These five easy but intense exercises are all you need to look and feel fabulous this summer. Our expert Emma Pollard shows you how…
After months of hiding under big jumpers and coats, it’s finally time to show some skin.
For many of us this seems like a daunting task – whether because of ‘bingo wings’ causing concern, the rear area being a tad out of shape or the muffin top being slightly larger than the last time we checked.
However, fear not! This can all be improved with a little hard work and dedication. Below are my top five exercises to get your body in shape for summer.
There’s no need for a gym or fancy equipment. They are easy enough to do in the comfort of your own home.
You will soon find yourself not only feeling fitter, but looking trim and ready to strip off for the sunshine! Before you begin:
Make sure you are warmed up. This can be done by a combination of jogging on the spot, star jumps or even running up and down the stairs for five minutes.
Depending on your fitness level, there are three options for each exercise – make sure you are challenging yourself to achieve the maximum benefits.
And remember – throughout the whole workout, ensure your stomach muscles are fully engaged by imagining you are squeezing your belly button towards your back.
For each exercise: Level 1 – one set of 15 each; Level 2–two sets of 15;Level 3– three sets of 15 each. Simple crunch
Lie on floor, bend knees at 90 degrees, keep feet flat. Resting hands on temples or behind head, contract abs to lift shoulders off the floor. Keep lower back on floor and curl chest to knees. Bicycles
Start with hands behind head and crunch up to bring
your right elbow to your left knee while extending right leg. Twist torso to the other side to bring your left elbow to your right knee while extending left leg.
Reverse crunch + extension Lie on back with head and shoulders on the floor, hands by side. Ensure thighs are vertical and knees bent at 90
degrees. Contract abs and bring knees into chest, raising the bottom. Slowly extend the legs straight out.
PRESS-UPS: Arms, chest and stomach
Position your face down on the floor, resting on either your hands and knees (semi press-up) or hands and toes (full press up), depending on the strength of your arms. Place the hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the chest towards the floor as low as possible, then use your arm strength to push yourself
back up to the original position. Ensure the body
is kept in a straight line throughout.
Level 1: Three sets of 12 semi press ups.
Level 2: One set of 15 full press ups, followed by two sets of 15 semi press ups. Level 3: Three sets of 15 full press ups, holding the last press up of each set at the lowest position for 10 counts.
PRESS-UPS: Abs, arms and back
Depending on your ability, position yourself either on your lower arms and knees (semi- plank) or lower arms and toes (full plank). Ensure the elbows are directly below the shoulders and the body is in one straight line, from the head to the heels. Engage the core muscles, not allowing the hips to sag, and hold. Level 1: Semi plank, hold for 30 seconds, rest and repeat.
Level 2: Full plank, hold for 30 seconds and rest – three sets.
Level 3: Full plank, hold for one minute. Follow with a two-point plank, raising one arm and the opposite leg for a beat and
swapping. Repeat 10
SQUATS: Bottom and thighs
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly, spreading your weight equally over your feet.
Keeping your back upright and head looking forwards, lower your body by bending the knees until the thighs are parallel with the floor. Then return to the original position.
Level 1: Three sets of 15.
Level 2: Three sets of 15, holding the last squat of each set for five counts.
Level 3: Two sets of 15, holding the last squat of each set for 10 counts. Follow this with a set of squat jumps, moving from a squat then bursting into the air with a jump and coming straight back down into the squat. Repeat 15 times, holding the very last squat for 10 counts.
GLUTEUS MAXIMUS: Bottom and legs
Position yourself on your hands and knees, with both hands firmly on the floor under your shoulders.
Extend the right leg directly behind you into the air so you are creating an almost straight line from the toe to the chest. Return to the original position. Repeat 20 times.
Then keep the leg raised at a right angle so the heel is facing the ceiling.
Continue with small pulsing movements of the leg up and down, maintaining the right angle at the knee. Repeat this part 30 times.
Then switch legs.
Start with one set of each exercise, then work your way
Emma Pollard works as a personal trainer in north London and
has a studio in Edgware. She is fully qualified in a variety of areas, including cardiovascular and resistance training, boxing, circuits, spinning, core strength, pre- and post-natal training, GP referrals and nutrition. For more details, visit www.emmapollard.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org