We have a to-do list. In fact, some of us have a to-do list for our to-do list...and a calendar that shows alarms for said to-do lists. But when we're busy as hell and trying to sort it all out, exercise is the first thing to fall out of its designated slot. The truth is, it deserves its very own calendar — one that can hardly be messed up.
That's exactly what we and Puma are giving you. This challenging (but totally achievable) 30-day plan, developed by SLT founder Amanda Freeman, focuses on fatiguing specific muscle groups, breaking down their fibers, and giving them time to regrow stronger and leaner. "That's when you can see sculpting start to happen pretty quickly," says Freeman.
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And those big results? They're yours without a fancy gym membership, expensive equipment, or co-opting your precious schedule. You bring the commitment and drive, and we've got the how-to.
As this easy-to-follow calendar shows, you'll be targeting specific muscles every other day, with cross-training — think a 30-minute jog or brisk walk, a dance class, or a yoga session — and a weekly rest day in between. "It doesn't get easier; you just get better at it," says Freeman. "So continue to amp up your workouts throughout the month." To do this, you'll work up to certain moves, adding variations like tricep dips and pulses as time goes on. "As long as you keep challenging yourself, you'll be able to take your workout to new levels."
Curtsy Lunge & Pulse With Bicep Lift This move is a true full-body exercise, targeting your hamstrings, outer hips, and glutes; relying on your abs for balance; and working your arms on the lift. And while both legs are working throughout, you'll alternate between which is bearing the brunt of the burn.
1. With weight loaded in the heel of your right foot, stand with feet a little wider than hips width apart, left toes pointed and resting on the ground or a towel. Extend your arms straight in front of you just below shoulder height, palms facing up.
2. Slowly, slide your left foot back and to the right of your right foot by bending your right knee. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. As you slide your foot back into the full curtsy lunge, lift your arms up an inch.
3. Pulse in place by bending both knees deeper while holding your arms in place. Continue pulsing for the allotted time, then straighten your legs and slowly return your left foot to its original position.
If this move feels easy, you may be making one of two mistakes: moving too fast (slow and controlled wins the race) or transferring too much weight to your moving leg. When you feel the work primarily in your standing leg, you're doing it right.
Spoon With Tricep Dip The spoon is a toughie because it works the often-overlooked deep lower-ab muscles — most moves target only your upper abs. Plus, it helps keep your spine healthy and limber and works out your shoulders, chest, hip flexors, and triceps.
1. If desired, place a towel under your feet to make sliding easier. Stand in front of a chair (or in this case, bleachers), and put the heels of your hands on its edge, fingers facing downward. Extend your legs straight in front of you.
2. Using your lower abdominal muscles, pull your torso up and back (by scooping out your abs) while sliding your feet closer to the chair. Do this until your bottom moves up and past the edge of the seat. Pause in that position, and then slowly start to slide your feet away from you until your bottom drops below chair height.
3. To complete a single tricep dip, bend your elbows while keeping them close to your sides. Then fully straighten your arms, and continue sliding your feet back to the starting position. That's one rep.
To make this move even more effective, work to keep your feet flat on the floor for the duration of the move. Try not to tense up your shoulders, keeping them relaxed and away from the ears. And no matter what, never bend your knees.
Hydrant Kick While hydrant kicks can look (and feel!) super awkward, they're an effective way to zero in on the gluteus maximus muscles (a.k.a. the center of your butt). Since they're among the largest muscle groups in the body, they're essential for hip and thigh function and strength.
1. Start in a modified tabletop position with your right hand, left forearm, and both knees on the ground. With a bent and slightly turned out knee (but hips squared to the ground), lift your right leg off the ground.
2. Slowly lift your leg a few inches, moving toward hip-height, for a 2-second count.
3. Once you reach the highest point, straighten out the leg for a "kick." Bend your knee back in, and slowly drop it back to your starting position.
Alignment is key to making this move work. Your knees must be below your hips, your elbows below your shoulders, and your back flat. Keep your core engaged, and avoid shifting your weight to the non-working side, which can throw your body out of whack and increase the risk of injury.