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Get In Shape For Summer

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We are just beginning to emerge from the long, cold winter and thoughts are turning to warmer days ahead. Though we long to shed some of the heavy clothing we have been wearing for the past several months, many of us also need to consider shedding some of the pounds that we have accumulated during that time. Now is the time to commit to getting our bodies ready for the warm, wonderful months ahead. For those who do not have a lot of free time to dedicate to lengthy workouts – no problem. For as little as ten minutes 3-4 times a week, you can make significant improvements. Try the following exercises for a short time and you will begin to see progress.

Exercise #1 is called “super glutes”. This exercise will work the hamstrings, glutes and abs at the same time. Start by lying on your back with arms at your sides. Lift hips off of the floor in an arching position. Your right knee will be bent with your right foot directly under your butt. Left leg is extended fully upward. Lower one leg to the floor as you inhale, maintaining body arch. Exhale while again extending left leg to upright position. Repeat for 15-20 reps. Change sides and repeat on alternate leg.

Exercise #2 tummy toner. This exercise will help to give you the killer abs you would like to have. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 45 degree angle. Upper body (head, neck and shoulders) are off the floor and both hands are gently resting on raised knees. As you exhale, pull in abdominal muscles tightly. Raise your right arm over your head while lifting your left leg straight out from the knee (horizontally). Alternate with left arm and right leg maintaining tight abs. Do not allow head to drop back but concentrate on looking at your ab muscles as you do this exercise. Do 2 reps of 20.

Exercise #3 leg lifts. This is a great exercise for the hip abductors. Lying on your right side and balancing on your hip, rest your head on your right arm. Bend knee so that it is slightly in front of body. Body should be straightly aligned from head to hip to ankle. Slowly lift left leg, keeping toes and hips facing forward. Lower slowly to start position. Do 20-25 reps and repeat on other side.

Exercise #4 Squats. Squats are the gold standard for leg exercises because it works so many muscles including the hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles. Lower body as far as possible by bending knees inhaling as your legs lower. Feet are apart slightly more than shoulder width and toes and feet are pointing outward. Exhale as you push body upward by straightening legs. Repeat 10-12 times.

Be sure to warm up and stretch out before doing these or any exercises to reduce chance of injury.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of RobbinsSports.com, an online retailer specializing in volleyball nets and basketball backboards.