Have you ever been half-way though a workout and thought, I think I can do more, but what? Without re-inventing the workout or spending an extra 45 minutes in the gym, here are eight simple bodyweight exercises you can do at the beginning, middle or end of your workout that will really charge up your heart rate and muscles while burning fat!
Kind of like a high kick, but without the bend in the knee, this exercise is great for hip mobilization. If you're a runner, this is an exercise you want to do before your feet hit the street (or treadmill). Standing clear of anything immediately in front or behind you, simply kick swing your leg straight out in front of you as high as you're able. Don't force your leg to go too high. That will come naturally with momentum after you've been swinging a while. Allow your leg to pass through and swing back. Continue swinging on one leg for about 30 seconds before switching over. Do leg swings two to three times on each side.
Side Leg Swing
Similar to a leg swing. This exercise really helps your hips loosen up, while honing in on stability through your leg joints. Face something that you can grasp firmly, like a pole, corner of a wall or back of a chair. Without bending your knees, swing your leg across the opposite leg, then back past neutral in the opposite direction - like a pendulum. Continue swinging side to side for about 30 seconds allowing each of the swings to naturally go wider and wider before switching. Do side leg swings two to three times on each side.
Start down on the ground in a straight-arm push up position. Bring your right knee up and in toward your left elbow. Return your right foot back to the starting position. Now repeat by bringing your left knee to your right elbow. Concentrate on keeping your abs drawn in. This is a great whole body exercise that really gets into the abs! Start with a 30-second mountain climber, and gradually work up to more time and greater speed.
Peppering sprints into a workout that's well underway (meaning you're already warmed up) wakes up your whole body and shoots heart rates high. The metabolic charge sprints give to your body is also pretty impressive. You can "sprint" on just about any piece of cardio, including elliptical machines and stair climbers, but I'll use running as an example. Again, presuming you're warmed up, start running. After about a minute start accelerating. Try adding in a 30, 60 and 90 second acceleration to any workout and you'll feel motivated to go just as hard, if not harder, during your next workout.
Get your aggression out with a few sets of crossover punches - and get your abs in great shape at the same time! Standing tall, in an athletic stance - knees slightly bent, feet hip-width apart and abs tight - begin punching out and across your body. One of the most important things about this exercise is holding your abs tight. You'll really be able to engage them if you keep them drawn in every time you punch. Punch for about 60 seconds, three times.
Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.
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