Upper Body + Cardio Circuit Workout (+ a $150 WishFIT GIVEAWAY!)

Upper Body + Cardio Circuit Workout | In Fitness and In Health

Hi everybody!  SUPER excited to get back to blogging today after a little hiatus, and not just back, but back with a great upper body workout and a HUGE GIVEAWAY!  

First, let's talk about the workout.  This one is all upper body focused (except one exercise that will work your back), and all you need is a stability ball.  I recommend choosing one that's medium sized for you - one that you can lay on top of with your hands and toes comfortably touch the ground, and where, if in a plank position with your legs on top of the ball, it lifts you to a height where your spine is in a straight line.  You'll be in a prone position for all exercises with the ball, and you'll alternate upper body exercises with... wait for it... burpees!  Not as enthusiastic about burpees as I am?  No worries.  There are modifications if you need them, and ways to progress the move if you choose to do so.  Ready to get started?

Upper Body + Cardio Circuit Workout | In Fitness and In Health

Upper Body + Cardio Circuit Workout

What You'll Need: a sturdy stability ball, a mat, and a timer.
What You'll Do: start with exercise 1 on the ball and stay on each exercise for 1 minute.  Go through 3 rounds total.  In each round, you'll add 5 burpees between every exercise.  So, for example, in round 1 you'll start with 5 burpees between moves.  Round 2 = 10 burpees between exercises, and round 3 you'll do 15.  The last round is meant to be challenging - push yourself and don't give up!

A note on burpees: the traditional burpee is done starting from a standing position, lowering into a squat, placing your hands down on the ground, jumping back into a plank, optional push up, and reverse the move back up to standing with an optional jump upwards.  Here are some ways to modify:

  • Modification: bend your knees into a squat position, place your hands on the ground, step back into a plank, optional push up if you want to, then step back up to starting position. Add the jump as you stand only if you want to.  This version is easier on the joints, and less cardio-heavy, but still keeps you moving.
  • Progression: move more quickly, adding the push up AS you jump your feet back into a plank, not afterwards.  To increase the cardio and leg work even more, add a tuck jump as you reverse the move back upwards.

Plank Walkout Push Ups - start in a plank position with your knees on top of the stability ball, legs straight, abs engaged.  Walk out on your hands to a push up position, allowing the ball to roll closer to your shins/ankles (the farther out you roll, the more your abs will engage).  Do 5 push ups here, then walk your hands back to starting position, keeping your feet up off the ground.  Keep going for 1 minute.

- Burpees (round 1 = 5; round 2 = 10; round 3 = 15) -

Alternating Birddog Plank Pulses (10 each side) - start with your lower abdomen/hips on the ball, right arm and left leg extended straight out.  Pulse your arm and leg for 10 reps, then immediately switch and pulse for 10 reps on the other side.  Keep alternating sides (10 reps each) for 1 minute.

- Burpees (round 1 = 5; round 2 = 10; round 3 = 15) -

Prone Triceps Lifts + Pulse (10/10) - start by lying on your stomach with the ball behind your back, arms extended straight back holding the ball between your palms.  From here, squeeze the ball keeping your arms straight to engage your triceps, and lift the ball up slightly off your back.  Lower back down.  Do 10 lifts, then keep the ball up and pulse for 10 reps, squeezing the ball between your hands the whole time.  Keep alternating 10 lifts and 10 pulses for 1 minute.

- Burpees (round 1 = 5; round 2 = 10; round 3 = 15) -

Reverse Hyperextensions - okay, so technically this last move works your erector spinae muscles and not your upper body, but we'll go with it and give your arms a break.  Start with the ball under your pelvis, hands flat on the floor, chest lowered slightly, and toes touching the floor if you can.  From here, lift your legs up straight as high as you can get them, ideally trying to get your thighs off the ball.  Lower back down to start, tap your toes to the floor (or lower down as much as you can), and raise back up again.  Keep the lifts going for 1 minute.

- Burpees (round 1 = 5; round 2 = 10; round 3 = 15) -

Repeat twice more, adding 5 more burpees to each round.  You got this!

And now that the workout is over... a little fun!

$150 WishFIT GIVEAWAY!!

$150 WishFIT Giveaway!

Okay, so you might have scrolled past that workout just to get to the giveaway details, and I don't blame you.  Guys, this giveaway is HUGE and I'm so excited to host it for you!  WishFIT is the gorgeous activewear line from the Australian-based boutique clothing company Wish, who so generously gifted me the leggings and tank I'm wearing in today's workout.  The leggings are a gorgeous abstract floral print, with a mesh insert at the back of the knee and a back zipper pocket.  Lovvvvve them!  I'm loving the tank too - lately I've been all about these low-armhole muscle tanks (anyone else digging these??).  This one fits so comfortably, and is made from really high quality material (not your typical thin cotton t-shirt fabric).  The stitching creates a subtle stripe pattern too, which adds a bit of flare to your basic black muscle tank.

WishFIT leggings
Laughing

Alright, onto the good stuff!  WishFIT is giving away $150 to one lucky blog reader so you can stock up on some awesome pieces to fuel your fashi-- ahem, fitness goals!  Check out their Instagram page to get inspired!  Details for entering the giveaway are below.  Winner will be chosen THIS FRIDAY, 8/19!  Good luck!  (In case anyone is wondering about shipping costs from Australia - they'll be covered!)  Also, don't forget to tell me how this workout goes for you!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you use stability balls in your training often?  What are your favorite exercises to do with them?  What do you look for in athletic apparel?  Have you jumped on the muscle tank trend? 

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!). 

15-Minute Whole Body AMRAP Workout

AMRAP workouts are quickly becoming a favorite of mine mainly because you can get a serious sweat going in a short amount of time.  For anyone new to this style of workout, AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds As Possible.  You have a set duration of time where you complete as many rounds as you can of a given exercise or series of exercises within that timeframe.  Today's AMRAP workout targets the whole body with 3 segments: upper body, lower body, and abs/core.  Each AMRAP is 5 minutes with 3 exercises to complete.  Ready to get your sweat on?!  Keep reading for the details!

15-Minute Whole Body AMRAP Workout

 

15-Minute Whole Body AMRAP Workout

AMRAP 1 - LEGS (5 minutes)

10 Tuck Jumps - start standing and swing your arms down by your sides, bending your knees.  Propel yourself up into the air bringing your knees to your chest.  Land back down softly on your feet.  Keep jumping for 10 reps.

10 Runner Stance Heel Touches (each leg) - Start in a runner's stance lunge - crouched down, finger tips lightly touching the ground, your right leg forward with all your weight on it, back leg extended back straight, toes lightly touching the floor with hardly any weight on that leg.  From here, and maintaining the crouched down position, bring your back leg forward so your left toes lightly touch your right heel.  Extend your left leg back out again, remembering not to shift any weight backwards as you do.  Keep bringing that left leg in and out for 10 reps, then switch.

10 Single-Leg Glute Bridge Thrusts (each leg) - lie down on your back, feet flat on the floor and knees bent.  Lift your pelvis so your butt is off the ground, and extend one leg straight up into the air.  From here, lower your butt down to the ground, tap, and raise back up.  Do that for 10 reps on one leg, then switch.

- continue this AMRAP for 5 minutes -

AMRAP 2 - CORE (5 minutes)

10 In & Outs - Start lying on the ground, face up, with your forearms flat on the floor.  Elbows are in line with your shoulders, and palms flat.  From here, bring your knees in to your chest while you bring your shoulders up off the floor.  Extend back down to hover feet over the floor (don't let them touch) and shoulders flat.  Continue that "in & out" pattern for 10 reps.

30 Cross-Body Mountain Climbers - here you're doing regular mountain climbers from a high plank position, but instead of regular "running" with your legs, bring them to the opposite side of your chest (e.g. right knee to left side).  Alternate running like that for 30 reps (each knee in = 1).

10 Superman Lifts - lie on your stomach, legs out straight and arms stretched overhead.  Using your whole mid-section (back included), lift both your legs and arms up off the floor simultaneously.  Keep your head aligned with your arms (i.e. look slightly downward at the floor) to keep the airway open.  Lift yourself up and down for 10 reps.

- continue this AMRAP for 5 minutes -

AMRAP 3 - ARMS (5 minutes)  

5 Push Ups - you know these.  Just remember to keep that core tight and spine aligned.  If you need/want to, do them from your knees, but remember to keep your spine aligned and butt down.

10 Plank-to-Pike Knee Touches - start in a high plank (on your hands).  From there, press back into a pike (down dog position), while simultaneously reaching one hand to the opposite knee (keeping your feet planted on the floor).  Go back down into a plank.  That's 1 rep.  Continue that pike-up knee-touch pattern for 10 reps, alternating sides as you go.

10 Frog Hops - from a plank position, hop your feet up to the outsides of your hands, so you land in a "leap frog" position.  Hop back to a plank.  That's 1 rep.  Keep the hops going for 10 reps, and make sure that your hands stay planted on the floor the entire time.

 - continue this AMRAP for 5 minutes - 

Take a deep breath and relax!  You're done!

Readers: chat with me!  Do you like AMRAP workouts?  What are some of your favorite exercises to do?  How did you spend your extra day in February?  What workouts are you looking forward to in March?