Fitness – Life by Daily Burn http://dailyburn.com/life Tue, 20 Feb 2018 20:37:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/common-trainer-cues-decoded/ Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:15:23 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65841

[caption id="attachment_65843" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Square your hips. Tuck your tailbone. Zip your navel to your spine. Listening to your trainer is much like playing a game of “Simon Says.” But if you’re new to exercise or trying a workout for the first time, it’s not uncommon to get tangled up in a trainer’s cues.

Pete McCall, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, says, “Trainer cues are meant merely to create awareness to movement. They’re there to help people be more mindful of what they’re doing.” With that said, if you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask your trainer to clarify or explain. After all, these prompts are intended to help you get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. Read on to learn the most common trainer cues and how to decode them.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

What Your Trainer Really Means When They Say…

1. Tuck your tailbone.

Trainer translation: OK, so you can’t literally tuck away your tailbone. But this common barre phrase is meant to help you bring awareness to the midline of your body, McCall says. Tucking your tailbone means engaging your abs and scooping your hips so that they’re tilted slightly forward. This helps to straighten your spine. “When your spine is rounded or rotates the wrong way, it could be a potential risk of injury,” McCall says.

2. Lead with the hips.

Trainer translation: When squatting, you may have heard the cue to “avoid letting your knees go over your toes” or to “lead with the hips.” McCall explains, “What your trainer really means is that your hips should move before your knees when you perform a squat.” A strong squat starts with a hip hinge and shooting your butt back and down to activate your glutes. “Whether you squat or lunge, your glutes should be doing more of the work,” McCall says.

3. Feel a two-way stretch.

Trainer translation: Another common yoga and barre phrase, this cue simply means to lengthen, says Krystal Dwyer, Daily Burn 365 trainer and FlyBarre instructor. “Lengthen out of the top of your head and tailbone, or in some cases, out of your toes,” Dwyer says. “I want people to feel their entire body stretching and lengthening while they’re moving.”

4. Brace your core.

Trainer translation: Whether you’re performing a push-up or a plank, this cue is all about contracting your abs. “A more effective cue is to grip the floor with both hands. This gives you more stability in your shoulders and turns your abs on,” McCall says. McCall tells his clients to imagine their older brother punching their stomach. “You want to keep your entire core tight,” he says.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5. Pull your belly button towards the spine.

Trainer translation: This is impossible, obviously, but the point of this cue is to activate your transverse abdominis (TVA), the deepest layer of your abdominals. From a Pilates 100 to an ab roll-up, these waist-cinching moves are best known for engaging your TVA. “By activating your transverse abs, you’re firing up all four layers around your lumbar spine,” McCall says. “This helps keep your back stable and supports your hips and pelvis,” he adds.

6. Pinch your shoulder blades.

Trainer translation: Put some back into it! Imagine that there’s a ball between your shoulders on your upper back, and you don’t want that ball to drop. From renegade rows to reverse flies, scapular retraction will allow for better posture, muscle activation and injury prevention. “Pulling should come from the elbows. Pinching your shoulders keeps them out of the way so your arms can move safely,” McCall says.

RELATED: Get Sculpted Shoulders with These 5 Exercises

7. Draw your chin back.

Trainer translation: It’s all about alignment. Whether you’re doing a plank or a push-up, you want to make sure your entire body from the top of your head to your tailbone is aligned. “When we press our chin forward, we’re creating a lot of tension in our neck and upper back,” Dwyer says.

8. Pull up on the pedals.

Trainer translation: If you’re sprinting during spin class, McCall says it’s actually more effective to think about pulling up on pedals as opposed to pushing them down. Also, he adds, “Imagine wiping your shoe on a mat. This takes advantage of the natural motion of your foot muscles, so you move more efficiently and with more control.” Whether you’re sitting in a neutral on the bike or climbing in third position, this cue is also a good reminder to engage your glutes and hamstrings to pull the pedals away — and not just your quads.

RELATED: 7 SoulCycle Secrets for Proper Form on a Spin Bike

9. Open your heart.

Trainer translation: Your trainer isn’t trying to get deep into your psyche here. It simply means to keep your chest lifted and open. “Think of having a diamond necklace on and your showing it off,” Dwyer says. Hunching your back over a desk during the day makes your chest less open and more prone to shoulder injury while lifting. “Press your shoulder blades down into your back pocket and keep your chin lifted and back,” she says.

Read More:
Push Through Any Workout with These Trainer Mantras
The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard
Just Not Feeling It Today? 33 Sources of Workout Motivation

The post The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_65843" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Square your hips. Tuck your tailbone. Zip your navel to your spine. Listening to your trainer is much like playing a game of “Simon Says.” But if you’re new to exercise or trying a workout for the first time, it’s not uncommon to get tangled up in a trainer’s cues. Pete McCall, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, says, “Trainer cues are meant merely to create awareness to movement. They’re there to help people be more mindful of what they’re doing.” With that said, if you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask your trainer to clarify or explain. After all, these prompts are intended to help you get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. Read on to learn the most common trainer cues and how to decode them. RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

What Your Trainer Really Means When They Say…

1. Tuck your tailbone.

Trainer translation: OK, so you can’t literally tuck away your tailbone. But this common barre phrase is meant to help you bring awareness to the midline of your body, McCall says. Tucking your tailbone means engaging your abs and scooping your hips so that they’re tilted slightly forward. This helps to straighten your spine. “When your spine is rounded or rotates the wrong way, it could be a potential risk of injury,” McCall says.

2. Lead with the hips.

Trainer translation: When squatting, you may have heard the cue to “avoid letting your knees go over your toes” or to “lead with the hips.” McCall explains, “What your trainer really means is that your hips should move before your knees when you perform a squat.” A strong squat starts with a hip hinge and shooting your butt back and down to activate your glutes. “Whether you squat or lunge, your glutes should be doing more of the work,” McCall says.

3. Feel a two-way stretch.

Trainer translation: Another common yoga and barre phrase, this cue simply means to lengthen, says Krystal Dwyer, Daily Burn 365 trainer and FlyBarre instructor. “Lengthen out of the top of your head and tailbone, or in some cases, out of your toes,” Dwyer says. “I want people to feel their entire body stretching and lengthening while they’re moving.”

4. Brace your core.

Trainer translation: Whether you’re performing a push-up or a plank, this cue is all about contracting your abs. “A more effective cue is to grip the floor with both hands. This gives you more stability in your shoulders and turns your abs on,” McCall says. McCall tells his clients to imagine their older brother punching their stomach. “You want to keep your entire core tight,” he says. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5. Pull your belly button towards the spine.

Trainer translation: This is impossible, obviously, but the point of this cue is to activate your transverse abdominis (TVA), the deepest layer of your abdominals. From a Pilates 100 to an ab roll-up, these waist-cinching moves are best known for engaging your TVA. “By activating your transverse abs, you’re firing up all four layers around your lumbar spine,” McCall says. “This helps keep your back stable and supports your hips and pelvis,” he adds.

6. Pinch your shoulder blades.

Trainer translation: Put some back into it! Imagine that there’s a ball between your shoulders on your upper back, and you don’t want that ball to drop. From renegade rows to reverse flies, scapular retraction will allow for better posture, muscle activation and injury prevention. “Pulling should come from the elbows. Pinching your shoulders keeps them out of the way so your arms can move safely,” McCall says. RELATED: Get Sculpted Shoulders with These 5 Exercises

7. Draw your chin back.

Trainer translation: It’s all about alignment. Whether you’re doing a plank or a push-up, you want to make sure your entire body from the top of your head to your tailbone is aligned. “When we press our chin forward, we’re creating a lot of tension in our neck and upper back,” Dwyer says.

8. Pull up on the pedals.

Trainer translation: If you’re sprinting during spin class, McCall says it’s actually more effective to think about pulling up on pedals as opposed to pushing them down. Also, he adds, “Imagine wiping your shoe on a mat. This takes advantage of the natural motion of your foot muscles, so you move more efficiently and with more control.” Whether you’re sitting in a neutral on the bike or climbing in third position, this cue is also a good reminder to engage your glutes and hamstrings to pull the pedals away — and not just your quads. RELATED: 7 SoulCycle Secrets for Proper Form on a Spin Bike

9. Open your heart.

Trainer translation: Your trainer isn’t trying to get deep into your psyche here. It simply means to keep your chest lifted and open. “Think of having a diamond necklace on and your showing it off,” Dwyer says. Hunching your back over a desk during the day makes your chest less open and more prone to shoulder injury while lifting. “Press your shoulder blades down into your back pocket and keep your chin lifted and back,” she says. Read More: Push Through Any Workout with These Trainer Mantras The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard Just Not Feeling It Today? 33 Sources of Workout Motivation

The post The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-total-body/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-total-body/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:15:47 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=60891

[caption id="attachment_65774" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

If you equate stability balls with core work only, you’re selling them (and your fitness results) short.

Adding stability ball exercises to your workout is a great, simple way to increase the difficulty of your favorite moves. Using just this tool, you can challenge both your upper and lower body in new, creative ways, explains trainer Tara Romeo, CSCS, CES, director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York. (If you don’t already have one at home, we like the URBNFit Ball.)

RELATED: 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

Plus, no matter the exercise, performing a move with an exercise ball will force you to work double-time as you fight to keep your core stable. “Due to the ball's soft surface, your body has to constantly compensate for the continuous changes in balance throughout the exercise,” Romeo explains. “This strengthens the deep-lying stabilizing muscles in your core.”

To get you in on the total-body action, Romeo shares five challenging stability ball exercises you need to try. Add them into your existing exercise routine or perform each move for 10 reps and three sets for a workout that will leave your entire body shaking.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5 Stability Ball Exercises You’re Not Doing (But Should!)

Stability Ball Exercises: Elevated Split Squat

1. Stability-Ball-Elevated Split Squat

Take your squats to the next level with this advanced bodyweight move. It hammers your quads, glutes, and hamstrings while honing your total-body balance and core stability.

How to: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place the top of one foot on a stability ball directly behind your body (a). Keeping your weight in the heel of your front foot, bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor. Allow the ball to roll onto your back shin (b). Pause, then push through your front heel to stand up, rolling the top of your foot back onto the ball (c). Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

Stability Ball Exercises: Hamstring Curl

2. Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl

Ditch the gym’s bulky hamstring curl machine and opt for this at-home variation. It works your hammies and glutes in a big way — without taking the rest of your lower-body stabilizers out of the muscle-building equation.

How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Place both ankles on top of a stability ball hip-width apart (a). With your back flat, core braced and arms at your side, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips up off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the ball (b). From here, press your heels into the ball and bend your knees to pull the ball toward your butt (c). Pause, then straighten your knees to drive the ball back out, keeping your hips elevated as you do so (d). Repeat for reps, keeping hips elevated between reps.

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Stability Ball Exercises: Lat Pull-Over

3. Lat Pull-Over on a Stability Ball

Despite the name, this simple yet effective exercise not only works your lats, but also your pecs and shoulders. And of course, it fires up your core. Just grab a dumbbell to get it done right.

How to: With your feet flat on the floor and placed shoulder-width apart, position your upper back on a stability ball (a). Lift your hips so you reach a table-top position, knees bent to 90 degrees and back completely flat. Hold the top of a dumbbell with both hands above your chest, allowing a slight bend in your elbows (b). From here, keeping your back flat, core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weight behind your head (c). Pause, then drive the weight back up to start (d). Repeat.

Stability Ball Exercises: Y-Ups

4. Stability-Ball Y-Ups

This one is a lot harder than it looks, as you train the lower traps. You also hit the often-underworked rhomboids and rear delts for improved posture and upper-body stability. Start without weights before moving onto 5- or 10-pound dumbbells.

How to: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball, with your feet on the floor, spread shoulder-width apart for balance (a). Extend your arms straight out in front of you and rotate your hands so your thumbs point up toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears (b). From here, pinch your shoulder blades together like you are pinching an orange to slowly raise your arms up as far as you can without letting your torso move (c). Pause, then slowly lower back to start and repeat (c).

RELATED: 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

Stability Ball Exercises: Dead Bug

5. Dead Bug

We’d be remiss not to include one core-specific exercise. After all, exercise balls have a reputation for a reason. And while equipment-free dead bugs train both the six-pack-looking abs and deep-lying core muscles like crazy, adding in a yoga ball is a great way to turn up the burn.

How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor with your arms and legs extended straight up toward the ceiling, bracing a stability ball between your arms and legs. Tilt your pelvis to press your low back into the floor, and brace your core to maintain this back position throughout the entire exercise (a). Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor as low as you can while keeping a flat-back position and keeping the ball in place (b). Pause, then squeeze your abs to raise your arm and leg back to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). Continue alternating.

Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

The post 5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65774" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs Photo: Twenty20[/caption] If you equate stability balls with core work only, you’re selling them (and your fitness results) short. Adding stability ball exercises to your workout is a great, simple way to increase the difficulty of your favorite moves. Using just this tool, you can challenge both your upper and lower body in new, creative ways, explains trainer Tara Romeo, CSCS, CES, director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York. (If you don’t already have one at home, we like the URBNFit Ball.) RELATED: 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core Plus, no matter the exercise, performing a move with an exercise ball will force you to work double-time as you fight to keep your core stable. “Due to the ball's soft surface, your body has to constantly compensate for the continuous changes in balance throughout the exercise,” Romeo explains. “This strengthens the deep-lying stabilizing muscles in your core.” To get you in on the total-body action, Romeo shares five challenging stability ball exercises you need to try. Add them into your existing exercise routine or perform each move for 10 reps and three sets for a workout that will leave your entire body shaking. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5 Stability Ball Exercises You’re Not Doing (But Should!)

Stability Ball Exercises: Elevated Split Squat

1. Stability-Ball-Elevated Split Squat

Take your squats to the next level with this advanced bodyweight move. It hammers your quads, glutes, and hamstrings while honing your total-body balance and core stability. How to: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place the top of one foot on a stability ball directly behind your body (a). Keeping your weight in the heel of your front foot, bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor. Allow the ball to roll onto your back shin (b). Pause, then push through your front heel to stand up, rolling the top of your foot back onto the ball (c). Repeat for reps, then switch sides. Stability Ball Exercises: Hamstring Curl

2. Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl

Ditch the gym’s bulky hamstring curl machine and opt for this at-home variation. It works your hammies and glutes in a big way — without taking the rest of your lower-body stabilizers out of the muscle-building equation. How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Place both ankles on top of a stability ball hip-width apart (a). With your back flat, core braced and arms at your side, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips up off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the ball (b). From here, press your heels into the ball and bend your knees to pull the ball toward your butt (c). Pause, then straighten your knees to drive the ball back out, keeping your hips elevated as you do so (d). Repeat for reps, keeping hips elevated between reps. RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine Stability Ball Exercises: Lat Pull-Over

3. Lat Pull-Over on a Stability Ball

Despite the name, this simple yet effective exercise not only works your lats, but also your pecs and shoulders. And of course, it fires up your core. Just grab a dumbbell to get it done right. How to: With your feet flat on the floor and placed shoulder-width apart, position your upper back on a stability ball (a). Lift your hips so you reach a table-top position, knees bent to 90 degrees and back completely flat. Hold the top of a dumbbell with both hands above your chest, allowing a slight bend in your elbows (b). From here, keeping your back flat, core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weight behind your head (c). Pause, then drive the weight back up to start (d). Repeat. Stability Ball Exercises: Y-Ups

4. Stability-Ball Y-Ups

This one is a lot harder than it looks, as you train the lower traps. You also hit the often-underworked rhomboids and rear delts for improved posture and upper-body stability. Start without weights before moving onto 5- or 10-pound dumbbells. How to: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball, with your feet on the floor, spread shoulder-width apart for balance (a). Extend your arms straight out in front of you and rotate your hands so your thumbs point up toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears (b). From here, pinch your shoulder blades together like you are pinching an orange to slowly raise your arms up as far as you can without letting your torso move (c). Pause, then slowly lower back to start and repeat (c). RELATED: 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life Stability Ball Exercises: Dead Bug

5. Dead Bug

We’d be remiss not to include one core-specific exercise. After all, exercise balls have a reputation for a reason. And while equipment-free dead bugs train both the six-pack-looking abs and deep-lying core muscles like crazy, adding in a yoga ball is a great way to turn up the burn. How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor with your arms and legs extended straight up toward the ceiling, bracing a stability ball between your arms and legs. Tilt your pelvis to press your low back into the floor, and brace your core to maintain this back position throughout the entire exercise (a). Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor as low as you can while keeping a flat-back position and keeping the ball in place (b). Pause, then squeeze your abs to raise your arm and leg back to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). Continue alternating. Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018.  Read More Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

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The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-lose-belly-fat/ http://dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-lose-belly-fat/#comments Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:15:23 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=44274 The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

[caption id="attachment_63815" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

You’ve tried them all in your pursuit of flat abs: crunches, reverse crunches, planks, bicycles and even the ab roller. After all, it seems logical. To increase muscular definition and lose fat, you should workout your stomach muscles more. But will that really lead to a trim belly?

RELATED: 7 Surprising Ways You're Sabotaging Your Metabolism

“You can do 50,000 crunches a day, but it will still only be toned muscles under your belly fat,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN and owner of Nutrition Starring You. “The truth is, unless the weight comes off, you’re not going to get a six-pack.”

So how do you get rid of the stubborn cushion around your midsection? Read on to get the real scoop on how to lose belly fat.

RELATED: 5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs

Stomach Fat 101

“You exercise for 30 minutes compared to the 23-and-a-half hours that you don’t exercise.”

First things first, everyone has fat, both the layer of subcutaneous fat just under our skin that helps insulate the body and the deeper visceral fat that surrounds and protects the organs. That’s right: You’re supposed to have belly fat. But just how much fat you have and how it’s distributed has more to do with genetics than your core workout.

Men and women squirrel away fat differently, according to Harris-Pincus. On average, women have six to 11 percent more body fat than men. That extra fat typically gathers lower on the body (especially before they hit menopause) around the hips and thighs, creating a pear-shape. Men, on the other hand, tend to accumulate fat around the belly (hence, the beer gut).

RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises

Thanks to the hormone estrogen, the female body likes to hold on to fat, too. A study in Obesity Reviews shows that women store fat more efficiently than men in an effort to prepare the body for pregnancy. But while it seems like women may have drawn the short-end of the stick, the stereotypical pear-shape is actually considered healthier than boasting a beer gut, because belly fat is a red flag when it comes to your health. “Visceral fat is associated with increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome,” says Harris-Pincus.

[caption id="attachment_44281" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Lose Belly Fat - Eat The Right Things Photo: Pond5[/caption]

How to Lose Belly Fat and Keep It Off

Doing ab workouts might strengthen your core, but it won’t actually decrease fat or shrink those love handles — and that’s why you need to eat healthy. “You exercise for 30 minutes compared to the 23-and-a-half hours that you don’t exercise. You need to eat the right things,” says Harris-Pincus.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

Repeat after us: It’s time to start eating clean. She recommends a combination of veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, low-fat dairy and lean protein like poultry, eggs and fish for a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. And drop the added sugar while you’re at it. “Studies show that when you have a diet rich in whole grains — and calorie-controlled — that you can reduce the belly fat,” she says. But remember to watch your portions, too. “A lot of people eat very healthy and don’t eat junk, but their portions are too large.”

If you’re smart about the foods you choose and limit your intake, eventually you’ll start to lose body fat and drop pants sizes. But sorry: There’s no way to get it to disappear from only your belly — you'll likely reduce your overall body fat percentage and lose it in your face, hips, butt and chest, too.

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of 6 Popular Weight Loss Diets

Luckily, exercise can help spur things along when it comes to that pesky stomach fat. “Visceral fat responds well when… [you] start exercising and watching your calories and what you eat,” Harris-Pincus says. And while endless crunches aren’t your ticket to a flat stomach, it is still important to train your ab muscles. “Everything radiates from the center of your body – your balance, your posture, your functional movement,” says Joe Ardito, founder of Fit Crush NYC. “You can perform better when you have a strong core.”

Research also shows that workouts involving high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help reduce excess fat around your middle. Besides working your core, try incorporating a day or two of more vigorous exercise into your weekly schedule. (You can start with these three beginner routines.) Keep in mind that you can lower your total body fat percentage even by moving around more at work, according to another study.

The Bottom Line

There isn’t one magic trick or quick fix that will melt the fat around your midsection and give you those coveted abs we all see on the newsstands. Decreasing belly fat — and all body fat for that matter — is about making changes over the long-term.

Originally published October 2015. Updated February 2018.

Read More
12 Things Nobody Told Me About Losing Weight
The 10 Biggest Diet Mistakes, According to Experts
Here's Why Your Ab Workouts Aren't Working

The post The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

[caption id="attachment_63815" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat Photo: Twenty20[/caption] You’ve tried them all in your pursuit of flat abs: crunches, reverse crunches, planks, bicycles and even the ab roller. After all, it seems logical. To increase muscular definition and lose fat, you should workout your stomach muscles more. But will that really lead to a trim belly? RELATED: 7 Surprising Ways You're Sabotaging Your Metabolism “You can do 50,000 crunches a day, but it will still only be toned muscles under your belly fat,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN and owner of Nutrition Starring You. “The truth is, unless the weight comes off, you’re not going to get a six-pack.” So how do you get rid of the stubborn cushion around your midsection? Read on to get the real scoop on how to lose belly fat. RELATED: 5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs

Stomach Fat 101

“You exercise for 30 minutes compared to the 23-and-a-half hours that you don’t exercise.”
First things first, everyone has fat, both the layer of subcutaneous fat just under our skin that helps insulate the body and the deeper visceral fat that surrounds and protects the organs. That’s right: You’re supposed to have belly fat. But just how much fat you have and how it’s distributed has more to do with genetics than your core workout. Men and women squirrel away fat differently, according to Harris-Pincus. On average, women have six to 11 percent more body fat than men. That extra fat typically gathers lower on the body (especially before they hit menopause) around the hips and thighs, creating a pear-shape. Men, on the other hand, tend to accumulate fat around the belly (hence, the beer gut). RELATED: Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises Thanks to the hormone estrogen, the female body likes to hold on to fat, too. A study in Obesity Reviews shows that women store fat more efficiently than men in an effort to prepare the body for pregnancy. But while it seems like women may have drawn the short-end of the stick, the stereotypical pear-shape is actually considered healthier than boasting a beer gut, because belly fat is a red flag when it comes to your health. “Visceral fat is associated with increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome,” says Harris-Pincus. [caption id="attachment_44281" align="alignnone" width="620"]How to Lose Belly Fat - Eat The Right Things Photo: Pond5[/caption]

How to Lose Belly Fat and Keep It Off

Doing ab workouts might strengthen your core, but it won’t actually decrease fat or shrink those love handles — and that’s why you need to eat healthy. “You exercise for 30 minutes compared to the 23-and-a-half hours that you don’t exercise. You need to eat the right things,” says Harris-Pincus. RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can't Out-Exercise a Bad Diet Repeat after us: It’s time to start eating clean. She recommends a combination of veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, low-fat dairy and lean protein like poultry, eggs and fish for a dose of omega-3 fatty acids. And drop the added sugar while you’re at it. “Studies show that when you have a diet rich in whole grains — and calorie-controlled — that you can reduce the belly fat,” she says. But remember to watch your portions, too. “A lot of people eat very healthy and don’t eat junk, but their portions are too large.” If you’re smart about the foods you choose and limit your intake, eventually you’ll start to lose body fat and drop pants sizes. But sorry: There’s no way to get it to disappear from only your belly — you'll likely reduce your overall body fat percentage and lose it in your face, hips, butt and chest, too. RELATED: The Pros and Cons of 6 Popular Weight Loss Diets Luckily, exercise can help spur things along when it comes to that pesky stomach fat. “Visceral fat responds well when… [you] start exercising and watching your calories and what you eat,” Harris-Pincus says. And while endless crunches aren’t your ticket to a flat stomach, it is still important to train your ab muscles. “Everything radiates from the center of your body – your balance, your posture, your functional movement,” says Joe Ardito, founder of Fit Crush NYC. “You can perform better when you have a strong core.” Research also shows that workouts involving high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help reduce excess fat around your middle. Besides working your core, try incorporating a day or two of more vigorous exercise into your weekly schedule. (You can start with these three beginner routines.) Keep in mind that you can lower your total body fat percentage even by moving around more at work, according to another study.

The Bottom Line

There isn’t one magic trick or quick fix that will melt the fat around your midsection and give you those coveted abs we all see on the newsstands. Decreasing belly fat — and all body fat for that matter — is about making changes over the long-term. Originally published October 2015. Updated February 2018. Read More 12 Things Nobody Told Me About Losing Weight The 10 Biggest Diet Mistakes, According to Experts Here's Why Your Ab Workouts Aren't Working

The post The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/bodyweight-workouts-burn-fat/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/bodyweight-workouts-burn-fat/#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:15:15 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=43282 Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts

[caption id="attachment_65734" align="alignnone" width="620"]Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you think your gym’s exercise machines don’t look too different than the characters from the latest Transformers movie, you’re not alone. All those levers and cables and pins can have you running for the exit. But before you flip the script in the name of gymtimidation, remember that there's one piece of equipment that's consistently better than the rest: Your own body.

That's right, your very own physique is the best and most versatile piece of fitness equipment you can use. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Dewar of J2Fit, by performing bodyweight exercises and movements, you'll not only improve your balance and conditioning, you'll also start building muscle. And the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat your body will naturally burn.

RELATED: 5 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running

What’s more, Dewar stresses the importance of the body awareness and stability that comes from bodyweight training. “Without the ability to control your body in space, you can set yourself up for injury."

Got 10 minutes to get a jump on your fitness? We thought so. That’s why we’ve put together three 10-minute bodyweight workouts fit for any experience level. Choose one today, another tomorrow, and you’ve got an easy way to get your sweat on anytime, anywhere.

Try These 3 Bodyweight Exercises

Perform these routines as a standalone workout, or add them to the end of your regular weight training or cardio workout as a "finisher." Find certain moves too challenging? Each circuit can be easily modified to suit your needs (or spatial limitations). And while Dewar recommends resting 60 seconds between each round, take as much (or as little) time as you need. Now clear a spot in your living room, or claim a corner of your park or gym — it’s go time!

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up

[caption id="attachment_65735" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Squat Jumps

How to: Start by standing straight up with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you, drop into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest up (a). Press through your heels and extend your arms down to explode off the ground, jumping as high as you can (b). Land as softly as you can with your knees bent. Reset your body as fast as possible and repeat (c).
Beginner alternative: Not up for jumping? Dewar recommends bodyweight speed squats. “Jump squats and other power and speed-focused movements are amazing for developing new fast twitch muscle fibers,” he says. By upping the speed you’ll also be maximizing your calorie and fat burn, which translates to weight loss.

Side Lunges

How to: Stand straight up with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips or at your sides. With your abs tight, and hips pointing forward, take a big step to your right and bend your right knee 90 degrees (a). Driving through your right heel, return to the starting position (b). Next, do the same with your left leg (c).
Beginner alternative: Lie down on your side to work the glutes and thighs with side leg raises. With both legs straight and the glutes and abs engaged, lift the top leg one to two feet off the ground, hold, and return to starting position.

Rotational Push-Ups

How to: Start in perfect push-up position. Hands should be about shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line, from your heels to the top of your head (a). Perform a push-up (b). Then while keeping your feet in place, twist your torso to the right and lift your right arm straight above your body so your left and right arm are in a perfect line (c). Return to starting position. Repeat and alternate your left and right sides (d).
Beginner alternative: If you haven’t mastered the basic push-up, try these beginner-friendly variations first. Go at your own pace — you’ll be working the same muscle groups and feeling the burn!

RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast

[caption id="attachment_65736" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Keeping your butt down and your whole body as flat as possible, bringing your right knee in towards your chest, then your left knee. Repeat at a rapid pace (b). If you’re feeling this in your abs and shoulders you’re doing it right!
Beginner alternative: If the leg action has you gassed, simply hold the top of a push-up (aka a high plank). You’ll fire up your abdominals, not to mention your shoulders, glutes and legs! Alternating mountain climbers, in particular, help target your obliques and allow muscles to take over your love handles.

RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Begin on all fours with your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders (a). While keeping a flat back, reach your right arm out while pushing your left leg back. Think of flexing your left glute and your right shoulder as you fully extend (b). Hold that position for a second before using your core to pull your leg and arm back into your body so that your right elbow comes close to your left knee (c). Complete 10 reps and then switch sides (d). Check out this video demo!
Beginner alternative: Lie on your back for dead bugs. (See #4 here.) As you raise your right hand to meet your left foot, engage your abs while resisting arching your back. 

Burpees

How to: Everybody's favorite exercise… burpees. Start in a standing position (a). Squat down and put your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart (b). Keeping your hands there, jump your feet back so you are in the push-up position (c). Next jump your feet back towards your hands (d). Reset your body into the squat position and jump straight up. Once you land, repeat (e).
Beginner alternative: If you need to take things down a notch, step back into the push-up position, one foot at a time, and eliminate the jump once you step back up to standing. A common HIIT finisher, these calorie-torching exercises are one of the best ways to help burn fat and build muscle long after you've worked out.

RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Bodyweight Workout 10-Minute HIIT Circuit

[caption id="attachment_65738" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Reverse Lunges

How to: Time to hit the legs! Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width apart (a). With your hands on your hips take one step back with your right leg and drop into a lunge. Your left leg should make a 90-degree angle at the knee (b). From the lunge position stand back up straight and repeat with the left leg (c).
Beginner alternative: Place a chair next to you for support as you perform the same move as detailed above. Lower as far as you can go and return to standing.

RELATED: 4 Lower Body Moves You Can Do in Front of the TV

Single-Leg Glute Bridges

How to: Lie on your back, arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot flat on the ground, close to your butt. Your right leg should be straight and off the ground (a). Pushing through your left heel, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your upper body to your knee. You should feel your hamstrings and glutes doing most of the work (b). Hold the top position for a full second and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps then switch legs (c).
Beginner alternative: Need a little more grounding? Try a two-leg glute bridge, with both feet planted firmly for support. As in the above progression, you'll strengthen your core, glutes and hamstrings, all in one efficient, no-equipment move.

Side Plank Leg Raises

How to: Lie on your side and prop yourself up onto your left forearm, with the side of your left foot on the ground, right foot stacked on top of it. Your body should be in a straight line (a). Raise your right arm straight up towards the sky (see video demo here) (b). Next, lift your right leg up and hold for a second. Return to the starting side plank position and repeat (c).
Beginner alternative: Take it down a notch with a simple side plank with the top hand placed on your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and slowly work your way up to raising the top hand overhead.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Made it through all three workouts? These bodyweight circuits are simple (but not easy!) way to help you build strength and burn fat — and lose weight. Feel yourself progressing? Try this 20-minute MetCon workout on for size.

Originally posted September 2015. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

The post Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts

[caption id="attachment_65734" align="alignnone" width="620"]Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you think your gym’s exercise machines don’t look too different than the characters from the latest Transformers movie, you’re not alone. All those levers and cables and pins can have you running for the exit. But before you flip the script in the name of gymtimidation, remember that there's one piece of equipment that's consistently better than the rest: Your own body. That's right, your very own physique is the best and most versatile piece of fitness equipment you can use. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Dewar of J2Fit, by performing bodyweight exercises and movements, you'll not only improve your balance and conditioning, you'll also start building muscle. And the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat your body will naturally burn. RELATED: 5 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running What’s more, Dewar stresses the importance of the body awareness and stability that comes from bodyweight training. “Without the ability to control your body in space, you can set yourself up for injury." Got 10 minutes to get a jump on your fitness? We thought so. That’s why we’ve put together three 10-minute bodyweight workouts fit for any experience level. Choose one today, another tomorrow, and you’ve got an easy way to get your sweat on anytime, anywhere.

Try These 3 Bodyweight Exercises

Perform these routines as a standalone workout, or add them to the end of your regular weight training or cardio workout as a "finisher." Find certain moves too challenging? Each circuit can be easily modified to suit your needs (or spatial limitations). And while Dewar recommends resting 60 seconds between each round, take as much (or as little) time as you need. Now clear a spot in your living room, or claim a corner of your park or gym — it’s go time! RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up

[caption id="attachment_65735" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Squat Jumps

How to: Start by standing straight up with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you, drop into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest up (a). Press through your heels and extend your arms down to explode off the ground, jumping as high as you can (b). Land as softly as you can with your knees bent. Reset your body as fast as possible and repeat (c). Beginner alternative: Not up for jumping? Dewar recommends bodyweight speed squats. “Jump squats and other power and speed-focused movements are amazing for developing new fast twitch muscle fibers,” he says. By upping the speed you’ll also be maximizing your calorie and fat burn, which translates to weight loss.

Side Lunges

How to: Stand straight up with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips or at your sides. With your abs tight, and hips pointing forward, take a big step to your right and bend your right knee 90 degrees (a). Driving through your right heel, return to the starting position (b). Next, do the same with your left leg (c). Beginner alternative: Lie down on your side to work the glutes and thighs with side leg raises. With both legs straight and the glutes and abs engaged, lift the top leg one to two feet off the ground, hold, and return to starting position.

Rotational Push-Ups

How to: Start in perfect push-up position. Hands should be about shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line, from your heels to the top of your head (a). Perform a push-up (b). Then while keeping your feet in place, twist your torso to the right and lift your right arm straight above your body so your left and right arm are in a perfect line (c). Return to starting position. Repeat and alternate your left and right sides (d). Beginner alternative: If you haven’t mastered the basic push-up, try these beginner-friendly variations first. Go at your own pace — you’ll be working the same muscle groups and feeling the burn! RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast

[caption id="attachment_65736" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Keeping your butt down and your whole body as flat as possible, bringing your right knee in towards your chest, then your left knee. Repeat at a rapid pace (b). If you’re feeling this in your abs and shoulders you’re doing it right! Beginner alternative: If the leg action has you gassed, simply hold the top of a push-up (aka a high plank). You’ll fire up your abdominals, not to mention your shoulders, glutes and legs! Alternating mountain climbers, in particular, help target your obliques and allow muscles to take over your love handles. RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Begin on all fours with your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders (a). While keeping a flat back, reach your right arm out while pushing your left leg back. Think of flexing your left glute and your right shoulder as you fully extend (b). Hold that position for a second before using your core to pull your leg and arm back into your body so that your right elbow comes close to your left knee (c). Complete 10 reps and then switch sides (d). Check out this video demo! Beginner alternative: Lie on your back for dead bugs. (See #4 here.) As you raise your right hand to meet your left foot, engage your abs while resisting arching your back. 

Burpees

How to: Everybody's favorite exercise… burpees. Start in a standing position (a). Squat down and put your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart (b). Keeping your hands there, jump your feet back so you are in the push-up position (c). Next jump your feet back towards your hands (d). Reset your body into the squat position and jump straight up. Once you land, repeat (e). Beginner alternative: If you need to take things down a notch, step back into the push-up position, one foot at a time, and eliminate the jump once you step back up to standing. A common HIIT finisher, these calorie-torching exercises are one of the best ways to help burn fat and build muscle long after you've worked out. RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Bodyweight Workout 10-Minute HIIT Circuit

[caption id="attachment_65738" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Reverse Lunges

How to: Time to hit the legs! Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width apart (a). With your hands on your hips take one step back with your right leg and drop into a lunge. Your left leg should make a 90-degree angle at the knee (b). From the lunge position stand back up straight and repeat with the left leg (c). Beginner alternative: Place a chair next to you for support as you perform the same move as detailed above. Lower as far as you can go and return to standing. RELATED: 4 Lower Body Moves You Can Do in Front of the TV

Single-Leg Glute Bridges

How to: Lie on your back, arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot flat on the ground, close to your butt. Your right leg should be straight and off the ground (a). Pushing through your left heel, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your upper body to your knee. You should feel your hamstrings and glutes doing most of the work (b). Hold the top position for a full second and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps then switch legs (c). Beginner alternative: Need a little more grounding? Try a two-leg glute bridge, with both feet planted firmly for support. As in the above progression, you'll strengthen your core, glutes and hamstrings, all in one efficient, no-equipment move.

Side Plank Leg Raises

How to: Lie on your side and prop yourself up onto your left forearm, with the side of your left foot on the ground, right foot stacked on top of it. Your body should be in a straight line (a). Raise your right arm straight up towards the sky (see video demo here) (b). Next, lift your right leg up and hold for a second. Return to the starting side plank position and repeat (c). Beginner alternative: Take it down a notch with a simple side plank with the top hand placed on your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and slowly work your way up to raising the top hand overhead. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout Made it through all three workouts? These bodyweight circuits are simple (but not easy!) way to help you build strength and burn fat — and lose weight. Feel yourself progressing? Try this 20-minute MetCon workout on for size. Originally posted September 2015. Updated February 2018.  Read More HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

The post Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/core-workout-strength-exercises/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:15:39 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65687 9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65699" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

At the core of every movement is just that: your core. And while lots of times “core” and “abs” become synonymous, it’s not 100% correct to use them interchangeably. Your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and obliques do comprise your midsection, but those aren’t the only muscles involved. Your back, hips and glutes also provide that stable base you need for stepping forward and backward, jumping side-to-side or turning all about. So to get a serious core workout you need to work them all.

“Core strength and stability not only enhances physical and athletic performance, but also helps maintain and correct posture and form, and prevent injury,” says Andia Winslow, a Daily Burn Audio Workouts trainer. “Those who have an awareness of their core and ability to engage it properly also have enhanced proprioception — or a sense of the positions of their extremities, without actually seeing them.”

Just picture elite athlete’s movement, Winslow explains, and how rhythmic and easy they travel through space, often in several planes of motion at the same time. They can thank strong trunk muscles for that. “Core should be a focus in every workout,” Winslow says. “Workouts won’t be as effective without proper core engagement.”

That’s not to say crunches need a permanent place in your sweat sessions. You can easily sneak in added core challenges during other common exercises. “When folks elect to add difficulty to workouts, they often increase weight, repetition or duration. Another — and often more effective — way to increase the intensity is by altering stance, ground contact, and/or dynamic variance equipment [think: sand or water],” Winslow says. Shifting your weight, testing your balance, or focusing on sticking a landing, all engage your middle more.

Learn how to get a solid core workout in every strength session with these sneaky midsection-scorching strategies from Winslow.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Strength Tips: How to Work Your Core in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65700" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Add Weight Overhead Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Add weight overhead. 

Whether you’re doing squats or lunges, Winslow suggests pushing or holding a weight overhead — or even just keeping your arms straight up — to activate your abs and shoulders. These muscle groups have to work harder to keep your spine in a neutral position so you don’t over-arch, straining your low back. Translation: Put your hands in the air like you really care (about your core workout).

2. Hold your step-ups and pull-ups.

Stepping up onto a bench, chair or box requires you to use one leg, driving off your heel to reach the top. While balancing on one limb already works your core to keep you upright, Winslow explains that pausing at the top (with knee raised) will incorporate your midsection more. When you stand up, simply hold for a two- to five-second count, then go back down.

Same strategy holds (literally!) for chin-ups and pull-ups. By pausing with your chin at the bar, your core fires to keep you steady and in one solid line. Leg or arm day turned core workout.

RELATED: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout

[caption id="attachment_65701" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Stick a Single-Leg Box Jump Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

3. Stick a single-leg landing on box jumps.

To crank up the core work in a box jump, start by bringing the hop height down. Then, keep the explosive leap to one leg and really stick the landing. (Hold it at the top for one to three seconds before standing up and stepping off.) One full-body exercise at its finest.

4. Do a single-arm dumbbell press or fly.

Make your arm and ab routine go hand-in-hand. Moving one arm at a time in exercises like a dumbbell press or fly, drives your midsection to work against the rotation to keep your hips square and your back straight. This will work whether you’re standing or lying on your back. Lift your hips into a bridge and you target your glutes, too. So many muscles; so much less time.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

[caption id="attachment_65702" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Go for a Twist Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Go for a twist. 

We tend to rotate in multiple directions all day, from turning to give a fellow studio mate a high five to twisting around to chat with a co-worker. But to keep that movement safe, your core needs enough strength to prop you upright and protect the spine. Enter: rotational exercises to build stability. Try twisting your torso at the top of a step-up or the bottom of a front or side lunge, so your body learns to better handle those turns you take throughout the day.

6. Throw punches during wall sits.

Turn a static wall sit into a full-body exercise by getting your arms involved. Simply extend your arms out in front of you to turn on your abs and arms. Or throw some ‘bows to up the cardio element, too.

RELATED: 6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout

[caption id="attachment_65703" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Lift a Limb in Plank Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Lift a limb in planks.

It’s no secret that planks target your entire core. But pick up an arm, leg, or better yet both — and bam — a bigger burn. That’s because removing one base of support causes your abs, back muscles and legs to work harder to keep you in one straight line, Winslow says. This same principle holds true for push-ups, too. Pick one foot off the ground as you go and your middle will light up. Even tougher…a single-arm push-up.

8. Stand on one foot during arm exercises.

So you want to strengthen your shoulders or build your biceps? Well, you might as well get your core workout in as well. As you do shoulder presses, bicep curls or triceps extensions, stand on one leg. Not only will your abs and back work to keep you upright with a straight spine, the glutes in your standing leg will also go into overdrive to maintain stability. More muscles engaged equals more calories burned.

RELATED: This Is How to Get Toned Arms

9. Grab a sandbag.

Use any equipment that brings a varying dynamic (aka without a solid surface) and it forces you to get extra sweaty as you try to keep steady. For instance, as the sand in a sandbag moves around while you push, pull or throw it, the stability challenge skyrockets. The same goes for BOSU or stability balls.

Read More
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

The post 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65699" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout Photo: Twenty20[/caption] At the core of every movement is just that: your core. And while lots of times “core” and “abs” become synonymous, it’s not 100% correct to use them interchangeably. Your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and obliques do comprise your midsection, but those aren’t the only muscles involved. Your back, hips and glutes also provide that stable base you need for stepping forward and backward, jumping side-to-side or turning all about. So to get a serious core workout you need to work them all. “Core strength and stability not only enhances physical and athletic performance, but also helps maintain and correct posture and form, and prevent injury,” says Andia Winslow, a Daily Burn Audio Workouts trainer. “Those who have an awareness of their core and ability to engage it properly also have enhanced proprioception — or a sense of the positions of their extremities, without actually seeing them.” Just picture elite athlete’s movement, Winslow explains, and how rhythmic and easy they travel through space, often in several planes of motion at the same time. They can thank strong trunk muscles for that. “Core should be a focus in every workout,” Winslow says. “Workouts won’t be as effective without proper core engagement.” That’s not to say crunches need a permanent place in your sweat sessions. You can easily sneak in added core challenges during other common exercises. “When folks elect to add difficulty to workouts, they often increase weight, repetition or duration. Another — and often more effective — way to increase the intensity is by altering stance, ground contact, and/or dynamic variance equipment [think: sand or water],” Winslow says. Shifting your weight, testing your balance, or focusing on sticking a landing, all engage your middle more. Learn how to get a solid core workout in every strength session with these sneaky midsection-scorching strategies from Winslow. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Strength Tips: How to Work Your Core in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65700" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Add Weight Overhead Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Add weight overhead. 

Whether you’re doing squats or lunges, Winslow suggests pushing or holding a weight overhead — or even just keeping your arms straight up — to activate your abs and shoulders. These muscle groups have to work harder to keep your spine in a neutral position so you don’t over-arch, straining your low back. Translation: Put your hands in the air like you really care (about your core workout).

2. Hold your step-ups and pull-ups.

Stepping up onto a bench, chair or box requires you to use one leg, driving off your heel to reach the top. While balancing on one limb already works your core to keep you upright, Winslow explains that pausing at the top (with knee raised) will incorporate your midsection more. When you stand up, simply hold for a two- to five-second count, then go back down. Same strategy holds (literally!) for chin-ups and pull-ups. By pausing with your chin at the bar, your core fires to keep you steady and in one solid line. Leg or arm day turned core workout. RELATED: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout [caption id="attachment_65701" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Stick a Single-Leg Box Jump Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

3. Stick a single-leg landing on box jumps.

To crank up the core work in a box jump, start by bringing the hop height down. Then, keep the explosive leap to one leg and really stick the landing. (Hold it at the top for one to three seconds before standing up and stepping off.) One full-body exercise at its finest.

4. Do a single-arm dumbbell press or fly.

Make your arm and ab routine go hand-in-hand. Moving one arm at a time in exercises like a dumbbell press or fly, drives your midsection to work against the rotation to keep your hips square and your back straight. This will work whether you’re standing or lying on your back. Lift your hips into a bridge and you target your glutes, too. So many muscles; so much less time. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout [caption id="attachment_65702" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Go for a Twist Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Go for a twist. 

We tend to rotate in multiple directions all day, from turning to give a fellow studio mate a high five to twisting around to chat with a co-worker. But to keep that movement safe, your core needs enough strength to prop you upright and protect the spine. Enter: rotational exercises to build stability. Try twisting your torso at the top of a step-up or the bottom of a front or side lunge, so your body learns to better handle those turns you take throughout the day.

6. Throw punches during wall sits.

Turn a static wall sit into a full-body exercise by getting your arms involved. Simply extend your arms out in front of you to turn on your abs and arms. Or throw some ‘bows to up the cardio element, too. RELATED: 6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout [caption id="attachment_65703" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Lift a Limb in Plank Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Lift a limb in planks.

It’s no secret that planks target your entire core. But pick up an arm, leg, or better yet both — and bam — a bigger burn. That’s because removing one base of support causes your abs, back muscles and legs to work harder to keep you in one straight line, Winslow says. This same principle holds true for push-ups, too. Pick one foot off the ground as you go and your middle will light up. Even tougher…a single-arm push-up.

8. Stand on one foot during arm exercises.

So you want to strengthen your shoulders or build your biceps? Well, you might as well get your core workout in as well. As you do shoulder presses, bicep curls or triceps extensions, stand on one leg. Not only will your abs and back work to keep you upright with a straight spine, the glutes in your standing leg will also go into overdrive to maintain stability. More muscles engaged equals more calories burned. RELATED: This Is How to Get Toned Arms

9. Grab a sandbag.

Use any equipment that brings a varying dynamic (aka without a solid surface) and it forces you to get extra sweaty as you try to keep steady. For instance, as the sand in a sandbag moves around while you push, pull or throw it, the stability challenge skyrockets. The same goes for BOSU or stability balls. Read More Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

The post 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/plank-exercises-for-abs/ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:15:17 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65626

[caption id="attachment_65692" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Plank Exercises for Hardcore Abs Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]

Planking in strange places might have been a social media fad of the mid 2000s, but doing plank exercises for abs as a means of strengthening your core? That’s here to stay. The trend did have one thing right — in order to perfect the plank, you need full-body engagement to create stiff-as-a-board stability. But to really work your entire body (no, it’s not just an ab exercise!) and blast more calories, you need to add a little movement to your planks. Goodbye plateau; hello all-over strength!

Before you take on new variations, make sure you can master holding a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels, with shoulders over elbows (or wrists if you're in a high plank), says Prince Brathwaite, a Daily Burn 365 trainer and founder of Trooper Fitness. “If you’re unable to keep your hips in line with your head and feet, then you should regress,” he says. Placing your knees on the ground is a good place to start. And if you can stop that straight line from breaking for one full minute, it’s time to switch it up.

Here, Brathwaite offers five ways to progress your plank exercises so you keep challenging your core — without results fading as quick as a fad.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Plank Exercises That Go Beyond the Basic

When holding a solid straight-body plank for 60 seconds feels as easy as lying on the couch, it’s time put your body to the movement test. Follow this line-up of five plank exercises from Brathwaite to keep it progressing — meaning your muscles will trample plateaus. As soon as one exercise feels easy, work on mastering the next.

[caption id="attachment_65680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Plank Exercises Progression: Step Out Plank GIFs: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Step Out Plank

Step one: Add some movement to that isometric hold. By lifting a leg, you’re forced to work harder to keep your trunk and hips steady, counteracting the movement in your lower half.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Tap your right foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it right back (b). Tap your left foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it back (c). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 3 Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP

Plank Exercises Progression: Arm Raise Plank

2. Arm Raise Plank 

Time to balance on three limps. Once again, your core has to fire to keep your body still as you pick up one arm, then the other.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Keeping your hips squared to the ground and lower half stable, lift your right arm straight up to shoulder height. Then lower it back down (b). Lift your left arm straight up to shoulder height, then place it back down (c). Continue switching arms.

Plank Exercises Progression: Arm and Leg Raise Plank

3. Arm and Leg Raise Plank

The anti-rotation test just took an even more difficult turn. “Naturally, your hips will want to twist to find the path of least resistance,” says Brathwaite. “Your job: Maintain parallel hips and minimal movement in your midsection.” Challenge, accepted.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Lift your left arm and right leg straight up to shoulder and hip height. Pause for a second, then lower them back to the starting position (b). Next, lift your right arm and left leg straight up to shoulder and hip height, pause, then place them back down (c). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Plank Exercises Progression: Star Plank

4. Star Plank

As they say, one simple change can lead to big benefits — and a serious burn. Just by stepping your hands out an inch or two in front of your shoulders, you’ll really torch your core as you fight to stay stable.

How to: Start in a high push-up plank position (a). Step one hand a few inches in front of your shoulder, then the other hand — and hold it there. Your body should remain in one straight line, with full-body muscle engagement (b). Work on holding this position for 60 seconds without breaking form.

Plank Exercises Progression: High Low Star Plank

5. High Low Star Plank

Meet the star plank, but with extra star (err, sweat) power. Walking your hands forward and backward means even more muscles work (hello, shoulders and back) and you slash more calories.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Press up onto one hand as you step it out a few inches in front of your shoulder, then do the same on the other (b). Next, step one hand back and go back down onto your forearm, so your elbow is under your shoulder. Then repeat with the other arm (c). Continue stepping your hands forward and backward, going from forearm plank to star plank, and keeping your body in one straight line.

Read More
Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

The post 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65692" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Plank Exercises for Hardcore Abs Photos: Daily Burn[/caption] Planking in strange places might have been a social media fad of the mid 2000s, but doing plank exercises for abs as a means of strengthening your core? That’s here to stay. The trend did have one thing right — in order to perfect the plank, you need full-body engagement to create stiff-as-a-board stability. But to really work your entire body (no, it’s not just an ab exercise!) and blast more calories, you need to add a little movement to your planks. Goodbye plateau; hello all-over strength! Before you take on new variations, make sure you can master holding a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels, with shoulders over elbows (or wrists if you're in a high plank), says Prince Brathwaite, a Daily Burn 365 trainer and founder of Trooper Fitness. “If you’re unable to keep your hips in line with your head and feet, then you should regress,” he says. Placing your knees on the ground is a good place to start. And if you can stop that straight line from breaking for one full minute, it’s time to switch it up. Here, Brathwaite offers five ways to progress your plank exercises so you keep challenging your core — without results fading as quick as a fad. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Plank Exercises That Go Beyond the Basic

When holding a solid straight-body plank for 60 seconds feels as easy as lying on the couch, it’s time put your body to the movement test. Follow this line-up of five plank exercises from Brathwaite to keep it progressing — meaning your muscles will trample plateaus. As soon as one exercise feels easy, work on mastering the next. [caption id="attachment_65680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Plank Exercises Progression: Step Out Plank GIFs: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Step Out Plank

Step one: Add some movement to that isometric hold. By lifting a leg, you’re forced to work harder to keep your trunk and hips steady, counteracting the movement in your lower half. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Tap your right foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it right back (b). Tap your left foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it back (c). Continue alternating. RELATED: 3 Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP Plank Exercises Progression: Arm Raise Plank

2. Arm Raise Plank 

Time to balance on three limps. Once again, your core has to fire to keep your body still as you pick up one arm, then the other. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Keeping your hips squared to the ground and lower half stable, lift your right arm straight up to shoulder height. Then lower it back down (b). Lift your left arm straight up to shoulder height, then place it back down (c). Continue switching arms. Plank Exercises Progression: Arm and Leg Raise Plank

3. Arm and Leg Raise Plank

The anti-rotation test just took an even more difficult turn. “Naturally, your hips will want to twist to find the path of least resistance,” says Brathwaite. “Your job: Maintain parallel hips and minimal movement in your midsection.” Challenge, accepted. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Lift your left arm and right leg straight up to shoulder and hip height. Pause for a second, then lower them back to the starting position (b). Next, lift your right arm and left leg straight up to shoulder and hip height, pause, then place them back down (c). Continue alternating. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core Plank Exercises Progression: Star Plank

4. Star Plank

As they say, one simple change can lead to big benefits — and a serious burn. Just by stepping your hands out an inch or two in front of your shoulders, you’ll really torch your core as you fight to stay stable. How to: Start in a high push-up plank position (a). Step one hand a few inches in front of your shoulder, then the other hand — and hold it there. Your body should remain in one straight line, with full-body muscle engagement (b). Work on holding this position for 60 seconds without breaking form. Plank Exercises Progression: High Low Star Plank

5. High Low Star Plank

Meet the star plank, but with extra star (err, sweat) power. Walking your hands forward and backward means even more muscles work (hello, shoulders and back) and you slash more calories. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Press up onto one hand as you step it out a few inches in front of your shoulder, then do the same on the other (b). Next, step one hand back and go back down onto your forearm, so your elbow is under your shoulder. Then repeat with the other arm (c). Continue stepping your hands forward and backward, going from forearm plank to star plank, and keeping your body in one straight line. Read More Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

The post 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/home-workouts-trainers/ Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:15:41 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65629 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know

[caption id="attachment_65636" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

You’re traveling. You had a bad day at work. You’re beyond busy. It’s snowing outside. While these might sound like perfectly good reasons to take a rest day, leave it to trainers to find a way to push through. And deep down, you know you’ll be missing out on those health-boosting, feel-good vibes, too.

Their foolproof solution: working out right at home. And we found 15 trainers who’ll show you just how easy — and fun — it is to do it. From 20-minute HIIT workouts to 10-minute ab circuits, here are some of the best home workout ideas from the top fitness pros.

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

The 15 Best Home Workouts from Top Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdF1fcTl5qF/?taken-by=kaisafit

1. Kaisa Keranen

Certified trainer and movement coach
No dumbbells? No problem. Here, the Seattle-based sports performance coach shows us how to take your at-home workout to boiling temps with, yup, a cooking pot. From single-leg deadlifts to pistol squats to Russian twists, you’ll fire up your glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Hey, they don’t say six-packs are made in the kitchen for no reason. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdIVIzFhlUs/?taken-by=alexsilverfagan

2. Alex Silver-Fagan

Trainer and author of Get Strong for Women: Lift Heavy, Train Hard, See Results
Silver-Fagan might be best known for her gritty barbell workouts, but in this at-home flow, we see a softer side to the certified yogi. On your recovery days, get your om on and stretch things out with warrior III, eagle and dancer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRn--tkANKD/?taken-by=adamrosante

3. Adam Rosante

Trainer and founder of the People’s Bootcamp
Cold temps keeping your workouts indoors? It’s no excuse to take a snow day, according to Rosante. Complete with burpees, froggers and spiderman planks, consider this your winter bodyweight burner.

RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2X9rHBBoF/?taken-by=kirastokesfit

4. Kira Stokes

Celebrity trainer and creator of the Stoked Method
Want to squeeze in a workout while your slow cooker works its magic? “Your kitchen can transform into a gym,” Stokes says. Using the edge of a counter as a “barre,” Stokes shows Fuller House star Candace Bure how to do knee pulses and tricep push-ups. For bicep curls and shoulder presses, get creative and hold onto something heavy, like bottles of wine (no sips between sets, please!).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYindLqA7DF/?taken-by=harleypasternak

5. Harley Pasternak

Celebrity trainer
No ab muscle goes untouched in this total-ab circuit. From your obliques (spider planks) to your low abs (pike planks), follow Pasternak’s lead to ignite every inch of your core.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcFZImglDjq/?taken-by=bjgaddour

6. BJ Gaddour

Founder of TheDailyBJ.com and Bodyweight Burners trainer
Gaddour loves to maximize time and space at home with compound exercises. In this dumbbell workout, Gaddour combines step-ups with squats and bent-over rows with bicep curls and shoulder presses. Now, what to do with all that extra time on your hands?

RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYeKqvoBcFb/?taken-by=seangarner

7. Sean Garner

Functional strength coach
Resistance bands may look pretty basic, but they’re one of the most powerful pieces of exercise equipment. Garner gets his kids in on band action with front raises, glute bridges and overhead presses. Just beware of the slingshot effect...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaJ6zT7g1yn/?taken-by=anjagarcia

8. Anja Garcia

Daily Burn Undefeated trainer
Beach weather might feel like a lifetime ago, but Garcia’s bikini workout reminds us of good things to come! Get summer strong with this LA-based trainer’s decline push-ups, sumo squat jumps, hollow holds and more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcSo3K7nT3G/?taken-by=thebodycoach

9. Joe Wicks 

Personal trainer and founder of The Body Coach
The #Leanin15 trainer is best known for his quick and healthy dishes, but this ab circuit will have you cookin’ a six pack. Oblique crunches and side plank reach-throughs will keep your sides in check, while the ab roll-up will tighten your deep abdominis.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbTK9f2hlJc/?taken-by=eshannz

10. Erika Shannon

Daily Burn 365 trainer
If you’re new to kickboxing, Shannon’s at-home workout is sure to get you hooked. The Power Cardio trainer begins this routine with jab-cross combos to work her arms, and then introduces squat crosses to strengthen her glutes. For an extra cardio push, she adds in jumping jacks and kicks between sets.

RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQyMUgRAyFh/?taken-by=melissawoodhealth

11. Melissa Wood

Yoga and Pilates certified trainer
If you follow Woods on Instagram, you know that the yogi is all about mat work. But in this creative “treadmill” workout, Woods uses the cardio machine to do booty-shaping leg lifts and classic barre moves instead. Don’t have a treadmill at home? Use the back of a chair or the edge of your kitchen counter to help prop you up.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbuHEU9AkAa/?taken-by=peterkrauswi

12. Peter Kraus & Bec Donlan

Founder of Peter Kraus Fitness Bootcamps; Booty Bands trainer at Project by Equinox
Bachelorette alum Kraus pairs up with Aussie fitness star Donlan to tag team this booty band workout you can do at home. From squat touchdowns to reverse lunges to deadlifts, you’ll work your entire lower body and posterior. But no resistance band workout is complete without a core finisher. Standing side crunches help sculpt your obliques and target love handles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdKwPWDH8tf/?taken-by=jess.glazer

13. Jess Glazer

Lead trainer at NYSC RedZone and founder of FITtrips
You don’t have to be at the gym to HIIT it hard — your hotel room will do! In this metabolism-boosting workout, Glazer shows us how to do explosive box jumps, plank to pikes and split squats — without leaving the couch.

RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKg-nNnykJ/?taken-by=melissaparisfitness

14. Melissa Paris

Founder of BYOBFit
A baby bump isn’t stopping Paris from whipping her core into shape. The kettlebell is one of the most challenging pieces of fitness equipment because its center is loaded. Her kettlebell workout takes you through alternating swings and strict presses, so you recruit your glutes as well as your ab muscles for stability and strength.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYonHSxnUqU/?taken-by=greggcook

15. Gregg Cook

Daily Burn 365 trainer
Cook knows how to double down on time with his daughter: partner push-ups. Except his partner in crime gets coaching duties while dad does all the work! Ten reps later is a tired, but fit papa — and one amused child.

Read More
15 Genius Meal Prep Ideas from Top Trainers
How Trainers Stay on Top of Their Self-Care
8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What to Do Instead)

The post 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know

[caption id="attachment_65636" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know Photo: Twenty20[/caption] You’re traveling. You had a bad day at work. You’re beyond busy. It’s snowing outside. While these might sound like perfectly good reasons to take a rest day, leave it to trainers to find a way to push through. And deep down, you know you’ll be missing out on those health-boosting, feel-good vibes, too. Their foolproof solution: working out right at home. And we found 15 trainers who’ll show you just how easy — and fun — it is to do it. From 20-minute HIIT workouts to 10-minute ab circuits, here are some of the best home workout ideas from the top fitness pros. RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

The 15 Best Home Workouts from Top Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdF1fcTl5qF/?taken-by=kaisafit

1. Kaisa Keranen

Certified trainer and movement coach No dumbbells? No problem. Here, the Seattle-based sports performance coach shows us how to take your at-home workout to boiling temps with, yup, a cooking pot. From single-leg deadlifts to pistol squats to Russian twists, you’ll fire up your glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Hey, they don’t say six-packs are made in the kitchen for no reason.  https://www.instagram.com/p/BdIVIzFhlUs/?taken-by=alexsilverfagan

2. Alex Silver-Fagan

Trainer and author of Get Strong for Women: Lift Heavy, Train Hard, See Results Silver-Fagan might be best known for her gritty barbell workouts, but in this at-home flow, we see a softer side to the certified yogi. On your recovery days, get your om on and stretch things out with warrior III, eagle and dancer. https://www.instagram.com/p/BRn--tkANKD/?taken-by=adamrosante

3. Adam Rosante

Trainer and founder of the People’s Bootcamp Cold temps keeping your workouts indoors? It’s no excuse to take a snow day, according to Rosante. Complete with burpees, froggers and spiderman planks, consider this your winter bodyweight burner. RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2X9rHBBoF/?taken-by=kirastokesfit

4. Kira Stokes

Celebrity trainer and creator of the Stoked Method Want to squeeze in a workout while your slow cooker works its magic? “Your kitchen can transform into a gym,” Stokes says. Using the edge of a counter as a “barre,” Stokes shows Fuller House star Candace Bure how to do knee pulses and tricep push-ups. For bicep curls and shoulder presses, get creative and hold onto something heavy, like bottles of wine (no sips between sets, please!). https://www.instagram.com/p/BYindLqA7DF/?taken-by=harleypasternak

5. Harley Pasternak

Celebrity trainer No ab muscle goes untouched in this total-ab circuit. From your obliques (spider planks) to your low abs (pike planks), follow Pasternak’s lead to ignite every inch of your core. https://www.instagram.com/p/BcFZImglDjq/?taken-by=bjgaddour

6. BJ Gaddour

Founder of TheDailyBJ.com and Bodyweight Burners trainer Gaddour loves to maximize time and space at home with compound exercises. In this dumbbell workout, Gaddour combines step-ups with squats and bent-over rows with bicep curls and shoulder presses. Now, what to do with all that extra time on your hands? RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers https://www.instagram.com/p/BYeKqvoBcFb/?taken-by=seangarner

7. Sean Garner

Functional strength coach Resistance bands may look pretty basic, but they’re one of the most powerful pieces of exercise equipment. Garner gets his kids in on band action with front raises, glute bridges and overhead presses. Just beware of the slingshot effect... https://www.instagram.com/p/BaJ6zT7g1yn/?taken-by=anjagarcia

8. Anja Garcia

Daily Burn Undefeated trainer Beach weather might feel like a lifetime ago, but Garcia’s bikini workout reminds us of good things to come! Get summer strong with this LA-based trainer’s decline push-ups, sumo squat jumps, hollow holds and more. https://www.instagram.com/p/BcSo3K7nT3G/?taken-by=thebodycoach

9. Joe Wicks 

Personal trainer and founder of The Body Coach The #Leanin15 trainer is best known for his quick and healthy dishes, but this ab circuit will have you cookin’ a six pack. Oblique crunches and side plank reach-throughs will keep your sides in check, while the ab roll-up will tighten your deep abdominis. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbTK9f2hlJc/?taken-by=eshannz

10. Erika Shannon

Daily Burn 365 trainer If you’re new to kickboxing, Shannon’s at-home workout is sure to get you hooked. The Power Cardio trainer begins this routine with jab-cross combos to work her arms, and then introduces squat crosses to strengthen her glutes. For an extra cardio push, she adds in jumping jacks and kicks between sets. RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know https://www.instagram.com/p/BQyMUgRAyFh/?taken-by=melissawoodhealth

11. Melissa Wood

Yoga and Pilates certified trainer If you follow Woods on Instagram, you know that the yogi is all about mat work. But in this creative “treadmill” workout, Woods uses the cardio machine to do booty-shaping leg lifts and classic barre moves instead. Don’t have a treadmill at home? Use the back of a chair or the edge of your kitchen counter to help prop you up. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbuHEU9AkAa/?taken-by=peterkrauswi

12. Peter Kraus & Bec Donlan

Founder of Peter Kraus Fitness Bootcamps; Booty Bands trainer at Project by Equinox Bachelorette alum Kraus pairs up with Aussie fitness star Donlan to tag team this booty band workout you can do at home. From squat touchdowns to reverse lunges to deadlifts, you’ll work your entire lower body and posterior. But no resistance band workout is complete without a core finisher. Standing side crunches help sculpt your obliques and target love handles. https://www.instagram.com/p/BdKwPWDH8tf/?taken-by=jess.glazer

13. Jess Glazer

Lead trainer at NYSC RedZone and founder of FITtrips You don’t have to be at the gym to HIIT it hard — your hotel room will do! In this metabolism-boosting workout, Glazer shows us how to do explosive box jumps, plank to pikes and split squats — without leaving the couch. RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKg-nNnykJ/?taken-by=melissaparisfitness

14. Melissa Paris

Founder of BYOBFit A baby bump isn’t stopping Paris from whipping her core into shape. The kettlebell is one of the most challenging pieces of fitness equipment because its center is loaded. Her kettlebell workout takes you through alternating swings and strict presses, so you recruit your glutes as well as your ab muscles for stability and strength. https://www.instagram.com/p/BYonHSxnUqU/?taken-by=greggcook

15. Gregg Cook

Daily Burn 365 trainer Cook knows how to double down on time with his daughter: partner push-ups. Except his partner in crime gets coaching duties while dad does all the work! Ten reps later is a tired, but fit papa — and one amused child. Read More 15 Genius Meal Prep Ideas from Top Trainers How Trainers Stay on Top of Their Self-Care 8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What to Do Instead)

The post 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/hiit-workouts-beginner-tips/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/hiit-workouts-beginner-tips/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 16:15:28 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=58052 25 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever

[caption id="attachment_65611" align="alignnone" width="620"]27 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Think of high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT workouts) — where you alternate short bursts of intense exercise and active recovery time — as the workout gift that keeps on giving. First, it’s designed to burn more calories and fat in less time, giving you that excuse-squashing way to squeeze in a sweat. Then, it revs up your heart rate and alters metabolic pathways so much so that you keep torching calories even after you stop moving. So it’s basically the go-to for anyone looking to get fit, strong and slim without dedicating hours to doing so. (Can anyone say no to that?)

The catch: You have to learn how to do it (and recognize whether you're pushing hard enough), give it your all and switch up your approach every now and then. To get you doing just that, we rounded up top resources for making your HIIT workout super effective, fun — and speedy. So whether you're a beginner exerciser or more advanced athlete, you'll HIIT it big with these tips.

RELATED: 50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT)?

[caption id="attachment_65605" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: What is High-Intensity Interval Training? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Before jumping into your first round of intervals, you’ll want a base of knowledge. After all knowing why exactly you’re busting your butt through those crazy-hard intervals will help motivate you to keep pushing forward. Here, some expert insight on the benefits of high-intensity interval training, plus how to make each routine work for you.

HIIT: What It Is and Why It Works

No Time? How Much HIIT You Need to Reap Benefits

7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time

EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss?

Daily Burn’s Inferno HR: Heart Rate Training, Evolved

Meditation Meets HIIT in New Mindful Fitness Approach

7 HIIT Mistakes You're Probably Making

Bodyweight HIIT Workouts: Anytime, Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_65607" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

One of the awesome benefits of interval training is that you can do it anywhere. These killer bodyweight workouts will rev up your metabolism, whether you’re at the gym, in your hotel or on the beach. No equipment necessary! And beginners, keep in mind they're still totally doable for you.

10-Minute Indoor and Outdoor HIIT Workouts

3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach

HIIT It Hard with BJ Gaddour’s Bodyweight Burners

5 HIIT Exercises to Boost Your VO2 Max

3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP

3 Plyometric Moves That Turn Up the Burn

5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Cardio Workouts: HIIT and Run

[caption id="attachment_65608" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Cardio HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Beat cardio machine boredom and put some pep to your step with these interval-inspired cardio-centric workouts. You’ll push it on the treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, air bike and even with the help of a jump rope.

20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout to Get Fit, Fast

The 30-Minute HIIT Jump Rope Workout

Air Bike: The HIIT Workout That’ll Leave You Breathless

3 Elliptical HIIT Workouts That Won’t Bore You to Death

3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength

20-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout to Crush Calories

HIIT Strength Workouts: More Fit Every Day

[caption id="attachment_65609" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Strength HIIT Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

These short but effective workouts combine weights and cardio bursts, so you get the best of both workout worlds. You’ll finish feeling breathless but oh so strong, thanks to a med ball, yoga-inspired routines and more.

Design Your Own HIIT Workout with This Perfect Formula

The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout

10-Minute Yoga HIIT Workout

HIIT Exercises to Get You Ready for Ski Season

Game On! The Sweet 16 HIIT Workout

5 Stretches You Should Never Skip Post-HIIT

Originally published April 2017. Updated February 2018. 

The post HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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25 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever

[caption id="attachment_65611" align="alignnone" width="620"]27 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever Photo: Pond5[/caption] Think of high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT workouts) — where you alternate short bursts of intense exercise and active recovery time — as the workout gift that keeps on giving. First, it’s designed to burn more calories and fat in less time, giving you that excuse-squashing way to squeeze in a sweat. Then, it revs up your heart rate and alters metabolic pathways so much so that you keep torching calories even after you stop moving. So it’s basically the go-to for anyone looking to get fit, strong and slim without dedicating hours to doing so. (Can anyone say no to that?) The catch: You have to learn how to do it (and recognize whether you're pushing hard enough), give it your all and switch up your approach every now and then. To get you doing just that, we rounded up top resources for making your HIIT workout super effective, fun — and speedy. So whether you're a beginner exerciser or more advanced athlete, you'll HIIT it big with these tips. RELATED: 50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT)?

[caption id="attachment_65605" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: What is High-Intensity Interval Training? Photo: Pond5[/caption] Before jumping into your first round of intervals, you’ll want a base of knowledge. After all knowing why exactly you’re busting your butt through those crazy-hard intervals will help motivate you to keep pushing forward. Here, some expert insight on the benefits of high-intensity interval training, plus how to make each routine work for you. HIIT: What It Is and Why It Works No Time? How Much HIIT You Need to Reap Benefits 7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss? Daily Burn’s Inferno HR: Heart Rate Training, Evolved Meditation Meets HIIT in New Mindful Fitness Approach 7 HIIT Mistakes You're Probably Making

Bodyweight HIIT Workouts: Anytime, Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_65607" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] One of the awesome benefits of interval training is that you can do it anywhere. These killer bodyweight workouts will rev up your metabolism, whether you’re at the gym, in your hotel or on the beach. No equipment necessary! And beginners, keep in mind they're still totally doable for you. 10-Minute Indoor and Outdoor HIIT Workouts 3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach HIIT It Hard with BJ Gaddour’s Bodyweight Burners 5 HIIT Exercises to Boost Your VO2 Max 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP 3 Plyometric Moves That Turn Up the Burn 5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Cardio Workouts: HIIT and Run

[caption id="attachment_65608" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Cardio HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption] Beat cardio machine boredom and put some pep to your step with these interval-inspired cardio-centric workouts. You’ll push it on the treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, air bike and even with the help of a jump rope. 20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout to Get Fit, Fast The 30-Minute HIIT Jump Rope Workout Air Bike: The HIIT Workout That’ll Leave You Breathless 3 Elliptical HIIT Workouts That Won’t Bore You to Death 3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength 20-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout to Crush Calories

HIIT Strength Workouts: More Fit Every Day

[caption id="attachment_65609" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Strength HIIT Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] These short but effective workouts combine weights and cardio bursts, so you get the best of both workout worlds. You’ll finish feeling breathless but oh so strong, thanks to a med ball, yoga-inspired routines and more. Design Your Own HIIT Workout with This Perfect Formula The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout 10-Minute Yoga HIIT Workout HIIT Exercises to Get You Ready for Ski Season Game On! The Sweet 16 HIIT Workout 5 Stretches You Should Never Skip Post-HIIT Originally published April 2017. Updated February 2018. 

The post HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-workouts-at-home/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-workouts-at-home/#comments Tue, 06 Feb 2018 16:15:49 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=42157

No Running Cardio Workouts

Sure, running is a great workout to have as a part of your cardio repertoire — it’s not only a great way to get fitter, but it improves your mental wellbeing, too. (Read one woman’s story about how running saved her life.) But it’s not right for everyone, and more importantly, running is not the only way to stay in shape. In fact, there are many different types of dynamic cardio exercises that give you a stellar calorie burn, while sculpting muscle at the same time. Try these six workouts, instead of going through the motions, maximize your efforts with the expert-approved tips below. Can’t make the modifications just yet? No problem. Work your way up incrementally, and bookmark this page for when you’re ready to take your sessions to the next level.

RELATED: 6 Easy Ways to Add Cardio to Your Strength Workout

6 Cardio Exercises You Can Do At Home — or At the Gym

[caption id="attachment_65420" align="alignnone" width="620"]Circuit Training: Not Running Cardio Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Circuit Training

How to Maximize It: Circuit training works by interspersing aerobic and strengthening moves, with minimal rest in between. (Just tune in to Daily Burn 365 to see what we mean!) The key, just like a HIIT workout, is to master your rest and recovery period. Make sure you take a minimum of 15 seconds to catch your breath and grab a sip of water. Need more time? Take it. As our DB365 team always says, adjust any workout to your individual fitness level. (Water breaks included.) Make sure you’re mixing up your moves, too — check out these three circuit-training workouts to get you started.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

[caption id="attachment_65421" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: Indoor Cycling Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. Indoor Cycling

How to Maximize It: After setting up properly, boost your burn by “focus[ing] on pulling your pedals up behind you,” says Holly Rillinger, Master Instructor at Flywheel Sports. “Most times [when spinning] we are only pushing down with our quads, but when you’re clipped in [to a spin bike’s pedals], you have the advantage of using the full stroke.” Focusing on the upwards motion helps target your glutes and hamstrings, so you’ll increase burn more calories while sculpting your entire lower body, too. Rillinger also suggests adding more resistance during quick sprint sessions: “When you have momentum, you can handle more resistance than at the beginning of the sprint. It’ll raise your heart rate and blast more fat,” she says. Use your core to resist that urge to collapse onto the handlebars when you’re exhausted — your abs will thank you later.

[caption id="attachment_65422" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

How to Maximize It: HIIT  involves drills like sprints, lunges, and speed skaters with brief periods of rest in between. “It keeps your engine revved after [exercising], so you burn more calories than a workout at a steady, moderate pace, ” says Yusuf Jeffers, a trainer at HIIT studio Tone House in New York City. But make sure you’re giving your body its deserved rest periods, says Jeffers. You can’t push yourself hard enough if you’re not recovering fully between rounds. “Plus, insufficient recovery results in overuse injuries and diminished results.” What’s the right amount of rest? Catch your breath for at least half as long as you just worked. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a 2:1 work to rest ratio is ideal. Try it at home with this workout.

RELATED: 3 Fat-Blasting HIIT Workouts to Try Now

[caption id="attachment_65423" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: VersaClimber Photo: Courtesy of Rise Nation[/caption]

4. The VersaClimber 

How to Maximize It: You’ll never go back to that dusty StairMaster once you get the hang of this interval-based workout. The key to getting the most from the VersaClimber? Simply keeping up. Because you’re working your lower and upper body together into one climbing motion, expect to get fatigued fast. But even though you’ll feel tired, you’ll be building strength, endurance and coordination, according to Jason Walsh, founder of Rise Nation, an LA-based VersaClimber studio. “The act of climbing on a VersaClimber not only makes you strong, but also reinforces better moving patterns while working against gravity,” Walsh says. “The motions on the VersaClimber build a stronger core and back which gives you better posture and makes you a more deadly athlete.” Win, win.

RELATED: Sculpt Your Back With Jason Walsh's Go-To Moves

[caption id="attachment_65424" align="alignnone" width="629"]Cardio Exercises: Rowing Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Indoor Rowing

How to Maximize It: Hop on an indoor rowing machine to work your entire body in ways you didn’t think were possible. Every stroke you take incorporates about 84 percent of your muscles, says Helaine Knapp, founder and CEO of CITYROW. And unlike running, it’s super-low-impact on your joints. But as with any exercise, proper form is essential. “The stroke can [feel] counterintuitive if you're new to rowing,” Knapp says. “Most of the power should come from your legs as you push back, hinging forward at your hips. Your arms move last and are also first to release as you return to starting position.” Sit up straight with your abs pulled in tight, and focus on your power — not speed. Pick up your pace and you’ll likely take short strokes that don’t work the full range of muscle. It can even put excess stress on your lower back, according to a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences. “The minute you prioritize speed over proper form, your stroke breaks down and you're cheating yourself out of the full benefits of the workout,” Knapp says.

RELATED: 3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength

[caption id="attachment_65425" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: Plyometrics Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Plyometrics

How to Maximize It: See people cranking out jump squats, burpees, or box jumps at the gym? Those are all moves in what’s referred to as plyometrics, a method of metabolic conditioning reliant on explosive movements. Think: hops, bounds and fast feet. The goal is to contract the maximum number of muscle fibers in the minimum amount of time. Plyometrics “‘trick’ your nervous into executing movements with maximum force very quickly,” says Jeffers. Channel the need for max force and quick feet by working out when you’re “fresh and ready-to-go, never tired or completing after another workout,” he warns. “Doing so trains your nervous center to react slower and weaker, which defeats the cumulative benefits of the workout.” Try doing these explosive exercises at home!

Originally published August 2015. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine
Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat?
50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

The post 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

No Running Cardio Workouts
Sure, running is a great workout to have as a part of your cardio repertoire — it’s not only a great way to get fitter, but it improves your mental wellbeing, too. (Read one woman’s story about how running saved her life.) But it’s not right for everyone, and more importantly, running is not the only way to stay in shape. In fact, there are many different types of dynamic cardio exercises that give you a stellar calorie burn, while sculpting muscle at the same time. Try these six workouts, instead of going through the motions, maximize your efforts with the expert-approved tips below. Can’t make the modifications just yet? No problem. Work your way up incrementally, and bookmark this page for when you’re ready to take your sessions to the next level. RELATED: 6 Easy Ways to Add Cardio to Your Strength Workout

6 Cardio Exercises You Can Do At Home — or At the Gym

[caption id="attachment_65420" align="alignnone" width="620"]Circuit Training: Not Running Cardio Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Circuit Training

How to Maximize It: Circuit training works by interspersing aerobic and strengthening moves, with minimal rest in between. (Just tune in to Daily Burn 365 to see what we mean!) The key, just like a HIIT workout, is to master your rest and recovery period. Make sure you take a minimum of 15 seconds to catch your breath and grab a sip of water. Need more time? Take it. As our DB365 team always says, adjust any workout to your individual fitness level. (Water breaks included.) Make sure you’re mixing up your moves, too — check out these three circuit-training workouts to get you started. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core [caption id="attachment_65421" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: Indoor Cycling Photo: Pond5[/caption]

2. Indoor Cycling

How to Maximize It: After setting up properly, boost your burn by “focus[ing] on pulling your pedals up behind you,” says Holly Rillinger, Master Instructor at Flywheel Sports. “Most times [when spinning] we are only pushing down with our quads, but when you’re clipped in [to a spin bike’s pedals], you have the advantage of using the full stroke.” Focusing on the upwards motion helps target your glutes and hamstrings, so you’ll increase burn more calories while sculpting your entire lower body, too. Rillinger also suggests adding more resistance during quick sprint sessions: “When you have momentum, you can handle more resistance than at the beginning of the sprint. It’ll raise your heart rate and blast more fat,” she says. Use your core to resist that urge to collapse onto the handlebars when you’re exhausted — your abs will thank you later. [caption id="attachment_65422" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

How to Maximize It: HIIT  involves drills like sprints, lunges, and speed skaters with brief periods of rest in between. “It keeps your engine revved after [exercising], so you burn more calories than a workout at a steady, moderate pace, ” says Yusuf Jeffers, a trainer at HIIT studio Tone House in New York City. But make sure you’re giving your body its deserved rest periods, says Jeffers. You can’t push yourself hard enough if you’re not recovering fully between rounds. “Plus, insufficient recovery results in overuse injuries and diminished results.” What’s the right amount of rest? Catch your breath for at least half as long as you just worked. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that a 2:1 work to rest ratio is ideal. Try it at home with this workout. RELATED: 3 Fat-Blasting HIIT Workouts to Try Now [caption id="attachment_65423" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: VersaClimber Photo: Courtesy of Rise Nation[/caption]

4. The VersaClimber 

How to Maximize It: You’ll never go back to that dusty StairMaster once you get the hang of this interval-based workout. The key to getting the most from the VersaClimber? Simply keeping up. Because you’re working your lower and upper body together into one climbing motion, expect to get fatigued fast. But even though you’ll feel tired, you’ll be building strength, endurance and coordination, according to Jason Walsh, founder of Rise Nation, an LA-based VersaClimber studio. “The act of climbing on a VersaClimber not only makes you strong, but also reinforces better moving patterns while working against gravity,” Walsh says. “The motions on the VersaClimber build a stronger core and back which gives you better posture and makes you a more deadly athlete.” Win, win. RELATED: Sculpt Your Back With Jason Walsh's Go-To Moves [caption id="attachment_65424" align="alignnone" width="629"]Cardio Exercises: Rowing Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Indoor Rowing

How to Maximize It: Hop on an indoor rowing machine to work your entire body in ways you didn’t think were possible. Every stroke you take incorporates about 84 percent of your muscles, says Helaine Knapp, founder and CEO of CITYROW. And unlike running, it’s super-low-impact on your joints. But as with any exercise, proper form is essential. “The stroke can [feel] counterintuitive if you're new to rowing,” Knapp says. “Most of the power should come from your legs as you push back, hinging forward at your hips. Your arms move last and are also first to release as you return to starting position.” Sit up straight with your abs pulled in tight, and focus on your power — not speed. Pick up your pace and you’ll likely take short strokes that don’t work the full range of muscle. It can even put excess stress on your lower back, according to a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences. “The minute you prioritize speed over proper form, your stroke breaks down and you're cheating yourself out of the full benefits of the workout,” Knapp says. RELATED: 3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength [caption id="attachment_65425" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cardio Exercises: Plyometrics Photo: Pond5[/caption]

6. Plyometrics

How to Maximize It: See people cranking out jump squats, burpees, or box jumps at the gym? Those are all moves in what’s referred to as plyometrics, a method of metabolic conditioning reliant on explosive movements. Think: hops, bounds and fast feet. The goal is to contract the maximum number of muscle fibers in the minimum amount of time. Plyometrics “‘trick’ your nervous into executing movements with maximum force very quickly,” says Jeffers. Channel the need for max force and quick feet by working out when you’re “fresh and ready-to-go, never tired or completing after another workout,” he warns. “Doing so trains your nervous center to react slower and weaker, which defeats the cumulative benefits of the workout.” Try doing these explosive exercises at home! Originally published August 2015. Updated February 2018.  Read More 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat? 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

The post 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-love-handles/ Tue, 06 Feb 2018 12:15:17 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65392

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

When it comes to getting rid of love handles, you’ll want to skip the waist training trend. More often than not, whittling your middle comes down to better nutrition paired with ab exercises that target the obliques.

CeCe Marizu, Daily Burn 365 trainer, says, “It’s important to build up both your internal and external obliques because they create a force that builds strength to allow muscle to take over the fatty areas everyone calls their love handles.”

Sculpting your oblique muscles will not only give you a more defined midsection, it will also help stabilize your core and support your back. “Your external obliques will help your trunk rotate, while your internal obliques also help with rotation but on a deeper level,” Marizu explains. Here’s the perfect workout to keep your sides in check and build total-core strength.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

7 Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles

What’s best about the oblique exercises below is that they target more than just your love handles. They strengthen your entire posterior chain, too. “Dynamic exercises, like spiderman push-ups and side planks with a reach through, help with your love handles by building muscle. A lot of times we can be neglectful of our side bodies,” Marizu says.

Perform each move for 30 seconds and then take a 30-second break for as many rounds as possible. Marizu recommends doing these exercises three to five days a week. “You don't have to work long, but work smart,” Marizu says. That means putting a big emphasis on your diet. “Do your core work and show your love handles some love by eating right,” she says.

[caption id="attachment_65394" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Reach Through GIF: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Side Planks with Reach Through

How to: Lie on your right side and place your right hand firmly on the ground. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into a side plank. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line (a). Extend your left arm towards the ceiling and then lower your arm in front of you and bring it under your right hip (b). Bring your left arm back above your head (c).

[caption id="attachment_65395" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Spiderman Crunch GIF: Chris Ryan / Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

2. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Get into push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands (a). Lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower your body into a push-up. Be sure your hips don’t drop and your back doesn’t arch (b). Return your right foot back to the starting position as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat on the left side.

[caption id="attachment_65396" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: The Saw GIF: Daily Burn Pilates[/caption]

3. The Saw

How to: Sit up on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Spread them as wide as the mat (a). Form a “T” with your arms out to the sides and twist toward your right side, stretching your left hand towards your right foot. Pulse three times (b). Untwist yourself and return to center (c). Repeat on the left side. (For more Pilates ab exercises like this one, head here.)

RELATED: The Ab Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should!)

[caption id="attachment_65398" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Crab Reach GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

4. Crab Reach

How to: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you and your right hand firmly on the ground behind you. Keep your left arm bent by your side (a). Lift your butt off the floor while extending your left arm behind you, reaching for your right side as you come into a reverse tabletop (b). Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side (c).

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

5. Mountain Climbers Twist

How to: Place a plyo box in front of you and get into high plank position with both palms firmly on top of the box (a). With a flat back and abs engaged, lift your right foot and bring your right knee to your left elbow. Return to the starting position (b). Then, lift your left foot and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, and continue alternating sides (c).

[caption id="attachment_65399" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Knee Drive GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

6. Side Plank with Knee Drive

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line. Keep your left hand on your left hip (a). Engaging your core, drive your right knee up to your chest and repeat before switching to the other side (b). 

RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

[caption id="attachment_65400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Giant Clam GIF: Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

7. Giant Clam

How to: Place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU ball (a). Raise your body up into a side plank with your left leg straight out to the side, and your right leg behind you, bent at 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up overhead and keep your hips lifted (b). Bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your left leg straight (c).

Read More
5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout
5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The post 7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption] When it comes to getting rid of love handles, you’ll want to skip the waist training trend. More often than not, whittling your middle comes down to better nutrition paired with ab exercises that target the obliques. CeCe Marizu, Daily Burn 365 trainer, says, “It’s important to build up both your internal and external obliques because they create a force that builds strength to allow muscle to take over the fatty areas everyone calls their love handles.” Sculpting your oblique muscles will not only give you a more defined midsection, it will also help stabilize your core and support your back. “Your external obliques will help your trunk rotate, while your internal obliques also help with rotation but on a deeper level,” Marizu explains. Here’s the perfect workout to keep your sides in check and build total-core strength. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

7 Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles

What’s best about the oblique exercises below is that they target more than just your love handles. They strengthen your entire posterior chain, too. “Dynamic exercises, like spiderman push-ups and side planks with a reach through, help with your love handles by building muscle. A lot of times we can be neglectful of our side bodies,” Marizu says. Perform each move for 30 seconds and then take a 30-second break for as many rounds as possible. Marizu recommends doing these exercises three to five days a week. “You don't have to work long, but work smart,” Marizu says. That means putting a big emphasis on your diet. “Do your core work and show your love handles some love by eating right,” she says. [caption id="attachment_65394" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Reach Through GIF: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Side Planks with Reach Through

How to: Lie on your right side and place your right hand firmly on the ground. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into a side plank. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line (a). Extend your left arm towards the ceiling and then lower your arm in front of you and bring it under your right hip (b). Bring your left arm back above your head (c). [caption id="attachment_65395" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Spiderman Crunch GIF: Chris Ryan / Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

2. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Get into push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands (a). Lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower your body into a push-up. Be sure your hips don’t drop and your back doesn’t arch (b). Return your right foot back to the starting position as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat on the left side. [caption id="attachment_65396" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: The Saw GIF: Daily Burn Pilates[/caption]

3. The Saw

How to: Sit up on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Spread them as wide as the mat (a). Form a “T” with your arms out to the sides and twist toward your right side, stretching your left hand towards your right foot. Pulse three times (b). Untwist yourself and return to center (c). Repeat on the left side. (For more Pilates ab exercises like this one, head here.) RELATED: The Ab Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should!) [caption id="attachment_65398" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Crab Reach GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

4. Crab Reach

How to: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you and your right hand firmly on the ground behind you. Keep your left arm bent by your side (a). Lift your butt off the floor while extending your left arm behind you, reaching for your right side as you come into a reverse tabletop (b). Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side (c). [caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

5. Mountain Climbers Twist

How to: Place a plyo box in front of you and get into high plank position with both palms firmly on top of the box (a). With a flat back and abs engaged, lift your right foot and bring your right knee to your left elbow. Return to the starting position (b). Then, lift your left foot and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, and continue alternating sides (c). [caption id="attachment_65399" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Knee Drive GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

6. Side Plank with Knee Drive

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line. Keep your left hand on your left hip (a). Engaging your core, drive your right knee up to your chest and repeat before switching to the other side (b).  RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs [caption id="attachment_65400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Giant Clam GIF: Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

7. Giant Clam

How to: Place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU ball (a). Raise your body up into a side plank with your left leg straight out to the side, and your right leg behind you, bent at 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up overhead and keep your hips lifted (b). Bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your left leg straight (c). Read More 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The post 7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/squat-challenge-exercises/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:15:34 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65409 Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise

[caption id="attachment_65468" align="alignnone" width="620"]Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]

You can tell a lot about someone from how they perform a squat — more specifically, their body’s strength and weaknesses. The typically two-legged exercise requires learning how to efficiently use your glutes (not just your quads!), and properly activate and engage your core. You’ll also need enough hip and ankle mobility to drop it low — without leaning forward or lifting your heels. But it’s an especially functional move, considering how many times we sit down and stand up throughout the day. That’s why you’ll often see a squat challenge weaved into trainers’ workouts.

“The squat is a great lower body exercise that also incorporates your core musculature,” says Prince Brathwaite, a trainer on Daily Burn 365 and owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “Squats also burn lots of calories due to the fact that you engage several large muscle groups during the movement.” The exercise requires effort from your glutes, quads and hamstrings — aka the body’s biggest muscles, which produce that extra calorie burn.

Hold off on doing hundreds of basic bodyweight squats, though. The standard squat can get repetitive with a capital P for plateau. But try a new squat challenge more often and you’ll call on new muscles groups (not to mention brain waves!). “Our bodies are great at adapting to the stimulus we put on it. Eventually [a squat] will not have the same affect it did the first time you performed it — but we can keep the body guessing by changing up the way we do the exercise,” says Brathwaite.

From testing your core stability to getting your arms involved, these 21 squat variations provide the creativity and extra push you need to reach your goals as you drop it low.

RELATED: How Low Should You Squat? (And How to Improve It)

Step Up Your Squat Challenge with 21 Creative Variations

Don’t forget proper squat form as you crush these creative takes. Weight should stay in your heels as you lower your hips down and back toward the floor. Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders down as you go. Then, inhale as you lower and exhale to stand for quality ab engagement. Ready, set, squat!

Squat Challenge: Box Squat Exercise

1. Box Squat

Master your squat form with this variation. Find a low chair, box or bench to lower your seat onto, then drive off your feet to stand back up.

Squat Challenge: Overhead Squat Exercise

2. Overhead Squat

Put your hands in the air if you want to fire up your core even more. You’ll target your abs and back muscles by simply lifting your arms by your ears, as you lower your hips and butt toward the floor.

Squat Challenge: Goblet Squat Exercise

3. Goblet Squat

There’s nothing like adding a little — or a lot — of weight to an exercise and seeing how much harder your muscles must work. Hold a heavy dumbbell at your chest to make your quads, glutes and hamstrings go into overdrive, while your upper body stabilizes the weight, too.

RELATED: How Strong Is Your Squat? Try This Trainer-Backed Test

Squat Challenge: Wide Stance Squat Exercise

4. Wide Stance Squat

Stepping your feet a little wider than hip-distance will allow you to get lower into your squat. Glutes and inner thighs, engaged!

Squat Challenge: Narrow Stance Squat Exercise

5. Narrow Stance Squat

Step your feet closer than hip-distance and you narrow your base of support, meaning your core works harder. Your thighs will also feel the burn.

Squat Challenge: Partial Squat Exercise

6. Partial Squat

Taking your squat from full to half range of motion will really get your lower body muscles humming. Research shows sprinkling in the partial variation can increase strength and muscle gains.

RELATED: 4 Moves for a Better Back Squat

Squat Challenge: Pulse Squat Exercise

7. Pulse Squat

Time to grind. Pulsing it low in a squat will fatigue your muscle fibers — fast. Smaller range of motion; greater muscle endurance gains.

Squat Challenge: Squat with Calf Raise Exercise

8. Squat with Calf Raise 

When you come up from the bottom of your squat, lift your heels to feel your lower legs (aka your calves) fire. Shaking means you’re doing it right.

Squat Challenge: Staggered Squat Exercise

9. Staggered Squat

Elevate the squat challenge for this off-balance exercise. Popping one toe puts most of the work on a single leg, meaning that leg has to work harder to move you down and up.

RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength

Squat Challenge: Pistol Squat to Box Exercise

10. Pistol Squat to Box

Go next-level on that staggered squat. This time, you’ll keep one leg totally lifted as you sit down on a box, chair or bench and stand back up. It’s a move that requires serious stability in your standing leg.

Squat Challenge: Squat to Knee Raise Exercise

11. Squat to Knee Raise

When you stand up from a squat, you’ll use your hip flexors and abs to lift your knee toward your chest. Try to bring your leg higher and move faster each time you come back to this variation to keep the squat challenge going.

Squat Challenge: Lunge to Squat Exercise

12. Lunge to Squat

Two main movement patterns in one, this exercise gets every part of your lower half firing. Stay low in your squat (so legs muscles remain engaged) as you step back into a lunge, alternating sides.

RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs

Squat Challenge: Knee Get-Up Squat Exercise

13. Knee Get-Up Squat

Standing up off the floor gets easier the more we work on it. And this move hones in on just that. Again, keep your booty low to the ground to force your legs to work the entire time.

Squat Challenge: Split Squat to Lateral Raise Exercise

14. Split Squat to Lateral Raise

Time to lift some dumbbells and incorporate your arms. With one leg forward and one leg back, bend down so your knees hit 90 degrees, which targets your lower half. Meanwhile, you’ll raise your arms straight out to the sides to strengthen your shoulders.

Squat Challenge: Sumo Squat to Curl Exercise

15. Sumo Squat with Curls

Prepare to flex that bicep! Taking it to a sumo squat targets your inner thighs more, while adding a curl as you stand involves your arms. A full-body exercise at its finest.

RELATED: 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

Squat Challenge: Squat with Front Raise Exercise

16. Squat with Front Raise

You know you’ll feel this in your shoulders, but the secret scorcher is in your midsection. Use your core to keep your spine neutral, and remember to keep your shoulders down away from your ears for less tension in your neck.

Squat Challenge: Squat Thrust Exercise

17. Squat Thrust

Another move featuring two dumbbells, this one requires the power of your lower body to drive the weights overhead. You should feel this one in your core, as well as your legs, shoulders and even triceps.

Squat Challenge: Squat Jump Exercise

18. Squat Jump

This power player is a surefire way to rev your heart rate and get your fast-twitch muscle fibers involved for more speed and strength. Remember to land softly back down after each explosive jump up from your squat.

RELATED: 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running

Squat Challenge: Smurf Jack Squat Exercise

19. Smurf Jack Squat

A fun take on a typical jumping jack, this full-body exercise comes with a side of cardio. Keep your butt down, chest up and move as quick as you can to torch more calories.

Squat Challenge: 180 Surfer Squat Exercise

20. 180 Surfer Squat

Add a twist while you pretend you’re hanging ten! Drop low, then explode up as you do a 180 degree turn and land with your feet staggered — just like you’d stand on a surfboard. If you’ve ever caught some waves, you know how much core stability this move requires.

Squat Challenge: Good Morning Squat Exercise

21. Good Morning Squat

An important move to master: the hip hinge. It calls for pushing your hips back and lowering your chest toward the ground with a flat back, abs engaged, weight in heels and just a slight bend in your knees. We promise you’ll feel this down the entire back of your body.

Read More
50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes
Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core
HIIT It Hard with These 25 Workouts and Tips

The post 21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise

[caption id="attachment_65468" align="alignnone" width="620"]Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]
You can tell a lot about someone from how they perform a squat — more specifically, their body’s strength and weaknesses. The typically two-legged exercise requires learning how to efficiently use your glutes (not just your quads!), and properly activate and engage your core. You’ll also need enough hip and ankle mobility to drop it low — without leaning forward or lifting your heels. But it’s an especially functional move, considering how many times we sit down and stand up throughout the day. That’s why you’ll often see a squat challenge weaved into trainers’ workouts. “The squat is a great lower body exercise that also incorporates your core musculature,” says Prince Brathwaite, a trainer on Daily Burn 365 and owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “Squats also burn lots of calories due to the fact that you engage several large muscle groups during the movement.” The exercise requires effort from your glutes, quads and hamstrings — aka the body’s biggest muscles, which produce that extra calorie burn. Hold off on doing hundreds of basic bodyweight squats, though. The standard squat can get repetitive with a capital P for plateau. But try a new squat challenge more often and you’ll call on new muscles groups (not to mention brain waves!). “Our bodies are great at adapting to the stimulus we put on it. Eventually [a squat] will not have the same affect it did the first time you performed it — but we can keep the body guessing by changing up the way we do the exercise,” says Brathwaite. From testing your core stability to getting your arms involved, these 21 squat variations provide the creativity and extra push you need to reach your goals as you drop it low. RELATED: How Low Should You Squat? (And How to Improve It)

Step Up Your Squat Challenge with 21 Creative Variations

Don’t forget proper squat form as you crush these creative takes. Weight should stay in your heels as you lower your hips down and back toward the floor. Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders down as you go. Then, inhale as you lower and exhale to stand for quality ab engagement. Ready, set, squat! Squat Challenge: Box Squat Exercise

1. Box Squat

Master your squat form with this variation. Find a low chair, box or bench to lower your seat onto, then drive off your feet to stand back up. Squat Challenge: Overhead Squat Exercise

2. Overhead Squat

Put your hands in the air if you want to fire up your core even more. You’ll target your abs and back muscles by simply lifting your arms by your ears, as you lower your hips and butt toward the floor. Squat Challenge: Goblet Squat Exercise

3. Goblet Squat

There’s nothing like adding a little — or a lot — of weight to an exercise and seeing how much harder your muscles must work. Hold a heavy dumbbell at your chest to make your quads, glutes and hamstrings go into overdrive, while your upper body stabilizes the weight, too. RELATED: How Strong Is Your Squat? Try This Trainer-Backed Test Squat Challenge: Wide Stance Squat Exercise

4. Wide Stance Squat

Stepping your feet a little wider than hip-distance will allow you to get lower into your squat. Glutes and inner thighs, engaged! Squat Challenge: Narrow Stance Squat Exercise

5. Narrow Stance Squat

Step your feet closer than hip-distance and you narrow your base of support, meaning your core works harder. Your thighs will also feel the burn. Squat Challenge: Partial Squat Exercise

6. Partial Squat

Taking your squat from full to half range of motion will really get your lower body muscles humming. Research shows sprinkling in the partial variation can increase strength and muscle gains. RELATED: 4 Moves for a Better Back Squat Squat Challenge: Pulse Squat Exercise

7. Pulse Squat

Time to grind. Pulsing it low in a squat will fatigue your muscle fibers — fast. Smaller range of motion; greater muscle endurance gains. Squat Challenge: Squat with Calf Raise Exercise

8. Squat with Calf Raise 

When you come up from the bottom of your squat, lift your heels to feel your lower legs (aka your calves) fire. Shaking means you’re doing it right. Squat Challenge: Staggered Squat Exercise

9. Staggered Squat

Elevate the squat challenge for this off-balance exercise. Popping one toe puts most of the work on a single leg, meaning that leg has to work harder to move you down and up. RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength Squat Challenge: Pistol Squat to Box Exercise

10. Pistol Squat to Box

Go next-level on that staggered squat. This time, you’ll keep one leg totally lifted as you sit down on a box, chair or bench and stand back up. It’s a move that requires serious stability in your standing leg. Squat Challenge: Squat to Knee Raise Exercise

11. Squat to Knee Raise

When you stand up from a squat, you’ll use your hip flexors and abs to lift your knee toward your chest. Try to bring your leg higher and move faster each time you come back to this variation to keep the squat challenge going. Squat Challenge: Lunge to Squat Exercise

12. Lunge to Squat

Two main movement patterns in one, this exercise gets every part of your lower half firing. Stay low in your squat (so legs muscles remain engaged) as you step back into a lunge, alternating sides. RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs Squat Challenge: Knee Get-Up Squat Exercise

13. Knee Get-Up Squat

Standing up off the floor gets easier the more we work on it. And this move hones in on just that. Again, keep your booty low to the ground to force your legs to work the entire time. Squat Challenge: Split Squat to Lateral Raise Exercise

14. Split Squat to Lateral Raise

Time to lift some dumbbells and incorporate your arms. With one leg forward and one leg back, bend down so your knees hit 90 degrees, which targets your lower half. Meanwhile, you’ll raise your arms straight out to the sides to strengthen your shoulders. Squat Challenge: Sumo Squat to Curl Exercise

15. Sumo Squat with Curls

Prepare to flex that bicep! Taking it to a sumo squat targets your inner thighs more, while adding a curl as you stand involves your arms. A full-body exercise at its finest. RELATED: 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout Squat Challenge: Squat with Front Raise Exercise

16. Squat with Front Raise

You know you’ll feel this in your shoulders, but the secret scorcher is in your midsection. Use your core to keep your spine neutral, and remember to keep your shoulders down away from your ears for less tension in your neck. Squat Challenge: Squat Thrust Exercise

17. Squat Thrust

Another move featuring two dumbbells, this one requires the power of your lower body to drive the weights overhead. You should feel this one in your core, as well as your legs, shoulders and even triceps.

Squat Challenge: Squat Jump Exercise

18. Squat Jump

This power player is a surefire way to rev your heart rate and get your fast-twitch muscle fibers involved for more speed and strength. Remember to land softly back down after each explosive jump up from your squat. RELATED: 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running Squat Challenge: Smurf Jack Squat Exercise

19. Smurf Jack Squat

A fun take on a typical jumping jack, this full-body exercise comes with a side of cardio. Keep your butt down, chest up and move as quick as you can to torch more calories. Squat Challenge: 180 Surfer Squat Exercise

20. 180 Surfer Squat

Add a twist while you pretend you’re hanging ten! Drop low, then explode up as you do a 180 degree turn and land with your feet staggered — just like you’d stand on a surfboard. If you’ve ever caught some waves, you know how much core stability this move requires. Squat Challenge: Good Morning Squat Exercise

21. Good Morning Squat

An important move to master: the hip hinge. It calls for pushing your hips back and lowering your chest toward the ground with a flat back, abs engaged, weight in heels and just a slight bend in your knees. We promise you’ll feel this down the entire back of your body. Read More 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core HIIT It Hard with These 25 Workouts and Tips

The post 21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-ab-exercises-strong-core/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-ab-exercises-strong-core/#respond Sat, 03 Feb 2018 13:00:33 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=54470 7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

If there’s one major muscle group we don’t mind firing up during almost every workout, it’s our abs. And for good reason: Aesthetics aside, a strong midsection leads to proper body alignment, better balance and it can help alleviate lower back pain.

When it comes to targeting the bottom half of your trunk more specifically, there’s just one catch. Those “lower abs” people often refer to are known as the rectus abdominis, which run along your entire midsection (and help give that coveted flatter belly or six-pack look). So while you’ll be working the lower portion of your stomach, you’ll also be getting the upper half involved. That’s not a bad thing, though — you’re targeting your abdominals from every angle to really carve out some definition.

Tone up — from bottom to top and front to back — with these seven lower ab exercises. Then go ahead and consider yourself hardcore!

RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

7 Lower Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Perform these seven moves in a row, with little to no the rest time in between, for a full midsection-centric workout. At the end of the circuit, take a 90-second break, then repeat two more times.

[caption id="attachment_65333" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bear Crawls Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Bear Crawls

How to: Start on all-fours, then lift your knees a few inches off the floor (a). Keeping your knees elevated, move your right hand and left foot one step forward (b). Then move your left hand and right foot one step forward (c). Keep walking forward or if you have limited space, step backward with opposite hands and feet (d). Repeat for 10 reps.
Pro tip: This move works your entire core, but to really target the deep transverse abdominis (which cinch your waist), make sure you draw your navel in and maintain a neutral spine.

[caption id="attachment_65334" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Straight Leg Lifts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

2. Straight Leg Lifts

How to: Lie on your back with your hands underneath your butt or low back, whichever is more comfortable and will keep you from arching your back. Your legs should stay straight and your low back should remain against the floor throughout the entire exercise (a). Lift your feet toward the ceiling so your legs are perpendicular to the floor (b). Lower your feet back down, just a few inches off the floor (c). Continue to lift and lower for 10 reps.
Pro tip: Start with your head, neck and shoulders resting on the ground and when you’re ready to kick your ab workout into high gear, raise your shoulders and head off the floor.

RELATED: 7 TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65335" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bicycles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

3. Bicycles

How to: Lie on your back, with your feet a few inches off the floor, toes pointed, and your head and shoulder blades lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest, as you lift your left shoulder blade higher off the ground and toward your knee (b). Straighten your right leg and lower your left shoulder, as you rotate and bring your left knee inward and your right shoulder up and toward your knee (c). Continue switching sides to complete 20 reps total (10 each side).
Pro tip: Make sure to lift and rotate your shoulders — not just your neck and head — to really fire up your obliques during this exercise. Keep a neutral pelvis, too.

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Mountain Climbers Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

4. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, body in a straight line from head to toe and hands shoulder-width apart (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest (b). Return it back to the floor and immediately bring your left knee to your chest (c). Continue switching legs to complete 10 reps on each side.
Pro tip: The faster you move (without wrecking your form), the more calories you burn, so get stepping to turn your workout into a seriously sweaty one!

RELATED: 5 Killer Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

[caption id="attachment_65337" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Dead Bug Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Dead Bug

How to: Lie on your back. Lift your legs and bend your knees 90 degrees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Lift arms straight above you (a). Lower your left arm toward the floor behind you (elbow straight), as you lower your right foot to just above the floor (knee bent) (b). Return to start (c). Lower your right arm toward the floor behind you and your left foot to just above the floor (d). Return to start and continue alternating, so you do 10 reps on each side.
Pro tip: As for most of the moves on this list, focus on drawing your belly button toward the floor so you maintain a neutral pelvis and keep your low back in contact with the floor. This will help you best target more muscles.

[caption id="attachment_65338" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Modified V-Up Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

6. Modified V-Ups

How to: Sit down on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Lean your upper body backward, so it’s about 45 degrees from the floor (a). Bring your knees into your chest, shins parallel to the floor and arms straight in front of you (b). Extend your legs straight out so your feet reach just a few inches off the floor (c). Bring your knees back into your chest and repeat for 10 reps.
Pro tip: Intensify this exercise by keeping your knees straight as you lift your legs and as you lower them, slowly drop your upper body back toward the floor as well. You’ll complete a full V sit-up with this approach that targets your entire stomach.

RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core

[caption id="attachment_65339" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Forearm Side Plank Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Forearm Side Plank

How to: From your side, place your forearm on the ground, elbow in line with shoulder and other hand on your hip (a). Stagger your feet and lift your hips up so your body is in a straight diagonal line (b). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Pro tip: Planks are one of the best exercises to work the deep inner muscles of your abdominal wall, helping to keep your trunk stable. Want to make your plank even more challenging? Try one of these five variations.

For more creative exercises that work major muscle groups, sign up for Daily Burn 365. You'll get a new workout every day. 

Originally published December 2016. Updated January 2018. 

Read More
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

The post Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] If there’s one major muscle group we don’t mind firing up during almost every workout, it’s our abs. And for good reason: Aesthetics aside, a strong midsection leads to proper body alignment, better balance and it can help alleviate lower back pain. When it comes to targeting the bottom half of your trunk more specifically, there’s just one catch. Those “lower abs” people often refer to are known as the rectus abdominis, which run along your entire midsection (and help give that coveted flatter belly or six-pack look). So while you’ll be working the lower portion of your stomach, you’ll also be getting the upper half involved. That’s not a bad thing, though — you’re targeting your abdominals from every angle to really carve out some definition. Tone up — from bottom to top and front to back — with these seven lower ab exercises. Then go ahead and consider yourself hardcore! RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

7 Lower Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Perform these seven moves in a row, with little to no the rest time in between, for a full midsection-centric workout. At the end of the circuit, take a 90-second break, then repeat two more times. [caption id="attachment_65333" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bear Crawls Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Bear Crawls

How to: Start on all-fours, then lift your knees a few inches off the floor (a). Keeping your knees elevated, move your right hand and left foot one step forward (b). Then move your left hand and right foot one step forward (c). Keep walking forward or if you have limited space, step backward with opposite hands and feet (d). Repeat for 10 reps. Pro tip: This move works your entire core, but to really target the deep transverse abdominis (which cinch your waist), make sure you draw your navel in and maintain a neutral spine. [caption id="attachment_65334" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Straight Leg Lifts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

2. Straight Leg Lifts

How to: Lie on your back with your hands underneath your butt or low back, whichever is more comfortable and will keep you from arching your back. Your legs should stay straight and your low back should remain against the floor throughout the entire exercise (a). Lift your feet toward the ceiling so your legs are perpendicular to the floor (b). Lower your feet back down, just a few inches off the floor (c). Continue to lift and lower for 10 reps. Pro tip: Start with your head, neck and shoulders resting on the ground and when you’re ready to kick your ab workout into high gear, raise your shoulders and head off the floor. RELATED: 7 TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs [caption id="attachment_65335" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bicycles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

3. Bicycles

How to: Lie on your back, with your feet a few inches off the floor, toes pointed, and your head and shoulder blades lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest, as you lift your left shoulder blade higher off the ground and toward your knee (b). Straighten your right leg and lower your left shoulder, as you rotate and bring your left knee inward and your right shoulder up and toward your knee (c). Continue switching sides to complete 20 reps total (10 each side). Pro tip: Make sure to lift and rotate your shoulders — not just your neck and head — to really fire up your obliques during this exercise. Keep a neutral pelvis, too. [caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Mountain Climbers Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

4. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, body in a straight line from head to toe and hands shoulder-width apart (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest (b). Return it back to the floor and immediately bring your left knee to your chest (c). Continue switching legs to complete 10 reps on each side. Pro tip: The faster you move (without wrecking your form), the more calories you burn, so get stepping to turn your workout into a seriously sweaty one! RELATED: 5 Killer Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs [caption id="attachment_65337" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Dead Bug Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Dead Bug

How to: Lie on your back. Lift your legs and bend your knees 90 degrees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Lift arms straight above you (a). Lower your left arm toward the floor behind you (elbow straight), as you lower your right foot to just above the floor (knee bent) (b). Return to start (c). Lower your right arm toward the floor behind you and your left foot to just above the floor (d). Return to start and continue alternating, so you do 10 reps on each side. Pro tip: As for most of the moves on this list, focus on drawing your belly button toward the floor so you maintain a neutral pelvis and keep your low back in contact with the floor. This will help you best target more muscles. [caption id="attachment_65338" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Modified V-Up Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

6. Modified V-Ups

How to: Sit down on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Lean your upper body backward, so it’s about 45 degrees from the floor (a). Bring your knees into your chest, shins parallel to the floor and arms straight in front of you (b). Extend your legs straight out so your feet reach just a few inches off the floor (c). Bring your knees back into your chest and repeat for 10 reps. Pro tip: Intensify this exercise by keeping your knees straight as you lift your legs and as you lower them, slowly drop your upper body back toward the floor as well. You’ll complete a full V sit-up with this approach that targets your entire stomach. RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core [caption id="attachment_65339" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Forearm Side Plank Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Forearm Side Plank

How to: From your side, place your forearm on the ground, elbow in line with shoulder and other hand on your hip (a). Stagger your feet and lift your hips up so your body is in a straight diagonal line (b). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Pro tip: Planks are one of the best exercises to work the deep inner muscles of your abdominal wall, helping to keep your trunk stable. Want to make your plank even more challenging? Try one of these five variations. For more creative exercises that work major muscle groups, sign up for Daily Burn 365. You'll get a new workout every day.  Originally published December 2016. Updated January 2018.  Read More 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

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10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/upper-body-exercises-pull-ups/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/upper-body-exercises-pull-ups/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 13:15:24 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=61035

[caption id="attachment_65455" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

The pull-up is the original badass move. Sure, there are plenty of ways to show off just how strong you are, but the pull-up is unmatched. It demands back, shoulder, arm strength, not to mention a strong core, too. But if you finally want to learn how to nail one (or 10), you might be intimidated by the challenge. And we’re not going to lie to you: It takes work.

“You’re moving your whole bodyweight on your hands, which is something you typically don’t do. It’s like learning to walk,” says Mark Ribeiro, a certified personal trainer at the Fhitting Room in New York City. (You might know him from his turn on American Ninja Warrior.)

RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps)

Rather than training pull-ups solo, we tapped Ribeiro to show us how to successfully advance to the real deal by working all the necessary upper-body muscles. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do one clean (meaning your don’t use your knees to swing up) unassisted pull-up right away, Ribeiro says. It can take a few months, especially for someone who doesn’t do bodyweight exercises.

But the payoff is bragging rights. To help you get there, here are 10 best exercises from Ribeiro that’ll boost your workouts from the ground up.

RELATED: 8 Arm Exercises You Haven’t Done Before

Upper Body Strength Training Plan for Perfect Pull-ups

You can perform all 10 of the following exercises in a single strength training session. Or, mix and match the moves, like the hollow and hanging hold on one day, and the bent-over row and hinged row the next day. Ribeiro recommends men and women devote at least two days a week, eventually progressing to three days. For each exercise, perform two to three sets AMRAP style, until your form starts to break.

[caption id="attachment_61058" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hollow Hold Photos: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

1. Hollow Hold

This is where you practice the proper pull-up position, so you engage both your core and back and don’t make the mistake of pushing your hips forward when hanging.

How to: Lie your back on the floor with your arms extended by your ears (a). Lift your legs off the ground and your arms overhead simultaneously to hold a hollow position (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hanging Hold

2. Hanging Hold

This pose helps you practice the bottom of the movement, as well as build grip strength. This eccentric phase of the pull-up is all about lowering down with control.

How to: Dead hang (relax shoulders and lats) from a bar (a). Pull your shoulders down and squeeze your lats into a reverse shrug (b).

[caption id="attachment_61061" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bent-Over Row GIFs: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

3. Bent-Over Row

Here, you’ll engage your lats and biceps to give you a full range of motion on the pull.

How to: Lunge your left foot forward, and your right foot behind you (a). Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your left elbow resting on your knee (b). Pull the weight up to your chest, bending your elbow to 90 degrees (b). Maintain a tight core throughout the movement to stay stable (c).

RELATED: Your 10-Minute Total-Body Dumbbell Workout

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hinged Row

4. Hinged Row

Similar to a bent-over row, this move requires you to use two hands simultaneously, which is more accurate to a pull-up.

How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over slightly with your knees slightly bent and your back straight (a). Pull dumbbells into your chest and slowly release them back down (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Deep Low Row

5. Deep Low Row

With this move, your bodyweight provides the resistance. You’ll learn how to engage your back while pulling. This will also improve grip strength to hold onto the bar throughout the exercise. Ribeiro uses TRX straps here, but if you can’t get a hold of a pair for your strength workouts, use a bar on a squat rack.

How to: Hold two TRX handles with your palms facing in (or holding a bar with both hands). Lean back and walk feet forward so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor (a). Engage your core to stabilize your spine, and pull your chest into your hands (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bridged Row

6. Bridged Row

Engaging your biceps and lats, this is the next step up to getting accustomed to using your full bodyweight. Again, if needed, use a squat rack bar. Be sure to keep your back straight as you pull your body towards your hands for best results.

How to: Position a block or step in front of the TRX straps. Sit down under the handles and grab them. Walk your feet onto the block — you should be hovering horizontally over the floor (a). With arms in front of your chest, pull your body up to your hands (b).

RELATED: 5 Total-Body Moves to Take Your TRX Training Up a Notch

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Lat Pull Down

7. Lat Pull Down

Similar to the motion of a pull-up, this move engages your back. Keep your core tight as you pull the bands down to ensure you aren’t arching your back.

How to: Loop a resistance band around a bar overhead. Grip each side with one hand and sit on the floor. (a). Pull your hands down toward your chest and release the band slowly to extend your hands up overhead (b). Do a high number of reps (more than 15) to work your full range of motion (c).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Assisted Pull-Up

8. Assisted Pull-Up

You’re almost there! Loop a band around an overhead bar like in the lat pull down or use a pull-up machine.

How to: Holding onto the bar in that hollow position you practiced earlier, pull yourself up to bring your chin to the bar (a). Keep your legs together and engage your core to prevent arching your back (b). Think quality over quantity here — performing sets of 10 reps.

RELATED: 5 Badass Resistance Band Exercises for Total-Body Strength

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Negatives

9. Negatives

This move focuses on the bottom portion of a pull-up and engages your back using your full bodyweight. If you can’t hold it at the top yet, that’s OK! (Upper-body strength can take some time to build.) It simply means you need more practice with the other exercises in this routine.

How to: Use a box to help you get up to an overhead bar. Start at the top with your chin to the bar (a). Hold for second and then lower down with control (b). Yes, these are meant to be tough — so aim for sets of three to five reps.

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Push Press

10. Push Press Negative

This move will help strengthen your back without having to do a pull motion.

How to: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and bring them up to your shoulders (a). Bend your knees and lift the weights over your head (b). Slowly lower yourself towards the ground (c). Perform sets of three to five reps. Again, remember quality over quantity is best here (as with all your workout routines!).

Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018. 

Read More:
6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout
8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before
5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout

The post 10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65455" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up Photo: Twenty20[/caption] The pull-up is the original badass move. Sure, there are plenty of ways to show off just how strong you are, but the pull-up is unmatched. It demands back, shoulder, arm strength, not to mention a strong core, too. But if you finally want to learn how to nail one (or 10), you might be intimidated by the challenge. And we’re not going to lie to you: It takes work. “You’re moving your whole bodyweight on your hands, which is something you typically don’t do. It’s like learning to walk,” says Mark Ribeiro, a certified personal trainer at the Fhitting Room in New York City. (You might know him from his turn on American Ninja Warrior.) RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps) Rather than training pull-ups solo, we tapped Ribeiro to show us how to successfully advance to the real deal by working all the necessary upper-body muscles. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do one clean (meaning your don’t use your knees to swing up) unassisted pull-up right away, Ribeiro says. It can take a few months, especially for someone who doesn’t do bodyweight exercises. But the payoff is bragging rights. To help you get there, here are 10 best exercises from Ribeiro that’ll boost your workouts from the ground up. RELATED: 8 Arm Exercises You Haven’t Done Before

Upper Body Strength Training Plan for Perfect Pull-ups

You can perform all 10 of the following exercises in a single strength training session. Or, mix and match the moves, like the hollow and hanging hold on one day, and the bent-over row and hinged row the next day. Ribeiro recommends men and women devote at least two days a week, eventually progressing to three days. For each exercise, perform two to three sets AMRAP style, until your form starts to break. [caption id="attachment_61058" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hollow Hold Photos: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

1. Hollow Hold

This is where you practice the proper pull-up position, so you engage both your core and back and don’t make the mistake of pushing your hips forward when hanging. How to: Lie your back on the floor with your arms extended by your ears (a). Lift your legs off the ground and your arms overhead simultaneously to hold a hollow position (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hanging Hold

2. Hanging Hold

This pose helps you practice the bottom of the movement, as well as build grip strength. This eccentric phase of the pull-up is all about lowering down with control. How to: Dead hang (relax shoulders and lats) from a bar (a). Pull your shoulders down and squeeze your lats into a reverse shrug (b). [caption id="attachment_61061" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bent-Over Row GIFs: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

3. Bent-Over Row

Here, you’ll engage your lats and biceps to give you a full range of motion on the pull. How to: Lunge your left foot forward, and your right foot behind you (a). Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your left elbow resting on your knee (b). Pull the weight up to your chest, bending your elbow to 90 degrees (b). Maintain a tight core throughout the movement to stay stable (c). RELATED: Your 10-Minute Total-Body Dumbbell Workout Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hinged Row

4. Hinged Row

Similar to a bent-over row, this move requires you to use two hands simultaneously, which is more accurate to a pull-up. How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over slightly with your knees slightly bent and your back straight (a). Pull dumbbells into your chest and slowly release them back down (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Deep Low Row

5. Deep Low Row

With this move, your bodyweight provides the resistance. You’ll learn how to engage your back while pulling. This will also improve grip strength to hold onto the bar throughout the exercise. Ribeiro uses TRX straps here, but if you can’t get a hold of a pair for your strength workouts, use a bar on a squat rack. How to: Hold two TRX handles with your palms facing in (or holding a bar with both hands). Lean back and walk feet forward so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor (a). Engage your core to stabilize your spine, and pull your chest into your hands (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bridged Row

6. Bridged Row

Engaging your biceps and lats, this is the next step up to getting accustomed to using your full bodyweight. Again, if needed, use a squat rack bar. Be sure to keep your back straight as you pull your body towards your hands for best results. How to: Position a block or step in front of the TRX straps. Sit down under the handles and grab them. Walk your feet onto the block — you should be hovering horizontally over the floor (a). With arms in front of your chest, pull your body up to your hands (b). RELATED: 5 Total-Body Moves to Take Your TRX Training Up a Notch Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Lat Pull Down

7. Lat Pull Down

Similar to the motion of a pull-up, this move engages your back. Keep your core tight as you pull the bands down to ensure you aren’t arching your back. How to: Loop a resistance band around a bar overhead. Grip each side with one hand and sit on the floor. (a). Pull your hands down toward your chest and release the band slowly to extend your hands up overhead (b). Do a high number of reps (more than 15) to work your full range of motion (c). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Assisted Pull-Up

8. Assisted Pull-Up

You’re almost there! Loop a band around an overhead bar like in the lat pull down or use a pull-up machine. How to: Holding onto the bar in that hollow position you practiced earlier, pull yourself up to bring your chin to the bar (a). Keep your legs together and engage your core to prevent arching your back (b). Think quality over quantity here — performing sets of 10 reps. RELATED: 5 Badass Resistance Band Exercises for Total-Body Strength Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Negatives

9. Negatives

This move focuses on the bottom portion of a pull-up and engages your back using your full bodyweight. If you can’t hold it at the top yet, that’s OK! (Upper-body strength can take some time to build.) It simply means you need more practice with the other exercises in this routine. How to: Use a box to help you get up to an overhead bar. Start at the top with your chin to the bar (a). Hold for second and then lower down with control (b). Yes, these are meant to be tough — so aim for sets of three to five reps. Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Push Press

10. Push Press Negative

This move will help strengthen your back without having to do a pull motion. How to: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and bring them up to your shoulders (a). Bend your knees and lift the weights over your head (b). Slowly lower yourself towards the ground (c). Perform sets of three to five reps. Again, remember quality over quantity is best here (as with all your workout routines!). Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018.  Read More: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout 8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout

The post 10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-ab-workout/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-ab-workout/#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:30:58 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41795 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65258" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Chances are the center of your midsection gets a little more love than the rest. Both men and women are guilty of skipping oblique exercises to focus on what’s front and center: your rectus abdominal muscles, aka the “six-pack.” However, exercising your obliques (located on either side of the abdomen between your hip flexors and your lats), will translate to a sleeker midsection — not to mention a stronger, more stabilized core. So if tighter abs are on your wish list, it’s time to address the obliques.

“Sports that involve any sort of twisting or balance control call on your obliques for strength and stability,” says Matthew Wert, M.D, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. These key stabilizing muscles are also directly tied to your powerhouse. "They help athletes balance and are recruited in many sport-specific movements that allow the extremities to connect your power through your core,” adds Wert.

Think of your core as a tall building and your obliques as the strong, concrete pillars holding it up. Weak obliques equal a weak core foundation. By increasing oblique and abdominal strength, you will keep your “building” from falling down. You’ll also become more explosive (without putting on unwanted added muscle bulk), Wert says, and address mobility issues, too. Game on!

RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The Best Oblique Exercises for a Hard Core Workout

Oblique Exercises: Bird Dog Crunches

1. Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Start on all fours, placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position (a). Engage your core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg drives straight back from your hip, keeping both parallel to the floor throughout the “reach” portion of this movement (b). Squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position and hold for second before starting the second rep (c). Repeat this movement for 10 reps without setting your right arm or left leg on the ground. Then switch to the left arm/right leg combo. Complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner modification: Reach with only your arm at first. Then as you become more comfortable, reach with just your leg before you graduate to the full movement.

Oblique Exercises: Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

2. Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

How to: Lie down on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position. Reach your left arm straight up, directly over your shoulder (b). Next, lift your left leg straight up about 6-12 inches, while keeping your foot flexed directly forward. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, keeping your core rigid while working on “lengthening” your body throughout the entire movement (c). Repeat the same sequence on your left side. Complete 3-4 sets on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Try a simple side plank exercise with the top hand placed on your hip. Then work on raising your arm directly above your head. Finally, try and hold your top leg at full extension for a second. Continue to work in this format until you can extend your leg for 10-15 seconds on each side.

RELATED: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core for Summer

Oblique Exercises: Spiderman Crunches

3. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Assume a push-up position, palms planted firmly on the ground. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles (a). Lift your right leg a couple inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower into a push-up (b). Return your right leg back to the ground as you push yourself back up. Repeat on the left side (c). Alternate legs for 3-4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Start in the push-up position and alternate lifting your feet up off the ground a few inches with a straight leg and hold each rep for a few seconds. As you make progress, start to bend your knee slightly and bring it towards your elbow.

Oblique Exercises: Side Plank Swipers

4. Side Plank Swipers

How to: Start by lying on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow; engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position; stretch your left arm out past your head so it is in line with your body (b). Keeping your left arm straight, swipe it directly over your body towards your left hip and squeeze your left side as hard as you can while holding for a  second. Your right hip will drop slightly during this contraction phase, but try to keep the hips stacked over one another and off the ground (c). Reach back to the original starting position and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your left side (d). Do 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Work on a simple side plank hold while contracting the hips towards the floor and back up in a “side crunch.” It's best to try and keep the hips elevated off the floor the whole time then work on the arm extension portion by itself before combining the two into a full contraction.

RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Oblique Exercises: Single Leg Toe Touches

5. Single-Leg Toe Touches

How to: Lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head (a). Lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend. Try to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement (b). Tuck your chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a second (c). Return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground. Repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your right leg and left arm (d). Complete 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner Alternative: Work from the same position on your back, but bend your knee at a 90-degree angle halfway towards your chest. Touch your elbow to the opposite knee. As you become more familiar with this movement, try to progress to the full range of motion by straightening your leg a little more with each workout until your foot is directly over your hip.

Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018.

For the best no-equipment workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days.

Read More
5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

The post 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65258" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Photo: Pond5[/caption] Chances are the center of your midsection gets a little more love than the rest. Both men and women are guilty of skipping oblique exercises to focus on what’s front and center: your rectus abdominal muscles, aka the “six-pack.” However, exercising your obliques (located on either side of the abdomen between your hip flexors and your lats), will translate to a sleeker midsection — not to mention a stronger, more stabilized core. So if tighter abs are on your wish list, it’s time to address the obliques. “Sports that involve any sort of twisting or balance control call on your obliques for strength and stability,” says Matthew Wert, M.D, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. These key stabilizing muscles are also directly tied to your powerhouse. "They help athletes balance and are recruited in many sport-specific movements that allow the extremities to connect your power through your core,” adds Wert. Think of your core as a tall building and your obliques as the strong, concrete pillars holding it up. Weak obliques equal a weak core foundation. By increasing oblique and abdominal strength, you will keep your “building” from falling down. You’ll also become more explosive (without putting on unwanted added muscle bulk), Wert says, and address mobility issues, too. Game on! RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The Best Oblique Exercises for a Hard Core Workout

Oblique Exercises: Bird Dog Crunches

1. Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Start on all fours, placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position (a). Engage your core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg drives straight back from your hip, keeping both parallel to the floor throughout the “reach” portion of this movement (b). Squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position and hold for second before starting the second rep (c). Repeat this movement for 10 reps without setting your right arm or left leg on the ground. Then switch to the left arm/right leg combo. Complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner modification: Reach with only your arm at first. Then as you become more comfortable, reach with just your leg before you graduate to the full movement. Oblique Exercises: Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

2. Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

How to: Lie down on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position. Reach your left arm straight up, directly over your shoulder (b). Next, lift your left leg straight up about 6-12 inches, while keeping your foot flexed directly forward. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, keeping your core rigid while working on “lengthening” your body throughout the entire movement (c). Repeat the same sequence on your left side. Complete 3-4 sets on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Try a simple side plank exercise with the top hand placed on your hip. Then work on raising your arm directly above your head. Finally, try and hold your top leg at full extension for a second. Continue to work in this format until you can extend your leg for 10-15 seconds on each side. RELATED: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core for Summer Oblique Exercises: Spiderman Crunches

3. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Assume a push-up position, palms planted firmly on the ground. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles (a). Lift your right leg a couple inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower into a push-up (b). Return your right leg back to the ground as you push yourself back up. Repeat on the left side (c). Alternate legs for 3-4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Start in the push-up position and alternate lifting your feet up off the ground a few inches with a straight leg and hold each rep for a few seconds. As you make progress, start to bend your knee slightly and bring it towards your elbow. Oblique Exercises: Side Plank Swipers

4. Side Plank Swipers

How to: Start by lying on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow; engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position; stretch your left arm out past your head so it is in line with your body (b). Keeping your left arm straight, swipe it directly over your body towards your left hip and squeeze your left side as hard as you can while holding for a  second. Your right hip will drop slightly during this contraction phase, but try to keep the hips stacked over one another and off the ground (c). Reach back to the original starting position and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your left side (d). Do 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Work on a simple side plank hold while contracting the hips towards the floor and back up in a “side crunch.” It's best to try and keep the hips elevated off the floor the whole time then work on the arm extension portion by itself before combining the two into a full contraction. RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate Oblique Exercises: Single Leg Toe Touches

5. Single-Leg Toe Touches

How to: Lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head (a). Lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend. Try to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement (b). Tuck your chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a second (c). Return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground. Repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your right leg and left arm (d). Complete 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between sets. Beginner Alternative: Work from the same position on your back, but bend your knee at a 90-degree angle halfway towards your chest. Touch your elbow to the opposite knee. As you become more familiar with this movement, try to progress to the full range of motion by straightening your leg a little more with each workout until your foot is directly over your hip. Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018. For the best no-equipment workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days. Read More 5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

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7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/beginner-yoga-poses-positions/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/beginner-yoga-poses-positions/#comments Fri, 26 Jan 2018 16:15:45 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41713

[caption id="attachment_65216" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga Poses for Beginners Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

If you’re a yoga newbie, it’s completely normal to feel intimidated by the die-hard yogis who warm up for class with handstands. Yes, handstands. But remember, everyone’s got to start somewhere. “In theory, there are no poses you must know before a class — you’re going there to learn,” says Mandy Ingber, New York Times best-selling author of Yogalosophy: 28-days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover, not to mention the woman responsible for Jennifer Aniston’s yoga addiction (and rock-hard abs).

Even if it’s Day 1 of your exercise journey, your task is simple: Throw on some form-fitting clothing (you’ll be able to see your body position better — and avoid a wardrobe malfunction), then get familiar with these seven basic poses. While you may not see all of them in every class, they’ll help you get started, plus make you feel more comfortable when you walk into the studio. So grab a mat and read on as Ingber and fellow yogi Tanya Boulton, a New York-based instructor and designer of her own activewear line, break down the must-know beginner yoga poses you'll want to learn to pick up any yoga practice.

RELATED: Yoga Fundamentals: The Yoga Workout You Can Totally Do

7 Basic Yoga Positions for Beginners

[caption id="attachment_65217" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Mountain Pose or Tadasana Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Yoga Fundamentals[/caption]

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

What to Know: “The mother of all yoga poses,” according to Ingber, “mountain only looks easy.” This two-footed stance is the foundation for many other positions that require awareness and balance. “It is through this pose that one finds the proper alignment and shape for additional movements,” she says.

How to Do It: Stand with feet together and arms at your side. Ground your feet, making sure to press all four corners down into the ground. Next, straighten your legs, then tuck your tailbone in as you engage your thigh muscles. As you inhale, elongate through your torso and extend your arms up, then out. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist as you release arms back to your sides.

[caption id="attachment_65218" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Child's Pose or Balasana Photo courtesy of Alexis Novak[/caption]

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

What to Know: Consider this exercise your reset moment. Simple in design, this easy pose relaxes your nervous system and is a great place to take a breather during class if you need one. Got knee problems? Make sure to lower into this position with extra care.

How to Do It: Start in a kneeling position with toes tucked under. Lower your butt towards your feet as you stretch your upper body forward and down with arms extended. Your stomach should be comfortably resting on thighs, with your forehead touching the mat.

[caption id="attachment_65219" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Cat/Cow Pose or Marjaryasana to Bitilasana Photo courtesy of Emily Adams / Bend & Bloom Yoga[/caption]

3. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)

What to Know: Cat/cow is a great way to warm up your back, explains Ingber, and get your body ready for downward-facing dog. It also helps address mobility (hello, desk jobs) and work your core without the extra stress on your wrists and shoulders that you might feel in a down dog move.

How to Do It: Begin with hands and knees on the floor, spine neutral and abs engaged. Take a big inhale, then, as you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling and tuck your chin towards your chest, releasing your neck. On the next inhale, arch your back and relax your abs. Lift your head and tailbone upwards, being careful not to place any pressure on your neck by moving too quickly or deeply.

RELATED: 50 Resources to Step Up Your Yoga Game

[caption id="attachment_65220" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanansana Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)

What to Know: One of the most recognizable poses of the bunch, down dog is a great way to stretch your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and well, just about everything. And it gets you calm and centered, too.

How to Do It: Come onto hands and knees with palms just past your shoulder, fingers pointing forwards. Knees should be under your hips and toes tucked. Lift your hips and press back into a V-shape position with your body. Feet should be hip-width apart. Keep in mind, it's OK if you can’t get your feet to the floor (your hamstrings might be too tight). Spread through all 10 fingers and toes and move your chest towards your legs.

[caption id="attachment_65221" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

What to Know: The first in the Warrior series, this pose strengthens your legs and opens your hips and chest, while also stretching your arms and legs. While holding this exercise, you’ll see an increase in your concentration and balance — both essential qualities to carry through a yoga practice.

How to Do It: Start in mountain pose. As you exhale, step your left foot back about four feet, so you’re in a lunge position with the right ankle over the right knee. Raise your arms straight overhead, biceps by ears, and turn your left foot about 90 degrees to face the left wall. Align your left heel perpendicular with your right heel. Expand your chest and pull your shoulders back, then lower down toward the floor as you lift your arms up. Make sure your hips stay square to the front, as you continue to breathe.

[caption id="attachment_65222" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II Photo courtesy of Daily Burn Yoga[/caption]

6. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

What to Know: Similar to Warrior I, Warrior II offers just a slight variation, with your upper body rotated to the side instead of facing forward. You’ll still reap the same quad-strengthening benefits of Warrior I, but you'll also open up your hip flexor muscles for greater flexibility.

How to Do It: Begin in mountain pose. Exhale and step your left foot back about four feet, making sure the heels are in line. Turn your back foot 90 degrees so that it’s now perpendicular with the front one. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to floor, with your right arm in front of you, and left arm behind. Bend your front knee so it’s directly over ankle and sink hips low until the front thigh is parallel to floor. Look straight ahead, eyes in line with your front-facing arm.

RELATED: 3 Basic Yoga Poses for Better Balance

[caption id="attachment_65223" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Corpse Pose or Savasana Photo courtesy of William Morrow Books[/caption]

7. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

What to Know: Lying around may seem pointless, but this is one of the most meditative moments in any yoga practice. Corpse pose calms the mind, relieves stress and induces a relaxed state. (Why do you think yogis are so chill?)

How to Do It: Lie down on your back and let your feet fall to their sides. Bring your arms alongside your torso, but slightly separated with palms facing the sky. Relax the entire body — your face included. Usually the final pose in a class, you’ll stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to five or 10 minutes. Your instructor will cue you when to slowly awaken your thoughts and return to a seated position.

Want more beginner-friendly yoga exercises? Check out Daily Burn's new Yoga Fundamentals program. Go to dailyburn.com to start your free trial!

Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018. 

The post 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65216" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yoga Poses for Beginners Photo: Twenty20[/caption] If you’re a yoga newbie, it’s completely normal to feel intimidated by the die-hard yogis who warm up for class with handstands. Yes, handstands. But remember, everyone’s got to start somewhere. “In theory, there are no poses you must know before a class — you’re going there to learn,” says Mandy Ingber, New York Times best-selling author of Yogalosophy: 28-days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover, not to mention the woman responsible for Jennifer Aniston’s yoga addiction (and rock-hard abs). Even if it’s Day 1 of your exercise journey, your task is simple: Throw on some form-fitting clothing (you’ll be able to see your body position better — and avoid a wardrobe malfunction), then get familiar with these seven basic poses. While you may not see all of them in every class, they’ll help you get started, plus make you feel more comfortable when you walk into the studio. So grab a mat and read on as Ingber and fellow yogi Tanya Boulton, a New York-based instructor and designer of her own activewear line, break down the must-know beginner yoga poses you'll want to learn to pick up any yoga practice. RELATED: Yoga Fundamentals: The Yoga Workout You Can Totally Do

7 Basic Yoga Positions for Beginners

[caption id="attachment_65217" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Mountain Pose or Tadasana Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Yoga Fundamentals[/caption]

1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

What to Know: “The mother of all yoga poses,” according to Ingber, “mountain only looks easy.” This two-footed stance is the foundation for many other positions that require awareness and balance. “It is through this pose that one finds the proper alignment and shape for additional movements,” she says. How to Do It: Stand with feet together and arms at your side. Ground your feet, making sure to press all four corners down into the ground. Next, straighten your legs, then tuck your tailbone in as you engage your thigh muscles. As you inhale, elongate through your torso and extend your arms up, then out. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head, toward the back of your waist as you release arms back to your sides. [caption id="attachment_65218" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Child's Pose or Balasana Photo courtesy of Alexis Novak[/caption]

2. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

What to Know: Consider this exercise your reset moment. Simple in design, this easy pose relaxes your nervous system and is a great place to take a breather during class if you need one. Got knee problems? Make sure to lower into this position with extra care. How to Do It: Start in a kneeling position with toes tucked under. Lower your butt towards your feet as you stretch your upper body forward and down with arms extended. Your stomach should be comfortably resting on thighs, with your forehead touching the mat. [caption id="attachment_65219" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Cat/Cow Pose or Marjaryasana to Bitilasana Photo courtesy of Emily Adams / Bend & Bloom Yoga[/caption]

3. Cat/Cow Pose (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)

What to Know: Cat/cow is a great way to warm up your back, explains Ingber, and get your body ready for downward-facing dog. It also helps address mobility (hello, desk jobs) and work your core without the extra stress on your wrists and shoulders that you might feel in a down dog move. How to Do It: Begin with hands and knees on the floor, spine neutral and abs engaged. Take a big inhale, then, as you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling and tuck your chin towards your chest, releasing your neck. On the next inhale, arch your back and relax your abs. Lift your head and tailbone upwards, being careful not to place any pressure on your neck by moving too quickly or deeply. RELATED: 50 Resources to Step Up Your Yoga Game [caption id="attachment_65220" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanansana Photo: Pond5[/caption]

4. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanansana)

What to Know: One of the most recognizable poses of the bunch, down dog is a great way to stretch your back, shoulders, arms, hamstrings and well, just about everything. And it gets you calm and centered, too. How to Do It: Come onto hands and knees with palms just past your shoulder, fingers pointing forwards. Knees should be under your hips and toes tucked. Lift your hips and press back into a V-shape position with your body. Feet should be hip-width apart. Keep in mind, it's OK if you can’t get your feet to the floor (your hamstrings might be too tight). Spread through all 10 fingers and toes and move your chest towards your legs. [caption id="attachment_65221" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I Photo: Pond5[/caption]

5. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

What to Know: The first in the Warrior series, this pose strengthens your legs and opens your hips and chest, while also stretching your arms and legs. While holding this exercise, you’ll see an increase in your concentration and balance — both essential qualities to carry through a yoga practice. How to Do It: Start in mountain pose. As you exhale, step your left foot back about four feet, so you’re in a lunge position with the right ankle over the right knee. Raise your arms straight overhead, biceps by ears, and turn your left foot about 90 degrees to face the left wall. Align your left heel perpendicular with your right heel. Expand your chest and pull your shoulders back, then lower down toward the floor as you lift your arms up. Make sure your hips stay square to the front, as you continue to breathe. [caption id="attachment_65222" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II Photo courtesy of Daily Burn Yoga[/caption]

6. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

What to Know: Similar to Warrior I, Warrior II offers just a slight variation, with your upper body rotated to the side instead of facing forward. You’ll still reap the same quad-strengthening benefits of Warrior I, but you'll also open up your hip flexor muscles for greater flexibility. How to Do It: Begin in mountain pose. Exhale and step your left foot back about four feet, making sure the heels are in line. Turn your back foot 90 degrees so that it’s now perpendicular with the front one. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to floor, with your right arm in front of you, and left arm behind. Bend your front knee so it’s directly over ankle and sink hips low until the front thigh is parallel to floor. Look straight ahead, eyes in line with your front-facing arm. RELATED: 3 Basic Yoga Poses for Better Balance [caption id="attachment_65223" align="alignnone" width="620"]Beginner Yoga Poses: Corpse Pose or Savasana Photo courtesy of William Morrow Books[/caption]

7. Corpse Pose (Shavasana)

What to Know: Lying around may seem pointless, but this is one of the most meditative moments in any yoga practice. Corpse pose calms the mind, relieves stress and induces a relaxed state. (Why do you think yogis are so chill?) How to Do It: Lie down on your back and let your feet fall to their sides. Bring your arms alongside your torso, but slightly separated with palms facing the sky. Relax the entire body — your face included. Usually the final pose in a class, you’ll stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to five or 10 minutes. Your instructor will cue you when to slowly awaken your thoughts and return to a seated position.

Want more beginner-friendly yoga exercises? Check out Daily Burn's new Yoga Fundamentals program. Go to dailyburn.com to start your free trial!

Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018. 

The post 7 Beginner Yoga Poses to Get You Through Your First Class appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
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The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-spring-marathons/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-spring-marathons/#comments Thu, 25 Jan 2018 16:15:02 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24084 The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S.

[caption id="attachment_65188" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. Photos (clockwise from top left): Big Sur International Marathon, Vermont City Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, Grandma's Marathon — Duluth, Inc.[/caption]

When it comes to spring marathons, the iconic Boston Marathon is always the pinnacle event of the season. But it’s not the only time runners around the country will lace up to cover 26.2 miles by foot and inspire along the way. These top 15 U.S. spring marathons (listed by date, from mid-March to early June, 2017) are all perfect opportunities for runners to prove there’s no such thing as a spring break.

RELATED: Winter Running Guide: How to Run Faster by Spring

15 Spring Marathons We Love

[caption id="attachment_23693" align="alignnone" width="620"]Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series[/caption]

1. Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon

Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: Sunday March 4, 2018
Keep the Mardi Gras spirit going at the flat and fast Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon. It’s a big (and somewhat easy) tour through the Big Easy — with the party vibes of the French Quarter, the history of Treme and the natural beauty of City Park setting the tone. Like the many other Rock ‘n’ Roll events, expect a highly-organized race with lots of serious and just-for-fun racers. The only question is — will you stop for beignets from Cafe Du Monde before, during or after the run? There’s also a half-marathon, 10K and 5K taking place the same weekend.

RELATED: The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S.

[caption id="attachment_65044" align="alignnone" width="620"]Los Angeles Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Los Angeles Marathon[/caption]

2. Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Join more than 24,000 runners at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, one of the largest marathons in the country. The point-to-point, net downhill course starts at Dodger Stadium (the oldest ballpark in the MLB) for a tour across La La Land, and finishes steps from the Santa Monica Pier. Along the way, keep an eye out for star sightings through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods including Echo Park, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and more. Fans of this marathon say it’s the awesome crowd support “from the stadium to the sea” that will make you feel like the real celebrity.

[caption id="attachment_24167" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yuengling Shamrock Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon[/caption]

3. Yuengling Shamrock Marathon

Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Date: Sunday, March 18, 2018
It might not be ideal beach weather, but the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon has welcomed a wee clan of more than 4,000 marathoners to its fast, flat resort town every St. Patrick’s Day weekend since 1973. The BQ (Boston Qualifying) course will take you past historic hotspots like Cape Henry Lighthouse and along the famous beach boardwalk. More than 22,000 other runners and walkers join in the rest of the weekend festivities — a half-marathon, marathon relay, 8K and “Leprechaun Dash.” Celebrate with a jig and a swig at the post-race party with live music, Irish stew and — what else? — ice cold Yuengling.

[caption id="attachment_65045" align="alignnone" width="620"]Boston Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Boston Marathon[/caption]

4. Boston Marathon

Location: Hopkinton, MA
Date: Monday, April 16, 2018
The Boston Marathon is the big leagues. It’s a pilgrimage for runners and often a lifelong quest to even qualify — because you’ve got to be wicked fast. Even after the bombing in 2013, Marathon Monday (which falls on Patriots’ Day each year), continues to feel like a city-wide party. Now celebrating 122 years, it’s the world’s oldest annually contested marathon. The 30,000 runners will once again head out to the starting line in Hopkinton, conquer the challenging Heartbreak Hill and finally, cross the iconic finish line on Boylston Street.

RELATED: How to Run the Boston Marathon Like a Pro

[caption id="attachment_24171" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. Photo: Kemper Mills Fant Photography[/caption]

5. Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

Location: Roanoke, VA
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018
Like rolling hills? You better if you want to run the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon — hailed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” and featured on many race bucket lists. A group of 750 runners will face 7,430 feet of total elevation change over the course (more than any other road marathon in the country), with three huge climbs and descents. So how do runners endure the killer ups and downs? Because they know the most breathtaking views of the region’s mountains and valleys are (of course) best seen from the top. There’s also a half-marathon or 10K option available the same day.

[caption id="attachment_65046" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Derby Festival MiniMarathon/Marathon[/caption]

6. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

Location: Louisville, KY
Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018
And they’re off — the 3,000 runners at the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon that is! Once they’re out of the gates, marathoners will take on the BQ course that includes a hilly section through Iroquois Park around mile 12 and a quick trot through the infield of the historic Churchill Downs. Spectators, we suggest you grab a mint julep and place your bets before the finishers come down the final stretch into downtown Louisville. The largest day of road racing in Kentucky history, this weekend also includes a half-marathon and team relay marathon.

[caption id="attachment_65047" align="alignnone" width="620"]Big Sur International Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Big Sur International Marathon[/caption]

7. Big Sur International Marathon

Location: Carmel, CA
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018
It’s no surprise to see Big Sur International Marathon, the largest rural marathon in the world, on this list. It’s been popular for more than 30 years, thanks to a stunning point-to-point course that runs along scenic Highway 1. It touches seven state parks, crosses the iconic Bixby Bridge and features 13 significant hills in the back half. Perhaps the 4,500 runners are too distracted by the sweeping Pacific Ocean views and Redwood forests to notice? With additional race distances suited for everyone (from the 3K kids run to a 21-miler) and plenty to do around the Monterey Bay area, we’ll add this at the top of our spring getaway list, too.

RELATED: The 30 Best Marathons in the Entire World

[caption id="attachment_65048" align="alignnone" width="620"]New Jersey Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon[/caption]

8. Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

Location: Monmouth, NJ
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018
If you’re looking for a fast, flat, beginner-friendly and BQ-friendly race, then, “baby, you were born to run” the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon. Not without a few sharp turns, this course takes you through a stunning stretch of the Jersey Shore. The race starts at Monmouth Park Racetrack and meanders through some small town neighborhoods before heading south. At the turnaround point, near mile 19 in Asbury Park, you’ll have the Atlantic Ocean views to take your mind off of hitting any walls. The crowds come out to cheer you on in the final stretch — along the boardwalk in Long Branch. The weekend’s events also include a half-marathon, relay and 5K.

RELATED: 5 Running Tweaks That Took an Hour Off My Marathon Time

[caption id="attachment_65049" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Flying Pig Marathon[/caption]

9. Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Location: Cincinnati, OH
Date: Sunday, May 6, 2018
It started out as an idea scribbled on a bar napkin by some local runners in 1999. Today the annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon has reached new heights as part of one of the largest running events in the country. Nearly 5,000 marathoners will cover the beautiful BQ course which “flies” through the “Queen City” and over the bridges of the Ohio River — all with 150,000 enthusiastic spectators rooting them on. And what other race can claim a bacon stop at mile 15? The weekend also includes a half, relay, 10K, the Flying Piglet kids fun run and more.

RELATED: The 10 Best Races That Are Fit for Foodies

[caption id="attachment_65050" align="alignnone" width="620"]KeyBank Vermont City Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Vermont City Marathon[/caption]

10. KeyBank Vermont City Marathon

Location: Burlington, VT
Date: Sunday, May 27, 2018
If you’re going to run 26.2 miles through Ben & Jerry’s country, you deserve extra scoops at the end of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. And that’s not the only treat for the 3,600 marathons who take on the BQ course. The charming streets of downtown Burlington, sparkling waters of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack and Green Mountains set the scene. Shaped like a clover leaf, the race is very spectator-friendly. And runners, you’ll be thankful for them, especially during the epic climb at mile 15, casually referred to the “Assault on Battery.” There’s also a relay option available, if you want to split the distance (and share that ice cream).

RELATED: 15 Fun, Fast and Beginner-Friendly Marathons

[caption id="attachment_65051" align="alignnone" width="620"]Newport Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Newport Marathon[/caption]

11. Newport Marathon

Location: Newport, OR
Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018
Whether you want to run your first marathon or earn a BQ, you can do it at the Newport Marathon in the heart of Oregon’s central coast. According to race officials, almost half of all 1,000 participants earn personal records (PRs) at the non-profit race. There’s only one catch: You better like oysters, because you’ll be encouraged to slurp ‘em down at miles 11 and 19 of the flat. You’ll also trek through some of the most picturesque neighborhoods and fishing villages along the bay, with only a few gentle rolling hills and one short steep hill (mile 4!) along the way. Then it’s flat to the finish, where runners earn the unique recycled glass medal.

[caption id="attachment_65052" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon[/caption]

12. Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

Location: Deadwood, SD
Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018
The Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon has been called the “best kept secret in marathoning.” Well, we can’t wait to tell you about the invigorating point-to-point BQ course of the largest trail marathon in the country. The first 1.5 road miles start in the old mining town of Rochford and lead 500 marathoners to the start of the Mickelson Trail, through the land of the Lakota Sioux. Here they’ll cover a mix of small climbs and flat ground in the first half and a huge stretch of downhill (especially mile 19 to 20) before coming to the end of the trail. It’s not necessarily a fast course, but if you want the thrill of trail running (meadows, forests, babbling brooks and lots of mud) in a marathon setting, this race is for you.

RELATED: 14 Trail Running Adventures to Try Before You Die

[caption id="attachment_65053" align="alignnone" width="620"]Steamboat Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association[/caption]

13. Steamboat Marathon

Location: Steamboat Springs, CO
Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018
For more than 35 years, the Steamboat Marathon’s warm hospitality has welcomed 500 marathoners to experience a beautiful BQ course along the Elk River. The net downhill course, with majestic views of the snowcapped Rockies, isn’t for everyone though. With rolling hills, steep descents and a five-hour time limit, it’s a tough one for walkers or those who aren’t used to altitude. But there’s also a half-marathon and 10K available. Everyone can soak up their accomplishments post-race with a dip in one of the area’s historic hot springs.

RELATED: 15 Races for People Who’d Rather Walk Than Run

[caption id="attachment_65054" align="alignnone" width="620"]Grandma's Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Grandma's Marathon - Duluth, Inc.[/caption]

14. Grandma’s Marathon

Location: Duluth, MN
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018
How can you say anything bad about Grandma’s? It’s a small town race, with big-time popularity. Since 1977, this annual race has drawn 9,000 marathons to the North Shore of Minnesota. From super organization, to the vast views of Lake Superior along Old Highway 61 (and 32 rivers, creeks and stream crossings along the way), to the enthusiastic crowd support, it’s easy to see why. The point-to-point, waterfront course is pretty flat — just a few gentle hills and one bigger one at mile 22 — so it’s a great choice for beginners, PR-seekers or those who crave a quick swim after the finish line. The weekend’s events also include a half-marathon and 5K.

[caption id="attachment_65055" align="alignnone" width="620"]Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon[/caption]

15. Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon

Location: Anchorage, AK
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018
With all the extra daylight to spare around the summer solstice, why wouldn’t you run a full marathon in Alaska? For many past participants, the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon is a destination that’s well worth the trip. The certified course is a mix of bike trails, rocky gravel and paved roads that keep you and about 1,000 other runners guessing. Take in the natural beauty (and maybe a moose sighting or two!) as you meet people from all over the world — all coming together to spend the longest day of the year doing what they love best.

On the selection process: We spent a lot of time reading online participant reviews and soliciting input from our own editorial team, as well as running contacts from around the country. When it came down to the tough choices, we went with picks based on positive reviews, reputation, popularity and the unique value they offer to the runner. We create these lists to not only feature some of the always-popular, bucket list races, but to shine a light on some newer, smaller or challenging races that offer the participant something off the beaten path.

Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018.

Read More
The Best Fall Marathons in the U.S.
Why I Started Running — And Never Stopped
50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

The post The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S.

[caption id="attachment_65188" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. Photos (clockwise from top left): Big Sur International Marathon, Vermont City Marathon, Los Angeles Marathon, Grandma's Marathon — Duluth, Inc.[/caption] When it comes to spring marathons, the iconic Boston Marathon is always the pinnacle event of the season. But it’s not the only time runners around the country will lace up to cover 26.2 miles by foot and inspire along the way. These top 15 U.S. spring marathons (listed by date, from mid-March to early June, 2017) are all perfect opportunities for runners to prove there’s no such thing as a spring break. RELATED: Winter Running Guide: How to Run Faster by Spring

15 Spring Marathons We Love

[caption id="attachment_23693" align="alignnone" width="620"]Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series[/caption]

1. Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon

Location: New Orleans, LA Date: Sunday March 4, 2018 Keep the Mardi Gras spirit going at the flat and fast Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Marathon. It’s a big (and somewhat easy) tour through the Big Easy — with the party vibes of the French Quarter, the history of Treme and the natural beauty of City Park setting the tone. Like the many other Rock ‘n’ Roll events, expect a highly-organized race with lots of serious and just-for-fun racers. The only question is — will you stop for beignets from Cafe Du Monde before, during or after the run? There’s also a half-marathon, 10K and 5K taking place the same weekend. RELATED: The 50 Best Half-Marathons in the U.S. [caption id="attachment_65044" align="alignnone" width="620"]Los Angeles Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Los Angeles Marathon[/caption]

2. Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon

Location: Los Angeles, CA Date: Sunday, March 18, 2018 Join more than 24,000 runners at the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon, one of the largest marathons in the country. The point-to-point, net downhill course starts at Dodger Stadium (the oldest ballpark in the MLB) for a tour across La La Land, and finishes steps from the Santa Monica Pier. Along the way, keep an eye out for star sightings through the city’s vibrant neighborhoods including Echo Park, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and more. Fans of this marathon say it’s the awesome crowd support “from the stadium to the sea” that will make you feel like the real celebrity. [caption id="attachment_24167" align="alignnone" width="620"]Yuengling Shamrock Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Yuengling Shamrock Marathon[/caption]

3. Yuengling Shamrock Marathon

Location: Virginia Beach, VA Date: Sunday, March 18, 2018 It might not be ideal beach weather, but the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon has welcomed a wee clan of more than 4,000 marathoners to its fast, flat resort town every St. Patrick’s Day weekend since 1973. The BQ (Boston Qualifying) course will take you past historic hotspots like Cape Henry Lighthouse and along the famous beach boardwalk. More than 22,000 other runners and walkers join in the rest of the weekend festivities — a half-marathon, marathon relay, 8K and “Leprechaun Dash.” Celebrate with a jig and a swig at the post-race party with live music, Irish stew and — what else? — ice cold Yuengling. [caption id="attachment_65045" align="alignnone" width="620"]Boston Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Boston Marathon[/caption]

4. Boston Marathon

Location: Hopkinton, MA Date: Monday, April 16, 2018 The Boston Marathon is the big leagues. It’s a pilgrimage for runners and often a lifelong quest to even qualify — because you’ve got to be wicked fast. Even after the bombing in 2013, Marathon Monday (which falls on Patriots’ Day each year), continues to feel like a city-wide party. Now celebrating 122 years, it’s the world’s oldest annually contested marathon. The 30,000 runners will once again head out to the starting line in Hopkinton, conquer the challenging Heartbreak Hill and finally, cross the iconic finish line on Boylston Street. RELATED: How to Run the Boston Marathon Like a Pro [caption id="attachment_24171" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Best Spring Marathons in the U.S. Photo: Kemper Mills Fant Photography[/caption]

5. Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

Location: Roanoke, VA Date: Saturday, April 21, 2018 Like rolling hills? You better if you want to run the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon — hailed as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” and featured on many race bucket lists. A group of 750 runners will face 7,430 feet of total elevation change over the course (more than any other road marathon in the country), with three huge climbs and descents. So how do runners endure the killer ups and downs? Because they know the most breathtaking views of the region’s mountains and valleys are (of course) best seen from the top. There’s also a half-marathon or 10K option available the same day. [caption id="attachment_65046" align="alignnone" width="620"]Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Derby Festival MiniMarathon/Marathon[/caption]

6. Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

Location: Louisville, KY Date: Saturday, April 28, 2018 And they’re off — the 3,000 runners at the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon that is! Once they’re out of the gates, marathoners will take on the BQ course that includes a hilly section through Iroquois Park around mile 12 and a quick trot through the infield of the historic Churchill Downs. Spectators, we suggest you grab a mint julep and place your bets before the finishers come down the final stretch into downtown Louisville. The largest day of road racing in Kentucky history, this weekend also includes a half-marathon and team relay marathon. [caption id="attachment_65047" align="alignnone" width="620"]Big Sur International Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Big Sur International Marathon[/caption]

7. Big Sur International Marathon

Location: Carmel, CA Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 It’s no surprise to see Big Sur International Marathon, the largest rural marathon in the world, on this list. It’s been popular for more than 30 years, thanks to a stunning point-to-point course that runs along scenic Highway 1. It touches seven state parks, crosses the iconic Bixby Bridge and features 13 significant hills in the back half. Perhaps the 4,500 runners are too distracted by the sweeping Pacific Ocean views and Redwood forests to notice? With additional race distances suited for everyone (from the 3K kids run to a 21-miler) and plenty to do around the Monterey Bay area, we’ll add this at the top of our spring getaway list, too. RELATED: The 30 Best Marathons in the Entire World [caption id="attachment_65048" align="alignnone" width="620"]New Jersey Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon[/caption]

8. Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

Location: Monmouth, NJ Date: Sunday, April 29, 2018 If you’re looking for a fast, flat, beginner-friendly and BQ-friendly race, then, “baby, you were born to run” the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon. Not without a few sharp turns, this course takes you through a stunning stretch of the Jersey Shore. The race starts at Monmouth Park Racetrack and meanders through some small town neighborhoods before heading south. At the turnaround point, near mile 19 in Asbury Park, you’ll have the Atlantic Ocean views to take your mind off of hitting any walls. The crowds come out to cheer you on in the final stretch — along the boardwalk in Long Branch. The weekend’s events also include a half-marathon, relay and 5K. RELATED: 5 Running Tweaks That Took an Hour Off My Marathon Time [caption id="attachment_65049" align="alignnone" width="620"]Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Flying Pig Marathon[/caption]

9. Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Location: Cincinnati, OH Date: Sunday, May 6, 2018 It started out as an idea scribbled on a bar napkin by some local runners in 1999. Today the annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon has reached new heights as part of one of the largest running events in the country. Nearly 5,000 marathoners will cover the beautiful BQ course which “flies” through the “Queen City” and over the bridges of the Ohio River — all with 150,000 enthusiastic spectators rooting them on. And what other race can claim a bacon stop at mile 15? The weekend also includes a half, relay, 10K, the Flying Piglet kids fun run and more. RELATED: The 10 Best Races That Are Fit for Foodies [caption id="attachment_65050" align="alignnone" width="620"]KeyBank Vermont City Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Vermont City Marathon[/caption]

10. KeyBank Vermont City Marathon

Location: Burlington, VT Date: Sunday, May 27, 2018 If you’re going to run 26.2 miles through Ben & Jerry’s country, you deserve extra scoops at the end of the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. And that’s not the only treat for the 3,600 marathons who take on the BQ course. The charming streets of downtown Burlington, sparkling waters of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack and Green Mountains set the scene. Shaped like a clover leaf, the race is very spectator-friendly. And runners, you’ll be thankful for them, especially during the epic climb at mile 15, casually referred to the “Assault on Battery.” There’s also a relay option available, if you want to split the distance (and share that ice cream). RELATED: 15 Fun, Fast and Beginner-Friendly Marathons [caption id="attachment_65051" align="alignnone" width="620"]Newport Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Newport Marathon[/caption]

11. Newport Marathon

Location: Newport, OR Date: Saturday, June 2, 2018 Whether you want to run your first marathon or earn a BQ, you can do it at the Newport Marathon in the heart of Oregon’s central coast. According to race officials, almost half of all 1,000 participants earn personal records (PRs) at the non-profit race. There’s only one catch: You better like oysters, because you’ll be encouraged to slurp ‘em down at miles 11 and 19 of the flat. You’ll also trek through some of the most picturesque neighborhoods and fishing villages along the bay, with only a few gentle rolling hills and one short steep hill (mile 4!) along the way. Then it’s flat to the finish, where runners earn the unique recycled glass medal. [caption id="attachment_65052" align="alignnone" width="620"]Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon[/caption]

12. Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon

Location: Deadwood, SD Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018 The Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon has been called the “best kept secret in marathoning.” Well, we can’t wait to tell you about the invigorating point-to-point BQ course of the largest trail marathon in the country. The first 1.5 road miles start in the old mining town of Rochford and lead 500 marathoners to the start of the Mickelson Trail, through the land of the Lakota Sioux. Here they’ll cover a mix of small climbs and flat ground in the first half and a huge stretch of downhill (especially mile 19 to 20) before coming to the end of the trail. It’s not necessarily a fast course, but if you want the thrill of trail running (meadows, forests, babbling brooks and lots of mud) in a marathon setting, this race is for you. RELATED: 14 Trail Running Adventures to Try Before You Die [caption id="attachment_65053" align="alignnone" width="620"]Steamboat Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association[/caption]

13. Steamboat Marathon

Location: Steamboat Springs, CO Date: Sunday, June 3, 2018 For more than 35 years, the Steamboat Marathon’s warm hospitality has welcomed 500 marathoners to experience a beautiful BQ course along the Elk River. The net downhill course, with majestic views of the snowcapped Rockies, isn’t for everyone though. With rolling hills, steep descents and a five-hour time limit, it’s a tough one for walkers or those who aren’t used to altitude. But there’s also a half-marathon and 10K available. Everyone can soak up their accomplishments post-race with a dip in one of the area’s historic hot springs. RELATED: 15 Races for People Who’d Rather Walk Than Run [caption id="attachment_65054" align="alignnone" width="620"]Grandma's Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Grandma's Marathon - Duluth, Inc.[/caption]

14. Grandma’s Marathon

Location: Duluth, MN Date: Saturday, June 16, 2018 How can you say anything bad about Grandma’s? It’s a small town race, with big-time popularity. Since 1977, this annual race has drawn 9,000 marathons to the North Shore of Minnesota. From super organization, to the vast views of Lake Superior along Old Highway 61 (and 32 rivers, creeks and stream crossings along the way), to the enthusiastic crowd support, it’s easy to see why. The point-to-point, waterfront course is pretty flat — just a few gentle hills and one bigger one at mile 22 — so it’s a great choice for beginners, PR-seekers or those who crave a quick swim after the finish line. The weekend’s events also include a half-marathon and 5K. [caption id="attachment_65055" align="alignnone" width="620"]Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon - Best Spring Marathons Photo: Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon[/caption]

15. Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon

Location: Anchorage, AK Date: Saturday, June 23, 2018 With all the extra daylight to spare around the summer solstice, why wouldn’t you run a full marathon in Alaska? For many past participants, the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon is a destination that’s well worth the trip. The certified course is a mix of bike trails, rocky gravel and paved roads that keep you and about 1,000 other runners guessing. Take in the natural beauty (and maybe a moose sighting or two!) as you meet people from all over the world — all coming together to spend the longest day of the year doing what they love best. On the selection process: We spent a lot of time reading online participant reviews and soliciting input from our own editorial team, as well as running contacts from around the country. When it came down to the tough choices, we went with picks based on positive reviews, reputation, popularity and the unique value they offer to the runner. We create these lists to not only feature some of the always-popular, bucket list races, but to shine a light on some newer, smaller or challenging races that offer the participant something off the beaten path. Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018. Read More The Best Fall Marathons in the U.S. Why I Started Running — And Never Stopped 50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

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50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/50-butt-exercises-strong-glutes/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/50-butt-exercises-strong-glutes/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:15:56 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=59531 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

[caption id="attachment_59591" align="alignnone" width="620"]50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

Coveting a better behind isn’t just about aesthetics. A strong and sculpted butt is the secret to improving speed, power and overall sports performance, while also decreasing your risk of injury. After all, your glutes (made up of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.

So how do you build a stronger backside? Squats are a good place to start. But if you really want to get your booty rock solid, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights, resistance bands, stability balls and even foam rollers into your glute workout. Here are 50 butt exercises that will help you think outside of the box when it comes to squats, lunges, glute bridges, leg lifts and more.

Butt Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts and More

Squat Low

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out.

[caption id="attachment_59175" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat to Press Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

1. Dumbbell Squat to Press

The beauty of compound exercise really shines through with this squat thruster. Using power from your glutes and lower body, you’ll press the dumbbells up overhead in one continuous movement.

Butt Exercises: Bulgarian Squat Exercise

2. Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

Want to amp up your split squat? Try balancing on a slam ball. Engaging your core will help keep your foot from rolling off the ball and move with control. Consider it a must-do if you want a workout that offers core strengthening and a butt lift.

Butt Exercises: Squat Press Exercise

3. Landmine Squat Press

Riding the line between free weights and fixed machines, the landmine is a great way to practice proper form with the squat. Feet should be hip-distance apart and the weight in your heels. Holding onto the landmine with both hands will help keep your chest upright while squatting.

Butt Exercises: Back Squat Exercise

4. Back Squat

Want to nail a badass move with the barbell? The back squat is a good start. Here, you want to sit your body straight down, weight in your heels, while keeping your chest and back upright. Check out more tips on how to nail this move here.

Butt Exercises: Lateral Pistol Squat Exercise

5. Lateral Pistol Squats on Rower

Aside from getting in a killer cardio workout, the rower can work your booty in surprising ways. This lateral pistol squat not only ignites your glutes, but also your inner thighs and quads.

[caption id="attachment_57238" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Sumo Squat Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

6. Sumo Squat

This barre-inspired bodyweight squat gives you the benefits of isometric exercise without putting pressure on your joints. You’ll not only get your glutes in gear, but your hamstrings and inner thighs, too.

[caption id="attachment_58999" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat Jump Tap Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

7. Squat Jump Tap

If you want to train like LeBron (or, ahem, Steph Curry), you’ll get a taste with this basketball-inspired move. As you jump up from the squat position, bring your legs together and pencil your arms up with the ball in your hands. It's one of the best exercises for increasing power.

8. Tricep Extension Squat

You’ll give your triceps some TLC in this squat with extension. As you squat down, swing your arms slightly behind your hips. And then as you stand up straight, extend your arms overhead. Feel free to use a pair of dumbbells to add some weight.

Butt Exercises: Pencil Squat Exercise

9. Pencil Squat

If you’re someone who gets confused about know what to do with your arms in a squat, this move is for you. Reaching your hands up will help you focus on height, while getting your heart rate up, too.

Butt Exercises: Side-to-Side BOSU Squat Exercise

10. Side to Side Squats with Bosu Ball

Testing your agility and coordination, these side-to-side squats will force you to get lower and move more precisely as you tap each foot on the BOSU ball. It's a sneaky way to add in some core work, too.

[caption id="attachment_53508" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Deep Squat with Heel Raise Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

11. Deep Squat with Heel Raise

Reminiscent of chair pose in yoga, the heel raise will get your calves and quads burning, as well as your back and shoulders. If you want to make it more challenging, alternate heel raises.

[caption id="attachment_22163" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Front Squat Exercise Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Front Squat

Unlike a back squat where you place the barbell across your shoulders and lats, the barbell goes across your collarbone and in front of your body. This will force you to recruit more muscles in your core to maintain proper form.

[caption id="attachment_55643" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Diagonal Squat Thrust Exercise GIF: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

13. Diagonal Squat Thrust

A variation of the burpee, you’ll jump your feet forward from plank position to a diagonal squat with your hips squared to the front.

Next Up: Lunges

The post 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

[caption id="attachment_59591" align="alignnone" width="620"]50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

Coveting a better behind isn’t just about aesthetics. A strong and sculpted butt is the secret to improving speed, power and overall sports performance, while also decreasing your risk of injury. After all, your glutes (made up of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.

So how do you build a stronger backside? Squats are a good place to start. But if you really want to get your booty rock solid, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights, resistance bands, stability balls and even foam rollers into your glute workout. Here are 50 butt exercises that will help you think outside of the box when it comes to squats, lunges, glute bridges, leg lifts and more.

Butt Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts and More

Squat Low

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out. [caption id="attachment_59175" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat to Press Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

1. Dumbbell Squat to Press

The beauty of compound exercise really shines through with this squat thruster. Using power from your glutes and lower body, you’ll press the dumbbells up overhead in one continuous movement. Butt Exercises: Bulgarian Squat Exercise

2. Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

Want to amp up your split squat? Try balancing on a slam ball. Engaging your core will help keep your foot from rolling off the ball and move with control. Consider it a must-do if you want a workout that offers core strengthening and a butt lift. Butt Exercises: Squat Press Exercise

3. Landmine Squat Press

Riding the line between free weights and fixed machines, the landmine is a great way to practice proper form with the squat. Feet should be hip-distance apart and the weight in your heels. Holding onto the landmine with both hands will help keep your chest upright while squatting.

Butt Exercises: Back Squat Exercise

4. Back Squat

Want to nail a badass move with the barbell? The back squat is a good start. Here, you want to sit your body straight down, weight in your heels, while keeping your chest and back upright. Check out more tips on how to nail this move here.

Butt Exercises: Lateral Pistol Squat Exercise

5. Lateral Pistol Squats on Rower

Aside from getting in a killer cardio workout, the rower can work your booty in surprising ways. This lateral pistol squat not only ignites your glutes, but also your inner thighs and quads. [caption id="attachment_57238" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Sumo Squat Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

6. Sumo Squat

This barre-inspired bodyweight squat gives you the benefits of isometric exercise without putting pressure on your joints. You’ll not only get your glutes in gear, but your hamstrings and inner thighs, too. [caption id="attachment_58999" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat Jump Tap Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

7. Squat Jump Tap

If you want to train like LeBron (or, ahem, Steph Curry), you’ll get a taste with this basketball-inspired move. As you jump up from the squat position, bring your legs together and pencil your arms up with the ball in your hands. It's one of the best exercises for increasing power.

8. Tricep Extension Squat

You’ll give your triceps some TLC in this squat with extension. As you squat down, swing your arms slightly behind your hips. And then as you stand up straight, extend your arms overhead. Feel free to use a pair of dumbbells to add some weight. Butt Exercises: Pencil Squat Exercise

9. Pencil Squat

If you’re someone who gets confused about know what to do with your arms in a squat, this move is for you. Reaching your hands up will help you focus on height, while getting your heart rate up, too. Butt Exercises: Side-to-Side BOSU Squat Exercise

10. Side to Side Squats with Bosu Ball

Testing your agility and coordination, these side-to-side squats will force you to get lower and move more precisely as you tap each foot on the BOSU ball. It's a sneaky way to add in some core work, too. [caption id="attachment_53508" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Deep Squat with Heel Raise Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

11. Deep Squat with Heel Raise

Reminiscent of chair pose in yoga, the heel raise will get your calves and quads burning, as well as your back and shoulders. If you want to make it more challenging, alternate heel raises. [caption id="attachment_22163" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Front Squat Exercise Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Front Squat

Unlike a back squat where you place the barbell across your shoulders and lats, the barbell goes across your collarbone and in front of your body. This will force you to recruit more muscles in your core to maintain proper form. [caption id="attachment_55643" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Diagonal Squat Thrust Exercise GIF: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

13. Diagonal Squat Thrust

A variation of the burpee, you’ll jump your feet forward from plank position to a diagonal squat with your hips squared to the front.

Next Up: Lunges

The post 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Moves http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lacrosse-ball-exercises-sore-muscles/ Tue, 23 Jan 2018 16:15:05 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65140 Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Moves

[caption id="attachment_65153" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Exercises Photo Courtesy of SoulAnnex[/caption]

If you’ve ever felt tightness or discomfort in your hips, back or shoulders (slowly raises hand), it’s time to add some recovery sessions to your routine. And we don’t just mean the foam roller after every sweat. The one tool you’re probably missing from your sore muscles-soothing arsenal: the lacrosse ball.

When used for self-myofascial release (aka massage), the lacrosse ball helps break up the connective tissue (or fascia) surrounding your muscles and organs that can get rigid from lots of sitting — or exercising. But what sets it apart from a foam roller is its ability to loosen up tough-to-reach spots. “It gets into the insertion points where muscle meets the fascia, like right between your spine and shoulder blade,” explains Charlee Atkins, creator of Le Stretch at Soul Annex, where she incorporates the ball. It’s also much easier to take on the road, the SoulCycle master instructor adds.

Just like the foam roller, the ball is great to use both before and after a workout. Post-sweat, your muscles are still in the contracted state. “It takes time for them to lengthen to their resting place, which is when knots can form,” Atkins says. “But the lacrosse ball takes them out of that contraction.” Pair the rolling with stretching (one muscle group at a time) and you have a match made in mobility heaven, Atkins says. Pre-exercise, the ball also helps warm up your muscles, elevating the body’s core temperature and getting you ready to tackle tough movements.

Whether you want to move better through each exercise or ease sore muscles, these five myofascial release exercises — curated by Atkins — get the ball rolling.

RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

5 Ways to Use a Lacrosse Ball to Relieve Sore Muscles

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Pec Release

1. Pec Release 

Desk workers, cyclists and boxing class goers, this is for you. Give a little love to your chest muscles with this move meant to counteract that hunched-over posture and loosen up the front of your upper body.

How to: Lie on a mat on your stomach. Place the ball under your chest, about two inches below the collar bone on your right side (on top of the pectoral muscles), midway between the sternum and armpit. Bring your left hand to your forehead and rest your head on it. Take the right hand and place it on your lower back, palm up and elbow pointed outward. Massage the ball into the chest in a left-to-right motion, moving slowly. You can also simply breathe deeply, allowing the ball to release pressure. Continue holding or moving side-to-side for 30 seconds to two minutes.

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Glute Release

2. Glute release

Your glutes, aka butt muscles, act as stabilizers as your spinning, running or simply standing, Atkins says. Relieve any tightness in that area and you can easily move in more directions. Plus, it’ll help increase your range of motion — an important advantage for weight lifters, too. (Hello, deeper squat!) If you sit most of the day, this will also get the blood flowing.

How to: Lie on your back on a mat, knees bent. Place the lacrosse ball underneath your booty, where the glutes meet your low back. Put your weight on top of the ball (using your elbows to prop yourself up on the mat for stability) and slowly roll side-to-side over it, rolling all the way to the outer edge of the hip, close to the side of the body. Then, allow your knee and thigh to fall toward the mat (like a clamshell, as shown). Pull the knee back up toward center and repeat. Continue for 30 seconds to two minutes.

RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Quad Release

3. Quad Release

Just got back from a long day of travel? This recovery move is perfect for easing sit-all-day aches. It’s also extra beneficial for runners. “The job of the quad is to extend the lower leg — a repetitive movement in running,” Atkins explains. That continuous motion can lead to seriously sore muscles, but the ball will provide relief.

How to: Sit in a 90-90 position, with both knees bent at 90 degrees, one leg placed in front of you and the other to the side. Place the ball on your outer most quad muscle (known as the vastus lateralis). Shift your weight over the front of your body, keeping your chest up. Massage one spot, then continue moving the ball up the thigh, on that same muscle, until you reach your hip. Continue for 30 seconds to two minutes.

RELATED: 5 IT Band Stretched Every Runner Needs

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Back Release

4. Back Release

“When you’re sitting at a desk, your core can’t activate due to the placement of your pelvis,” says Atkins. “This means the back muscles are active all day.” Translation: You might feel discomfort or tightness in your low back that calls for some extra TLC with self-myofascial release. Golfers, tennis players and boxers — or anyone who does a ton of twisting movements — will also benefit.

How to: Lie on your back on a mat, knees bent. Place the ball on the left outside edge of your spine, halfway between the mid- to low-back and right on the erector spinae muscles. Your feet, butt, hips, shoulders and head should all be on the mat. Apply pressure by engaging your core. Next, come up to your elbows for extra stability and carefully massage the ball from left to right. Then, drop your left knee and thigh to the side, down toward the mat — the same clamshell movement you did for the glute release (as shown). Repeat for 30 seconds to two minutes.

RELATED: 7 Ways Exercise Helps Relieve Back Pain

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Shoulder and Neck Release

5. Shoulder and Neck Release

That nagging tightness you get in your shoulders and neck is precisely where this move will hit. In other words, cancel your massage appointment — you can now find relief right at home.

How to: Lie on your back on a mat, with knees bent. Place the ball between your spine and shoulder blade, where the neck, shoulder and upper back all meet. Keep your head on the ground, chest open. Lift your hips halfway toward the ceiling for a half bridge pose. Apply pressure to the ball and slightly roll upwards (ball goes down) in a very small movement. Then, slowly lift your arm straight into the air, palm faces toward the feet. Bring it back down by your side. Repeat for 30 seconds to two minutes.

Read More
5 Foam Rolling Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should)
The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven’t Tried Yet
The One Foam Rolling Move You Need to Do

The post Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Moves appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Moves

[caption id="attachment_65153" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Exercises Photo Courtesy of SoulAnnex[/caption] If you’ve ever felt tightness or discomfort in your hips, back or shoulders (slowly raises hand), it’s time to add some recovery sessions to your routine. And we don’t just mean the foam roller after every sweat. The one tool you’re probably missing from your sore muscles-soothing arsenal: the lacrosse ball. When used for self-myofascial release (aka massage), the lacrosse ball helps break up the connective tissue (or fascia) surrounding your muscles and organs that can get rigid from lots of sitting — or exercising. But what sets it apart from a foam roller is its ability to loosen up tough-to-reach spots. “It gets into the insertion points where muscle meets the fascia, like right between your spine and shoulder blade,” explains Charlee Atkins, creator of Le Stretch at Soul Annex, where she incorporates the ball. It’s also much easier to take on the road, the SoulCycle master instructor adds. Just like the foam roller, the ball is great to use both before and after a workout. Post-sweat, your muscles are still in the contracted state. “It takes time for them to lengthen to their resting place, which is when knots can form,” Atkins says. “But the lacrosse ball takes them out of that contraction.” Pair the rolling with stretching (one muscle group at a time) and you have a match made in mobility heaven, Atkins says. Pre-exercise, the ball also helps warm up your muscles, elevating the body’s core temperature and getting you ready to tackle tough movements. Whether you want to move better through each exercise or ease sore muscles, these five myofascial release exercises — curated by Atkins — get the ball rolling. RELATED: Are You Foam Rolling All Wrong?

5 Ways to Use a Lacrosse Ball to Relieve Sore Muscles

Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Pec Release

1. Pec Release 

Desk workers, cyclists and boxing class goers, this is for you. Give a little love to your chest muscles with this move meant to counteract that hunched-over posture and loosen up the front of your upper body. How to: Lie on a mat on your stomach. Place the ball under your chest, about two inches below the collar bone on your right side (on top of the pectoral muscles), midway between the sternum and armpit. Bring your left hand to your forehead and rest your head on it. Take the right hand and place it on your lower back, palm up and elbow pointed outward. Massage the ball into the chest in a left-to-right motion, moving slowly. You can also simply breathe deeply, allowing the ball to release pressure. Continue holding or moving side-to-side for 30 seconds to two minutes. Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Glute Release

2. Glute release

Your glutes, aka butt muscles, act as stabilizers as your spinning, running or simply standing, Atkins says. Relieve any tightness in that area and you can easily move in more directions. Plus, it’ll help increase your range of motion — an important advantage for weight lifters, too. (Hello, deeper squat!) If you sit most of the day, this will also get the blood flowing. How to: Lie on your back on a mat, knees bent. Place the lacrosse ball underneath your booty, where the glutes meet your low back. Put your weight on top of the ball (using your elbows to prop yourself up on the mat for stability) and slowly roll side-to-side over it, rolling all the way to the outer edge of the hip, close to the side of the body. Then, allow your knee and thigh to fall toward the mat (like a clamshell, as shown). Pull the knee back up toward center and repeat. Continue for 30 seconds to two minutes. RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Quad Release

3. Quad Release

Just got back from a long day of travel? This recovery move is perfect for easing sit-all-day aches. It’s also extra beneficial for runners. “The job of the quad is to extend the lower leg — a repetitive movement in running,” Atkins explains. That continuous motion can lead to seriously sore muscles, but the ball will provide relief. How to: Sit in a 90-90 position, with both knees bent at 90 degrees, one leg placed in front of you and the other to the side. Place the ball on your outer most quad muscle (known as the vastus lateralis). Shift your weight over the front of your body, keeping your chest up. Massage one spot, then continue moving the ball up the thigh, on that same muscle, until you reach your hip. Continue for 30 seconds to two minutes. RELATED: 5 IT Band Stretched Every Runner Needs Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Back Release

4. Back Release

“When you’re sitting at a desk, your core can’t activate due to the placement of your pelvis,” says Atkins. “This means the back muscles are active all day.” Translation: You might feel discomfort or tightness in your low back that calls for some extra TLC with self-myofascial release. Golfers, tennis players and boxers — or anyone who does a ton of twisting movements — will also benefit. How to: Lie on your back on a mat, knees bent. Place the ball on the left outside edge of your spine, halfway between the mid- to low-back and right on the erector spinae muscles. Your feet, butt, hips, shoulders and head should all be on the mat. Apply pressure by engaging your core. Next, come up to your elbows for extra stability and carefully massage the ball from left to right. Then, drop your left knee and thigh to the side, down toward the mat — the same clamshell movement you did for the glute release (as shown). Repeat for 30 seconds to two minutes. RELATED: 7 Ways Exercise Helps Relieve Back Pain Lacrosse Ball Moves for Sore Muscles: Shoulder and Neck Release

5. Shoulder and Neck Release

That nagging tightness you get in your shoulders and neck is precisely where this move will hit. In other words, cancel your massage appointment — you can now find relief right at home. How to: Lie on your back on a mat, with knees bent. Place the ball between your spine and shoulder blade, where the neck, shoulder and upper back all meet. Keep your head on the ground, chest open. Lift your hips halfway toward the ceiling for a half bridge pose. Apply pressure to the ball and slightly roll upwards (ball goes down) in a very small movement. Then, slowly lift your arm straight into the air, palm faces toward the feet. Bring it back down by your side. Repeat for 30 seconds to two minutes. Read More 5 Foam Rolling Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should) The 7 Best Mobility Exercises You Haven’t Tried Yet The One Foam Rolling Move You Need to Do

The post Ease Sore Muscles with These 5 Lacrosse Ball Moves appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/olympics-bodyweight-workout-infographic/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/olympics-bodyweight-workout-infographic/#comments Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:00:11 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24377 Olympic Workout

[caption id="attachment_65087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout Illustration: Tantika Tivorat[/caption]

Not headed to PyeongChang this year? We've got 10 ways you can still get in on the action! This Olympic-inspired bodyweight workout features exercises borrowed from the top winter sports on display. Because who can watch the Olympic Games and not be inspired to move?

This 15-minute bodyweight workout will alternate between training your core, legs, back and arms — all from your living room floor. No dumbbells, snowboards or slopes required! So clear off some space in front of the TV and get ready to channel your inner Olympian. After all, 2022 is just around the corner…

RELATED: 20 Questions with Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy

15-Minute Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout

15-Minute Olympic Bodyweight Workout

The Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Perform each of the following bodyweight exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Continue the circuit all the way through, then repeat a second time. Feeling ready for the world stage? Reduce your rest to 10 seconds (or skip it completely!) for an even greater challenge.

1. Skaters

Bound side to side like (you guessed it) a speed skater to get your heart rate up, while working your glutes, quads and calves. Be sure to keep your hips back and your chest tall, and land with control.

2. Mountain Climbers

These belly fat-torching ab exercises demand stability from your shoulders and core, while providing plyometric benefits from the quick knee drives. Just remember to maintain proper plank form with your shoulders directly over your wrists throughout the entire movement.

3. Jump Squats

It's time to rev up your glute engines! Recruit the muscles in your glutes, quads and core to avoid collapsing your knees and ankles inward.

4. Plank

Hate crunches? The plank is the ultimate core exercise. The isometric hold challenges you to use every inch of your abdominals, from your rectus abdominis to your obliques, to stay stabilized.

5. Lateral Jumps

Take your standard jump squat side to side to improve your hip mobility and flexibility, while firing up your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and core muscles, too.

6. High Knees

You know the drill! Get those legs up to waist-height, and crank up the intensity, while still landing softly on the balls of your feet.

7. Rotation Jumps

How do snowboarders and skiers land their jumps exactly? It's this heart-pumping move. Drive from your heels, jump off the ground to complete a 180-twist, and then drop back down to a squat.

8. Tricep Dips

If beasting push-ups is your goal, then you better work those triceps! These dips also give some TLC to your upper back and core. Bend your knees if you need to modify.

9. Pistol Squats

You bet you'll see this move in every figure skater's routine. This seriously impressive exercise is a true test of bodyweight strength. To help you balance, hang onto a band or chair and focus on driving through the heel.

10. Yoga Push-Ups

Also known as a chaturanga push-up, you'll keep your elbows anchored closer to your body as you lower yourself to the floor. (Hello, triceps and core!) Your upper body should shift slightly forward as you descend. And your arms should form a 90-degree angle as you lower down from plank position.

To watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, tune into NBC starting Friday, February 9 for the Opening Ceremonies.

Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018.

Read More
5 Easy Exercises for a 30-Minute Arm Workout
50 Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

The post The Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Olympic Workout

[caption id="attachment_65087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout Illustration: Tantika Tivorat[/caption] Not headed to PyeongChang this year? We've got 10 ways you can still get in on the action! This Olympic-inspired bodyweight workout features exercises borrowed from the top winter sports on display. Because who can watch the Olympic Games and not be inspired to move? This 15-minute bodyweight workout will alternate between training your core, legs, back and arms — all from your living room floor. No dumbbells, snowboards or slopes required! So clear off some space in front of the TV and get ready to channel your inner Olympian. After all, 2022 is just around the corner… RELATED: 20 Questions with Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy

15-Minute Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout

15-Minute Olympic Bodyweight Workout

The Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Perform each of the following bodyweight exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Continue the circuit all the way through, then repeat a second time. Feeling ready for the world stage? Reduce your rest to 10 seconds (or skip it completely!) for an even greater challenge.

1. Skaters

Bound side to side like (you guessed it) a speed skater to get your heart rate up, while working your glutes, quads and calves. Be sure to keep your hips back and your chest tall, and land with control.

2. Mountain Climbers

These belly fat-torching ab exercises demand stability from your shoulders and core, while providing plyometric benefits from the quick knee drives. Just remember to maintain proper plank form with your shoulders directly over your wrists throughout the entire movement.

3. Jump Squats

It's time to rev up your glute engines! Recruit the muscles in your glutes, quads and core to avoid collapsing your knees and ankles inward.

4. Plank

Hate crunches? The plank is the ultimate core exercise. The isometric hold challenges you to use every inch of your abdominals, from your rectus abdominis to your obliques, to stay stabilized.

5. Lateral Jumps

Take your standard jump squat side to side to improve your hip mobility and flexibility, while firing up your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and core muscles, too.

6. High Knees

You know the drill! Get those legs up to waist-height, and crank up the intensity, while still landing softly on the balls of your feet.

7. Rotation Jumps

How do snowboarders and skiers land their jumps exactly? It's this heart-pumping move. Drive from your heels, jump off the ground to complete a 180-twist, and then drop back down to a squat.

8. Tricep Dips

If beasting push-ups is your goal, then you better work those triceps! These dips also give some TLC to your upper back and core. Bend your knees if you need to modify.

9. Pistol Squats

You bet you'll see this move in every figure skater's routine. This seriously impressive exercise is a true test of bodyweight strength. To help you balance, hang onto a band or chair and focus on driving through the heel.

10. Yoga Push-Ups

Also known as a chaturanga push-up, you'll keep your elbows anchored closer to your body as you lower yourself to the floor. (Hello, triceps and core!) Your upper body should shift slightly forward as you descend. And your arms should form a 90-degree angle as you lower down from plank position. To watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, tune into NBC starting Friday, February 9 for the Opening Ceremonies. Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018. Read More 5 Easy Exercises for a 30-Minute Arm Workout 50 Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

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5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/no-equipment-back-exercises/ http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/no-equipment-back-exercises/#comments Sun, 21 Jan 2018 16:15:51 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39887 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

[caption id="attachment_50398" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 No-Equipment Back Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Hunching over laptops and smartphones for hours on end does your back no favors. In fact, it’s one of the biggest — and most important — muscle groups we’re guilty of ignoring in our workouts. And the issue isn’t just aesthetics (though a toned back can help you look better in that suit or strapless dress). “Back strengthening exercises are crucial to maintaining functional movement and preventing back injuries for all populations,” says Matthew Wert, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital.

Your back is used in nearly every movement you perform throughout the day, from bending over to tie your shoes, to carrying your backpack or purse. However, the back (particularly the lower back) is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body for all age groups, according to Wert. “Workplace exercises and back health maintenance are crucial. Because although a desk job may seem relatively easy on the body, maintaining a sitting position for long periods of time strains the back and places pressure on our discs,” says Wert.

RELATED: 5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now

Your job: Make your posterior a priority, Wert says. In addition to getting up and moving around at least once every 60 minutes, get back to basics with a few strengthening bodyweight moves and stretches. The five back exercises below are best for targeting the lats, rhomboids and lumbar muscles in your lower back. You'll also get a good workout for those spinal erector muscles that surround, stabilize and support the spine. The best part? No heavy weights or workout equipment are needed!

The 5 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises

Back Exercises: Reverse Snow Angel

1. Reverse Snow Angels

How to: Position yourself facedown on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down. Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapulae together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back (a). Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head (b). Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders. Then return to the original starting position.

RELATED: 7 No Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

Back Exercises: Dolphin Kick Back Exercise

2. Dolphin Kick

How to: Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench. Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support (a). Straighten out your legs while raising them up while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your lower back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement (b). Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging nearly every muscle in your body. Then drop the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Move the hips slightly further up the bench so the trunk is better supported.

Back Exercises: Superman Back Exercise

3. Superman

How to: Lie facedown with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze. Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you (a). Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground (b). Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body to “fly” like the man of steel (c). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Perform an “Aquaman” by raising and lowering the opposite arm and leg simultaneously in the same fashion as the “Superman.” Hold for 5 seconds, and shoot for 3 sets of 10 reps with a 1-minute rest.

RELATED: The Body-Sculpting TRX Abs Workout

Back Exercises: Hip Hinge Back Exercise

4. Hip Hinge (aka Good Mornings)

How to: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground. Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position (a). Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips (b). Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position and repeating (c). Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Perform seated good mornings instead. Sit in a chair with your shoulders over your hips, legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Plant your feet firmly underneath your knees, hands on your hips. Engage your core and slightly pull your shoulders back, then proceed to bend forward to a 45-degree angle before coming back to the starting position.

RELATED: The Beginner's Guide to Pistol Squats

Back Exercises: Nose and Toes Against the Wall

5. Nose and Toes Against the Wall

How to: Up for a real challenge? Even experienced gym rats should proceed with caution. For this advanced move, you’ll start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall (a). Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral (b). Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands toward the wall. The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position (c). Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner (d). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Stand with your back against a wall with feet spread apart wide. Bend your knees and place your hands firmly on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten out your legs to just a “soft knee” and begin to walk your hands in towards your feet, head in neutral alignment with your spine. Actively push your glutes to the ceiling as your core and back remain rigid and your shoulders open up. You may notice a good stretch, too. Who says you can’t get strong and mobile at the same time?

Originally posted May 2015. Updated January 2018.

Read More
275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine
How to Fix Text Neck and Improve Your Posture
8 Ways to Amp Up Your Bodyweight Workout

The post 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

[caption id="attachment_50398" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 No-Equipment Back Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption] Hunching over laptops and smartphones for hours on end does your back no favors. In fact, it’s one of the biggest — and most important — muscle groups we’re guilty of ignoring in our workouts. And the issue isn’t just aesthetics (though a toned back can help you look better in that suit or strapless dress). “Back strengthening exercises are crucial to maintaining functional movement and preventing back injuries for all populations,” says Matthew Wert, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. Your back is used in nearly every movement you perform throughout the day, from bending over to tie your shoes, to carrying your backpack or purse. However, the back (particularly the lower back) is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body for all age groups, according to Wert. “Workplace exercises and back health maintenance are crucial. Because although a desk job may seem relatively easy on the body, maintaining a sitting position for long periods of time strains the back and places pressure on our discs,” says Wert. RELATED: 5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now Your job: Make your posterior a priority, Wert says. In addition to getting up and moving around at least once every 60 minutes, get back to basics with a few strengthening bodyweight moves and stretches. The five back exercises below are best for targeting the lats, rhomboids and lumbar muscles in your lower back. You'll also get a good workout for those spinal erector muscles that surround, stabilize and support the spine. The best part? No heavy weights or workout equipment are needed!

The 5 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises

Back Exercises: Reverse Snow Angel

1. Reverse Snow Angels

How to: Position yourself facedown on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down. Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapulae together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back (a). Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head (b). Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. Beginner modification: Move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders. Then return to the original starting position. RELATED: 7 No Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs Back Exercises: Dolphin Kick Back Exercise

2. Dolphin Kick

How to: Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench. Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support (a). Straighten out your legs while raising them up while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your lower back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement (b). Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging nearly every muscle in your body. Then drop the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. Beginner modification: Move the hips slightly further up the bench so the trunk is better supported. Back Exercises: Superman Back Exercise

3. Superman

How to: Lie facedown with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze. Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you (a). Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground (b). Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body to “fly” like the man of steel (c). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets. Beginner modification: Perform an “Aquaman” by raising and lowering the opposite arm and leg simultaneously in the same fashion as the “Superman.” Hold for 5 seconds, and shoot for 3 sets of 10 reps with a 1-minute rest. RELATED: The Body-Sculpting TRX Abs Workout Back Exercises: Hip Hinge Back Exercise

4. Hip Hinge (aka Good Mornings)

How to: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground. Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position (a). Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips (b). Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position and repeating (c). Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets. Beginner modification: Perform seated good mornings instead. Sit in a chair with your shoulders over your hips, legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Plant your feet firmly underneath your knees, hands on your hips. Engage your core and slightly pull your shoulders back, then proceed to bend forward to a 45-degree angle before coming back to the starting position. RELATED: The Beginner's Guide to Pistol Squats Back Exercises: Nose and Toes Against the Wall

5. Nose and Toes Against the Wall

How to: Up for a real challenge? Even experienced gym rats should proceed with caution. For this advanced move, you’ll start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall (a). Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral (b). Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands toward the wall. The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position (c). Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner (d). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets. Beginner modification: Stand with your back against a wall with feet spread apart wide. Bend your knees and place your hands firmly on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten out your legs to just a “soft knee” and begin to walk your hands in towards your feet, head in neutral alignment with your spine. Actively push your glutes to the ceiling as your core and back remain rigid and your shoulders open up. You may notice a good stretch, too. Who says you can’t get strong and mobile at the same time? Originally posted May 2015. Updated January 2018. Read More 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine How to Fix Text Neck and Improve Your Posture 8 Ways to Amp Up Your Bodyweight Workout

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