Burn fat, build muscle and lean lean lean with this efficient 30-minute full body workout courtesy of trainer, Amber Bloom.This full body workout takes just 30 minutes to complete and requires minimal equipment – so it can really be done absolutely anywhere! This training session will target your upper body, lower body and abs, while still incorporating some cardio to keep the heart rate high.Each set has three exercises to be performed one after the other, followed by one minute of cardio (one round). Repeat each set three times before moving on to the next set. Take a one-minute break in-between each set (or between each round for beginners).
The key to rocking shoulder-baring sweaters and blouses this season is pairing them with a strong, toned upper body. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to speed hours in the gym to achieve an eye-catching upper body. What you need is a challenging workout—one that cranks up the intensity on your muscles and eliminates every last ounce of flab. Enter Tabata training, also known as the 4-minute fat-burning workout.
Name: Kellie Davis
Weight: 132 lbs
Occupation: Fitness writer and personal trainer
Strong, round glutes are the foundation of a great physique and a healthy body. Unfortunately, many of us have weak glutes that just get weaker because we sit all day. Aside from not looking so great, feeble butt muscles can cause a litany of postural problems and pain issues. Even worse, having a weak bum means your primary lifts like the squat and the deadlift aren’t as strong as they could be. If that doesn’t motivate you to put some muscle on your backside, I don’t know what will!
To restore your ailing glutes, you need to make training them a priority. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with constantly tight hips and probably contract flat-ass disease.
Save your butt from these depressing side effects by following these five rules. They’ll help you feel stronger and more mobile. They’ll also help you add some great-looking curves to your rear end.
Hit Them Baby One (Okay, Three) More Times
If your training routine only calls for one glute-specific workout per week, it’s time to ramp things up. Glutes adapt well to frequency— the more often you train them, the quicker they grow in size and strength. Rather than performing a single glute workout once per week, add booty-busting exercises to each workout you do during the week.
Try this: Add loaded hip thrusts, glute bridges, hip abduction exercises, back extensions, or hip extension exercises to your daily workouts.
Single-leg bodyweight glute bridge
Mix Up Your Hip Extension
Hip extension is important for pelvic stability and daily movement. Walking, running, standing, and sitting in with proper posture begins and ends with your butt.
In this age of computers and cubicles, people spend most of their time in hip flexion (seated position). More often than not, long bouts of sitting cause tight quads, a tight psoas muscle, and weak hip extensors—namely the gluteus maximus.
To alleviate these symptoms and put yourself on a path to a perkier posterior, it’s wise to activate your hip extensors regularly. Hip extension occurs when the thighs or pelvis move rearward. The most common—and best—exercises for hip extension are the squat and deadlift. These two lifts belong in your lifting regimen along with assistance exercises to pack on glute mass.
Try this: Use squats and deadlifts as a primary hip extension exercises and add in one or two assistance exercises to each routine. Assistance lifts include, but aren’t limited to: Romanian deadlifts, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, hip thrusts, glute bridges, back extension, reverse hyperextension, glute kickback, and donkey kick.
“The most common—and best—exercises for hip extension are the squat and deadlift. These two lifts belong in your lifting regimen along with assistance exercises to pack on glute mass.”
Add a Little Abduction, Too
Your hips articulate in several ways other than the all-important extension. Your hips can also move in flexion, medial and lateral rotation, adduction, and abduction. If you move your hips in circles, you’ll get the idea. Along with hip extension, another important element of strong glutes is hip abduction, or moving the thighs outward from your midline.
Your glute medius is a major abductor of the thigh. Its anterior fibers rotate the hip internally while the posterior fibers rotate the hip externally. A strong glute medius will control any unwanted sideways movement in your pelvis. For example, if your left hip drops when you stand on your right leg, your right glute medius is probably weak. An unlevel pelvis can lead to other issues like IT band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome, neither of which is pleasant.
Try this: To strengthen the glute medius, add 2 sets of 10 reps of standing cable hip abduction and 2 sets of 12 reps of seated band hip abduction twice per week.
Keep Your Booty Active
If you sit on them all day, your glutes will just become weaker and weaker. This weakness can be compounded when other muscles have to take over a lift in order to compensate for them. Avoid a weak booty by doing a series of activation and mobility drills ten minutes a day. Practicing glute activation will help them fire during every exercise.
Try this: Perform 10 reps of each exercise once per day.
- Single-leg bodyweight glute bridge
- Fire hydrant
- Bird dog
- Standing glute squeeze
“Passive tension is how your hamstring muscles feel at the bottom of a Romanian deadlift.”
Mechanical tension is the bee’s knees when it comes to muscle hypertrophy (growth). Mechanical tension occurs when you passively stretch or actively contract the muscle. Passive tension is how your hamstring muscles feel at the bottom of a Romanian deadlift and active tension is how your biceps feel as you contact in a barbell curl. Both are key players in muscle growth, and both can make a big difference in gluteal development.
When using a full range of motion (ROM), your muscles are placed under a combination of both passive and active tension. For example: At the bottom of a squat, your glutes are in a stretched (passive tension) position; at the top, they’re in a squeezed (active tension) position.
Maintaining this tension through a full range of motion is optimal for gains. To do it, control your reps, keep a steady tempo, and don’t rely on momentum to get through the exercise—oh, and don’t skimp on the ROM.
Try this: To increase mechanical tension, use a tempo for your exercises. Tempo is expressed as a series of 3 or 4 numbers, such as 2-2-2. The first number is the number of seconds in the eccentric (lowering) portion of the movement, the second number is the pause, and the third number is the number of seconds in the concentric (lifting) portion of the movement.
You can incorporate an exercise tempo as simple as 2-2 or 3-3. You can also incorporate a pause in the middle, like 3-3-3, or even have a longer eccentric portion like a 4-3 tempo. Remember, though, that adding a tempo doesn’t mean you get to forgo a full range of motion.
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Name: Karina Baymiller
Occupation(s): Team Bodybuilding.com; Cellucor athlete; ACSM Personal trainer
In the fitness community, I’m most often recognized because of my big weight-loss transformation. I went from 185 pounds to a little less than 130 pounds. It took me a few years to get to my lowest weight, but I followed the motto that slow and steady wins the race and I never gave up. I know it was this attitude that helped me place second the 2013 Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Competition.
Sometimes, I look back and can’t believe how far I’ve come. I don’t even remember the girl who had never stepped foot in a gym and gorged on pizza, chips, and ramen all day.
But I’ve decided my transformation work is not yet done—in fact, it’s only just begun! I’m on a second transformation journey, and this time I’m putting my happiness and my health first. I’m transforming my body from skinny to strong, and my mind from unhealthy to happy.
Why I Decided to Change … Again
Believe it or not, when I weighed 185 pounds, I was one confident girl. I loved my body and never thought of myself as fat. I was who I was and that was that. I wasn’t defined by my body’s appearance. But that self-confidence changed the moment I decided I should lose weight. It seemed as though the more weight I lost, the more self-conscious about my appearance I became. I reached every weight-related goal I had set for myself, and yet I was never good enough.
At 125 pounds and with barely enough body fat to function, I competed for the first (and last) time with anxiety that I was “too fat” to be on stage. I had become so progressively wrapped up in numbers and body fat percentages over the few short years of dieting, that I was mentally destroyed.
I also noticed that my training started to suffer. I first began working out to be healthy and because I loved the way it made me feel, but I had lost sight of those reasons. I trained to burn calories and stay as thin as possible. If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run. I started to hate outdoor runs because I was forcing myself to do them. I allowed my training to control me. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed in exchange for doing whatever it took to stay thin.
Along with a severely distorted body image and training that was running me into the ground, my relationship with food started to become extremely disordered. Gone were the days of using food for fuel. If my food wasn’t weighed out to the gram and if I didn’t prepare it myself, I refused to eat it. There were days that I had full-blown anxiety attacks because I couldn’t log something in MyFitnessPal.
“If I didn’t burn enough calories according to my heart rate monitor—which was never accurate anyway—my mood was ruined. More often than not, I would make myself go back to the gym later to do HIIT or run.”
I began taking hours of my day to try to configure my food so I would hit my macros just perfectly. If I didn’t, another anxiety attack would ensue. To say I was obsessed is an understatement. I restricted myself with calories, types of foods, and situations. God forbid I would eat a cookie!
I felt like I was drowning, like I was just barely holding my head above water. Everything I had loved so much in the beginning—the healthy eating, the workouts, my body—now had complete control of my life. They were no longer positives. They had become negatives, weighing me down with each passing day. I knew I had to change. It was only a matter of time before I broke down completely.
That’s when I decided I wanted to find strength.
The first thing I had to change was my mindset. I had to let go of the unhealthy habits that were slowly suffocating me. My negative body image was, and still is to this day, the hardest thing to let go of. I found it much easier to allow for self-hate than to find self-love. Sadly, I think this is true for many people. But I had to let go.
I had to let go of having visible abs 24/7. I had to let go of desperately trying to maintain 12 percent body fat. I had to let go of the number on the scale. Most importantly, I had to let go of the idea that I would only be happy if I was lean. I wanted to be happy when I looked in the mirror, and I knew it wouldn’t come from a certain size. It had to come from letting go and loving myself no matter what.
“I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made.”
I still remind myself of where I started. That girl sitting on her ass eating ramen all day is 180 degrees from where I am today, and she always will be. I’m proud of the person I’ve become and the changes I’ve made. Whether I stay the size that I am now or gain or lose a few pounds, I love who I am. My worth is no longer based on what the scale says in the morning.
I don’t have “fat days” or “fluffy days” anymore, because quite frankly, I don’t care. I refuse to let something like three pounds of water destroy my day. I know now that I’m healthier than I ever was at 130 pounds. My hormones aren’t out of whack, I’m not moody or depressed, I don’t have random headaches, I’m not constantly fatigued, and I don’t feel weak.
Unfortunately, there’s a widespread belief that equates health to six-pack abs. This might be true for some people, but for the majority it’s not. I can lift more, sprint faster, and am healthier now than I ever was. There is beauty in strength. I don’t just say it, I know it.
I wanted my fire for exercise to burn like it did when I first started lifting, so I let go of the forced daily runs and extra HIIT sessions to “make up” for calories. I began to utilize conditioning work 1-2 times per week instead. I added back my short outdoor runs, but much more infrequently, and never because I felt pressure to burn a certain number of calories. I threw my heart monitor away.
I also discovered powerlifting. When I finally dropped the light-weight, high-rep stuff I was doing to stay thin, I started following Wendler’s 5-3-1 program and quickly fell in love. My strength skyrocketed, and when I decided I wanted to take my training to the next level, I signed with The Strength Guys. Now, the spark is back when I’m in the gym. I feel the fire again.
Strength Training Program
I follow an intense, block-periodization powerlifting program created by my coach, Jon Stewart. It’s high volume, tailored to correct my weaknesses, and uses movements and load intensities built for progression. I’m on six-week cycles of five-day splits. I have one day of light conditioning and one day of complete rest. Mobility is a vital component of my current program because my training pushes my body to its limits.
Each day and week I use different sets, reps, and weight with a specific rest time, exercise tempo, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to follow. Days one and three look on week three of my program.
- Mobility Training
Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.
Pause Squats have the lifter descending to the bottom position of the squat and freezing. The bottom position is held for three seconds, maintaining tightness in the muscles and correct technique, before returning to the starting position.
is lifting sub-maximal loads with maximum force. For more details check
- Wide Neutral-Grip Pull-Up
3 sets of 8 reps
- RKC Plank
3 sets of 30 seconds (15% bodyweight on mid-back)
- Mobility Training
Mobility Training includes foam rolling the area to be trained, plus two or three dynamic stretches/movements the prepare the area for training.
Reset Deadlifts are performed the same as a standard deadlift, but the lifter will put the weight completely on the floor and reset their hip position between each rep.
The hardest physical aspect to change for me was my diet. I had developed such rigid views and habits around food that it was almost more of a struggle to let them go than it was to keep them. I packed away my food scale and deleted MyFitnessPal. I started incorporating foods that I hadn’t allowed myself to eat in years. I stopped restricting. I re-learned how to eat, not from a clock or scale, but from what my body was feeling.
At first I thought I would feel free without the calorie counting, stress, obsession, and anxiety, but I didn’t. I would take two steps forward and three steps back, wondering if I would ever be able to change. It took years to develop my disordered relationship with food, and I knew it wasn’t going to take a week to fix it. So, I trusted the process just as I always had, kept working at it, and didn’t give up.
Today, around 70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food that allows my body to perform at its optimal level. This includes things like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.
70-80 percent of the food I consume is healthy, nutrient-dense food like lean proteins, organic dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts (and butters!), and seeds.
The other 20-30 percent of food I consume is made up of things that I crave, or that I just plain want—no explanation or condition necessary. There is no special time, day, or place for these foods. I allow myself the freedom to eat them when I want them. Some days I’m at a 50/50 split, some days it’s 100/0, but on most days I stay right around 80/20. It all balances out.
I don’t restrict, I listen to my body’s needs and wants, and most important, I consume everything mindfully and in moderation. Through all of the extremes, I’ve found balance to be the key component in my physical and mental health. It’s also been the key to my happiness.
I don’t have a meal plan to follow because the foods and amounts I eat change on a daily basis. I don’t weigh or measure anything, so all quantities below are estimated. I don’t know my caloric intake or macro breakdown, but I would guess I’m somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200-2,700 calories per day. Here is what I ate yesterday:
- Chobani Key Lime Yogurt
1 container with graham cracker crumbles and white chocolate chips
- Peanut Butter
- Cellucor COR-Performance Whey Cinnamon Swirl
- Almond Milk
1 1/2 cups
- Homemade Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
1 1/2 pieces
- Spinach Salad
1 small salad
- Caesar Dressing
Greek Chicken Wrap
- Brown Rice Tortilla
- Chicken Breast
- Feta Cheese
- Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion
marinated in olive oil and red wine vinegar with dill, oregano, salt, and pepper
Throughout my second transformation, I’ve found myself spending more time with friends and family. They couldn’t care less what I look like—my abs make no difference to them. As long as I’m healthy and happy, they’re happy too.
It’s funny because these are the people I pulled away from when I started my downhill slide into disordered eating and thinking. I sheltered myself from everything that wasn’t fitness related, even friends and family. But when I finally let go of the obsession and the stress, I felt free.
During this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.
The fitness community is full of extremes. We work out until we can’t move. We eat diets of tilapia and broccoli. It takes a strong individual to endure what we put ourselves through. But during this second transformation, I found that the middle is where I want to be.
I want to be somewhere between the overweight college girl and the underweight girl on stage, somewhere between the girl who ate pop-tarts for every meal and the girl who ate lettuce for every meal, somewhere between the girl who never stepped foot into the gym and the girl who wouldn’t leave it until she’d burned enough calories. This middle spot is where I’m happy and strong. It’s where I found my balance.
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Leg day is so nice, you better do it twice! I go heavy on legs early in the week and then finish them off with this powerful plyometric workout.
Karina found out through relentless experimentation that good things come to those who are patient. She tried every plan in the book and perfected her own formula!
While it's unlikely most gym-goers will be wrapping themselves in bin bags and heading to the sauna, obtaining the coveted single-digit percent body fat has become a badge of honour. Previously reserved for bodybuilders, male models and the truly dedicated, men off the street are now using pre-competition fat loss logic for jaw-dropping abs.
Leg raises are a great way to target the stomach, strengthening lower abdominals and hip reflexors, plus it doesn’t require any gym kit. Add these moves to one of your home workouts for a simple, effective way to tone your tummy. Try 10 reps to start with, and progress to more once you’ve perfected your form.
Try out these different variations of leg raises to challenge yourself, make sure you’re also hitting your fat-burning workouts hard, as you need to torch that fat to reveal your new toned tum!
Lying down leg raises:
-Lie on your back with your hands on the floor or under your bottom.
-Keeping a slight bend in the knees and feet together, start with both feet up towards the ceiling.
-Without allowing your lower back to overarch, slowly lower your legs towards the floor without bending the knees any more than they already are.
-When legs are almost on the floor, squeeze the abs and lift them back up to the start and repeat.
Hot tip: if these aren’t challenging enough for you, why not add some ankle weights?
Leg raises with a ball
Add a bit of weight to make your leg raises more challenging
-Start similar to the lying down leg raises
-With your feet on the floor, place an exercise or medicine ball between your feet, griping it firmly
-Begin to raise your legs up, then slowly lowering your legs down, the weight will cause you to use more control
-The weight will cause this exercise to me more challenging than the regular leg raises but effective works the abdominals.
Hanging leg raises
You can perform this exercise at the gym, in the park or at home if you have a door pull up bar
-Hanging from a bar with your arms- grip firmly wide or medium
-Begin to raise your knees/legs so that your body makes a 90 degrees angle
– Lower your legs down and repeat the exercise
This exercise can be difficult, some gyms provide a padded bench that can support your back and padded arm rests for your elbows.
Side leg raises
This exercise can be performed lying or standing
– Standing on one leg, raise the opposite leg to the side as far as you can
– Bring it back to the standing position and repeat this exercise for both legs
-Lie down on one side- with legs extended and stacked on top of one another
-Raise the top leg up as high as you can, lowering it back down to the first poistion.
5 exercises for at-home reformer Pilates Want to bring your Pilates sessions home with you? Here are five ways to bring some reformer moves into your home workouts.If reformer Pilates sounds like your kind of deal, you better be prepared to part with a pretty penny. An hour-long private lesson can set you back hundreds of dollars, while group classes are still quite pricey.
5 minutes with The HIIT Mum Pocket rocket and mother-of-one Colette McShane, aka. @TheHIITMum, is a fitness force to be reckoned with. Here, we chat to her about supplementation, passion and just getting stuff done.My love for the health industry started very early. I’ve been athletic all my life, participating in triathlons and cross-country racing as a six-year-old in Scotland.
Name: Al Kavadlo, CSCS
Location: New York, NY
Occupation: Trainer, author, lead instructor of Progressive Calisthenics Certification
It’s become a common cliché that bodyweight athletes don’t have strong legs. Look at the comments on any YouTube clip showcasing advanced calisthenics, and you’re bound to see someone hating on the lack of lower-body development. A number of coaches also insist that it’s impossible to build a strong, powerful lower body without external weights.
Balderdash, I say! Bodyweight exercises alone can make you every bit as strong as can barbells and dumbbells. You just need to push yourself and get a little creative.
While newcomers need to spend some time honing their bodyweight squats and lunges, it usually doesn’t take long for these basic exercises to max out on their strength benefits. Once this occurs, however, adding weight is not the only solution; you can continue to build strength by simply progressing to more difficult bodyweight exercises, like I discuss in my book Pushing The Limits.
Ultimately, I recommend working up to single-leg movements like the pistol squat to get the most out of calisthenics leg training. However, these types of advanced movements may remain out of reach until you’ve built more strength. As an intermediate step, jump training can add a challenge to your lower-body workouts without the need for weights or equipment. And even if you’re well-versed in pistol squats, some of these simple exercises may offer you a new challenge and a welcomed change of pace.
1 Jump Squat
A jump squat is like a regular bodyweight squat, except instead of simply standing up at the top of your range of motion, you jump as high as you can, lifting your knees toward your chest at the top. You can do them jumping in place or up onto an object.
Though your legs obviously do most of the work, jump squats are a full-body exercise, so use your arms to generate momentum. Remember to stay light on your feet and avoid landing with your knees locked. Keep your joints relaxed and do your best to absorb the impact as gently as possible.
Try to go directly from one jump into the next, taking advantage of the elasticity of your muscles and their stretch reflex. If you’re not able to do this at first, however, just reset and take a few seconds between reps as needed.
“Though your legs obviously do most of the work, jump squats are a full-body exercise, so use your arms to generate momentum.”
2 Broad Jump
Another fun plyometric squat variant, the broad jump is essentially the same as the jump squat except you jump forward, not upward. You still want to lift your legs high as you jump, however; this will help you clear more distance. Leaving your legs dangling isn’t as aerodynamic. You’ll need a lot of space to practice broad jumps; I recommend a park or field.
Again, try to go from one rep right into the next, though feel free to take a few seconds between reps if you need to when starting out.
“Lunges are one of my favorite leg exercises, but like anything else, they need to be progressed once they cease to be a challenge.”
3 Jump Lunge
Lunges are one of my favorite leg exercises, but like anything else, they need to be progressed once they cease to be a challenge.
Start out with a stationary jump lunge by lowering yourself down into a split squat and jumping up at the top, gently landing back into the bottom position with your knees bent. Do several in a row, and then switch legs.
When you get comfortable with those, the cycle lunge is a more advanced jump lunge worth trying. It starts out the same as the stationary jump lunge, but once you’re in the air, you’ll have to quickly switch your legs before landing. Continue to alternate legs with each rep, going from one right into the next. Feel free to swing your arms for momentum or keep them at your sides. It might take a little practice to land comfortably without losing your balance.
Though often overlooked, running is arguably the most natural and fundamental of all lower-body calisthenics exercises. Though most people associate running with long-distance cardio training, sprinting turns up the intensity to such a degree that the body’s response is more like performing a heavy set of barbell squats than jogging a 10K. Yes, you can actually build strength and muscle through sprinting!
“The body’s response to sprinting is more like performing a heavy set of barbell squats than jogging a 10K.”
Remember that when you sprint, both of your feet are often in the air at the same time, so sprinting is pretty much a form of jump training. You can do sprints for time or for distance, but either way, keep them brief and intense for the most strength benefits.
Here’s a simple routine that can be done anytime to help you find your footing in jump training.
Perform all exercises consecutively, with 1-2 minutes rest between each set.
There is no single strength building method that’s guaranteed to work best for everybody. Weight training will forever have its place in strength and conditioning, but there will always be alternative options to help build athleticism outside of the traditional weight room setting. Bodyweight workouts are often the most practical means of getting a quick but effective workout when you’ve got a busy schedule and/or don’t belong to a gym.
Give the workout above a shot. I promise it will leave your quads aching and your hamstrings hammered.
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