I admit that I’m a bit addicted to my barre exercise classes at Balance Studio (and when I’m in the US, I love to visit Exhale). These classes are so effective, they’re not too hard on my body, and I love the constant motivation and challenge (as both a student and teacher) throughout class. Plus, it’s a fun vibe.
But regardless of your workout preference, I find that we all struggle a bit when it comes to finding a routine to do on our own (without a class teacher or personal trainer) that really gives us a killer, full-body workout. Especially during the holiday season and when we’re traveling.
So for this purpose, I called for the help of Miami’s hottest trainer (and my fabulous barre/ yoga/ bootcamp teacher), Julie Wiesman, to give me an effective (yet fairly simple) routine that can blast fat and tone the entire body, in just half an hour.
She shared with me 6 simple (yet challenging!) exercises that you can do from any basic gym or even at home – all you need is a mat, a pair of dumbbells, and a chair/stool. The combination of these moves will tone your entire front body, back body and of course your obliques or side body, and will get you looking fabulous in no time (just look at her body!).
The idea is to start with a warm-up to get your heart rate up, anywhere from 10-30 minutes of cardio, followed by 3 repetitions of each of these 6 exercises, and finishing with 2 minutes (minimum) of stretching.
1) Push-ups with elbow taps: Do a regular push up, then while holding a straight-arm plank position, lift your left leg, bend it and bring it forward until your left knee taps your left elbow. Place your left leg back so you’re in plank again, do another push-up, then do the right side. Do 20 reps total (10 on each side).
This strengthens your entire upper body, core, side waist and outer hips.
2) Side plank with dumbbell raises: Get into a plank position, then turn to face right by stacking your right foot on top of your left foot. Grab a dumbbell with your right hand and lift it up, then lightly touch it back down to the floor. Do 10 reps of the dumbbell raises (using 5-10 lb weights), then switch to side-plank facing the left side, and do 10 dumbbell raises with your left hand.
This works your core, your waistline, upper back and of course your balance!
3) Warrior 3 with dumbbell row: Stand with feet hips width apart, a dumbbell in your left hand, and your right hand resting on your back. Lift left foot off the floor behind you and lean forward so you are standing on your right leg, with your left leg up parallel to the floor. In that “warrior 3” position, do 20 rows with your left hand, using 5-10 lb weights. Then switch legs, standing on your left leg, with your right leg lifted, and do 20 rows with your right hand.
This strengthens your middle and lower back, your hamstrings, glutes and agian your balance.
4) Diagonal back lunge with side leg lift: Standing hips-width apart and holding one dumbbell with both of your hands, lunge back with your left leg so it crosses diagonally behind your right leg. Then as you come back up, simultaneously lift the weight to the ceiling while you raise your left leg to the left. Do 15 reps on each leg, using an 8-10 lb weight.
The back lunge works your lower body, thighs and glutes, and when you add the kick with dumbbell raise, it works your shoulders, core, obliques, hips, and your balance. This is one of Julie's favorites as it's an amazing fat burner for your entire thighs!
5) Elevated plank with toe taps: Placing your feet on an elevated block or chair, get into plank position with straight arms on the floor. Then lift your right leg, and tap the floor as close as possible to your right hand. You should feel a squeeze in your right side-waist. Get back into elevated plank, and repeat with the left leg. Do 30 reps (15 each leg).
This one is a huge fat burner for your side waist/hips, and also works your core, chest, shoulders and arms. Note: if you don't have a chair/bench, just do a regular plank on the floor and do the right and left toe taps, going as far right/left with your toe taps as possible.
6) X-Sit up, touching opposite arm to leg: Lay flat on the floor with legs and arms open wide, then simultaneously lift right arm and left leg, reaching to touch your left foot with your right hand. Switch and lift left arm and right leg. Do 30 reps (15 taps on each foot). To intensify this move, you can hold a pair of light weights, 2-5 lbs.
This works your entire core, upper, middle and lower abs.
Go through this circuit 3 times (or if you prefer, just do 3 reps of each exercise before moving to the next exercise, your choice!), and wrap up with these 2 stretches:
1) Bridge: Lay fat on your back with your knees bent, and lift your hips, holding the “bridge” for 3 breaths. Repeat 8 times.
This is an “active stretch” which works your glutes while really opening up and stretching your hip-flexors and quads, as well as the abs and rib cage. Most people are very tight in the hips, so this is a really important stretch.
2) Child’s pose: Sitting down on your heels on a mat, with your knees open and feet touching (under your butt), lean forward so your stomach rests comfortably between your knees, with your arms stretched out in front of you. You can also bring your hands back by your sides, so your hands are touching your feet. This stretches out the entire back body (and is also great for digestion!). (Note: if you don’t know how to do child’s pose, I highly suggest you take a yoga class ASAP!)
Want to burn extra calories? Make sure to BREATHE. It's so important to pay attention to your breathing, exhaling every time you lift the weight / flex your muscles. You should be able to hear your inhales and exhales, and trust me, this helps get your heart rate up and your sweat pouring..
I don’t know about you, but I’m giving this a shot today, and will be taking this workout-guide with me on all my upcoming trips!
Lots of love and Fat-Blasting-Exercise,