As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s time to pull the sequin-splashed frocks out from the inner depths of our closets (or hit the boutiques!) and prepare to put on our party-hopping hats. The catch? As much as we dig the seasonal soirées, we know that tasty temptations are aplenty this time of year. (Ahem, cue our finger-licking-good mac-and-cheese roundup — sorry, we're not sorry).
Yep, it's nearly impossible to dodge the snack counter, the gingerbread cookies, the pumpkin pie … you get the point. So, to get you in tip-top shape for the impending delicacies, we’ve tapped the fitness experts over at Pop Physique to show us five small exercise tricks with big payoffs. Plus, we know time is of the essence, so you can do all of these in a snap—and slip right into that party dress. Ready to work it out? Let’s break a sweat…you can munch on a candy cane after.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio
Targets: Triceps and shoulders
1. Start in a seated position on a mat with feet hips distance apart, palms under your shoulders, heels on mat, and fingers facing forward.
2. Begin to squeeze your glutes and tuck pelvis up, shifting weight over to the palms.
3. With pelvis tucked and slightly lifted above mat the entire time, bend elbows and start to press up to straighten the arms. Do not lock your elbows!
4. Bring back down to a bend and back up again. Do this 12 times.
5. Bring elbows back down to a bend and with your pelvis still lifted, hold the bend, and pulse your pelvis down — hovering a few inches above the mat. Repeat this 12 times.
Targets: Inner and outer thighs
1. Before you begin, be sure to place a sturdy chair backward on the edge of mat. We used a bar for this exercise, but obviously you can easily do this at home with a chair!
3. While holding the chair, come down onto both knees.
4. Step the right foot forward, making sure the knee is bent and aligned with the ankle.
5. Curl your left toes under, lift your left knee up a few inches off the ground — keeping it aligned with your hip.
6. Pull your abs back and tuck pelvis slightly, so that your spine is straight.
7. Begin to pulse knee up and down, hovering above the mat about an inch. Do this 16 times.
8. Then, with your knee still hovering above the mat, squeeze your thighs together. Do this 16 times.
9. Repeat step seven and pulse knee above the mat again. Do this 16 more times.
10. Come down to the mat, reset, and repeat the above steps on the other side.
Targets: Glutes and lower back
1. Lie down with your back on the mat, feet shoulder-width distance on the floor, and knees bent at about fist width apart.
2. Placing your hands along on your sides, walk fingers down the mat, and tightly squeeze and tuck your glutes up. Be sure you are tilting your hips toward your ribs and making sure your ribcage stays glued to the floor.
3. While engaging the glutes the entire time, lift and lower to the mat. Do this 16 times.
4. Once lowered back down to the mat, bring your toes together, heels apart in a narrow V-shape, and come onto your toes.
5. While engaging the glutes the entire time, lift and lower to the mat. Do this 16 times.
1. Start seated at the front edge of the mat with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
2. As you inhale, sweep your arms up and on the exhale put your arms behind your thighs.
3. Engage core and draw abs in as you settle create a C-shape with your body.
4. Pull your heels in closer toward your glutes and begin to exhale, pulling the abs toward your spine. Your pelvis is tucked and glutes are squeezed.
5. Release your right arm in front of you and make a fist.
6. Release your left arm in front of you and make a fist.
7. Begin to twist your waistline, the arms following back and forth in a punching motion.
8. Punch right, punch left — making the movements come from the obliques, not the shoulders. Do this 16 times.
9. Place hands behind knees.
10. Take the right hand to a prayer form in front of your chest. Take the left hand and meet the right at center.
11. From the core, twist right and left.
12. Do each variation 16 times.
Targets: Abdominal muscles
1. Begin by sitting on a mat with your elbows under your shoulders, knees bent, and feet flat on floor and hip distance apart.
2. Squeeze your glutes and tuck your hips under, titling your hips toward your ribs.
3. Take sharp breaths as you pull yours abs in, keeping the shoulders pressed down and the chest open.
4. Extend your right leg straight up and with tiny inhales, pulse in with the right leg. Do this 12 to 16 times.
5. Then, flex your right foot, leaving a tiny bend in the right knee and press straight. Do this slowly four times.
6. Place the right leg down repeat on the left side.