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Home: The Toast


Previous installments of Feel the Burn can be found here.

I have been enjoying posting my daily workouts for you in the link roundup, but your demands for a more formal Feel the Burn have not fallen on deaf ears! There is nothing I love more than telling you about exercise.

As you probably know, I have been doing a group boot camp four mornings a week, baby in tow, in an attempt to return to my preferred physical status as a lethal movie villainess. The thirty minute format perfectly dovetails with my son’s limited willingness to sit and watch me hop around, I get my clock THOROUGHLY cleaned, and then I go home and mine the internet for links to amuse and educate you.

About halfway into the workout I am about to take you through, I faceplanted on my mat and thought “all my progressive librarians with their sexy, sexy glasses would really love this. There’s ZERO equipment, you need only enough space to lie down, it works your whole body, pushes your heart rate, has lots of modifications for physical limitations, and it goes by REALLY QUICKLY.”


“Why is this called The Double Kimmy Schmidt, Nicole?”

“Because it works on the theory that you can withstand anything for TWENTY seconds.”


Let us begin. (If you want to know about the research behind Tabatas, go for it, I’ll just take you through the mechanics.)

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Gear:

1. Ideally, you’ll want a yoga mat or a carpet to do this on, but you can mostly stay in exactly the same place for the whole time, which makes this a perfect home workout (you can also go do it at the gym, obviously.)

2. Sneakers, a good sports bra, comfortable clothes.

3. An app that can time the intervals for you! There are a bunch of them, this one is free and does 20 seconds and 10 seconds off, which is EXACTLY what you want.

4. END OF LIST.

How It Works:

This is a RAPID-FIRE Tabata workout, thirty minutes long, which is a bit different from Tabatas you might have done in the past. You’re going to do each move for twenty seconds, then rest for ten seconds, then go immediately to the next move. You’ll wind up doing each exercise six times, with one minute of straight cardio after each round of eight (jumping jacks, jump rope, jog in place, run a lap if you’re at the gym, whatever.)

IN OTHER WORDS: squats for twenty seconds rest for ten tailbone balance for twenty rest for ten straight leg raises for twenty rest for ten straight leg situps for twenty rest for ten plank for twenty rest for ten bird dogs for twenty rest for ten pushups for twenty rest for ten other plank for twenty rest for ten JUMPING JACKS FOR ONE MINUTE squats for twenty seconds rest for ten tailbone balance for twenty….until you’ve done each of the eight exercises six times and done six total minutes of cardio. Got it? You’ve got it. Let’s talk about the eight exercises.

Squats With Alt Leg Lift

Just normal squats, but as you come up, lift one knee at a time to your chest with each rise, alternating sides. Like this, but without moving the leg out to the side, just directly in front of you with a bent knee!

Tailbone Balance With Kickout

Sit on your butt, clutch your knees to your chest with your arms, rock back so you’re resting right on your tailbone, then make motions with your arms and legs as though you’re treading water (legs extend out, legs pull back in, arms out to the side, arms back in) without making contact with the ground with anything BUT your tailbone. There’s an explanation of an identical exercise here, called “the V crunch.”

Straight Leg Lifts

Oh, lovely, a little animation here! Make sure to keep your hands under your butt, it will take the pressure off your lower back, and find the correct range of motion that will work your abs like whoa BUT doesn’t strain the aforementioned lower back AT ALL. This will likely mean that you get your legs up pretty high to start, and then do not dip down too far with each movement. Keep your feet flexed (toes pointing back towards your body, not away from it) and your legs COMPLETELY straight (this will further limit your range of motion.) Go slow.

Straight Leg Situps

I love situps and I think they get a bad rap, personally. Don’t hunch on your way up, try to keep your chest fairly open. Here is an image. If you are not at the point where you can do full situps, try holding a medicine ball or other object in your outstretched hands and use its momentum to gently propell yourself (like this, but with straight legs.) If you’re not at that point, just do crunches instead!

Plank With Hip Extensions

Here’s a good image. Really tighten your glutes at the top of each movement. If you’re having a tough time holding the plank, you can do straight arms instead of elbows.

Alternating Bird Dogs

(whispers)

These are pretty easy. Observe, do this, alternate sides each time:

Pushups

For a brilliant primer on pushups, please consult my earlier opus. Tramp or Lady pushups are fine here, whatever level you’re at. Keep your body straight, your abs tight, hands wide, and don’t go so low that you tweak your back!

Plank With Alternating Arm Lifts

This is slightly different from the one we do in boot camp, but just do this. If you cannot do a full plank with arm raises, you can do knee planks with arm raises. Try to keep your back as flat as possible.


Those are all of the moves! I will be here to provide any clarity if you are confused by them.

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