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Exercise Index: Tabata #4

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.

Hand Release Push Ups

Hand-release push-ups build upper body strength. If you’re having trouble with traditional push-ups, using hand-release push-ups slows you down and gives you a chance to practice your movement pattern from the floor to a full push-up position. By allowing your muscles to relax between reps, hand-release push-ups give you a chance to focus on your form with each new rep.

What you Feel: Chest, Shoulders and Core

 

What to Do:

  1. Start on all fours (quadruped position) with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

  2. Extend your feet back so you adopt a plank position. Lower yourself down so your chest is rested against the floor.

  3. Lift your hands and feet off the floor. Try and really squeeze your shoulder blades together to lift your hands up.

  4. Pause for a moment before placing your hands and feet back on the floor and immediately push yourself up off the floor until your arms are straight. Your chest, shoulders, triceps and core should all be engaged. Your upper and lower body should be aligned and in the “plank” position, at the top of a push up.

  5. Hold for a moment before lowering your body back down so your chest and legs are resting on the floor again.

  6. Lift your hands and feet off the floor and repeat the movement for repetitions.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers is an explosive bodyweight exercise which engages multiple muscle groups at once helping to improve your balance, agility, coordination, strength, flexibility and blood circulation. As you perform the move, your shoulders, arms, and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body. As the prime mover, your quads get an incredible workout, too. And because it's a cardio exercise, you'll get heart health benefits and burn calories.

 

What you Feel: Total Body Workout

Tips: 

  • Keep your abs tight when performing mountain climbers

  • Try to avoid hunching your back by thinking about keeping a tall spine

  • Try to keep light on your toes

  • This should be a fast movement so try pick your feet as fast as you can but if you're new to mountain climbers, take it slowly, and increase your leg speed as you get more confident and experienced at the exercise.

  • To get the most from mountain climbers be sure to check that your bottom isn't rising into the air and that your hands remain in place directly beneath your shoulders.

What to Do:

  1. Get into a plank position, making sure to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your toes.

  2. Check your form—your hands should be about shoulder-width apart, back flat, abs engaged, and head in alignment.

  3. Pull your right knee into your chest as far as you can.

  4. Switch legs, pulling one knee out and bringing the other knee in.

  5. Keep your hips down and run your knees in and out as far and as fast as you can. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.

Shoulder Taps

Shoulder taps might seem like a second cousin of the plank, but they're actually an incredibly challenging abs-and-arm workout in their own right. Unlike a traditional plank, which is an isometric exercise, shoulder taps are an active move performed from a high plank position that requires you to use your palms to alternately touch your shoulder while holding your body still. There are also tons of variations of shoulder taps you can do to increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise. If you need to regress a little, stay on your knees and/ or rest your hands on a bench. 

What you Feel: Core, Obliques and Shoulders

What to Do:

  1. Get into a high plank position with hands directly under your shoulders, feet hip-width apart.

  2. Keep your spine neutral, neck and back straight, and hips aligned with shoulders.

  3. Engage core and squeeze glutes so your body remains flat and stable.

  4. Raise left hand to tap right shoulder, set it back down. Try not to move the hips.

  5. Raise right hand to tap left shoulder, set it back down. Again, Try not to move your hips.

  6. Alternate tapping left and right shoulders with as little hip movement as possible.

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