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A Lower-Body Exercise Routine to Build Balance and Strength

A Lower-Body Exercise Routine to Build Balance and Strength

Guess what? After today’s lower-body exercise, you will have reached the halfway point of the challenge. Big congrats! That means now is a good time to check in with yourself and assess where you are. How do you feel? What changes have you noticed? Are you feeling more energized? Stronger? Can you eke out a few more reps, or go up in weight? Are you feeling more confident about all these moves?Whichever way you answer, Team SELF believes in you—so we are going to up the ante by introducing lower-body moves in this routine that build on the exercises you’ve already conquered. That’s why day 14 offers you a tried-and-true lower-body move, the deadlift, along with some newer moves added into leg day for more challenge. You’ve done the lateral lunge—a more advanced lunging variation—before, but we’ll invite you to add an extra challenge to it this time, if you wish: You’re welcome to add external resistance to the move, like with a pair of dumbbells. (Of course, you can also keep it bodyweight only if you’d like.) The lateral lunge helps you move in the frontal plane of motion, which many of us don’t do enough. It gets you out of just moving in the sagittal plane (forward and backward) and into the frontal plane (side to side). Multiplanar moves—moving in different planes of motion—are important because they not only mimic how our bodies move on a daily basis, but they also help keep you mobile and reduce your risk of injury.  Ready to give it a go? Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s lower-body exercise routine.The workout below is for day 14 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSAim for 8–12 reps per exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. At the end of the round, rest 60–90 seconds. Complete 2–4 rounds total. Repeat for Superset 2.EXERCISESSuperset 1Romanian DeadliftGoblet SquatSuperset 2Lateral LungeSquat to Double PulseBONUS MOVEAfter your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.Squat to Oblique Twist

This Flexibility Workout Also Hits Your Core

This Flexibility Workout Also Hits Your Core

In this flexibility workout, you’ll get a two-for-one burn with a mix of cardio and core work. What makes this combo so great? It helps you boost your cardio endurance while also shoring up one of the most important muscle groups in your body: your core.Now, when you hear the word “core” you may be tempted to think only of the rectus abdominis, the muscles that run vertically along the front of your abdomen. But really, your core is much more than that. Your core encompasses all the muscles that attach your pelvis to the spine, from your obliques to your transverse abdominis (the deep core muscles, almost acting like a corset for your body) to your back. And this grouping of moves in today’s flexibility workout is going to tackle all of them.We especially love the inchworm here, for its core and mobility benefits. Because while it does hit your core—after all, you’re holding a plank in the move—it’s also going to help you improve your flexibility because you’re reaching to touch the floor, then bending over at your hips, then walking out on your hands. In fact, you’ll often see the inchworm as part of dynamic warm-ups because of how it preps your muscles for movement. This single-leg inchworm builds on all of that and provides more unilateral work to build balanced strength, mobility, and flexibility. (Can’t do a single-leg inchworm? Feel free to make it bilateral instead.)As for the squat to oblique twists and modified burpees? They’ll really get your heart rate up, making this a great cardio and core combination. Plus, the superman will help you work those all-important back muscles, which are key for posture and efficient mobility.Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s cardio-core interval workout!The workout below is for day 12 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSComplete each exercise for the chosen work/rest interval:I = 30 seconds work, 30 seconds restII = 40 seconds work, 20 seconds restIII = 50 seconds work, 10 seconds restRest 30–60 seconds between rounds. Complete 3–5 rounds.EXERCISESSquat to Oblique TwistModified BurpeeSingle-Leg InchwormSupermanOne-Knee Posture PullsBONUS MOVEAfter your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.Plank Up-Down

This Leg and Shoulder Workout Is a Real Scorcher

This Leg and Shoulder Workout Is a Real Scorcher

You’ve made it to the second full-body strength day of the SELF New Year’s Challenge! And you’re in for a treat—a leg and shoulder workout that hits several major muscle groups. We’ll alternate between lower-body and upper-body work to keep your muscles guessing. And because you’re not working the same (or even similar) muscles back-to-back, you should be able to challenge yourself when choosing your weight, which will help you get stronger.In the first four moves in this strength circuit, you’ll work your quads, back, hamstrings, and shoulders, before ending on a butt-specific note with the donkey kick. The donkey kick is a real glutes scorcher, since it targets the largest of your three glute muscles—the gluteus maximus—which is responsible for extension of the hip. While the goblet squat and Romanian deadlift (which are compound exercises, meaning they work multiple muscles) certainly work your butt, too, the donkey kick, which is an isolation move, really gets in there good.Glutes work is super important for many of us. If you spend a lot of time sitting (hello, endless Zoom meetings), your hip flexors can shorten and tighten, which leads to your butt muscles not firing properly or as optimally as they should. When the glutes—we’re also talking about the two other butt muscles here, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus—are out of whack, it can force other muscles in both your back and lower body to overcompensate. The result: the potential for a host of issues, including lower-back, knee, and hip pain as well as muscle imbalances throughout your body. This circuit will definitely put your glutes to the test. (If you want an even greater burn, you can use a mini-band for the donkey kick to increase the challenge.)Also, a quick reminder: Please don’t forget to warm up prior to each session. It’ll help you get your muscles moving through a larger range of motion so you can get the most out of every single exercise. And it really only requires an extra five minutes on top of your workout. Seriously, it’s worth it. Here’s a good one that will get you primed to take on today’s leg and shoulder workout.Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s full-body dumbbell workout that’ll really hit your shoulders, legs, and butt!The workout below is for day 11 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSAim for 8–12 reps of each exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest 60–90 seconds after each round. Complete 2–5 rounds total.EXERCISESGoblet SquatPulloverRomanian DeadliftLateral RaiseDonkey KickBONUS MOVEAfter your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.Incline Push-Up

4 Moves to Stabilize Your Shoulders

4 Moves to Stabilize Your Shoulders

A shoulders workout is an important part of any upper-body strength regimen. While lots of people tend to concentrate on biceps and triceps when “arm day” rolls around, the truth is, your shoulders are a key part of the overall strength and movement here. And so a solid upper-body workout should certainly include them. Quick anatomy recap: Your shoulders—officially known as the deltoids—are made up of three muscle heads: the anterior (front), lateral (side), and posterior (rear) deltoids. Their power lies in their strength and stability. That means you also need to pay attention to surrounding muscles such as your trapezius (which run from the neck across the shoulder and extend to the middle back), latissimus dorsi or lats (the large back muscles that connect the spine to the arms), rotator cuff (the small muscles in the back of the arm that stabilize the shoulder), and rhomboids (which help retract the shoulder blade).All of these muscles work together to support and stabilize the shoulder. So if you’re looking for a solid and efficient shoulders workout (and for optimal shoulder health!), you have to do more than just “shoulder exercises”—you need moves that work all those supporting muscles, too.In today’s upper-body workout, you’re going to start with a shoulder-specific exercise in your first strength superset: the Arnold press, which works all three heads of your shoulder. The Arnold press is a more advanced version of the overhead shoulder press, which you’re already pretty familiar with from week 1 and week 2. Because you’re laterally moving your arms out to the sides before you press them overhead, you end up working your lateral deltoids more than you would in a traditional overhead press. This also means the Arnold press may feel more intense than a regular overhead press, so you may need to reduce the amount of weight you use or do fewer reps.You’ll follow the Arnold press in this superset with the bent-over row, which targets those oh-so-important lats, traps, and rhomboids. Your second superset will include the chest press, which hits your pecs and your shoulders, and the quadruped rear-delt raise, which hits—you guessed it—your rear delts.If you’re up for more upper-body love after this, the optional bonus EMOM will have you covered, alternating between biceps and triceps-specific moves for an awesome arms finisher. With an EMOM, you’ll do one exercise after the next at the beginning of one minute, then rest after both are completed. Once that minute is up, you’ll begin the next round at the top of the second minute. And so on.Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s shoulder-stabilizing upper-body dumbbell workout.The workout below is for day 15 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSAim for 8–12 reps per exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. At the end of the round, rest 60–90 seconds. Complete 2–4 rounds total. Repeat for Superset 2.EXERCISESSuperset 1Arnold PressBent-Over RowSuperset 2Chest PressQuadruped Single-Arm Rear-Delt RaiseBONUS EMOMDo both moves for the recommended number of reps. Rest the remainder of the minute; repeat 4 times total.Biceps Curl (8–10 reps)Triceps Overhead Extension (8–10 reps)

An Agility Workout to Make You Sweat

An Agility Workout to Make You Sweat

Unless you played (or play) a sport, an agility workout probably isn’t something you make a point of doing regularly. But agility exercises, which frequently involve changing directions quickly (and ideally with ease), are a great way to improve your flexibility, balance, body control, and speed.In this workout, you’ll add some air to your cardio and core routine with two agility-enhancing moves—the skater and the lateral lunge. These moves, which rev up your heart rate while targeting your lower body, are designed to not only increase your power but also bolster your balance. What’s more, you’ll get a nice little brain challenge. That’s because agility training requires focus and neuromuscular efficiency, which is the communication between your brain and your muscles and how well they can work together.While plyo moves like the skater are really going to help you get sweaty, they may not be the best choices for people with hip, ankle, or knee issues, as jumping can place more force on the body. (If you have injuries or pain in these areas, you may want to talk with your doctor or physical therapist before trying any of these plyo moves.) Remember, you can always modify any of the moves in ways that make them best suited to your body. To make the skater lower impact, for instance, you can stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and tap your left foot behind your right, then switch.Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s cardio and core workout to hone your agility. The workout below is for day 10 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. (edited)WORKOUT DIRECTIONSComplete each exercise for the chosen work/rest interval:I = 30 seconds work, 30 seconds restII = 40 seconds work, 20 seconds restIII = 50 seconds work, 10 seconds restRest 30–60 seconds between rounds. Complete 3–5 rounds.EXERCISESSkaterHigh Plank With Leg LiftLateral LungeSquat to Alternating PunchBONUS MOVEAfter your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.Up-Down Plank

This HIIT Cardio and Core Workout Will Make You Sweat

This HIIT Cardio and Core Workout Will Make You Sweat

For today’s HIIT cardio and core workout, you’ll really bring the heat with dynamic tweaks on familiar moves, like the squat and the plank. It’s a strength-building, heart-pumping workout that has it all. While working your core and legs together is great for a workout, it’s also super important for everyday life. Take your core, for example: If you’ve ever done a workout class, you’ve likely heard an instructor tell you to engage it. The reason it’s so darn important to engage your core when you exercise is because building strength here helps keep your body balanced and stable, while also keeping your spine safe and secure. A sturdy core also allows you to move in a more controlled and efficient way. As for your legs, well, they are your foundation. They literally carry you wherever you want to go. So building strong quads, glutes, and hamstrings is always really important. Practicing squats and lunges—compound exercises that target all those muscles—are a great way to help you strengthen them; plus, throwing in some unilateral moves (like the single-leg lunge variation here) will help you identify and correct any muscle imbalances you may have between your right and left sides. Fortunately for you, this HIIT cardio and core workout covers all of this good stuff. If you’re looking for even more of a sweaty push after you’ve crushed this workout, stick around for a bonus EMOM finisher: You’ll alternate between yet another plank variation and lunge variation to end strong!The workout below is for day 17 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSComplete each exercise for the chosen work/rest interval:I = 30 seconds work, 30 seconds restII = 40 seconds work, 20 seconds restIII = 50 seconds work, 10 seconds restRest 30–60 seconds between rounds. Complete 3–5 rounds.EXERCISESSquat to Alternating PunchBear CrawlHigh Plank MarchPlank Shoulder TapBONUS EMOMDo both moves for the recommended number of reps. Rest the remainder of the minute; repeat 4 times total.Explosive Sprinter Lunge (alternate sides per round; 8–10 reps)Plank Shoulder Tap (8–10 reps)

A Total-Body Workout Packed With Unilateral Exercises

A Total-Body Workout Packed With Unilateral Exercises

When it comes to building total-body strength, it takes a bit of balance. That’s why we love unilateral exercises, which is what we’ll be focusing on today. With traditional strength training, we tend to focus on working both sides of our body at once, like with a squat or a chest press. But with unilateral exercises, or single-sided training, you focus on one side at a time. Sure, that takes more time, but the burn—and the benefits—are worth it. So that’s what we’ll be working on today with our full-body strength circuit.Breaking the body into different sides like this enables you to focus on each side individually to really work on those specific muscles. Pretty much everyone has muscle imbalances, which are caused by things like always lugging that heavy purse on the same shoulder or even consistently crossing the same leg over the other while sitting. That means your stronger side might be taking the lion’s share of the work when you do bilateral exercises. But when you split up the work by side, you can make sure each arm or each leg is doing the same amount of effort.Throughout the exercises in today’s circuit training routine—with moves like the alternating overhead press, kickstand deadlift, single-arm row, and split squat—you’ll be able to pinpoint any imbalances on your right or left sides that are often camouflaged during bilateral moves. Sussing them out gives you a chance to then work on strengthening them, and subsequently, promoting equal strength across the entire body, which should always be a major training goal. After all, imbalance can lead to overcompensation, which can lead to injury.In the context of the New Year’s Challenge, we’re building on foundational lower body and upper body exercises here, introducing some more advanced variations, too. For instance, take that kickstand deadlift. Think of it as a bridge between a regular deadlift (you’re already familiar with the traditional Romanian version) and a single-leg deadlift. It’s still going to help develop strength all along your posterior chain (think glutes, hamstrings, and calves), but it will also challenge your stability a little more since both of your feet aren’t planted. Plus, it helps you get a leg up (see what we did there) on your unilateral strength.Note: If you notice a significant strength imbalance on one of your sides during this single-sided training routine, you may want to give your weaker side a little more TLC. That might mean adding an additional round for only your weaker side, or doing the last round you had planned only for your weaker side.Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s total-body strength workout—unilateral style!The workout below is for day 18 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSAim for 8–12 reps of each exercise. Rest up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest 60–90 seconds after each round. Complete 2–5 rounds total.EXERCISESKickstand DeadliftAlternating Overhead PressSplit SquatSingle-Arm Bent-Over RowBONUS EMOMDo both moves for the recommended number of reps. Rest the remainder of the minute; repeat 4 times total.Chest Press With Glute Bridge Hold (8–10 reps)Lateral Raise (8–10 reps)

4 Lower-Body Exercise Moves to Master

4 Lower-Body Exercise Moves to Master

Say hello to today’s New Year’s Challenge workout, full of four lower-body exercise moves for you to master. We know that it’s not always easy to carve out time to work out—and that sometimes, well, you just don’t feel like working out. But you have been showing up, and here you are for another round. That’s no easy feat! What better way to celebrate than with your first dedicated leg day of the challenge? Building lower-body strength is important, since it helps you do everything from lift heavier to run faster to simply doing everyday tasks a little easier. Here, we’ll introduce you to exercises that’ll really help make that happen.In any complete lower-body exercise, you’ll want to hit these movement patterns: a squat variation (in this case, the goblet squat), a hip hinge variation (the Romanian deadlift), a bridge variation (the glute bridge), and hip abduction (the monster walk.) It’s also really important to introduce single-leg movements too, so you can identify and work to correct any muscle imbalances. In this routine we do that with the reverse lunge. These movement patterns are the building blocks to a strong body that can carry you through each and every day, as you perform tasks that seem simple—such as walking or lifting a heavy box off the floor—but behind the scenes are actually complex actions. You’ll work at mastering these basic variations in this routine, which we’ll build upon as the challenge progresses.One simple note we just want to put out there as you come into your third strength-training workout of the challenge: You probably notice that the workouts on the strength days feel different than the ones on the cardio days, in that you may not feel as out of breath or sweaty on your weightlifting days. That’s perfectly normal! In fact, you shouldn’t be “chasing the sweat” when you’re strength training, since rest is super important to allow your muscles to come back fresh enough for multiple sets to keep lifting those weights. Remember, the goal of today’s workout is to build strength, not work on your cardio fitness—that’ll come again in a few days!Now, who’s ready for leg day?The workout below is for day 7 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. (edited) WORKOUT DIRECTIONSAim for 8–12 reps of each exercise. Rest for up to 30 seconds between exercises. Rest 1–2 minutes after each round. Complete 2–5 rounds total.EXERCISESRomanian DeadliftGoblet SquatGlute BridgeReverse LungeBONUS MOVEAfter your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.Lateral Monster Walk

A Cardio HIIT Routine Without a Ton of Jumping

A Cardio HIIT Routine Without a Ton of Jumping

In this workout, we’ll be using cardio HIIT-based training with intervals to really get your heart rate up. And thanks to the exercises included, your core—particularly, your obliques—are really going to have to show up for the challenge!While today’s cardio and core HIIT routine is going to make you sweat, it doesn’t include a ton of high-impact, jumping moves. Aside from the high knees exercise, the other moves aren’t plyometric at all. You’ll do variations of the lunge and squat, which, because they are compound moves that recruit large muscle groups, will get your heat pumping. Remember, you don’t need to be doing treadmill workouts to get in your cardio! These variations will also call on your obliques for some extra work. Whenever you do moves that require a twist, those core muscles along the side of your abdomen need to fire up. Add the bicycle crunch to the mix, and your obliques will really take center stage here.Remember, feel free to modify these moves as you see fit. If you want to keep the entire routine low-impact, you can simply modify the high knees exercise into a high-knee march. That will make this a no-jumping routine (which your downstairs neighbors also might appreciate). Keep scrolling for the details on how to do today’s no-jumping cardio and abs routine. Let’s go #TeamSELF, you’ve got this sweaty HIIT circuit!The workout below is for day 19 of the SELF New Year’s Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here. WORKOUT DIRECTIONSComplete each exercise for the chosen work/rest interval:I = 30 seconds work, 30 seconds restII = 40 seconds work, 20 seconds restIII = 50 seconds work, 10 seconds restRest 30–60 seconds between rounds. Complete 3–5 rounds total.EXERCISESSquat to TwistHigh KneesCurtsy LungeBicycle CrunchSit-Up to Overhead ReachBONUS EMOMDo both moves for the recommended number of reps. Rest the remainder of the minute; repeat 4 times total.Bicycle Crunch (8–10 reps)High Plank With Leg Lift (8–10 reps)

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