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Six moves you need for a strong, fit body.

STRETCHERY0415_01_0407Erratic work schedules, peak hour traffic, a lot of traveling and the monsoons can wreak havoc on your exercise regime. Fret not, we’ve got you covered so you can no longer come up with an excuse to work out. This prop free workout can be done in your home, hotel room and when you are taking a lunch break at the office. You can thank us later

I’ve always been an exercise nut and never feel good unless I’ve worked up a good sweat – at least on the weekdays. Unlike most women who spend all day on the treadmill, cross trainer and stair-master – I choose to divide my time between HIIT for cardio and squats, burpees, push-ups, and lunges. Using your own body weight for resistance has a ton of health benefits such as accelerating fat burning, breaking out of weight loss plateaus, lean muscle growth and kick-starting the metabolism. Unlike cardio, the afterburn with resistance training is even greater so you can burn calories even on a rest day when you are spending time on the couch over the weekend. Consistent body weight training improves your reflexes, increases your strength and raises your basal metabolic rate. I find that it becomes easier for me to put on lean muscle if I workout my legs consistently – squats, lunges and glute bridges work beautifully for me. After a year and a half of consistent leg days every weak and an emphasis on squats, lunges and glute bridges- my derriere looks more defined and I love the way my jeans and leggings fit now. It’s all about feeling comfortable with your body and embracing the way it looks. My upper body is still not half as strong as my legs so I swim whenever I get a chance and do push ups and TRX to work my upper body and strengthen my core, arms, and chest to balance it out.

Squats – in the age of belfies or butt selfies, the booty has become extremely popular and if Instagram is anything to go by, it’s only becoming more popular. A strongly toned derriere helps support your core and your spine and makes you look fabulous in jeans and shorts. The squat is the easiest way to tone those glutes, especially when you are pressed for time. Done regularly and with correct form, you can hope to see results in just a few weeks. Variations you can try – goblet squat, sumo squat, one-legged squat or jump squat.

Tip – pay attention to your form and make sure your knees don’t go over your toe line. Imagine that you are pushing your butt back into a chair and visualize sitting on that imaginary chair as you squat.

Push up – contrary to popular belief, push ups aren’t just for men and can do women a whole deal of good too. This no prop exercise isn’t easy to master but is a great way to tone and strengthen your arms, chest and stabilize your core. Done correctly, it can be used as a warm-up or as cardio in between sets of resistance training. Variations to try – half push up, elbow push up, one arm push up and military push up.

Tip – pay attention to form and tighten your core and don’t let your belly hang loose when you are performing a push up. Remember even If you do three correctly, it’s better than you doing ten half-assed push-ups.

Burpees – this explosive full body exercise is a great way to bring in your cardio when you are pressed for time. It is dynamic, fast-paced and extremely effective at toning the midsection and working up your heart rate. Put simply, the burpee is a squat, plank, push up and jump – working your entire body. There are several variations of the burpee and crossfitters, athletes and HIIT enthusiasts incorporate it into their workouts for efficiency and to maximize their workouts.

Plank – the only way to get rid of unsightly flab is to stabilize the core. The plank is the most effective exercise that engages your core, protects your back and helps tone and whittle the middle. You can start with a 30-second plank and work your way up to 3 minutes. At first, you will lose balance and struggle to stay up but it will get easier with time. Variations to try are the bench plank, wall plank, forearm plank, elbow plank and side plank.

Lunges – if you’ve seen Kayla Itsines, Beyonce, Ciara or Rihanna’s Instagram feed, you’ll see the emphasis they give to leg day. Lunges, like squats, are a compound functional exercise that helps give you a shapely derriere and a nice set of legs you can flaunt. Variations to try – walking lunges, forward lunge and reverse lunge.

Tip – pay attention to form and make sure your knee doesn’t go over the toe line.

Glute Bridge – This is one of my favorite exercises as it gives the spine a nice massage and allows you to feel loose and limber. Done pretty often in yoga and pilates classes, it is used to stabilize your back and strengthen your glutes so you get a nice and round booty. Lie flat on your back with your feet bent at the knees. Contract your abs and push through your heels to lift your hips off the floor. Keep your heels firmly planted on the floor and bring your hips back gently to the floor. Repeat this 10-15 times and do 3 sets. You can thank me later.

Carry a water bottle, towel, anti-bacterial wipes a mat with you for core exercises. Make sure that you are wearing a high-impact full coverage sports bra and breathable workout clothing from Stretchery.


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