It's that time again. Summer is upon us, and many of us will be wanting to put our bodies into peak shape. While fitness should be a lifelong goal, this summer there are four exercises you NEED to add into your regimen to help give you the look you want. Targeting the major trouble areas, these four exercises will help get your arms, legs, and core bathing suit ready.
Arms: Dumbbell Bicep Curls/Tricep Extension Supersets
Face it ladies and gents: if you are going to the beach, a theme park, or any other summer destination spot, you are probably going to exercise your right to bare arms (see what I did there?). If you don't want awkward stares at your bingo wings, this superset is a must for you. I use and recommend to my clients that they perform three to four sets of these. First, you will perform standing (or if you have access to a BOSU board for added impact) bicep curls, performing 12-15 reps on each arm. Immediately following, you can perform one-handed or two-handed dumbbell triceps overhead extensions, for an additional 12-15 reps. Then, use a small recovery time frame before beginning the next set of curls/extensions. You can add difficulty to this by performing them in drop sets, using 3 different weights (eg. 10-15-20 pound dumbbells). Do 15 reps with the 10 pounders, 12 reps with the 15s, and finish with 10 reps on the 20 pound dumbbells.
Legs: Squat Jumps
Have you ever seen a ballerina's leg muscles? They are some of the most well defined and powerful of any athlete. Why do they get this way? All those plies and jumps! Get the best of both worlds with the squat jump. Again, my client recommendations are to perform three to four sets of 20 jumps. You begin with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Perform a squat, but instead of standing back up, explode off of your feet, jumping as high into the air as possible. Land softly, and immediately squat and jump again. The less time you spend in contact with the floor, the better you build fast-twitch muscle. This is a great usage of plyometric principles for a great workout.
HOW YOU CAN BE BEACH READY IN FOUR WEEKS!
Core: Front and Side Plank Super Sets
It's science, my dear Watson. At least that's what I say when referring to the effectiveness of building core strength with Front and Side Planks. I like to perform three to four sets of planks, holding them for up to a minute or longer. If you are just starting out, you will need to build up the time you can hold a plank. These moves will hit a majority of the core muscles, both the external and internal muscular groups that comprise the core. Not only will they help you to create a flat stomach, but you'll get added benefits like eliminating low back pain (often caused by a weak core) and help to bust up those love handles (or strengthen your abdominal obliques).
Total Body: Burpees aka Squat Thrusts
It wouldn't be a summer workout without some attention to the total body aspect. Burpees, aka Squat Thrusts, are a great way to build strength and endurance in arms, legs, and core. Begin by standing. Next squat down, and place your hands on the floor. Simultaneously, kick your legs back so you end up in the upright push up position. Moving quickly but with balance, jump your knees back into your chest and stand up. That's one. Perform 10-20 repetitions in three to four sets.
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous professional, collegiate
and amateur athletes across many different fields, including
professional and arena football players, Mixed Martial Artists, elite
runners, international soccer players, and more.
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA, as well as the owner and operator of Funky Fitness PA, a personal training studio, in home personal training and personalized fitness planning service. Ryan's work has been featured across the US and the globe, working with clients in all facets of life. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can check Ryan out on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, or you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.