If your home workout isn’t delivering the burn you crave, or you’re bored after a long winter of endless push-ups and squats, here are four routines that will keep you challenged through spring.
Adam Maronde, performance manager at the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis, says a fresh workout doesn’t require new equipment. Small changes such as varying repetitions or adding isometric holds to your exercises can make your old routine feel new. Here, he provides four separate workouts—ones for the upper body, lower body and core, as well as an interval workout for cardio. Perform these throughout the week or string them together for a full-body workout. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, check with your doctor before starting a new routine. As with any workout, listen to your body and modify appropriately.
THE WORKOUT: UPPER-BODY BLAST
“Contrasting repetitions is an easy way to make your same old routine challenging,” Mr. Maronde says. For the workout below, perform loaded repetitions for the first round of exercises. The weight should be challenging. You can use dumbbells or water bottles, and for the push-up, he suggests wearing a backpack loaded with books. For the second round, lighten the load or use body weight and perform at a normal pace. For the final round, use the same load as round two and perform slow and controlled repetitions on a 3:1:3 tempo, where you raise or lower the weight or your body for three seconds, pause one second and then reverse directions for three seconds.
Complete three rounds. Use the stretches as recovery time between exercises. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between rounds.
Doorway Pectoral Stretch
Stand in an open doorway. Raise each arm up to the side, bent at 90-degrees with palms forward resting on the door frames. Step forward with one foot until you feel a stretch in your shoulders and chest without leaning forward. Hold for 20 seconds and switch sides.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees as if performing a squat, then hinge forward, keeping your back at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Extend both arms straight down in front of you, palms facing forward. Raise both arms up until your body forms a T shape and your shoulder blades feel a stretch. Pause and lower the arms down. Hold light weights or water bottles for an added challenge. Complete 12 sets.
Push-Up With Knee Touch
Start in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Bend the elbows to lower the chest to the ground. Pause at the bottom. Bring the opposite hand and knee to touch, then press back up to the starting position and continue alternating sides. Try to avoid letting the hips drop to either side as the hand and knee touch. A wider stance with the feet will provide more stability. If this is a challenge, start by doing knee push-ups and drawing the opposite hand and knee in to center to touch. Complete 10 to 12 reps
One-Arm Row with Weight
Start in a standing lunge position with your right foot in front and left hand holding a dumbbell, kettlebell or water bottle. Lean slightly forward. Rest your right hand on your right thigh. Lower the weight toward the floor until your arm is fully extended. Lift the weight up toward your torso by driving your elbow up to the ceiling. Keep your elbow close to your body as it passes the ribs. Keep your spine long and hips square. Squeeze your shoulder blade at the top of the movement, then slowly lower down. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Doorway Lat Stretch
Stand facing a doorway and grab the right side of the door frame with your right hand. Keep the hand in line with your shoulder. Sink your hips back and down and lean your torso forward as you pull your body away from the door until you feel a stretch. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
One-Arm Overhead Press with Weight
Stand with feet hips-width apart. Hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or other weighted object just outside your shoulder, with your arm bent at 90 degrees, palm facing forward. Engage your core and avoid shrugging your shoulders as you press the weight overhead, until your arm is completely straight and your biceps by your ear. Slowly lower down. Repeat 10 times and switch sides.
THE WORKOUT: LOWER-BODY BURN
“Add variety to your squats and lunges by adding an isometric hold to the movement,” Mr. Maronde says. “Holding a position in the beginning, middle or end of the movement is a great way to ramp up the intensity.”
Complete three to five rounds. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between rounds.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
Stand in a lunge, with the ball of your back foot elevated on the edge of a bench or stair between 12- to 24-inches high. Bend your front knee to lower into a lunge position until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Keep your front knee behind your toes. Hold that position for 30 seconds. Immediately following your hold, perform regular repetitions. Lower down, then extend your hip and knee to drive up to the starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Sumo Squat Hold to Jumps
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out at 45 degrees, torso hinged slightly forward. Bend your knees and sink your hips down and back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold 30 seconds. Immediately following add jumps. Drive through your heels to jump up and land softly in starting position. Repeat 30 seconds.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent with weights or water bottles in each hand resting on top of your thighs. Hinge at hips and keep weights close to body. Focus on sticking your rear end back and driving your hamstrings backward. Keep your hips square to the floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Now add movement by raising and lowering the leg. Repeat 30 seconds. Switch sides.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
What new exercise routines are you adopting this spring? Join the conversation below.
THE WORKOUT: CORE CHALLENGE
“Time under tension is the amount of time a muscle is held under tension or strain during a set,” says Mr. Maronde. “Increasing the time under tension is a great way to increase the intensity of your core work.” The workout below combines dynamic movements, like leg raises, with static movements like dead bug. Mr. Maronde says the static hold is a chance to activate the core while reinforcing proper form.
Complete two to three rounds. Rest 60 seconds between.
Lie on your back. Lift your legs with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise your arms up toward the ceiling with your wrists above your shoulders. Your lower back should be flat against the floor. To engage your core, think about drawing your navel to your spine. Hold for 45 seconds.
Lie on your back with legs extended and arms by your sides. Lightly press your palms into the ground and on an exhale, lift the legs up as high as they will go without your lower back arching up from the floor. Pause at the top and on an inhale slowly lower your legs down until your feet hover just above the ground. Repeat 10 times.
Hollow Body Rocks
Lie on your back. Extend your arms straight so your elbows are by your ears and both shoulder blades are off the floor. Push your lower back to the floor and keep your toes pointed as you lift your legs off the floor. Do not let your lower back arch. Begin to rock back and forth 10 times, keeping your core engaged.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor hip-width apart and arms by your sides. Push through your heels to lift your glutes and low back off the floor. Your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Do not arch the low back. Squeeze your glutes at the top, then slowly lower down to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
Sit on the floor and lean back until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor. Keep your heels on the ground, knees bent. Reach both arms out in front and clasp hands together. Twist your torso to draw your hands to the right hip while keeping your chest lifted. Cross over to the left hip. Repeat 10 times on each side. For an added challenge hold a medicine ball or weight or try to hover the feet off the ground.
Dynamic Lateral Bridge Hold
Lie on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs stacked. Engage your core and lift your hips off the floor until you are balancing on your forearm and feet. Your body should form a diagonal line, head to feet. Do not let the hips dip forward or back. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides.
THE WORKOUT: QUICK FIX CARDIO
“By performing more intervals in a given period of time, you increase the density of your cardiovascular workout,” says Mr. Maronde. For the workout below, set a clock for 15 minutes and record the number of times you can repeat the exercises. Try to beat that score with each workout.
Hill or Stair Run
Ideally it will take 15 to 20 seconds to get from bottom to top at your fastest pace, says Mr. Maronde. You can also start by walking fast. Jog or walk down the hill or stairs for recovery. This exercise will be repeated several times during the workout.
Stand alongside the line of a parking space or create a line with a rolled up towel. Hop laterally over the line with both feet, then back to the other side as quickly as possible, working down the line and up again. Repeat 20 times.
Hill or Stair Run
Stand on one foot with knee slightly bent. Jump laterally and land on the other foot. Stick the landing and hold for two seconds. Increase speed. Repeat 20 times.
Hill or Stair Run
Single-Leg Hop Over Line
Stand behind a line. Balance on your right foot and hop over the line then back 10 times. Gradually increase speed. Switch legs.
Write to Jen Murphy at [email protected]
Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8