Suspension Trainer Ab Burner Workout w/ Cardio Intervals

Suspension Trainer Ab Burner Workout w/ Cardio Intervals

Hi everybody!  I'm super excited to bring you today's workout using the FE Strong Suspension Trainer System!  I love using suspension trainers like this one because they force you to engage certain muscle groups that traditional on-the-ground strength training exercises don't.  Since you're suspended working against gravity, you have to focus on really engaging your abs in order to stabilize and control your movements.  

The number of exercises you can do on this piece of equipment is endless, so instead of trying to pick a few from an infinite list (a challenging task, let me tell you!), I'm breaking up the workouts into 3 parts: Abs, Upper Body, and Lower Body. Part 1 today is focused on your abs, with some sneaky shoulder work in the many plank positions you'll be holding.  This workout is designed using 6 abdominal strength exercises with 30 seconds of suspended mountain climbers between each for a little burst of cardio.  Here is what the mountain climbers look like:

Suspension Trainer Mountain Climbers

Suspended Mountain Climbers - start in a high plank position with the tops of your feet in the foot straps.  Alternate bringing your knees close to your chest as quickly as you can (just like MC on the floor), keeping your shoulders over your wrists and abs engaged.

Keep reading for the full workout, my review of the suspension trainer (hint: I LOVE IT!), and details on how you can get 40% OFF one of these babies!!  Enjoy!

Suspension Trainer Ab Burner Workout w/ Cardio Intervals

Suspension Trainer Ab Burner Workout w/ Cardio Intervals

What You'll Need: a suspension trainer system hooked to a sturdy bar, branch, or door that will support your full bodyweight, and an exercise mat if you want one. The strap length is adjustable, so for this workout the handles should be low enough to the ground to make a high plank comfortable  and keep your spine aligned (about a foot off the ground depending on your build).
What You'll Do: go through the exercises in two rounds - the first focusing on the right side where applicable; the second focusing on the left.  Between each set of strength exercises, do 30 seconds of suspended mountain climbers (shown above).

Note: If you've never used a suspension trainer before, I highly recommend watching this set up & use video before trying the workout.

10 Trench Crawls (4 steps each direction) - start out in a low plank position with the tops of your feet resting in the straps, forearms horizontal in front of you.  Keeping your abs engaged and quads tight, take the arm that's in back and bring it forward, pulling yourself along.  Keep stepping forward on your forearms for 4 steps, then work your way backwards for 4 steps returning to start. Each 4-step forward and back = 1 rep.  Do 10 reps total.  Trainer Tip: the key here is to keep your abs engaged, spine aligned, and to try to resist swinging your legs side to side as you crawl.

- 30 seconds MC -

10 Oblique Crunches - start in a high plank on your hands with your feet in the straps.  Keeping your shoulders in line with your wrists and the movement slow and controlled, tuck your knees out and up to the right side (left side in round 2) toward your elbow.  Slowly reverse the move to go back into a plank.  Keep tucking your knees for 10 reps.

- 30 seconds MC -

10 Slow Sit Ups (4-count up & down) - lie down on your back with your heels resting in the foot straps, arms extended straight above you.  Engage your abs and raise yourself up slowly (4-count), reaching for your toes, keeping your spine straight as you come up.  Reverse the move and slowly lower yourself back down to start, making sure your arms stay raised above you and don't come to the floor.  Do 10 reps.

- 30 seconds MC -

10 Side Plank Hip Dips - start in a low side plank on the right side for the first round (switch to the left if on round 2) with your feet in the straps, top leg slightly behind.  From here, dip your hips to the floor, engaging your obliques to pull yourself back up.  Make sure your shoulder stays over your elbow here, and keep your hips stacked.  Do 10 dips.

- 30 seconds MC -

10 Pike Ups - you're starting in a high plank position again with the tops of your feet in the straps. From here, raise your body up into a pike position keeping your legs straight and pulling your abs in toward your spine.  Make sure your shoulders stay in line with your wrists here, too, and keep the movement slow and controlled.  Do 10 reps.

- 30 seconds MC -

10 Single-Leg Burpees - start standing with your right foot in the strap for round 1 (left foot for round 2), arms extended above you.  From here, perform a burpee by placing your hands on the ground and jumping your non-strapped foot back to hold a plank.  (Optional push up here if you want to.)  Now reverse the move, placing your non-strapped foot back down on the floor, raising yourself back up to standing, and adding a hop at the end.  Do 10 reps.  [VIDEO of this move here.]

Repeat this workout once more, switching to the left side where applicable.

Get 40% OFF the FE Strong Suspension Trainer!

You guys - I'm SO excited to be able to give you a 40% discount on one of these babies!  This suspension training system is really high quality (and no, I'm not just saying that).  If I'm being completely honest, I'm always a little wary of off-brand fitness equipment since they can be hit or miss a lot of the time.  After receiving this in the mail though, I was surprised at how professional-grade it is.  The handles are made of a comfortable and sturdy rubber, the nylon straps are thick and supportive, and the hooks that attach it to a bar above you are incredibly well-made.

FE Strong Suspension Trainer

It would normally run you $99 on Amazon (or more if you went with a TRX), but use the code "INFITINH" at check out to get 40% off.  (Heck yes $40 discount!)  If you've ever wanted a suspension system like this, now is your chance.  I hope you enjoy the workout, whether you try it in the gym, at home, or elsewhere.  If you end up buying one of these babies or already have a suspension trainer system, let me know how you like it! 

Readers: chat with me!  Do you use suspension training in your fitness routines?  What are your favorite abdominal exercises to do with/on them?  Have you ever traveled with one before? Where is the most unique place you've ever used one?

Disclosure: I was gifted the FE Strong Suspension Trainer System in exchange for my honest review on the blog and on Amazon.  All opinions and this workout are my own (just like always!). 

Resistance Band Total Body Workout with Cardio Intervals

Happy first day of December, everyone!  Can you believe we're in the last month of 2015?!  Me neither.  Now that Thanksgiving is over, you might be finding yourself needing to get back in the swing of (fitness) things this week.  I've put together this total body workout to jump start (or continue) your fitness routine after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Holidays are packed with traveling and family visits, so resistance band workouts are fantastic for keeping up your fitness when you're on the road.  Of course, they provide better resistance than bodyweight alone, which makes them ideal for working your muscles while you're on the go.  

This one is a full hour workout if you complete it twice through (recommended), but if you're short on time today, you can always drop it down to once through for a 30-minute total body workout.  Ready for the fun?  Let's get started!

Resistance Band Total Body Workout with Cardio Intervals

Resistance Band Total Body Workout w/ Cardio Intervals

Equipment Needed: 1 resistance band with handles and some floor space + a timer.
What You'll Do: each exercise in every round will use the resistance band except for the cardio move.  You'll start with exercise #1 in round 1 and go through each move for 1 minute.  Between each exercise, you'll do that round's designated cardio exercise for 1 minute.  So, you'll alternate exercise #1, cardio, exercise #2, cardio... and so on.  Go through the full 3 rounds two times, which will take about an hour to complete.

Round 1: Legs

Designated Cardio: Jump Reaches - squat down as low as you can get keeping your chest up and gaze up above you.  From here, propel yourself up and jump as high as you can reaching your arms up above you as you jump.

1.  Side Steps (4 each way) - start by standing on top of the resistance band, holding the handles at your sides so the band is coming up on the outside of your foot.  From here, hold a slight bend in your knees and step to one side for 4 steps.  Go back the way you came for 4 steps.  Every step will pull the band slightly and you should feel it in your outer thighs.

- 1 minute jump reaches - 

2. Lying Side Kicks + Pulse (1 minute each leg) - lie on one side with the band wrapped around the top foot, holding the handles up by your abdomen.  Keeping the handles where they are, extend that top leg out as if performing a slow side kick, driving with your heel.  Do 10 kicks, then keep your leg out straight and do 10 pulses up and down.  Keep alternating 10 kicks and 10 pulses for 1 minute, then switch to the other leg.

- 1 minute jump reaches -  

3. Donkey Kicks (1 minute each leg) - get into an all-4's position with one band handle wrapped around your right foot (flat part on the bottom of your foot), with the rest of the band underneath your hands holding firmly on the ground.  From here, bring your right knee into your chest and then immediately extend it out straight as if kicking behind you.  Do all kicks on the right leg for 1 minute before switching to the left.

- 1 minute jump reaches - 

4. Resisted Glute Bridges - lie on your back, legs bent, heels in close by your butt, with the band resting over your pelvis.  Hold the band firmly to the ground so your hands are planted, and perform a glute bridge by raising your pelvis up towards the ceiling.  Press through your heels and squeeze your glutes at the top.  Remember to keep the band pulled taught as you raise so you feel the resistance.

- 1 minute jump reaches - 

Round 2: Abs

Designated Cardio: Cross-Body Mountain Climbers - just like regular mountain climbers, but instead of bringing your knees to your chest straight on, cross them to the opposite side of your chest.  Trainer Tip: if the running is too much, slow it down to just stepping.

1. Rowing Straight Leg Sit Ups - lie on your back with your legs out straight, band wrapped around your feet, holding the handles by your sides.  Keep your legs out straight and do a full sit up, pulling the band handles in toward your armpits as you come up.  Reverse the movement by slowly releasing tension on the band as you slowly lower yourself back down.  Trainer Tip: when rowing, keep your shoulders down and relaxed as much as possible and focus on using the muscles in your upper back to do the work.

- 1 minute cross-body MC - 

2. Resisted Side Plank Pulls (1 minute each side) - this one is challenging to explain so bear with me.  You'll start in a side plank, holding a band handle in the top hand and the other hand holding the band in place underneath it.  Keeping your torso in that side plank, pull the band across your chest (elbow up towards the ceiling) so there's tension.  Release it back down.  Keep pulling (like a side facing lawnmower almost) for 1 minute each side.  Trainer Tip: if the full side plank is too much, drop your bottom leg so your propped up on that knee, keeping your top leg extended out straight.

- 1 minute cross-body MC -

3. Resisted Russian Twists - like regular Russian twists, but the band is looped around your feet and you're pulling the handles to each side.  You have the option here to either keep your feet on the ground (knees bent, feet flexed), or for an added challenge, raise them up off the floor.

- 1 minute cross-body MC -

4. Resisted Leg Lifts - lie on your back with your legs out straight, band wrapped around your feet, holding the handles up by your sides.  Keeping your upper body planted on the ground, lift your legs up and bring your knees to your chest.  Extend them back out reversing the movement and bringing them back to the floor.  Keep going for 1 minute.

- 1 minute cross-body MC -

Round 3: Arms

Designated Cardio: Frog Stamp Jumps w/ Push Up - start in a high plank and jump your feet to the outside of your hands keeping your hands on the ground the whole time.  Jump your feet back out into a plank and do 1 push up.  Come back up into a plank and jump your feet to your hands again.  Keep alternating jump up, jump back, push up for 1 minute.

1. Lawnmowers - stand in a semi-lunge position with your left leg forward, right leg back straight, band underneath your left foot and handle out on the right side.  (Make sure your foot is relatively close to the handle to allow resistance when you pull.)  Using your right arm (left arm is lightly propped on your knee), pull the band up to your chest while turning your upper body to look toward the ceiling.  Release it back down close to the floor.  Pull up again.  Repeat that motion for 1 minute on the right arm, and then switch to the other side.

- 1 minute frog stamp jumps w/ push up -

2. Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press - start standing with one foot slightly in front of the other, band underneath the front foot, holding the handles by your sides.  From here, do a bicep curl, then immediately press the band handles up over your head.  Reverse the movement back down to starting position.  Keep going for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if the double-arm approach is too much, you can do this one arm at a time (holding the band in only one hand) to release some of the tension.  If you do this, go for 30 seconds on each arm.

- 1 minute frog stamp jumps w/ push up -

3. Resisted Lateral Raises - you're still in a standing position with the band under your feet and handles by your sides.  From here, keep your arms straight and lift the band up out to the side as high as you can.  It might not be a very high raise, and that's okay!  Lower back down.  Keep the raises going for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if the resistance is too much with the band under both feet, step one foot back so you're in a slight lunge and do the move with the band under one foot.

- 1 minute frog stamp jumps w/ push up - 

4. Straight Arm Tricep Kickbacks - this is another one you'll do standing either with the band under both feet or one depending on your resistance preference.  What you're doing is hinging slightly forward at the hips, chest up, gaze forward.  Keeping your arms straight with your palms facing front, raise your arms straight up behind you, squeezing the backs of your arms at the top of the raise.  Slowly lower your arms back down to your sides.  Keep raising and lowering for 1 minute.

- 1 minute frog stamp jumps w/ push up -

Remember to go through each round once more for the full workout today!  I hope your whole body feels it!

Readers: chat with me!  How was your holiday?  Did you stay active over the break or did you take the time to relax?  How are you getting back into the swing of physical activity now?  Do you enjoy resistance band workouts?

Cardio Interval Total Body Strength Workout

Happy Wednesday!  Today's workout is one I made for teaching my first-ever Total Body Sculpt class at VENT Fitness this past Friday.  People seemed to really enjoy it, and everyone worked up a sweat, so I thought I'd share it with you all, too! :)  It's a longer workout than what I usually post here, which is another goal for the blog in its second year - longer workouts you can do in the gym or at home.  For this one, all you need is a set of heavier weights and a set of light weights, and of course a water bottle, sweat towel, and exercise mat if you so desire.  I'd recommend warming up by jogging in place for a few minutes and doing a few jumping jacks just to get the blood flowing and heart rate up a bit.  After that, ready to get your whole body workin' today?  Keep reading for the details! 

Cardio Interval Total Body Strength Workout.jpg

Cardio Interval Total Body Strength Workout

Equipment Needed: a timer, a set of light weights (3-5lbs), and a set of heavy weights (8-12lbs)
What You'll Do: start with #1 and go through each pair three times, each exercise lasting 1 minute, for a total of 6 minutes per pair.  This workout will take about an hour after warm up, water breaks, and a cool down.  Ready to get sweaty and work those muscles?!

Pair 1 (x 3):

Military Presses (heavy weights) - start in a standing position with your elbows raised to shoulder height at a 90˚ angle holding weights in both hands above you.  From here, press the weights up above you so they touch, and bring them back down to shoulder height.

Mountain Climbers (no equipment) - start in a high plank position, shoulders over your wrists, and alternate running your feet and bringing your knees to your chest.  Trainer Tip: if the running is too much, simply step your legs in to your chest one at a time.

Pair 2 (x 3):

Hammer Curls (heavy weights) - like regular bicep curls, but turn your wrists so your palms face each other.  From here, lift the weights up toward your shoulders keeping your elbows by your ribs the entire time.  Remember to keep the motion slow (it's not a race!), especially as you lower them back down.

Weight Running (heavy weights) - start in a runner's stance, with your legs split, slight bend in the knees, and arms bent holding a weight in each hand.  From here, swing your arms as if you're running, focusing on really driving forward and up with your elbows.

Pair 3 (x 3):

Prone Tricep Pulses (light weights) - start lying on your stomach, arms straight back by your sides, a weight in each hand with your palms facing the ceiling.  Keeping your arms straight, lift them up off the floor slightly, and pulse them in place for 1 minute.

Feet to Hand Jumps (no equipment) - start in a high plank and jump your feet as close to your hands as you can get them, keeping your hands planted on the ground the whole time.  Jump back into a plank position.  Keep going for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if the jump is too much, simply step your feet up and back.

Pair 4 (x 3):

Weighted Side Lunges (heavy weights) - start standing with your hands by your sides holding a weight in each.  Step out to one side and lunge down as deep as you can, keeping the other leg straight as you go down.  Come back up to start and immediately step out into a side lunge on the other side.  Keep alternating side lunges, focusing on keeping your chest up and feet facing forward.

Skaters (no equipment) - think of these like what speed skaters do except instead of gliding on the ice, you're hopping side to side on the floor.  Start standing and hop to one side bringing your other leg diagonally behind you.  Touch that foot to the floor, and immediately hop to the other side.  Keep alternating hops for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if hopping is too much, just step out to the side instead.

Pair 5 (x 3):

Side-Lying Abductor Raises (1 heavy weight) - lie down on one side, propped up on your elbow with your legs out straight, feet stacked.  Hold the weight against your top leg between your hip and your knee.  Keeping the weight there the entire time, lift that leg up as high as you can, then lower it back down.  Keep lifting for 30 seconds on one leg, then 30 seconds on the other.  Trainer Tip: the farther down your leg you hold the weight, the harder this move will be.  So, closer to your hip = easier; closer to your knee = harder.  Adjust as you need to.

High Knees (no equipment) - from standing, alternate bringing your knees up to hip level, quickly jumping your feet.  If you need to rest from the cardio, simply march in place bringing your knees up to hip height.

Pair 6 (x 3):

Kneeling Leg Lifts (1 heavy weight) - start in an all-4's position with 1 heavy weight behind one knee.  Squeeze your hamstrings so the weight stays in place, and lift and lower that leg.  Try to get that thigh up to be parallel to the floor, and then tap your knee to the floor on the way down.  Lift for 30 seconds on one leg, then switch to the other.

Military Squats (no equipment) - start standing and jump your feet out like a jumping jack, but lower yourself down so your hands touch the floor.  Jump straight back up to standing and immediately jump back down, using your glutes and quads to lower yourself.  Keep your back straight and chest up as you jump.  Trainer Tip: if the jumping is hard on your knees or ankles, simply step your feet out to the side and then lower yourself down.

Pair 7 (x 3):

Side Plank Hip Dips (no equipment) - start out in a side plank on your elbow, either with your legs out straight and feet stacked (harder) or with one leg bent underneath you (easier).  From here, lower your hips down to the floor and then raise them up as high as you can.  Keep lifting and lowering your hips for 30 seconds each side.

Fast Bicycles (no equipment) - like regular bicycles, but pedal your feet fast.  Remember to focus on engaging your abs, and trying to get your shoulder blades up off the floor when you bring your elbow to meet your knee.

Pair 8 (x 3):

Banana Rolls (no equipment) - start on your back, arms by your ears and legs out straight, hovering over the ground.  Maintaining your arm and leg position throughout, hold that position for 10 seconds, then roll over onto your right side.  Hold for 10 seconds.  Then onto your stomach - hold for 10.  Finally, roll onto your left side and hold for 10.  Continue that pattern (back, right, stomach, left) for 1 minute.

Standing Crossover Crunches (no equipment) - stand with your hands behind your head, fingers behind your ears, elbows out.  Bring your opposite elbow to meet your opposite knee, using your abdominals to "crunch".  Alternate between sides as quickly as you can (like you're marching in place), keeping your chest up the entire time.

That's it for your workout!  I'd recommend stretching for 5 minute or so after this one, too, especially since this is a longer total body workout.  I hope you enjoy it... and feel the burn afterwards!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you do cardio and strength intervals during your workouts?  How do you like them?  What's your favorite cardio & strength combo?