Workout #2 is one of my all-time favorite formats, as it’s a strength and Tabata hybrid. During the strength sets, really challenge yourself with the weights. You should have to push yourself to complete the last two reps while maintaining proper form. If you notice your form start to suffer, decrease the weights. In between the strength sets, we’ll be doing 4 minutes of cardio, using the Tabata format. You’ll work as hard as you can for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds, and complete 8 rounds for 4 minutes total of work. The goal with Tabata is to work as hard as you can (breathless, high effort) for those 20 seconds. (For more info on Tabata training, check out my Focus On post here with the details of the study and the benefits of this type of training.)
Our cardio rounds are going to blast our heart rates, enable us to burn more calories during the strength sets, and accomplish a short, yet seriously effective workout.
Let’s do it.
Form cues and tips:
1) Squat to upright row. Start with your feet planted just outside your hips, holding your dumbbells. Sink down and back into your squat, keeping your core tight and chest proud, and as you rise, lift the weights into an upright row. For the upright row, your elbows should be the first thing rise, and the weights will stop at mid chest level.
2) Bent-over wide row. Your feet will be just under your hips with a slight bend at the knees. Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back flat (shoulders pulled back) and core braced. Lifting up from your elbows, bring them high and wide, engaging into your rear delts. Stop the elbows at shoulder height before carefully lowering back down.
3) Push-up. On knees or toes, keep your hips in line with your torso and your chin lifted (so your neck ins’t slumped down towards your chest). Press through your hands about shoulder-width, where it feels comfortable for you) and lower your chest towards the floor, stopping your chest in line with your elbows as they bend. Engage your chest to press back up towards starting position.
Complete 3 rounds of exercises 1, 2 and 3.
4) Tabata #1: alternate between squats and squat jumps. Complete as many squats as you can during the first 20 second interval. For the second round, squat again, this time jumping up as high as you can and landing with a soft knee. You’ll do 4 rounds of squats, 4 rounds of squat jumps (I like to alternate between the two to keep things exciting). To minimize impact, just do squats as quickly and efficiently as possible. It will still get your heart rate up!
5) Renegade row and extension. Start in a plank position, on your knees or toes, holding dumbbells in both hands. Lift one dumbbell up and squeeze your back to bend the elbow in towards your torso, keeping the slow close to you. Use your triceps to straighten your arm as much as possible before bending and lowering back down. Goal: keep your hips down as you do this.
6) Single arm chest press. Come onto your back in a supine position. If you are pregnant and are no longer comfortable on your back (ACOG guidelines are no supine exercises after 13 weeks of pregnancy), use an incline bench. Hold the dumbbell one hand and bring the elbow to a 90 degree angle. Press up into a chest press, almost straightening the arm before bending back down. Complete 12 reps on one side before switching to the other side.
7) Matrix. Start on your knees with your knees directly under your hips. Press into your toes, lift your chest, drop your shoulders and brace your core. Keeping your torso in one straight line (do not bend at the hips) lean back as far as you can. Press into your toes and exhale to rise. Move slowly on this one, really feeling your quads and core working. Each time you come back, try to come a little farther if you can.
Complete 3 rounds of exercises 5, 6 and 7.
8) Tabata #2: Alternate between plie squat jumps and jumping lunges. 82 83 86 87 Start in a wide plie squat, and then exhale to jump as high as you can, reaching your arms up. For low impact, instead of jumping, rise onto your toes and reach your arms up.
9) Squat press. Start off with feet just wider than your hips, and dumbbells held at your shoulders. Lower into a squat, and as you rise, press the weights up overhead. 15 reps.
10) Plank challenge:
Basic plank: 30 seconds. Make sure to keep your hips down in line with your torso, core engaged, and chin lifted so your spine is straight.
Side plank with leg tap and reach: 30 seconds each side. Check out the picture for modification! You’ll start in a side plank, exhale and lift your top leg up to hip height, tapping your leg with your top hand. Lower back down, then exhale, bringing that leg straight in front of you, reaching towards your shin. Lower back down.
Spider plank: 1 minute. Start in a plank position, and use your oblique to bend your knee towards your elbow. Slowly switch to the other side.
Complete 3 rounds of exercises 9 and 10.
Leave a comment after you finish this workout, or better yet, send me a sweaty pic!! @fitnessista #summershapeup