Ahh, there’s nothing like summer vacation. Whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains, or exploring a big city, travel can be an amazingly relaxing and much-needed escape from reality. The only part that’s not-so-wonderful? Going back to the gym after a week-long (or more) break from exercise.
Maybe you feel more bloated or less energized than usual, or your clothes fit a little tighter after a week’s worth of rum drinks on the beach. First of all, don’t beat yourself up! After all, one week without workouts won’t destroy your endurance or strength. (Here what’s actually happening in your body when you skip the gym for a week or more.)
Next up? Get back into the swing of things with this high-intensity interval workoutfrom Roxie Jones, a trainer at Tone House, a functional fitness studio in New York. “After a long vacation of indulgent eating and relaxing, I find it to be helpful to go all in with a hard sweat with high-intensity workouts to fire everything up again,” Jones says. Below are eight plyometric moves that she teaches at Tone House as part of their speedwork and agility drills. They’ll target your core, legs, and arms, while improving several aspects of your nervous and muscular system and making you a more explosive, reactive athlete.
For these moves, all you need is your body weight and a towel. Do as many reps of each move as you can in one minute and complete four rounds of work. Try to take as few breaks as possible to maximize the sweat factor. Since you’re just getting back into the swing of things, be sure to warm up first with some active stretches and a foam roller or take a light jog for five minutes.
1. HIGH KNEES TO MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
How to: Drive knees up into chest alternating one leg at a time while simultaneously using arms to assist the drive. After four reps (bringing each knee up twice), bring palms to ground and alternate driving knees into chest one leg at a time for four reps. Repeat movement between high-knees and mountain climbers, making sure core is tight and spine is in neutral position the entire time.
2. HIP THRUSTERS WITH SQUAT JUMP
Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, core
How to: Start in a squatting position, making sure knees don’t pass toes and hips are sitting low as if in a chair. Your chest should be tall and spine in neutral. As fast as possible, firmly plant palms on the ground and kick legs behind to come into a high-plank position. Immediately pop back up to squat position. For an added level of intensity, add a squat jump to further engage the core before landing back into the starting squat position.
Bored with your old workout? Shake it up with this 90 Circuit Burn Program:
3. PLYO KNEE-UP WITH TUCK JUMP
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core
How to: Start in kneeling position and without leaning backwards, engage core by tightening abdominals, dropping hips to build power to explode off the ground and up onto feet in same spot where knees were. (Modify by stepping up from the knees one leg at a time and then softly jumping off the ground without tucking the knees up.) Land in a squat position immediately followed by a tuck jump bringing knees up into chest as fast as possible.
4. KNEE TUCKS
Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, core
How to: Start in standing position and explode off the ground bringing knees into chest as tight and fast as possible, or knees to touch hands. Remember to land light on your feet to lessen the impact on the joints.
5. PLYO LUNGE TO SQUAT
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, quads
How to: Start with one leg bent behind your body at a 90-degree angle, with front knee also bent at a 90-degree angle. Explode off of ground to land in a squat with hips back and chest up high. Return to lunge position but on alternate side. Continue from lunge to squat to lunge in continuous non-stop movement—you’ll get a real burn in the legs and glutes.
(The Slim, Sexy, Strong Workout DVD is the fast, flexible workout you’ve been waiting for!)
Targets: Upper and lower abdominals
How to: Begin with knees pulled into chest and hands off of knees. Extend legs out and away from chest while extending hands behind head. Try to further engage the lower core by pressing the lower back into the ground, bracing the stomach to the spine, and maintaining tightness the entire time. Return knees to chest in starting position and repeat.
7. BEAR CRAWL
Targets: Shoulders, quads, core
How to: This is one of our favorite moves at the House for speed drills. Get on the ground on all fours, and then move forward for four steps, keeping hips high and chest low. Then move backward for four steps. Repeat.
8. ATOMIC PUSH-UP
Targets: Arms and abdominals
How-to: This move was performed using Val-slides, but at home you can simply grab a towel. Start in high-plank position with a neutral spine. Lower entire body down to ground keeping elbows in 45-degree angle away from body. Keep eyes looking ahead to maintain neutral spine. Push up off the ground, engage core, and draw in knees to chest, keeping feet on towel or Val-slides. Push legs back out into high plank position. Repeat pushup to knee tuck. (Modify by bringing knees down to ground for push-up and back up again for knee-tuck.)