Ugh. Blah. Those are the most descriptive words for this time of year. If you feel like winter is dragging on forever and warm weather will never return, don’t despair! Spring will be here soon and so will the opportunity to show off those arms and legs that you’ve been sculpting since January 1.
We here at the American Council on Exercise have designed a little mid-winter workout circuit to help you get back on track if you’ve drifted away from your exercise program. And here’s some more good news: If your schedule makes getting to the gym difficult, these bodyweight exercises can be done at home with no equipment. The most important thing for achieving results from any exercise program is consistency. Even a little bit of exercise can go a long way IF it is something that you’re doing every day.
For optimal results, do this circuit four times through with only a minimal amount of rest between exercises (no more than 30 seconds) and two minutes between entire circuits. This circuit will work best if done three to four times per week, with at least one day of rest in between these strength exercises. Keep in mind that the rest day is NOT meant to be a sit-on-the-couch day—it is only a break from resistance training. Doing at least 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio such as fast walking, indoor cycling or even dancing will help burn the energy stored during winter hibernation. And on those days when you have a little time, doing this circuit at least once will keep you moving in the right direction—toward your fitness goals.
Do two to three sets of each exercise as an active warm-up, resting 15 to 20 seconds between each exercise.
Dirty dog: 10-12 reps with each leg
Front Plank: Work up to holding for 1 rep of 30-45 seconds
Glute bridge: 12-15 reps
Reverse crunches: 8-12 reps
Lunge with elbow instep: 6-8 reps each leg
For best results do three to four sets of this workout, with minimal rest between exercises. Rest for two to three minutes after completing the entire circuit and before starting the next one. The exercises alternate between higher reps for strength-based movements and lower-reps for explosive, power-based movements.
Inchworms: 8-10 reps
Forward lunge with arms drivers: 12-15 reps each leg
Push-ups: As many as possible with good form (until fatigue)
Squat jumps: EXPLOSIVE! Only 4-8 reps (no more than 8)
Side lunges: 12-15 reps each leg
Inverted flyers: 8-12 reps each leg
Mountain climbers: EXPLOSIVE! 6-10 reps each leg
Side plank: Hold for 20-30 seconds on each side
Bicycle crunches: 10-12 reps
V-ups: Hold for 20-40 seconds
Lunge jumps: EXPLOSIVE! 4-8 reps
Hold each stretch for 30-45 seconds and repeat entire series for 2 sets.