Some days you'll feel on top of your fitness game, eating healthily and working out regularly. Then others you'll want nothing more than wine and a takeaway, with exercising being the last thing on your mind.
"No matter how conditioned you are, you’ll have days when you’ll need to take things down a notch," says LA-based PT and Apple Fitness+ instructor, Betina Gozo. "Or, if you have an old injury or feel tight somewhere, you might need to scale back certain exercises, but still be able to kick things up a notch in others."
For this workout, you’ll find a vigorous (level up – pictured) and a moderate (level down) option, so you can scale it to meet your needs.
"This is a great total-body workout that you can do anywhere, as it’s made up entirely of body-weight moves," Gozo explains. "It’s heavily focused on your core and lower body, so get ready for your abs and legs to burn."
How to know which level to pick
Do a quick body scan pre-workout – do you have any niggles or muscle aches? Or are you ready to go for it? "If the levelled down version feels easy, level up," says Gozo. Conversely, if your form is suffering or you’re struggling to do all the reps, consider levelling down. This applies to intermediate and advanced exercisers, too. No matter what version you do, you can expect results.
How to do this workout
Perform one set of each move (whichever option you choose), then continue on to the next without stopping. "It’s okay to opt for the levelled down version of some exercises and the tougher option for others in the same session," Gozo says.
When you’ve completed the full circuit, take a breather and start again from the top, then repeat once more for a total of three circuits.
Ready to go again? Give yourself a day off but you can perform this workout every two or three days without risking injury.
1. Walking lunge
Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Do: 12 reps
a) Stand with your feet together and your hands in front of your chest. Take a big step forwards with your right foot and lower down until both legs are bent at 90°, with your left heel lifted high.
b) Push through your right foot to stand, bringing your left foot forwards to meet the right. Step your left foot forwards and repeat. That’s 1 rep. Short on space? Turn around and double back.
Make it easier: Reverse lunge
Instead of stepping forwards, take a big step backwards with your right foot and lower yourself down until both legs are bent at 90°. Press through your left heel to reverse the motion and return to the starting position (no walking). Repeat on the other side and keep alternating for 12 reps.
2. Lateral lunge
Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, adductors
Do: 12 reps on each side
a) Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands in front of your chest.
b) Take a step to the right with your right foot, then push your bum back. Bend your right leg, keeping your left leg straight, and lower until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep.
Make it easier: Lateral squat
Start with your feet wide and your knees and toes pointing forward. Shift your weight to your right heel, push your hips back and bend your right knee, keeping your left leg straight. Try to get your thigh parallel to the floor.
3. Single-leg hinge
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings
Do: 12 reps on each side
a) Begin standing, knees soft, left arm out to the side, right palm on your thigh. Shift your weight to your right foot.
b) Hinge at the hips, tilting your chest forwards, raising your left leg back and reaching down with your right arm until your torso and leg are parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps, then repeat on the other side.
Make it easier: Bodyweight good morning
Keep both feet planted beneath your hips, with your hands behind your head, elbows wide. Hinge at the hips and lower your chest until your torso is parallel to the floor. Then, with control, reverse to return to the start.
4. Leg lift
Do: 12 reps
a) Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, legs together and lifted towards the ceiling, feet directly over your hips.
b) Squeeze your abs, press your arms into the floor and slowly lower your legs as far down as possible, keeping your back flat against the floor. Reverse the move to return to the starting position.
Make it easier: Alternating leg drop
Instead of lowering both legs, lower them one at a time, keeping the other lifted while you press your back flat against the floor. Alternate for 12 reps.
5. Side plank
Targets: Shoulders, obliques, glutes
Do: 30 secs on each side
a) Lie on your right side with your legs together, left foot on top of right, feet flexed. Prop yourself up on your right forearm, with your elbow beneath your shoulder, and place your left hand on your hip. Squeeze your abs and raise your hips to form a straight line from your heels to your head. Hold for 30 secs. Try not to wobble too much.
Make it easier: Modified side plank
Instead of extending your legs, keep them bent with your heels in line with your bum. Raise your hips to form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders and hold for 30 secs.
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