Hope your weekend was good! Mine sure was. It included a trip to Fresno (hello, real heat – 97F at 7pm!) on Saturday, and the summer barbecue with our bootcamp team on Sunday.
Speaking of which…
I just realized that I've been teaching bootcamps for almost a year now, and it's the first job in my life that I still really enjoy after doing it for one year. How crazy is that? Even though I've been active and worked out almost all my life, it wasn't until about 1.5 years ago when I actually started working in the fitness industry, first in Finland and then in California.
I absolutely love the people that I'm working with, I like putting together workouts, I love writing about training and truly enjoy learning new stuff about health and fitness every day. Seriously, I think it's absolutely crucial that you love or at least like what you do for living, or otherwise you end up stressed all the time. Believe me, I've been there!
Wednesday Morning Workout Quickies Start This Week
Before we check out the last Saturday's Bootcamp workout, I'd like to remind you about the Wednesday Morning Workout Quickies that will kick off this week! If you missed the post where I talked about it, check it out here: Wednesday Morning Workout Quickies.
The goal of this 8-week series is to do something great for your body: Do a short and simple, 5-minute workout that helps you to create a positive, energetic day.
In a nutshell, here's what this series is all about:
- Join the Urban Jane Facebook group.
- Every Tuesday, head over there to find your Workout Quickie that you're going to do the next morning.
- Do the workout first thing when you get up on Wednesday!
- Each workout takes you five minutes to complete.
- The workouts are equipment-free.
- Be ready to get your heart rate up and break a bit sweat!
- Be ready to feel absolutely awesome and crush your day.
- Have an awesome day!
Saturday Morning Bootcamp XI
Last Saturday's bootcamp workout focused on core strength. Here's why:
People Love Core Workouts
…and, of course, they're good for you.
You probably know that when it comes to exercising, I'm all about full-body movements in which you use as many muscle groups at once as possible. It really saves your time because you get a lot done in a short amount of time.
For example, various overhead movements with added weight, like walking with holding a kettlebell overhead on your straight arm, trains your arms, legs and core, including abs. The same is true for heavy squats. Check out for more awesome ways to train your abs.
But I've noticed that people really like workouts that focus specifically on core. If take group fitness classes at your gym or wherever else you may be working out, you've probably noticed that core classes are always packed. And of course, core strength is important.
Let's Make Planks More Fun
Last Saturday's bootcamp workout focused specially on core strength.
One of the best and also one of the most popular ways to train your core is of course, doing planks. Why? One of the reasons is that when you're holding the plank position, you simultaneously train your arms, and if you do it correctly, also your legs and glutes.
To get the maximum benefits of planks, tighten your core and glutes and don't let the hips sink while you're holding plank.
But just plain planks are boring, right? Holding planks for a half minute or a minute and repeating that gets boring. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to make them more interesting: You can add intensity and vary the positioning of your legs and arms and add jumps and runs to them.
I like a little bit intensity, and bootcamp workouts are meant to be intense! So when putting together this plank-themed workout, I alternated plank exercises with more dynamic, plyometric exercises, to be sure to create a sweaty and good workout.
However, if you can't do jumping exercises, there are variations for you–check out the exercise descriptions below.
Saturday Morning Bootcamp XI: Planks & Jumps
Here's the workout:
Each station consists of two exercises: a jump exercise (A) and a plank exercise (B). Do exercise A for 50 seconds, then rest for 10; then do the exercise B for 50 seconds. Then, move on to Station 2 and so on.
Repeat the circuit twice. The workout will take you about 20 minutes.
Station 1: (A) Sumo Squat Jumps & (B) Plank Jacks
Sumo Squat Jumps : Start in a wide squat position and turn your knees and toes out. Explosively jump up and as you land, immediately jump up again.
Easier version: If jumping is too much for you, just do the squats and omit the jump.
Plank Jacks: Get into an elbow plank position. Keeping your core tight, jump your legs close together and then wide apart. Try to keep your hips in place as much as you can. Easier version: Plank Jacks are a bit easier when you do them in a high plank position.
Station 2: (A) Jump Lunges & (B) Plank Reach
Jump Lunges: Start with your feet staggered, one leg in front and other back. Explosively jump up and switch the position of your legs. Keep jumping until 50 seconds is up!
Easier version: If you can't jump, you can simply do regular lunges. Just take a long step forward with one leg and step back to your starting position. Repeat with the other side.
Plank Reach: Start in the elbow plank. Holding the body tight and core and glutes engaged, lift one arm and reach it forward. Come back into the starting position and repeat with the other arm.
Easier version: Do the same thing in the high plank position.
Station 3: (A) Reverse Lunge Knee Drives & (B) Letter “T”
Reverse Lunge Knee Drives: Stand up, then take a long step back. Your back knee should come close to the ground. From there, powerfully bring the knee up close to your chest and hop up. Switch sides when 25 seconds is up.
Easier version: Omit the jump, but still bring the knee as high as you possible.
Letter “T”: Start in a high plank position. Lift one arm and up, open your chest and bring the arm overhead, so that you finish in letter “T” position. Alternate sides.
Station 4: (A) Mountain Climber Jumps & (B) Dive Bomber Push Ups
Mountain Climber Jumps: Start in a high plank position. Jump your one knee forward under your chest, then repeat with the other leg. Jump as fast as you can to keep the intensity up.
Easier version: Omit the jump and do the same thing simply stepping.
Dive Bomber Push Ups: Start in a Downward Facing Dog position. Bend your elbows and make sure that they are pointing back and not to the sides. Smoothly lower your shoulders toward the floor, swoop your body forward as if you were diving. Come back to your straight arms and Downward Facing dog pose and repeat.
Easier version: Put your knees down and do push ups. Keep the elbows pointing back so that you target your triceps.
Station 5: (A) Speed Skaters & (B) Plank Shoulder Taps
Speed Skaters: Start with your feet together, then take a long hop sideways with your right leg. Touch the floor with your left hand. Then take a long jump sideways with your left leg and touch the floor with the right hand. Keep jumping back and forth.
Plank Shoulder Tap: Start in a high plank position. Lift one arm and touch your opposite shoulder. Repeat to the other side. Move only your arms and keep the rest of the body in place! Pay special attention to the hips as they tend to move, especially as you're coming close to the end of the workout and controlling the position is harder.
Try this workout! It's a fun combination of static and dynamic work. While your core gets special attention, you still end up training also the rest of your body.
Question: Do you have a favorite plank variation?
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