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Festive Period

That Little Black Dress!! Keep fitness on track this Festive Period

It’s here, again!! How does it come round so quick every year? The clocks are going back, the evenings are darker, the temperature cooler and the festive season is upon us. It’s that time of year where I will dig out that black dress (just so I don’t repeat outfits too often!) and endeavor to enjoy myself. And it’s the same for the guys who may NOT want to think about having to ask for larger waisted trousers from Father Christmas!

But how can I make sure I am ready to cash in on some extra calories? How can I make sure the dress looks as good as last year? How can I make sure I enjoy some ‘guilt free’ nights out?

The answer is to be disciplined in my gym approach and have these little exercises up my sleeve for when time is short!

  1. Trunk Rotation

Targets: shoulders, abs, obliques

Lie back holding one 8- to 10-pound dumbbell horizontally in both hands about 6 inches above chest. Bend knees 90 degrees, thighs perpendicular to floor. Tilt knees 45 degrees to the left while bringing shoulders and dumbbell 45 degrees to the right. Do 12 to 15 reps per side. Crunch straight up, reaching dumbbell toward toes, for another 12 to 15 reps.

Too easy? Try this: Perform one rotational crunch to each side, then reach weight straight up toward toes; continue alternating movements for 2 minutes (about 30 reps each) without taking a break.

Too hard? Lower the weight.

  1. Alternating Shoulder Raise

Targets: shoulders, thighs, calves

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand. Rise up onto the balls of both feet. Keeping your heels lifted, raise left arm out to the side to shoulder height and right arm to the front to shoulder height. Hold for 2 counts, return to starting position, and switch arms. Do 15 reps per side.

Too easy? Try this: Do this exercise on a stair or at the end of a step bench to challenge your balance. Each time you switch arm positions, do 1 calf raise.

Too hard? Lower the weight.

  1. Warrior Lunge

Targets: shoulders, abs, butt, thighs, calves

Stand on left leg and hinge forward from the waist, bringing chest parallel to floor. Extend right leg behind you while spreading arms out to sides like wings. Hold for 30 seconds; come back to starting position (not shown). Bring hands to hips and step back with right foot into a reverse lunge. Hold for 2 counts, then bring right foot next to left. Do 10 reverse lunges with right leg, bringing toes to floor behind you; return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat combo.

Too easy? Try this: To challenge your upper body, keep arms extended overhead, palms facing each other.

  1. Traveling Power Squat

Targets: back, arms, butt, legs

Stand holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell horizontally in front of your rib cage with both hands. Squat and hold for 2 seconds.

Jump up explosively, as if you’re reaching over a volleyball net. At the same time, lift dumbbell overhead, arms extended. As you land, bring the weight back toward your rib cage. Do 12 to 15 reps. To modify, stand up explosively without allowing your feet to leave the floor.

Too easy? Try this: Travel a few inches forward each time you land — this will force you to jump higher in order to propel yourself forward.

  1. Alternating Push-Up

Targets: shoulders, chest, arms, abs, legs

Begin in a full push-up position, hands on floor under shoulders, legs extended and abs tight. Do 1 push-up. As soon as you finish, drop your knees to the floor and do 1 bent-knee push-up. Do 20 to 25 reps total.

Too easy? Try this: Either do all the push-ups on your toes or come to your knees on every third push-up.

  1. Plie with Hammer/Biceps Curls

Targets: biceps, butt, thighs

Stand holding a 10- to 12-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides with palms facing each other and toes pointed out. Bend knees 90 degrees, keeping knees aligned over toes, while curling weights toward shoulders with thumbs up; keep elbows tucked into sides.

After 1 rep, straighten legs (keep feet wide) and do a regular biceps curl, turning arms out 45 degrees. Lower and repeat plié squat and hammer curl; do 12 to 15 reps, alternating moves.

Too easy? Try this: Do the entire exercise balancing on your toes.

  1. Clam Dig with Rotation

Targets: shoulders, butt, thighs

Lie on your left side with left hand supporting head, elbow bent. Bend knees 45 degrees in front of body. Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in right hand with elbow pressing into right side. Lift both right leg and arm toward ceiling; hold for 2 seconds and lower. Keep hips stacked and right upper arm on side throughout the exercise. Do 15 reps; switch sides.

Too easy? Try this: Use 2-pound ankle weights (pictured).

  1. Weighted Back Extension

Targets: shoulders, arms, back, butt, thighs

Wrap 2-pound weights around each ankle (or do without weights) and get on all fours. Extend left arm up to head height and right leg back to hip height. Slowly touch left elbow to right knee; hold for 2 counts, then extend arm and leg out again. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides.

Too easy? Try this: Place 5-pound dumbbells in front of each hand, then lift the weight as you extend and curl.

 

Want to add something extra to the routine? Then add a cardio finisher!

This fat-blasting routine intersperses shadowboxing and jump-rope intervals to burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes. If jumping rope is hard on your joints, jog or march in place or do a mix of calisthenics like knee lifts and side steps.

Minutes Beginner Cardio Workout
0:00-2:00 Shadowbox (no weights). Stand with feet staggered and hip-width apart, left foot forward, hands in fists near face. Bounce body weight between left and right foot. Punch forward from shoulders, alternating arms. Retract fist quickly and twist your body from side to side as you punch.
2:00-6:00 Simulation Jump Rope. Double up the rope, holding both ends in left hand. Pretend you’re jumping over the rope, turning both hands. After 2 minutes, switch hands and repeat, holding rope in right hand.
6:00-24:00 Repeat from the beginning, alternating shadowboxing and jump-rope intervals 3 times.

 

 

Minutes Intermediate Cardio Workout
0:00-2:00 Shadowbox (no weights). Stand with feet staggered and hip-width apart, left foot forward, hands in fists near face. Bounce body weight between left and right foot. Punch forward from shoulders, alternating arms.
2:00-4:00 Basic Two-Foot Jump Rope. Try to jump up only an inch or two, with feet skimming the floor. Keep arms close to sides as you turn the rope.
4:00-6:00 Cross-Country Ski. Jump from side to side while turning the rope. “Imagine crossing your feet from left to right over an imaginary line,” says trainer Marco Reed. “Your arms and wrists turn the rope to set the pace.”
6:00-24:00 Repeat minutes 0-6, alternating shadowboxing and jump-rope intervals, 3 times.

 

Minutes Advanced Cardio Workout
0:00-2:00 Shadowbox. Hold a 2-pound weight in each hand or use wraparound weights. Stand with feet staggered and hip-width apart, left foot forward, hands in fists near face. Bounce body weight between left and right foot. Punch forward from shoulders, alternating arms. Retract fist quickly and twist your body from side to side as you punch.
2:00-4:00 Basic Two-Foot Jump Rope. Try to jump up only an inch or two, with feet skimming the floor. Keep arms close to sides as you turn the rope.
4:00-5:00 One-Legged Jump Rope. Jump on right foot for 30 seconds. Keep both knees bent and land softly. Repeat for 30 seconds on your left foot.
5:00-7:00 Cross-Country Ski. Jump from side to side while turning the rope. “Imagine crossing your feet from left to right over an imaginary line,” says trainer Marco Reed. “Your arms and wrists turn the rope to set the pace.”
7:00-9:00 Basic Two-Foot Jump Rope.
9:00-36:00 Repeat minutes 0-9 three times.
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