How the heck is it already the end of July, right? It certainly feels like summer is flying by…but the good news is, we’re actually only a month in! That means there’s still plenty of time to lie on the beach, meet a friend with a boat, book a weekend trip to the Cape, and look darn good doing it.
So, because there’s plenty of bikini weather left ahead –and because the crop-top trend isn’t going away anytime soon–we got some top get-in-shape-fast moves from Brandon Kolar, one of the training pros at Equinox. Here’s are the six exercises he guarantees will whoop your bum into shape.
(NOTE: You can find videos of all of these moves by searching YouTube, so if you’re not sure how to do an exercise, look it up so you don’t hurt nobody).
Exercise 1: The Squat
The Goblet Squat, performed with a kettle bell is an awesome glute shaper that will also nail the core, thighs, back and arms. Perform 4 sets of 15 – 20 reps with a weight that is not easy to hold. Your arms just have to hold the weight, so you should be considering the load on your hips and legs as being the more important area of work here.
To do it: Hold the bell to your high chest, sit back on your heels, until your thighs are parallel to the floor while your knees stay just as wide apart as your feet.
Exercise 2: The Deadlift
The Deadlift is the next BIG one. This is key for shaping the glutes, hamstrings, low back and upper back. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps. Form on this one is key (as with all of them), so it might pay off to have someone around who knows how to do this one before really loading up on weight. Once you know how to do it, like the squat, your hips can carry more load than your hands and arms. Don’t be afraid of big weight if you have a good hip hinge.
To do it: Use a single kettle bell. Standing with arms long and hanging, retract your shoulders. Hinge at the hips, being certain to not round your back to lower yourself. Allow for a soft bend in the knees while pushing your butt back. Try picturing a wall 8-10 inches behind you and reaching for that wall with your cheeks. You should feel a tremendous stretch in your hamstrings as you lower the weight. Squeeze your glutes as you return to your standing position.
Exercise 3: The Dumbbell Chest Press
This one is going to give some lift to the chest, some shape to the shoulders, and some serious triceps definition. Control is key. Use a weight you can handle for 12 reps. If you find yourself being able to do more, increase the weight. Doing a lot of reps with light weights is not going to give you shape or “tone” you up. Do three to four sets.
To do it: Lie on a bench or the floor with a bell in each hand. With palms facing eachother (neutral position) at the top of the motion, slowly lower the weight by bending the elbows out to the side. Bring your upper arms just below parallel to the floor and then push back up. Be sure to contract your triceps at the top of the motion.
Exercise 4: Stability Ball Rollouts
This is all about the core. If you’re not strong on this one you’ll know it right away.
To do it: With a stability ball in front of you, get down on both in knees in what we call “tall kneeling”. The near edge of the ball should be at straight arms’ reach and you should be able to hold it with finger tips. The key here is to not bend at the hips, but only bend at the knees. This is where your core strength comes in. Push the ball forward slowly as you lean in to it. Before you feel your trunk bend, push your arms down hard into the ball and pull yourself back up to vertical (again, be sure to not bend at the waist (aka, go into hip flexion).
Exercise 5: Dumbbell Curl
This is an old standby for shaped and built arms, but one we still do for a reason: it works. If you actually use some difficult weight on this, it will be a whole body exercise. Not because you’re swinging and moving all around, but because you’re holding still, stabilizing with your core, and also utilizing your shoulders and back to maintain your humerus (upper arm) at your sides.
To do itL Be sure to turn your wrist as you go up, starting from the bottom with palms facing in to your sides (neutral hand position). Supinate your wrists (turn them out) as you go up and really put the squeeze on your biceps. Do three to four sets of 12-15. You should be coming close to failure of good form in the 12-15 rep range. If you feel like you can curl your weight all day long, increase the weight. You will not see change unless there is a stimulus to the muscle.
Perform these five exercises twice weekly to bring out those curves and shape in all the right places, and you’ll be the hit of the beach this summer.
Photo courtesy of Equinox.