Already counting down the days to summer? So are we, which is why we asked our expert Chris to expand on his first lesson and teach us 5 more extensive exercises to get ready for long, fun days at the pool or beach. Four weeks to get moving!
The side plank
Place your forearm on the mat with your elbow directly under your shoulder, so that your elbow is in a straight line with your wrist. You can also do this with an outstretched arm if you’re comfortable doing so. Stretch your body out and make sure your ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, neck and head are joined together in a straight line. Raise your hips so that your body is in a straight line from your ankles until your head. Try to draw your belly button towards the direction of your spine. Keep breathing and pay attention to your posture. Try practicing this exercise until you can hold it for 30 seconds or longer. Change sides and repeat on each side 3 times.
Push-up with toe tap
This exercise is extra challenging for your core (abdominal muscles). You can perform it in two different ways. The first way is to start in a planking position, which you just learned. This time it’s only with outstretched arms. The important thing is to bring your hands under your shoulders at the moment you’re executing the high plank. Elbows are pointed towards the back and your middle finger is pointing forward. Keep your heels high and draw your belly button in. Then it’s time for the “toe tap.” Stretch your legs out as much as possible and try to bring your toes in one line with your shoulders. For an extra challenge, you can do this exercise in the second way, which is starting from a push-up position rather than a plank. Repeat this with a set of 3 x 10.
Because not everybody has a pull-up bar in their house, I’ve come up with an alternative: the scapula (shoulder blade) push-up. With this exercise, you train the same upper back muscles as you would with a pull-up bar. Start from a high planking position and tense all of your muscles, especially your abdominals and glutes. Then lower yourself through your shoulder blades while you keep your arms stretched as far as possible. Then push your shoulder blades upwards again. This movement should take around 3-5 seconds, and it’s important that you don’t lower your hips during it. If this is too difficult at first, start from your knees. Repeat this with a set of 3 x 10.
You’ve already learned the normal squat, so all you need to do now is add a jump. This trains your upper legs and hamstrings while also improving your balance. Stand straight up with your legs somewhat apart. Keep your back straight and bend your knees until they form an approximate 90-degree angle. Jump as explosively as possible by really working the balls of your feet. Make an upward waving motion with your arms to jump even higher. Do this in a controlled way and then use your knees to lower and ready yourself for the next jump. To increase intensity, you can choose to jump continuously. Repeat this with a set of 3 x 10.
This is an excellent exercise to train your lower back muscles, glutes and shoulders. Start by lying flat on your belly and lifting your knees and chest from the ground, tensing up your glutes. Now it’s time to “swim.” Stretch your toes and hands out and make yourself as long as possible, as though you are lying in water. Then you can use your legs and hands to imitate swimming, moving them back and forth. Keep doing this for 30 seconds and repeat it with a set of 3 x 10.
Try to implement these 5 exercises into a daily routine during the next 4 weeks, and not only will your body be ready for summer, you’ll also feel more confident and healthy on the inside.