Summer whole body workout

My life changes so much depending on weather, my current location, my mood.. and millions of other factors. I work on maintaining a consistent schedule and lifestyle, as it is quite detrimental for my mental health (sounds like a joke, but it’s not really). It is because I love changes, and let my mind take me wherever it feels like going, that I believe it is imperative to keep some consistency to be productive, in a good mood, and healthy overall! Ayurveda explains it as a Vata disorder, or the disorder of the ether and air elements, and it can happen to anyone that is out of sync, traveling, going through stress or change. Being that I already have a strong Vata mind, I know from first hand experience how little it takes to throw it off balance.

Ever since moving to the San Francisco Bay from Florida last October, I see the changes that have slowly creeped up on me on many levels. I specially feel it in my workouts! I used to run, bike, and even swim in the ocean (not the best swimmer here), training for and racing triathlons. But ever since I moved to this colder, windier and hillier environment, I have been ditching the bike and swim, and as I am teaching more and more yoga, I have little time/energy/will for getting on the mat as well! So I’ve been mainly running, and not amazing distances or speed either, just for maintenance.

Well, my husband and partner in crime and I decided we definitely need to pick it up! I have always been the one to roll my eyes at typical weight-loss and fitness tips of tons of protein and heavy weight lifting, but I do realize I lack strength training in my workout diet! So we decided to add a few free style, Insanity type workouts to our weekly routines! It’s been a lot of fun, and I can’t say I have built a habit yet either - I have been skipping on my workouts in the last two weeks! I am training for a 25k trail race, and was a bit sick, so the strength training was put on hold yet again!

I am hoping to pick it up again after the race is done this weekend (I’m nervous.. and I will definitely be recapping it on my blog so keep in touch!). To find and share some motivation, I’ve put together a short but sweet workout you can do anywhere, anytime, only using your own body weight as resistance!

Of course, being a yoga instructor, my workout is inspired by some yoga moves! One thing that I have learned on the mat, and never in the gym, is that the slower you move, with more awareness, the more strength and awareness you are going to build. So before we start, my advice is be focused and watch your form, even when you get fatigued!

So here we go! Take a few minutes to warm up with some cardio or plyometric moves, like running, jump rope, or jumping jacks. Stretch. Then continue with this Summer whole body workout:

1. Upper body
  • Down dog to
  • Plank to
  • Chaturanga push-up
  • and back

    Downward facing dog is a staple in any yoga class, and it’s a great pose to build upper body strength as well as increase shoulder and back flexibility. Start with your palms shoulder distance apart, spread the fingers wide and engage your arms. Lift the hips up high and find length in your spine - when tight, people tend to round the upper back. If that happens, you can even bend your knees, but work on keeping the spine straight. You should feel a stretch here. If your spine is straight, straighten the legs and lower the heels towards the ground - they don’t have to touch, but it’s a great stretch for the backs of your legs, hamstrings and calves.

With control shift forward into Plank. Palms and feet shouldn’t ideally move when going from plank to down dog and the other way, so find your ideal distance. Take a few breaths in plank.

Maintain your body in a straight line and lower down into Low Push-up or Chaturanga. Your elbows should be close to your ribs. If you can hold it for a breath or two great, then press straight up into plank, and back to down dog.

2. Lower Body
  • Jump squats
  • Lunge

Time to bring our heart rate up and move a bit faster!

Jump squats - start with your feet parallel and hip distance apart. Bend your knees and lower the hips down, then spring up into a jump. Maintain your knees constantly soft and bend them when you lower down. Alternatively, if jumping does not work for you (you should never feel any pinching or pain in your joints when working out), then do regular squats.

Lower the hips down as far as it feels comfortable (you can go lower than I am in the picture). If you’ve ever done cross-fit, you’ve probably heard them instructing you to get the hips all the way down. According to yoga alignment, you shouldn’t bring the hips lower than the knees (90 degree angle), in order to protect the joints. Your choice, but either way do your squats with caution.

REPEAT 10x jump squats, then hold your squat for 10 breaths. If this feels easy/once you build strength, do 10x jump squats, hold for 10, pulse for 10, again 10x jump squats.

Lunges - good ol’ lunges don’t need much of an intro. Bend the front knee 90 degrees, meaning don’t let your knee go pass your ankle. Lower your thigh to about parallel to the ground, maintaining the back knee bent. Repeat 15x each side, hold for 15, then jump switch to the other side.

3. Core
  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Side Plank with leg raise

Planks and variations are by far my favorite core workouts, because they really work the whole body.

Start with your regular plank, this is your foundation for building strength and finding proper alignment! Spread your fingers nice and wide, and distribute weight equally on your whole palm (to avoid wrist pain; most of us shift weight into the heel of the palm). Align wrists under your shoulders, and maintain the body in one straight line - from shoulders to hips to heels. Avoid both dropping and elevating the hips too much. Pull the belly in, press the floor away from you to activate the upper body. Engage your gluteus, squeeze the inner thighs together, press the heels back firing up the legs. The whole body is working here! Hold for 30 sec to 1 minute.

Side plank - maintain the body in that straight and engaged position, and shift your weight into right palm, coming on the outside edge of the right foot. Press the right palm into the ground and lift your hips up higher. You can always modify by bringing the bottom knee, or the top foot on the ground. Hold for 30 sec, repeat on the other side.

Side plank with leg raise - kick your side plank up a notch. Only once you feel stable in your side plank, lift the upper foot up - you can start by just lifting a few inches and work on engaging the core and gluteus and with time lifting it up higher.

 

SAMPLE WORKOUT SEQUENCE (15-20 MIN):

  • 3-5 MINUTES CARIO WARM UP (RUN, JUMPING JACKS)
  • Down dog 15 sec
  • Down dog to plank to chaturanga push-up, back to down dog 10x
  • Down dog 15 sec
  • 30 sec rest
  • 10 jump squats, 10 sec hold, 10 times pulse, 10 jump squats
  • 30 sec rest
  • 15 right leg luges, 15 sec hold, 15 sec pulse
  • 15 left leg lunges, 15 sec hold, 15 sec pulse
  • 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec - 1 minute plank
  • 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec plank, 30 sec side plank R, 30 sec plank, 30 sec side plank L
  • 30 sec rest
  • 30 sec plank, 30 sec side plank with leg raise R, 30 sec side plank with leg raise L
  • 30 sec rest
  • COOL DOWN AND STRETCH
    REPEAT THE SEQUENCE 2-3 TIMES FOR A FULL WORKOUT (approx. 45MIN).

 

Share