Hi friends, I hope your Christmas was a good one! We had a good time hanging out at home, spending time with family, and cooking. I took several days off of teaching my fitness classes and didn’t do a whole lot for my own workouts over Christmas week, so I am looking forward to starting back today. It’s great to take a break from exercise sometimes, but not too long of one 😉
If you took a break from exercise around Christmas, here’s a workout for you to get back at it! I created this workout for one of my group fitness classes that I alternate teaching on Saturdays: Guts and Butts. It’s a 30-minute class so it’s easy to add into your regular workout routine, plus almost everyone could use a stronger core and backside, especially if you are a runner! This 30-minute Abs and Glutes Circuit was a big hit with my class, they loved it!
For this particular class, I decided to make this one a timed circuit: 40 seconds work, 15 seconds rest & transition, then a 1 minute break after 8 exercises. These are low-impact exercises (no jumping exercises), and no squats or lunges either, so this workout is a good one if you have knee problems or leg injuries you’re working through.
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The exercises are set up as super-sets in the circuit, so there are 2 exercises for glutes in a row then 2 exercises for abs in a row (except for the last exercise) to help exhaust your muscles a bit before switching body parts.
Make sure that you also do an adequate warm-up before this workout by completing some cardio, body-weight exercises, or dynamic stretches for 5-10 minutes before doing this workout. And don’t forget a good cool-down at the end! This workout won’t get your heart rate very high, but allow your heart rate to come down a bit before stopping to stretch or foam roll.
Romanian Deadlift (aka Stiff Leg Deadlift, hamstrings, glutes, low back): with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at your hip and reach your barbell toward the floor (it doesn’t have to touch the floor). Make sure your back is flat: no rounding in your back or shoulders. You should feel this exercise in your hamstrings and lower back.
Barbell bridge (glutes, hamstrings): place your barbell across your hip bones (not the soft part of your stomach!), using a soft neck roll for cushion if needed. Bridge your hips up, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement, then bring your hips back down to barely touch the floor then repeat (don’t rest at the bottom!). Make sure to not arch your back at the top of the movement, but keep a neutral spine throughout.
Superman twist (upper back, lower back, and obliques): lie on your stomach and perform a superman (contract your back muscles and bring your chest and legs off the floor). Make sure your neck still remains in a neutral position and in line with your spine: don’t over-extend your head and neck! Holding that superman position, add a side bend and reach your hand towards your feet, then return to the center position and repeat on the other side. You can bring your hands to your chin or sides to make this one a bit easier if needed.
Plank Sweep (obliques, transverse abdominus): holding a good plank, step your foot across to the opposite side, keeping your shoulders square to the floor. Reach up and move into a side plank, move back to plank, then return foot to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, and alternate sides. Keep your wrists under your shoulders as much as possible and maintain a straight spine throughout (keep your hips in a neutral position – not too high or too low).
Glider Hamstring Curls (hamstrings, glutes): hold a high bridge position with your feet on a set of gliders. Keeping your glutes engaged, extend your feet out straight (trying to keep your lower body off the floor), then return to a high bridge position. Make sure not to over-arch your low back. Beginners can keep the range of motion smaller (don’t extend your feet out as far).
Kneeling kickback (glutes): start on all fours in proper position (knees under hips and wrists under shoulders), then lift your leg and press your foot to the ceiling, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees. Return to start (back in line with the opposite knee) but keep the knee off the floor and don’t rest at the bottom. Repeat the movement for 40 seconds, then switch to the other side. Make sure shoulders and hips are both square to the floor the entire time and don’t let your lower back sag.
Glider Pike (or Glider Knee Tuck, abdominals): holding good plank form with your feet on gliders, bring your feet up to your hands and lift your hips as high as you can, contracting your abs to help you move your feet up. Return to starting position in plank and repeat.
For beginners, do the Glider Knee Tuck instead: hold plank position with feet on gliders, then bring knees toward your arms, then return to plank. Repeat for 40 seconds. Keep your wrists under your shoulders the entire time, and don’t let your hips sag or drop in the starting position. Avoid excessively rounding your back at the top of the exercise (knee tuck position).