NEW YORK — Summer is just around the corner, and you don’t want to be seen with the friends you acquired during the winter — Bobby Backfat and Sally Sparetire — still hanging around.
While many of us have been taking advantage of sweater weather by indulging at the dinner table, the beginning of a balmy summer season is only weeks away. But just a couple of exercises done in a circuit every day can help you tone up and shed winter bloat in time for swimsuit season.
We asked them to come up with movements tailored for male and female problem areas respectively, however Tucker and Kaplan emphasize that all of the moves are great for anyone of either gender trying to get in shape.
While the moves target specific problem spots — thighs and glutes for women, lower abdomen for men — Kaplan says that the most successful toning and weight loss strategy is to do a whole body workout that’s coupled with a nutritious diet.
“There are areas that people want to improve and they usually only work on those areas, but the truth is, if you’re actually looking to tighten and tone, you have to work the whole body,” Kaplan says. “There’s no such thing as spot reduction. It’s a myth.”
Be sure to work at your own personal level of difficulty when performing the exercises. Stop when you can no longer hold the form of the pose.
Below is a look at the exercise routine tailored to common female body concerns, designed by Tucker. Kaplan, a CHEK Practitioner Level 1, offers his routine for common male body issues.
(SEE SLIDESHOW FOR FULL WORKOUT)
Whitney Tucker presents five moves that women (and men) can do to make their bodies beach-ready.
Pelvic Lift on Ball — Take your average crunch and amplify the full-body benefit of it by balancing both feet on a medicine ball or something comparable to it. Keeping your shoulders on the ground, lift up your pelvis, keeping a straight spine. Raise one knee from a 90-degree angle and hold the pose. Replace the lifted foot on the ball and raise the opposite leg in the same manner. This exercise not only tones the core but also works out the glutes, calves, hamstrings and the posterior body.
Inverted Forearm Plank —Combine push-up action with the stretch of a downward dog in this move that works out the abs and spinal extensors. With your forearms and palms flat on the floor shoulder-width apart, maintain a neutral spine in a plank position. Staying on your toes, inch your feet as close as is possible to the shoulders, keeping wrists apart and your head away from the mat. Take care to avoid hunching your shoulders. Inch your feet back into plank position.
Side Lunge — Adding weights to this traditional side lunge will give some extra oomph to the toning of your adductors (the inner thighs), quads, glutes and pelvic muscles. Start standing with legs together, holding a weight in each hand. Step one leg to the side, knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Both feet should face forward. Lower the pelvis and lean slightly forward from the hips, keeping your spine straight. Return to standing position by pushing off your bent leg.
Balancing Curls — Stand with one leg off the ground, knee bent. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand. Prop that elbow forward of the ribs and flex at the elbow to bring the weight towards the shoulder. Repeat motion with opposite leg and arm. To increase difficulty, straighten the lifted leg parallel to the floor as you raise the weight towards the ceiling. At either level of challenge, this move tones the biceps and deltoids in addition to improving balance and stability.
The Pike — The pike not only tones the core and upper body, but it also gives you a rush of fresh blood to the head. Use a stable platform that is around hip height, such as a bed or the back of a couch. With your hands on the floor, establish an inverted L-shape with your toes on the edge of the surface and your torso supported by your extended arms. You are attempting to have your torso perpendicular to the floor and you legs parallel to the floor. Once you can maintain a neutral spine in the pike, raise one leg towards the ceiling, aligning the lifted leg with the spine. Replace lifted toes on the surface edge and do the same with the opposite leg.
Jared Kaplan presents five moves that men (and women) can do to make their bodies beach-ready.
Multi-directional Lunge — Improve your postural muscles and tone your glutes and hamstrings with a variation on the traditional lunge. Extend your right leg into a lunge directly in front of you. Move back to standing position and then extend your leg into a 45-degree lunge at a position of 2 o’clock on an imaginary clock face. Move back to standing and continue this pattern at the 3, 5 and 6 o’clock positions. Repeat on the opposite side, hitting the 10 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 11 o’clock positions. Be sure to pivot off toes and keep proper knee alignment (knees over toes) to avoid twisting your knee.
Medicine Ball Wood Chop — This move is excellent for toning your core, shoulder and leg muscles. While in a side lunge, making sure your knee is aligned with your foot and not twisting, grip a medicine ball with arms extended over outstretched leg. Rotate hips and trunk to lift the ball to the opposite side at shoulder height. Repeat on the opposite side.
Diagonal Reach — This move turns a crunch upside down, helping to improve your core and postural muscles. Start on all fours. Extend right arm forward and the left leg back, engaging your core muscles to maintain stability. Pull the respective elbow and knee into your chest. Extend the arm and leg again and then place on the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Reverse Curl — This move works on a problem area men often neglect, according to Kaplan: the lower abdominal muscles. Laying on the floor with arms extended at your sides, curl pelvis slowly and roll up your back, pulling knees up so that they are almost over your head. Roll back down again. Repeat, focusing on initiating movement from the lower abdomen, and make sure you're not levering with your arms.
Plyometric Push-Up With Clap — Put some power in your average push-up. Start in a regular push-up pose. Slowly lower yourself and then push off the ground to that you can clap between push-ups. This exercise will tone the upper body and core.