With the weather cooling down and lots and lots of activities happening (the holidays will be here before we know it!), it’s really easy to get off track when it comes to fitness. Nobody wants to drag exercise equipment, extra clothes, and bulky sneakers along on their holiday travels, and it can be daunting to get up and take a class when the sun doesn’t even come up until some people are staring their morning commute. I get it! With my crazy schedule, it’s nearly impossible to get to a class most days, so I rely on simple, body-weight exercises to keep me in shape — no equipment necessary!
Here’s a super simple workout to tone your butt and legs that you can do literally anywhere. All you’ll need is a a mat or soft surface (for exercises done on the knees), a timer, and some music to keep you going!
Do each exercise for 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or one minute (depending on your fitness level) on the SAME LEG, then switch and do the same thing on the other leg. Do the whole thing TWICE through (twice on the right leg, twice on the left) and try not to take breaks between exercises or when you switch legs. Rest for about 30 seconds between the two rounds. For even more burn, try holding the position and just doing little, tiny pulses for the last 15 seconds of each exercise!
Alternating Lunge + Reverse Lunge
Start with feet about hips-width distance apart, hands on hips. Take a step forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees. Make sure to press down in your front heel and keep your front knee right over your ankle (not in front of it). Press off of your heel to bring both feet back together. Next, take a step backward with the same foot to bend both knees back to 90 degrees. Focus on keep your weight evenly distributed between the front heel and the ball of the back foot. Continue moving like this on the same leg until the timer is up.
Start in the same position as your regular lunge, and step your foot backward and across your body so your thighs cross as you bend your knees down. Watch to make sure your front knee stays in line with the ankle and your back foot should be under your hip. Press down in your front heel as you come to the ball of the back foot, and imagine you’re drawing your inner thighs together. Once you have the feet down, play with reaching your arms overhead as you squat down. Continue this move on the same leg until the time runs out.
Squat with Side Kick
Again, start standing, with the toes of both feet facing forward. With your weight in your heels, bend your knees and send your hips back as you keep your chest lifted, like you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Stand back up (squeeze your butt as you come up!) and raise one leg a few inches straight to the side, squeezing the side of your glutes and outer thigh. Repeat this move raising the same leg as you stand until the timer runs out.
Come to your hands and knees, with your wrists just under your shoulders and your knees just under your hips. Flex your foot and keeping your knee bent, lift your leg out to the side (like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant…not so cute, I know, but it’s a good visual). Make sure you really focus on keeping your hips level and square! Press into the working side hand to help keep your body weight shifting toward the leg that’s lifting and keep pressure off the supporting side hip. For the challenge, extend your leg toward a straight leg! Continue lifting the same leg slowly until the timer stops.
Lie down on your back, knees bent, feet planted into the floor hips width apart. Keeping your upper back (your entire bra line) touching the mat, squeeze your butt and lift your tailbone and lower back up off the mat, then gently lower back down, trying not to lose the squeeze in your glutes. For the challenge, walk your feet out a little further away from your hips and/or flex your feet! Note that this is a bilateral movement (meaning you’re working BOTH sides), so do this exercise the same way in each of the four rounds.
Duke decided to join me for my workout here — anyone who has ever tried to work out at home with a pet knows the struggle! I used his appearance as a good excuse to take a little rest before set number two.
There you have it — as simple as it gets! Try it out and let me know how you feel in the comments!