One thing I love about the spring and summer months is that they have us outside at every possible moment.
Of course we could use the beautiful weather as an excuse for falling off of our workout game… or we could use it as motivation to do just the opposite. In my opinion, the outdoors is the best place to work out. I can surround myself with the beauty of nature, breathing in fresh, clean air as I strengthen and tone my muscles to the sound of chirping birds and crashing waves.
It just so happens that my sister Charlotte is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor – and all-around beautiful motivator – so I turned to her to share some ideas on workouts to try outside this season. You can actually do these inside, as well. All you need is one piece of (non-gym) equipment – like a chair, a bench, or even a big rock. Take it away, Char!
1. Single-leg Lunge
Form: Elevate one foot behind you on a flat surface. Lower yourself down into a lunge, keeping your shoulders back and chest up the entire time. Your knee should never extend past your toes. Pause for a second, and return back to the starting position.
What it works: Quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus.
Why I love it: You feel it instantly. This exercise targets so many different muscles; you’re guaranteed to feel sore the next day. The more elevated your foot is behind you, the harder this exercise is. Start low and watch your balance, coordination, and strength improve as you increase the height of the platform behind you!
2. Incline/Decline Pushups
Form: For beginners, the incline pushup is extremely important. It familiarizes your body with proper pushup form, and allows your muscles to feel exactly what’s working. Place your hands on an elevated surface with your thumbs wrapping around the edge to ease the pressure on your wrists. Hands should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart, and your entire body should be flat. Slowly lower yourself down, forming a 90-degree angle with your arms. Squeeze your core to keep your back flat, and return to the starting position. If you’re more advanced, switch the position of your hands with your feet, so your body is on the decline. Slowly lower yourself down the same way, forming a 90-degree angle and keeping a flat back.
What it works: Chest, shoulders, triceps, core.
Why I love it: Anyone can do it, no matter what fitness level. What’s more attractive than a girl who can push up her own body weight? Now drop and give me twenty.
3. Tricep Dips
Form: Place your hands on an elevated surface directly under your shoulders, fingertips facing forward. Walk your feet out in front of you. For beginners, legs should be slightly bent with feet flat on the ground. For more advanced, legs come straight out with heels on the ground and toes pointed up. Bend your arms down so your elbows form a 90-degree angle, making sure that your elbows point directly behind you and not out to the side. Slowly return to the starting position.
What it works: Triceps, chest, shoulders.
Why I love it: A lot of my clients (myself included) complain about that stubborn “arm jiggle”. Tricep dips help tone and tighten the upper arm. The tricep is the biggest muscle in the arm, and you can feel all the muscle fibers tearing to rebuild beautiful, tight, toned arms. Try lowering yourself down by counts of four to make the dips more effective.
4. Isometric Hold and V-sit Crunches
Form: Sit on an elevated surface and raise your legs, keeping them as straight as possible. Make sure your back stays flat, and hold the bench behind you. Keep shoulders, back, and chest up. Hold your position to isolate the muscles in your core. This is an isometric hold. For V-sit crunches, use this same position to start. Crunch your knees in towards your chest, making sure to keep a flat back. To make this more challenging, release your arms from behind you. To make it easier, keep legs bent the whole time.
What it works: Abs, lower back, coordination, balance.
Why I love it: The V-sit targets your whole core, including the hard-to-conquer lower abs. You can feel your muscles working to keep your form and balance. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a huge confidence booster!
You can follow Charlotte on Instagram for fitness tips, healthy eating ideas, and daily motivation! :)