Whether you live in a studio apartment, are constantly on the road, spend a ton of time in your cubicle or your kids have no concept of personal space, it can be hard enough finding the time — let alone the space — to workout. That’s why I’ve created this circuit with a small footprint. Regardless of how hectic life gets, make sure you do these three moves no matter what! But before you begin, let’s dive into each movement individually so you understand why I grouped them together.
- The push-up. As women, we’ve all heard that certain upper body moves might make us look “manly.” Trust me, ladies: the push-up is not to be feared. In fact, it’s one of my all-time favorites. Not only is a beautiful, strong and well executed push-up super impressive, but with endless variations you can tone your way to gorgeous arms, a strong core and maybe even see a little perk in the girls (um, win!). All this without needing any equipment and hardly any room. If you’re not a push-up professional yet, start with holding a high plank for as long as you can and slowly lowering your chest to the floor. Another great modification is from the knees, but keep that booty down to maximize that core engagement. Your arm positioning can target different muscle groups too — try keeping those elbows tight to your body to emphasize more of a shoulder and tricep activation! If you’re a push-up connoisseur like me, get into some diamond push-ups, add some plyometrics to your push-up arsenal, and try one of my favorites: the pike push-up. So how many push-ups should you do a week? I try to get in at least 100 per day twice a week. Start with 50 (perform to failure, recover and begin again until you reach your max), then work your way up.
- The squat. The squat has gotten a ton of air time lately because, let’s be honest, butts are in! If you want to lift that derriere, create some amazing calorie burning and build those summer-ready legs, squats are a must-do. With the ability to perform the squat anywhere using just your bodyweight, these babies are perfect to add to the push-up for a well-rounded super set. Remember, lower body exercises burn the MOST calories and as you build muscle, you’ll burn even more at rest. If you’re looking to improve your squat game, always start with form. Feet should be shoulder-width apart, toes tracking outward slightly. A traditional squat stance might even be a little more narrow than you anticipate so give yourself some practice runs before you add any weight. Keep that chest up throughout the move, breathe at the top and sit down as low as you can. On your way up, keep that weight in those heels to activate your buns. At the top, give ‘em a little extra squeeze. Add some weight (dumbbells, a barbell or even a kettlebell), switch to a wider stance for different activation with the sumo squat, and work your way to some plyometrics with the jump squat. Gurl, you’ll build some gorgeous gams and an enviable booty in no time.
- The bent-over row. In my opinion, back exercises never get the respect they deserve. We have a huge opportunity to build major muscle through our backs — and as you know, the more muscle we can pack on, the more calories we can burn, which means we can afford to eat more calories in the long run. Sounds good, right? Not to mention, building a gorgeous back creates shape to our physiques and can make the waist actually appear smaller by creating dimension. Plus, a strong back improves our posture, allowing us to appear more confident. You’ll get some rear delt activation with this bad boy too, so it’s a great addition to those push-ups for a shoulder burn. The bent-over row is a simple move that can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell or resistance bands that you can pack with you wherever you go.
Ready, Set, Go!
When you combine push-ups, squats and bent-over rows, it’s a full-body circuit that’s a major heavy hitter. Give this descending circuit a try:
10 push-ups (variation of your choice) 10 squats (variation of your choice) 10 bent over row
Rest 15 seconds.
9 push-ups 9 squats 9 bent over row
Rest 15 seconds.
8 push-ups 8 squats 8 bent over row
Rest 15 seconds.
Repeat the same circuit, reducing by 1 every round.
At the conclusion of this workout you will have done 55 of each move!! Kick it up a notch by adding weight or incorporating plyometric options.
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