Fitness Friday 9/25: Work Your Legs with Lunges

Hey hey, it's Friday!  How is your week going?  I'm writing this post about a week in advance, so the packing hasn't started as I type this, but as you're reading this now I'm probably buried in boxes and my apartment is likely in all kinds of disarray.  Eek!  I hope you're enjoying the guest posts this week!  There will be one more guest post on Monday (teaser: she's an avid runner who's letting us in on some great tips to deal with "runger"), and then it's back to the regular scheduled programming on the blog... but from New York!  I'll be able to tell you all about the move and our journey to upstate moving in together.  I'm excited!

In the meantime, here's your Fitness Friday post for your workday workout today!  I hope by now you've gotten a few coworkers and/or friends involved in the fitness, so go round 'em up and get to lunging around the office today. :)  Keep reading for details...

Fitness Friday 9/25: Work Your Legs with Lunges

Fitness Friday 9/25

10 Push Off Side Lunges - start standing and lunge to one side, keeping your chest up and gaze forward.  Lunge down as far as you can, and then push off that leg to return upright, bringing your knee up to hip level.  Immediately lunge back down on the same leg and push off again.  Continue the side lunge push off pattern for 10 reps on each leg. 

10 Step Through Lunges + Pulse - start in a lunge position (either side), knees bent at about 90˚, hands on your hips or out in front of you.  From there, take your back leg and step through into a forward lunge, and pulse once.  Then reverse that move, taking your forward leg and stepping it back through into a backward lunge.  Pulse again.  Keep stepping forward and backward on the same leg for 10 reps, then switch sides.  Trainer Tip: only one leg should be moving forward/backward; keep the other foot planted on the floor. 

10 Walking Lunges - just like it sounds, you start in a lunge position and travel forward with every subsequent lunge.  Hands can either be on your hips or out in front of you, and remember to keep your chest up and gaze forward. 

Remember to repeat these lunge variations 2 more times through for the full workout, and try to get it in 3 times today.  Enjoy the lunging!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you like lunges?  What's your favorite leg exercise to target the quads?  What's everyone up to this weekend?  Any fun, active plans?

Buns & Guns Dumbbell Circuit Workout

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  I'm in full-fledged packing mode now as my boyfriend and I are moving in together in 2 weeks!  It's a super exciting time, but also getting a bit stressful.  He and I were wondering how we were going to fit in our workouts at the gym between all this packing and cleaning of both our apartments.  And you know what?  We aren't.  The packing and hauling is a workout enough!  It's not anything close to what we'd do in the gym, but I'm trying to remember rest is important during these stressful and sometimes exhausting times.  Luckily he does have a set of resistance bands and a few dumbbells at his place, so if there's time, I'll probably try to fit in this workout at least once while we're here!

This one's a fun circuit workout that targets your glutes (buns) and biceps & shoulders (guns).  All you need is a set of dumbbells and some floor space, so if you have some weights at home, grab 'em and have some fun!  And of course, you can do this one in the gym, too.  Keep reading for the details of the workout and a note on selecting an appropriate amount of weight.

Buns & Guns Dumbbell Circuit Workout

Buns & Guns Dumbbell Circuit Workout

Equipment needed: a set of medium to heavy dumbbells and some floor space.  
For beginners: I'd recommend 8-10lbs, and go through this circuit twice (once per leg with 1 set of curls and 1 set of presses).
For more advanced fitness levels: I'd recommend 10-12lbs, and go through this circuit 4 times (twice per leg, and 2 sets of curls & presses total).

Here's an example:
Circuit 1 = right leg all the way through with 10 bicep curls between each exercise
Circuit 2 = left leg all the way through with 10 shoulder presses between each exercise
if you want to continue...
Circuit 3 = repeat right leg w/ bicep curls
Circuit 4 = repeat left leg w/ shoulder presses
Feel free to modify the amount of curls and presses you do between each exercise based on your own fitness level.

20 Dumbbell Curtsey Lunges + Pulse - start standing with a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.  Holding the dumbbells by your side, bring one foot diagonally back behind you (e.g. with your right foot, step back and to the left, like a curtsey).  As you step, make sure you're lunging down, and pulse once before coming back to standing.  Do 20 lunges.

20 Single Leg Deadlifts - start standing with a dumbbell in each hand.  Keeping one foot planted on the ground and that leg straight, slowly lower the dumbbells as close to the floor as you can, lifting the other leg straight out behind you as you go down, forming a T position with your body.  Slowly raise yourself back up to starting position for 1 rep.  Continue the deadlifts for 20 reps total.

25 Single Leg Glute Bridges (weighted) - lie on the ground, one leg bent with your foot flat on the floor, other leg raised high in the air.  Keep a dumbbell resting on your hips/lower abdomen, and raise your pelvis up toward the ceiling, activating your glutes and quads.  Lower yourself back down to the floor.  Keep raising your pelvis up for 25 reps, making sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of the raise.  Trainer Tip: if the added resistance of the weight is too much, do them without the dumbbell.  If you need to, you can also do them with both feet on the ground.

30 Runner Stance Heel Touches - crouch down on one leg, hands on the ground, other leg extended back behind you, toes lightly touching the floor, as if in a runner's stance.  (All your weight should be on the front leg here.)  From here, bring your back leg forward so your toes meet the heel of your stationary foot.  Extend the that leg back out, tap your toes to the floor again, and bring it back in to meet your heel.  Continue that pattern for 30 reps.  Trainer Tip: your front leg should be bent such that your quads engage, but you shouldn't be crouched so far down that your butt is touching your lower leg.

30 Kneeling Rainbows - get in an all-fours position on the ground, with one leg extended out straight, toes touching the floor.  From here, you'll make a "rainbow" in the air with your leg by bringing it up as high as you can and arching over side to side.  Do 30 "rainbows" total on one leg. 

Remember to go through this circuit on your other leg next to get 'em both feelin' the burn, then once more each side for the full workout, alternating bicep curls or shoulder presses between each exercise.  Enjoy! 

Readers: chat with me!   How was your weekend?  Do anything awesome?  What's your favorite glute burner exercise?  How about for your arms? 

5 Minute Do Anywhere Quad Burner Workout

It's Thursday!  Which means it's almost Friday!  Woo!  Well, this week I've posted a workout for your abs and a workout for your upper body, so let's get the lower half today.  This workout you can do absolutely anywhere, and only takes a minimum of 5 minutes to complete.  I'm a huge fan of super quick workouts like this one to save for the days when I'm too busy to make it to a class or the gym, but still want to feel like I did something for my muscles.  Ready to get to work?  Keep reading...

5 Minute Do Anywhere Quad Burner Workout

5 Minute Do Anywhere Quad Burner Workout

5 exercises, 1 minute each, don't stop in between.  If you want to make this workout last a little longer to really feel the burn, go through it 2 or 3 times total. 

Alternating Lunge Jumps - start in a lunge position and propel yourself up into the air, switching legs mid-jump, and land back down on the opposite side you started on.  Keep alternating jumps for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: if you have difficulty with the impact of this exercise on the knees, do step back lunges instead.

Low-to-Mid Squats + Hold - crouch down so your knees are completely bent, butt touching your heels and your feet flat on the floor.  From here raise yourself up so your quads are parallel to the floor.  Hold yourself there for 5 seconds, then lower back down to start.  Keep alternating raise, hold for 5, lower for 1 minute.

Down Dog to Hover Planks - these are fun!  Start in a down dog position and hold for 15 seconds.  Then lower yourself into a plank and bend your knees so they are hovering just above (not touching) the floor.  Hold that position for 15 seconds.  Do each position once more for a total of 1 minute.

Plyo Squats - start in a squat position as low as you can get, arms bent as if in a prayer position.  From here, propel yourself up into the air, swinging your arms down by your sides as you jump.  As you land back down, immediately lower yourself back down into a squat.  Remember, be light on your feet and keep the motion fluid.  Continue for 1 minute.  Trainer Tip: to decrease the intensity, simply squat in place without the jumps.

Side Lunges + Knee Raise - start standing.  Step out to the right side, keeping both feet facing forward and your left leg straight, and lower yourself down into a lunge.  Then push off your right foot to come back up to standing, and raise that knee up to your chest.  Keep the lunge + raise pattern going for 30 seconds on the right leg, then switch immediately to the left with no break.

Have fun with this workout!  Feel free to keep going 1 or 2 more times through if you're not feelin' the burn quite yet!  Or, incorporate this quickie workout at the end of a leg training day for a great workout finisher! 

Readers: chat with me!  What's your favorite leg day exercise?  How often do you train your legs & glutes?  Do you ever do quickie workouts like this one while you're on the go or waiting around?