Staying fit and healthy doesn’t have to be a big production that takes up your entire morning or evenings after work.
I am a huge advocate for short and effective workouts that you can throw into your day, and today I have a great one you can do in the comfort of your living room or even outdoors!
If I’m short on time and want to get a beneficial workout in, I’ll often turn to some kind of core circuit that incorporates more than one muscle group at a time.
Pilates is one of my favorite ways to stay tone without having to make a trip to the gym, and I hope you like this equipment-free workout as much as I do!
All of these exercise target multiple areas with a focus on the core. This would be a great workout to complete after a cardio session, or even while you’re at home watching television!
• plank hold
Get into a plank position on your elbows and toes.
Make sure your hips are in line with your shoulders, your elbows are under your shoulders, your legs are straight, and your core is tight. Hold this position tight anywhere from :30 to 1 minute without letting your back round or arch. You can always drop your knees to modify.
• toe touches
Start by lying flat on the mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your arms should stay by your side while you engage your abdominal muscles and stabilize your spine. Keep your shoulders pressed down and keep these notes in mind throughout the duration of the exercise. Slowly lift your feet off the floor and straighten your legs.
Exhale and use your abdominals to life your head and shoulders off the floor. Reach your hands towards your ankles and keep your head aligned with your spine. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat for 20 reps.
• bicycle twists
Start on the floor with your lower back pressed into the mat or floor. Contract your core muscles. Place your hands on your head and keep your elbows wide. Lift your right knee to about a 45 degree angle.
Rotate your chest so that your left elbow touches the right knee. Slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion and alternate touching your elbows from side to side. One set of both knees is considered one rep. Complete for 12 reps.
• hip abduction (lifted)
Start in a side elbow plank on your right side. Keep your bottom leg bent at a 90 degree angle (ankle should be behind the knee) and on the floor, while your top leg extends and straightens. Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder and keep your weight there. Tighten your abdominals and lift your torso off of the mat. This is your starting position.
Keep that position throughout the exercise, or modify by keeping your body on the mat. Keeping your top leg straight, and foot flexed, make sure your ankle is in line with your hips and contract your glute to lift the leg. Hold the position for 1-2 seconds and return to your starting position. Avoid throwing your leg up and down, and concentrate on a slow and controlled movement engaged by your outer glutes. Complete 10 reps, then switch sides.
• single leg floor bridges
Start by lying on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. They should be about hip-width apart. Arms should be resting by your sides with the palms facing the ceiling. Lift your right leg off of the ground and flex the foot.
Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips and hold the position for about 2 seconds. Stay on the heel of your bottom foot and keep squeezing your glutes. Slowly lower your hips without touching the floor and repeat 10 reps on each side. You want to aim to keep your lifted foot in a stationary hovered position. Don’t let it drop up and down as you bridge!
• single knee-down push-ups
This move is what I like to call the middle ground between a straight leg and knees down push-up. With the added single straight leg balance, it also gives you a chance to work your core! Start by getting into a normal push-up position with your feet together. Place your hands wider than your shoulders and point your fingers forward. Lower your left knee to the ground and straighten your right leg so it is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your core engaged the entire time and avoid any arching in the lower back.
Perform a push-up down and up for one rep. Complete 10 reps, then switch sides.
• floor cobras
Start by lying flat on your mat, arms by your ears and legs straight behind you. Contract your glutes and the muscles of your lower back, and raise your head chest and arms off the floor. While reaching backwards, rotate your palms to face the outside. Think of the motion your hand would do while opening a door knob.
Hold for a couple of seconds, then return to starting position for one rep. Complete 15 reps.
Start lying face down with your arms extended forward, palms facing down, legs straight back. Raise your arms and legs off of the floor (just a couple of inches), then lift your right arm and left leg about six inches.
Keeping your head and chest lifted, switch arms and legs, lifting your right arm and left leg. That’s one rep. Complete 10 per side, or a total of 20. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise!
• thread the needles
Side elbow planks are challenging as it is, but adding the twist also works your obliques and shoulders! Start in a side elbow plank on your left side. Keep your legs straight and feet stacked on top of one another. The modified version of this exercises is to unstack the feet by putting one in front of the other or placing the bottom knee on the ground. Make sure your elbow is directly under your shoulder and keep your weight there.
Keeping your core locked tight, rotate your chest towards the floor and bend your arm to bring your right hand under your body. Return to starting position and straighten your arm for one rep. Complete 12 reps, then switch sides.
CALIA by Carrie Underwood
If you’re wondering where the adorable outfit I’m wearing came from, it’s from the new line, CALIA, by Carrie Underwood!
I have always admired Carrie as a talented singer and inspiring person, and I am thrilled to be partnering with her very own company this year! CALIA is all about finding your balance, and Carrie wants to motivate us to look as beautiful as we feel by staying on track and working a little harder at our personal goals each day.
“Staying active is a lifestyle, and choice we make every day. So I created CALIA to make it easier for me and all other women to work in working out no matter what.” #StayThePath — Carrie Underwood
There is no where I would be embarrassed to wear these workout clothes. They are so soft, comfortable, and came in the cutest box with matching leggings.
CALIA products feature both BODYBREEZE (moisture-wicking) and BODYFREE (antimicrobial odor eliminator) materials.
These products are available exclusively at DICK’S Sporting Goods or online.
Double Braided Twisted Headband // Women’s Essential Tank // Women’s Inner Power Seamless Double Strap Bra // Women’s Essential Tight Fit Capri
I have already worn this one for a couple of workouts, and I have a hard time taking them off to wash when I’m done. The pieces are that comfortable.
I love what this brand represents, and look forward to sharing more pieces with you in the future. You can stay in the know with her latest products by following the CALIA social channels.
I hope you enjoy the workout!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of CALIA.
Disclaimer: Although I am a certified personal trainer, I am not necessarily your personal trainer. The workouts I post are what work best for me, and might not be the right type of exercises for you. I always recommend consulting a doctor or health professional before making changes to your diet and/or fitness routine. <3
Twinsies!! 😉 Love the workout AND the outfit on you…the bra totally fits you better than it fit me! LOL
Woo hoo! I know, I saw your post! And STOP… that sports bra looks adorable on you. 🙂
Erin @ Her Heartland Soul
I love side planks! More than I love front planks. Is that weird?
Not at all! I do too… until I realize I still have to do another whole side 😉
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment
Love the outfit! I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods recently and I saw that Carrie Underwood had a new line of fitness apparel. Very cool – nice workout too!
LOVE! I need to go check it out in stores. I bet there’s a lot of great stuff!
I love that headband! And a great group of exercises to incorporate post-run or on a rest/recovery day!
Thank you! Yes, I actually completed this one today after a 2 mile run. It felt great!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries
Very cute look! Love it!
This looks like a great workout! I love Pilates inspired circuits; they are often so much harder than they look! The outfit is super cute, too!
The moves and reps definitely sneak up on you! Thanks!
Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me
LOVE that you are all about those short workouts! I have never been someone who can stay attentive to fitness for more than a half an hour, and I need things like this! Also, you look adorable in these pictures. 🙂
Thanks, Julia! Yes, I do love a hard hour workout sesh at the gym, but am also quite fond of these short and not-so-sweet circuits you can pair with cardio or throw into a busy day!
I can’t decide what I like more about this post, the workout or your headband your’e wearing in the workout pictures! So cute! I am seriously bookmarking this workout though, it seems right up my alley.
Woo hoo! Please let me know if you give it a try. 🙂
Diggin the new workout outfit 🙂
I don’t really care what I look like when I workout. Its more sports bra, shorts, shoes, GO! fit in in before work and the kids.
Ha! You’re a mind reader I saw these leggings and HAD to know where there were from. I should have known that Carrie Underwood would make things I want! 🙂 Great workout I might borrow some parts for my core class this week!
Awesome! I hope you enjoy the moves. Carrie’s got some great stuff!
Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut
I was going to say that I had those leggings from fabletics…but those apparently aren’t Fabletics haha.
Love your post! And your outfit too, it looks beautiful on you.
I really love these mat exercises, because i feel like i don’t have any excuse to not do it, xoxo.
Thanks Justine! I hope you enjoy the workout if you decide to try it. Have a great weekend!