Wednesday Workout: 4 Exercise Core & Upper Body Quickie Circuit

Good morning! Each week I always hope that I do a workout that is shareable with you guys. This doesn’t always happen, and to be honest, up until Monday night at the gym I wasn’t really sure I would even have a workout for you this week! Fear not, though, I not only have a workout for you, but it’s a super quickie circuit focusing on upper body and core- something I haven’t specifically focused on in any recent workouts.

As I’ve mentioned I am still fighting a cold so I’m taking my workouts down a notch. I wasn’t planning on working out on Monday, but I ended up being in meetings/trainings from 9:30-4:15 so saying I was going a little stir crazy is an understatement! I just felt like I needed some type of movement- nothing crazy or too strenuous, but something to get my blood flowing. I knew it was the right choice to go walk on the treadmill when the time and miles flew by. After I finished, I came up with this little circuit I am going to share with you today- it’s a perfect finisher or if you’re short on time, you can add a few more rounds and call it a day!

4 exercise core & upper body quickie circuit

Here are some explanations for the exercises:

  • Russian Twist & Press- Starting in a standard Russian Twist position (in a seated position, engage your core and lean back a little while keeping your chest open. You can either lift your feet up to bent knees, straight leg or keep them on the ground), twist your weight over to the right and when you bring it back through center, press it up at a 45* angle. Repeat to the other side so it goes: twist, press, twist.
  • Supine Extension- Grab a weight and lie on your back with your arms extended up over your chest and your legs straight up over your hips with your feet flexed. Next, inhale and make sure you engage your core as you lower both your arms and legs down as low as you can while keeping your lower back glued to the ground. Once you reach your lowest point, start your exhale and lift back up to the starting position. To make this easier, you can bend your knees instead of doing straight leg lowers, drop one leg at a time or ditch the weight for the arm lowers (lat pull).
  • Straight Leg Weight Presses– in the same position as the exercise above, you’re going to engage your core and lift your shoulder blades off the ground and reach the weight towards your feet.
  • Pull-ups- I was able to do 3 reps each round, but if you can do more- rock that! or, if you’re still working on your pull-ups, you can feel free to use a band or maybe to TRX pull-ups.

See? That’s it! Granted, the moves are challenging, but you can always modify up or down depending on your current fitness level. Form always trumps difficulty or reps. One other thing to note is that if you don’t have weights or a pull-up bar handy, you can do this with just your bodyweight (for a move to mimic pull-ups, I would suggest a superman pull).

I’d love to know if you try this 🙂

Questions for you: Do you like to do quickie finisher circuits at the end of a cardio or heavy weight focused workout? What type of workouts would you like to see more of/less of this year? Do you like the short ones like this or do you prefer the longer, full body ones?

Wednesday Workout: Full Body Pyramid Style Strength Workout

Hi there! I’ve got a fun workout for you that left me rather sore last week. I’m still not totally sure if I was sore for 3 days from this workout alone, or if it was also because of the towel workout I taught before this one. Regardless, I really liked this workout and felt like it hit all the bases for a full body workout.

I’ve posted a pyramid style workout before (Wednesday Workout: Pyramid Workout), and while this one today is similar to the other one, I did mix up the way the exercises were laid out and the cardio that I did with them. I went with 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest for the cardio format since I think people are sometimes more apt to “give it their all” when they have 45 seconds to work rather than 60 seconds. I know I push myself more to finish it without taking breaks! You’ll notice that the cardio exercises mimic or compliment the strength pyramid exercises… might as well give those muscles a little extra burn before moving on, right?! Also, if you didn’t want to do cardio and wanted to keep the workout shorter by just doing strength, feel free to leave it out entirely. I’ve done that before and I still finished the workout sweaty and tired.

Full Body Pyramid Strength Workout

To help save on time, I did break down some of the rep and exercise combos to be unilateral (no need to do 40 1-legged dead lifts on each side!).

Most of the moves here have made an appearance on the blog before, but if you’re confused about anything, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a question in the comments.

Questions for you: What’s your preferred time for a cardio blast? How long can you give it your all? Do you like to have your cardio moves match the strength move you’ve just completed?


Wednesday Workout: 3-2-1 Strength, Cardio, Core Workout

I’ve always been a fan of the 3-2-1 style workout. Whether it be 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of core or 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of strength, 1 minute of core (like this workout)- or even just 3 strength exercises, 2 cardio moves and 1 core move, I think it’s a great format that will leave you feeling like you’ve had a total body workout.

In the case of today’s workout, I went with the 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of core format. I tried to build off of the strength moves, especially with the leg sets. What I mean by that, is that I tried to do each minute of the strength set based off of the same move. Example: lunges- right leg, lunges- left leg, alternating lunges with a twist. I wanted a chance to make the muscles burn, but didn’t want to do 3 minutes of the same move because, well, that’s boring to me.

3-2-1 Strength, Cardio Core WorkoutSorry, this isn’t my prettiest workout graphic, but I was having trouble figuring out how to organize the exercises and excel was the easiest way 🙂

Most of the moves should be fairly self-explanatory, but here are a few that might need explaining:

  • Row to curl- I learned this from my friend Tim. It’s best to use a barbell here- perform an underhand grip row and when you’re in the contracted position (bar is up against your rib cage, elbows are back and reaching towards the ceiling), perform a curl, then extend to the contracted row position and back to the starting position. Repeat. It’s a small movement, but man it’s effective!
  • Bench jacks- straddle the bench and jump your feet on and off
  • Plank hold w/weight pass right left- in a high plank position, put a weight outside of your right hand then take your right hand, grab the weight and move it to the center. Then, take your left hand and grab the weight and move it to outside of your left hand (if it was on the ground). Repeat. The key here is to keep your hips down and weight spread evenly. The only thing moving should be your arms/hands.

Let me know if you have further questions- I’m always happy to explain things in more detail!

Questions for you: What’s your favorite workout format? Do you use the 3-2-1 format often?

Also! I wanted to let you know about a really great workout that The Ultimate Bootcamp is hosting this Saturday from 9-10am. It’s $25, but all of the proceeds go towards The One Fund. Here are additional details, as well as a link for you to sign up if you’re around!

Ultimate Bootcamp is hosting two fundraiser workouts in Boston & Framingham to support those running the 2014 Marathon and those that were affected by last year’s events. All of the proceeds from these workouts will be donated to The One Fund. The workouts, designed for beginner to intermediate fitness levels, will be a rewarding day of fun, heart-pumping outdoor bootcamp. For more information and to register, visit:

PS I want to wish my friends Meredith and her twin, Kim, a very happy birthday!

Wednesday Workout: 10-10-10 Pre-Flight Workout & A Standing Ab Workout

It’s your lucky hump day today- I’ve got TWO workouts for you… and a video! *cue happy dance* 😉

Last week I had to travel for work and since I knew I wouldn’t have time to workout while I was there (really short trip), I decided to get up super early to get in a quickie workout before my 7:30 flight. Even if it’s not a long workout, I like to try to get SOMETHING in on a day of travel where I know I’ll be on a plane for a number of hours and then sitting in meetings for even more hours. It helps wake me up and give me energy to tackle the day.

So, I rolled out of bed at 4:45am and did this quick, 30 minute workout before my flight and felt great!

I split it up to be 10 minutes cardio, 10 minutes strength and 10 minutes core so that I could have a full body workout. It’s a little all over the place because I picked 10 different cardio and core exercises, but that’s what I needed to get me through the workout!

10-10-10 pre-flight workout

And… you’re done! I was actually sweating quite a bit by the time I finished this workout and I felt like I really worked all of the key muscles to work in a short workout… aka, this workout gave me a lot of “bang for the buck”.

If you don’t have weights, you can easily swap out some of the moves and replace them with body weight exercises. Think: Triceps dips, push-ups, Down-Dog push-ups, etc.

Most moves are pretty common, but some that may need explaining are:

Hammer Kicks
Toe Touches
Windshield Washer

Let me know if you try this!

Next up: Standing Ab Workout

My kickboxing class on Saturday is getting so crowded that there just aren’t enough mats for everyone to use at the end for our core work time. Instead, I’ve been doing a bunch of standing ab exercises, which can be just as effective as core exercises done on the ground. This will only take you about 10 minutes to complete, which is a great way to end a workout!

standing ab workout

And, since I’m loving workout videos lately, I filmed one on Sunday for you guys to do if you want to DO the workout with someone (sometimes that’s the motivation you need to actually do a workout at home, right?). Again, my videos definitely need work, but it’s all good… that will come eventually! For now, try to focus on the moves rather than my mistakes 😉

Questions for you: If you’re running short on time, what are the “must have” exercises you’d include in your workout? Do you prefer standing ab routines or mat exercises? Are you apt to get up early to squeeze in exercise before a trip?

Wednesday Workout: Strength/Cardio & Core/Cardio Super Sets

Happy hump day! I’ve got a fun workout for you today. I played around with some different compound moves, as well as the format, to create this workout. In my UXF Burn classes, we are regimented to a 60 second time interval for most formats. While I like teaching in 60 second intervals (it gives time for me to demo, coach, give tips and walk around to correct form), I hate actually doing 60 second interval workouts. I find myself sick of the exercise by the time 45 seconds rolls around and usually cop out on the last 15 seconds (yes, fitness instructors do that too). So, I would rather count reps or do shorter time intervals (and give it my all throughout the whole interval) than do 60 seconds half-assed. Anyone else like this?

That’s why I like this workout. I set it up to be 30 second timed intervals of a compound strength move (most bang for your buck), followed by 30 seconds of a cardio move. From there, we moved right to the core move for 30 seconds and that same cardio move, again for 30 seconds. We repeated that once before moving on to the next set. I didn’t realize it when I was making up the workout, but that’s a lot of cardio in each set! I love cardio, so I didn’t mind 😉

Strength_Cardio & Core_Cardio Super Sets

Some the moves were hard to describe, so here are some links/pictures to help:

Squat, Twist & Curl– it’s 50 seconds in!
Calf raise, front DB raise & row
Forward lung & press
Side plank with T raise
Chest Press & Leg Lifts

1 Legged Tricep Kickback

photo 1 photo 2

1 armed/1 legged v-sit

photo 3

If you have other questions on any of the moves, don’t hesitate to ask!

Let me know if you try it- you definitely won’t be bored during it 🙂

Questions for you: What’s your feeling on timed intervals? What makes workouts go by fast for you?