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Exercise Index: Tabata #1

Air Squat

Air squats are a great way to learn the proper form for squats. Once you’ve mastered them, you can move on to weighted squats safely and with a much smaller risk of injury. Air squats also help to build both a solid strength foundation and balance in your lower body. They’re easy to master and very effective at tightening up those booty muscles. And because you don’t need to use additional weight, air squats are a perfect move for an at-home workout. If you do them at a fast enough pace, you can even elevate your heart rate and get breathing pretty heavily.  

 

What you Feel: Quads and Glutes

 

What to Do:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Your arms should be hanging loosely by your side or in front of you. 

  2. Engage core muscles and pull shoulder blades together slightly to push out your chest.

  3. Squat back as if you were about to sit in a chair. Keep your weight on your heels and keep your core tight. Make an effort to keep your knees externally rotated (don’t let them collapse inward).

  4. Make sure your lower back curve is maintained and keep heels flat on the floor the whole time. Hips will descend lower than knees. (The eventual goal is to touch your glutes to the backs of your calves.)

  5. As you lower down, you can either raise your arms straight in front of you or keep them bent in front of your chest. Focus on keeping your torso upright and core tight.

  6. Straighten your legs and squeeze your butt as you return to a standing position.

Lying Toe Touches

You want a strong, defined abdomen to power you through workouts and to look good in a swimsuit. That's where the toe-touching exercise comes in. It works the middle and upper region of your ab muscles. The toe touch looks simple enough, and it is. But, attention to form is critical to keep your back healthy and to make the move as effective as possible. 

 

What you Feel: Core and Hamstrings

 

What to Do:

  1. Lie down with your back on the floor or on a mat and stretch your arms straight out above your head. Lift both legs so the soles of your feet face straight up towards the ceiling.

  2. Roll your head, neck and shoulders off the mat as you reach your hands toward your toes. Pull your abdominals into your spine as your lift up and maintain a strong neck -- neither curling it to your chest nor letting it fall back.

  3. Hold the position, with your shoulder blades lifted off the floor, for two to four counts.

  4. Slowly release your upper body and arms to complete one repetition.

Squat Thrust

The squat thrust is an excellent cardio and strength training exercise. It is a calisthenics exercise that uses your bodyweight with little or no gym equipment to activate muscle groups throughout your whole body, particularly strengthening more of your lower body. Squat thrust is a highly versatile compound movement that helps in improving the cardiovascular health, muscle mass and fat burning. It is a great warm-up exercise usually performed quickly to boost its effectiveness.

 

What you Feel: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core

 

What to Do:

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging at your sides.

  2. Bend down and place your hands on the ground before hopping your legs back into pushup position.

  3. Quickly spring your legs forward to the bottom of a squat and jump back to the starting position.

Wall or Knee Push Ups

Push-ups are one of the most effective bodyweight exercises you can incorporate into your routine. Targeting your arms, chest, back, and shoulders, it takes a decent amount of strength to complete multiple reps correctly. If you struggle to perform standard push-ups on the ground, wall push-ups are a great starting point. Using a wall removes some of the load, allowing you to strengthen your muscles, perfect your form, and prepare you for standard push-ups. With proper form, wall push-ups activate the stabilizer muscles in your midsection, including your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles.

What you Feel: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Core and Glutes

Wall Push Ups:

What to Do:

  1. Stand arm's distance from a sturdy wall with your feet under your hips.

  2. Place your palms on the wall, shoulder-width apart at shoulder height. This is the starting position.

  3. Take a step backward with both feet. Your legs should be straight. Keep your weight on the balls of your feet.

  4. Lower your chest toward the wall by bending your elbows. Your shoulder blades should retract as you move.

  5. Lower your body until your upper arms are even with your back.

  6. Pause for a second at the bottom of the movement.

  7. Press back to the starting position.

 

Knee Push Ups:

What to Do:

  1. Starting with a standard push-up position. Get down on your knees with your feet crossed behind you.

  2. With your knees to head forming a straight line and arms straight with hands shoulder-width apart on the ground. This is the starting position.

  3. Begin exercise by lowering your chest to the ground by bending at the elbows.

  4. Don't let your hips sag down.

  5. Pause, then push back up to starting position. This completes one rep.

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