23 May 2014

Summer’s Here and the Heat is On: Summer Shorts Workout

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Summer is quickly approaching leaving many people excited about the prospect of shedding layers of cold-weather clothing. This often means exposing more skin, especially if you enjoy wearing shorts. With the goal of helping fitness seekers confidently rock those short summer shorts, Fitness Propelled trainer Geoff Rubin recommends the following additions to your workout routine. These exercises are exceptional choices for targeting the muscles that contribute to toned, shapely legs, as all three exercise movements below, will work the hips and thighs. Add them two to three times per week to a program that also includes a balanced diet and you will feel stronger and look even better in your summer shorts.

Exercise 1: Stationary Sumo Squats

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Starting Position: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width (24-36″) with your arms by your sides. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Do not allow your low back to arch. Brace your abdominal / core muscles to stabilize your spine.

Movement: Drop into a wide-stance squat position (mechanics are similar to regular squat), lowering your body to a comfortable depth or until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your body weight rests on your heels. Feel free to position your arms where they assist you in maintaining balance. Return to starting position.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions

 

Exercise 2: Forward Lunge with Arm Drivers

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Step 1: Starting Position: Stand with your feet together, arms raised in front to shoulder height, and elbows straight. Pull your shoulders blades down and back without arching your low back. Brace your abdominal / core muscles to stabilize your spine.

Step 2:  Slowly lift one foot off the floor, balancing on the standing leg. Avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body and try not to move the standing foot. Hold this position briefly before stepping forward. The raised (swing) leg should contact the floor heel first, slowly shifting your body weight to the front foot. Plant the front foot firmly on the floor. Avoid any sideways tilting or swaying in your upper body and try not to move the foot.

Step 3: As you lunge forward, focus on dropping your hips downward toward the floor rather than forward. This will help control the amount of forward movement of your shinbone over your foot. Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your shinbone is in a slight forward lean. As you lunge, bend forward at your hips, reach your arms toward the floor in front of you. Keep your back flat and elbows straight. Your hands are reaching to a point somewhat below your front knee. This increases the load on your gluteal (butt) muscle group.

Step 4: Firmly push off with your front leg, working your thigh and butt muscles, to return to your upright, starting position.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions (Both legs)

Exercise 3: Side Lunges

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Step 1: Starting Position: Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Your hands are in a comfortable position to help you maintain your balance during the exercise. Keep your head over your shoulder and your chin tipped and slightly upward. Shift your weight onto your heels. Engage your abdominals to stabilized the spine. Pull the shoulder blades down and back. Try to maintain these engagements throughout the exercise.

Step 2: Inhale and slowly step to the right while keeping your weight into your left heel. Both feet are still facing forward. Once your right foot is firmly placed on the floor, begin to shift your weight toward the right foot, bending the right knee and pushing the hips back. Continue to lunge until your shinbone is vertical to the floor and your right knee is aligned with the second toe of your right foot. Your left leg should be as straight as possible and your body weight should be distributed into the right hip. The heels of both feet should stay flat on the floor. Your arms can be positioned where necessary to help maintain your balance.

Step 3: Exhale and push off firmly with your right foot, returning to starting position. Repeat the movement for the opposite side.

Sets / Repetitions: 3 sets of 20 repetitions (Both legs) 

 

Sources: ACE Exercise Library

 

 

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