. 

 

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