The ONLY 3 Exercises You Need To Get Fit For Summer

If you’ve spent the winter huddled under a quilt wearing your droopiest sweatpants and drinking hot chocolate, we’re certainly not going to judge you — because, well, same here. We’ve had an absolutely brutal winter here in New York. But, much like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, let's throw off that ratty blanket and get our butts moving again.

To make things as easy and efficient as possible (because, hey, we're all busy living the dream), we polled the minds of trainers from three of New York's hottest boutique fitness studios to come up with moves to get the ball rolling. Each full-body workout gives a little extra attention to your core, upper body, and lower body, respectively. And, thanks to step-by-step instructions (and some handy little GIFs), all you need is a towel, some cool new fitness gear, and a tiny bit of motivation. Now, put down that mug, and let’s do this.
The Move: The Bird Dog

The Expert: Annie Mulgrew is the program director at CityRow, whose hashtag #legscorearms pretty much sums up what to expect in its rowing-meets-sculpting classes.

The Focus: This is a full-body move, but you can expect to feel it most in your upper body — shoulders, arms, and chest — as well as your core.

The Instructions:
• Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly below your shoulders in a tabletop position. While keeping your right palm and left knee planted on the floor, lift your left arm and right leg out and away from one another. Really reach the lifted heel away from the lifted hand to lengthen your body.

• Then, bring your left elbow and right knee toward each other, slightly rounding the spine so that they can meet at the belly button. Extend them back out.

• Place your knees and hands back on the ground and pitch forward slightly so your head is in line with your tailbone in a slight slope. Keep your elbows wide and perform a modified push-up with your knees on the ground. Inhale as you go down, and exhale — thinking about pushing the floor away — as you go back up.

• Repeat with the other arm-leg combination.

• Do this for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat.
The Move: The Towel-Slide Pike Plank

The Expert:
Amanda Freeman is the founder of SLT, fondly referred to as “Pilates on crack” by its many lithe devotees. While SLT’s classes take place on the semi-intimidating Megaformer (and will leave you feeling like a wet noodle afterward — in the best way possible, of course), Freeman adapted this popular move to work without the machine. All you need is a bare floor and a towel.

The Focus:
This is a full-body move with a particular focus on the lower abs, an area that’s hard to hit with traditional crunches and other ab exercises.

The Instructions:
• Get yourself into a forearm plank with a towel under your feet. The closer your feet are to each other, the harder the move is.

• Once you’re in plank position, be sure your body is in a straight line from your head to your feet. Make sure your hips aren’t higher than your head, and that your lower back doesn’t sag. Freeman recommends sucking in your abdomen as though you’re anticipating a punch in the gut. Flex your feet, and send energy through your heels.

• Slowly count to four as you lift up into a pike position, using your abdominal muscles to pull up. Your legs and feet are just along for the ride. Then, count to four again slowly to get yourself back into a plank position. That’s one rep.

• Freeman suggests doing this move repeatedly for at least 1 minute. If you can do it longer, go until you’re fatigued. For an extra challenge, add a one-minute plank hold after the one-minute pike move. Do this every other day to allow yourself a recovery day, which is when muscle change happens.
The Move: Single-Leg Jump Lunges With Side Kick

The Expert:
Sadie Kurzban founded ((305)) Fitness after launching the concept and winning a $75,000 entrepreneurial prize at Brown University. The high-energy, dance-inspired interval workouts feature a live DJ and full-on light show. This is definitely not your mom’s aerobics.

The Focus:
This two-part move will work your legs and butt, and also has cardio benefits. You should definitely be breathing heavily after this one.

The Instructions:
• Start with your right leg in front and your left leg behind in a lunge position. Jump the left leg inward until it’s even with your right, then immediately jump back to a lunge. Repeat this 4 times. Be sure the front knee doesn’t go past the ankle as you lunge.

• While jump lunging, you can naturally swing your arms. If you’re flexible and want a more intense workout, let your arms hang straight down and allow your fingertips to brush the ground while lunging. Be sure to keep your chest open, without hunching or rounding the back.

• After doing 4 jump lunges, plant your right leg firmly in front of you with the knee slightly bent. Kick out to the side with your left leg (the one that was lunging backward) 4 times, trying not to touch the kicking foot down all the way to the floor between kicks. That way, you're working on balance, and your standing leg gets a bigger challenge.

• During the kicks, keep your hips as square as possible. You don’t need to bring the leg up very high. Make sure to engage the outer thigh on the kicking leg and flex your foot.

• If you want a lower-impact version, skip the jumping and just perform the lunge 4 times before kicking.

• Do the move for 30 seconds on each side, then rest and repeat. If you dare.
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