These expert-approved workouts will help you tone up and lose weight.
By Olivia DeLong
Barre, Pilates, HIIT—every time you turn around, there’s a new workout to try. If you’re not sure which workout to try or you’re getting bored with your regular routine, then try stealing moves from different workouts.
“Varying your types of workouts will help you stay less stagnant, work a variety of muscles groups, and decrease your risk of injury and overuse, says physical therapist Sheri Eng, DPT, of Parkland Medical Center in Derry, New Hampshire.
Here are 6 moves from popular workouts that are sure to burn calories, tighten your tummy and more.
Plank exercises may be one of the most difficult, but they’re also one of the most effective. Planks, side, or straight-on, contract all of the abdominal layers. “This position is a way to strengthen the core, which, in turn, helps reduce low back pain,” says Eng.
And planks don’t just work your ab muscles. “The plank recruits the help of the shoulder and upper back muscles.”
How to: Start by lying on your stomach, then bring your torso and thighs off of the floor. Your shoulders should be over your elbows, with your palms facing down. Engage your core muscles and breathe while you hold your body up for five seconds or more. Repeat ten times.
Cat-Cow pose may seem like just a simple exercise, but it’s actually a good strengthening workout for your body, too. “Cat and cow pose helps to gently stretch the spine and strengthens the core,” says Eng.
How to: Begin on your hands and knees, knees directly below your hips and wrists, in “table top” position. Gaze at the floor and as you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling. As you inhale, lift your bottom and chest towards the ceiling so that your stomach sinks towards the floor while looking straight forward. Repeat both cat and cow to complete the flow. Try this move five times.
The gluteal bridge pose, a move that’s usually done towards the end of barre classes, is another move you must steal.
Not only are you engaging your core, you’re opening up your hip flexors and chest, and increasing your spine’s flexibility. And once you’ve been holding a bridge pose for around 30 seconds, you’re going to feel the burn.
How to: Lie with your back and feet on the floor, and knees bent. Make sure your heels are as close to your seat as possible. Push your seat up off of the floor until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees are directly over your heels. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat five times.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a quick way to burn calories in a short amount of time (30 minutes or less!), says Eng.
With HIIT you complete multiple rounds of sprints, which target your legs, thighs, hips and butt. These moves help you achieve a longer and leaner lower body. And because the workout is high intensity, you’ll burn calories long after you stop, an effect called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
How to: Sprint or run at maximum intensity for 30 seconds, then walk or jog at 50 percent intensity for 15 to 20 seconds. Start with three or four reps, and work your way up to eight or ten.
The pike exercise is a common practice in TRX training, a type of training done with suspension straps. The pike movement targets the shoulders, abdominals and hip flexors, and improves balance, stability and core strength, says Eng.
How to: Place feet in your strap’s foot cradles, point your toes and lie on your stomach, your arms shoulder-width apart. Press you body off of the floor as if you were doing a plank, then move your hips towards the ceiling while pulling your legs to your chest. You’ve completed the move when you move hips directly over your shoulders in something similar to a handstand position. Repeat the downward and upward phases of the movement ten times.
Tai Chi, a meditative exercise, is appealing to those that are looking for a low impact workout to do anywhere. It’s easy enough to do throughout your life, no matter your age or fitness level. The Golden Rooster pose focuses on balance, flexibility and strengthening.
How to: Stand with one of your legs slightly in front of the other, shoulder-width apart and your knees bent. One arm should be bent and directly in front of you, the other out to the side. Sink low into your hips and leg that is slightly in front. Reach your body forward a bit, while you pull the leg in back up off the floor to balance. Work on controlling your movements and breath while you alternate on each side.