For many of us, 2016 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2017! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.
Reaching a fitness goal is hard work any time of the year. But if getting healthier and incorporating exercise into your daily routine was a New Year’s resolution, there can be added pressure to keep your promise, and that might make getting started the hardest step. So to help ease the transition into your new #fitlife, we got Dan Gaz, wellness exercise specialist for the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, to teach us six super simple, beginner-friendly moves you can do literally anywhere.
For exercises with repetitions, Dan suggests doing three sets of 15, and for those that are more time-based, shoot for three sets at 30 seconds each. He also recommends training major muscle groups three times a week, on nonconsecutive days. No excuses, 2017: We’re coming for ya.
1. Bridge: A move to tone your core and booty? Sign us up. You’ll start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat and hip distance apart. Engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine. At the same time, squeeze your butt. Then, lift your hips off of the floor as high as possible while maintaining engagement in your core and butt. Hold the bridge before returning your hips back to the starting position on the mat. Dan’s best tip for a killer bridge: “Keep your knees aligned with the hips and feet, and avoid over-arching your low back.”
2. Push-Ups on Knees: Everyone’s favorite exercise they love to hate. For this slightly altered version of a classic push-up, Dan says you should start with your hands and knees on the ground. Engage your core and draw your hips forward to create a straight line from your knees through your thighs that extends up through your spine and neck. Make sure your hands stay under your shoulders and you bend your elbows to keep them next to your rib cage. To rock a perfect push-up, Dan explains, “Engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine. Keep your back in a neutral spine position throughout the exercise.”
3. Lunge Clocks: To start, you’ll stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and then step your right leg forward, bend your knees to lower your body and return to your original stance. From here, you’ll lunge forward “around the clock” into a diagonal lunge, side lunge and reverse diagonal lunge, finishing with a reverse lunge. Then, repeat with the other leg. Dan’s best tip to keep consistent across all lunges is to “keep your front knee aligned over the center of your front foot, and never let it bend beyond your toes.”
4. Quadruped — Single Leg Reach: Want those legs like Beyonce? Listen up. Start on your hands and knees. Extend your right leg to a position parallel to the ground, pause momentarily and return to the starting position, all while engaging your core. Then, repeat with the other leg. To do the best single leg reach, Dan advises, “Avoid lifting your leg beyond parallel to the floor, and focus on contracting the muscles in your butt, not the muscles in your lower back.”
5. Skaters: A little burst of cardio with your weight training never hurt anyone. Start this move in a squatting position. Then, shift your weight to your left foot and jump about three feet to your right, landing on your right leg. Your left leg should lift and come near your right ankle. Jump again to your left, landing on your left foot. To make sure you get the most out of this move, Dan says, “Keep the knees soft (slightly bent) when landing from each jump.”
6. Plank: Ah, the plank. The perfect move to end any session, the plank is a total-body workout. You’ll start with your hands and feet on the ground and a stable, straight back. Engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine and hold this position for 10-30 seconds, working up to 60 seconds. Have a bad wrist? A great alternative, according to Dan, is to “bear your weight through the forearms instead of the hands.”
Mastered these moves? Find more get-fit inspo on our Pinterest page @BritandCo!
(Photos via Mayo Clinic, featured photo via Getty)