Get the year off to a great start with a routine that gets your heart pumping and muscles firing
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Your fitness success for 2016 can be set on the right or wrong path depending on how you start the year. January 1 is not necessarily the pivotal day, but having an active first week of the year can really get you off to a cracking start. Today’s workout won’t give you a six-pack in five minutes or turn your buns to steel, but it may just give you the positive start to the year you need. It’s better for you than spending the day nursing a hangover and feeling sorry for yourself. Follow the steps in today’s workout and get the year off to a good start.
- Step 1: Jump in the ocean or the pool or, if neither of those is possible, jump in an ice-cold shower to wake yourself up, enliven the senses and get your head a little clearer.
- Step 2: Walk for 10 minutes at a casual pace in the fresh air.
- Step 3: Find a park bench and do five rounds of 15 step-ups on each leg and 10 triceps dips. Alternate between the two. This will get your muscle toning underway for the new year.
- Step 4: Do a two-minute jog away from the bench and then jog back (four minutes of jogging in total). Pace is not important. Enjoy your surroundings, enjoy the fresh air and get your heart rate up a little.
- Step 5: Sit all the way on the low side of the bench and then stand up, for 20 consecutive reps. Do push-ups with your hands on the high side of the bench for 20 reps. Then do 20 V sit-ups on the low side of the bench. For the second set, do 15 reps of each, for the third set, 10 of each, and on the fourth set, five of each.
- Step 6: Go for a brisk one-minute walk, then do 20 seconds of Brazilians (remember to breathe). Repeat this combination (60-second walk, 20 seconds of Brazilians) for five sets.
- Step 7: Bring on the new year!
Why? A great do-anywhere exercise that targets the obliques and core.
How? Assume a push-up position on your toes, with your hands on a bench, feet shoulder-width apart, chest over hands, gaze out in front of your hands and your body in a straight line. Raise your left foot and draw your knee across your body towards your right elbow. Stay long through your torso and control the amount of twisting. Keep your chest over your hands, your gaze in front of your fingers and your pace slow. Each rep should take 3-4 seconds. Alternate feet on each rep.
Why? Great for arm toning.
How? Sit on the edge of a bench, hands by your hips, fingers facing forward, elbows pointing back. Walk your butt a few centimetres off the bench, back straight, feet out in front on heels, knees slightly bent. With control, lower your torso until your elbows reach 90 degrees. Pause. Push up using your arms only. You should feel this in the back of your upper arms.
Why? Cardio that works your quads and calves.
How? Place your right foot on a bench. Push down through your heel and stand on the bench. Without stopping, move the left thigh forward until the knee is hip height. Balance, then slowly lower your left foot to the ground, touch down lightly with your toes and spring back up for your next rep. Do all the reps on one leg, then switch.
See our video on how to do step-ups.
Why? An abs move that works your six-pack in two ways.
How? Sit on a bench, knees bent at 90 degrees, torso straight. Grip the bench behind you. Raise your feet and bring your thighs into your chest. Extend your legs and, at the same time, lower your torso back. Stop when your body is almost straight. Flexing through your abs, sit up and raise your legs to finish with your thighs by your chest. Do all reps before placing your feet on the ground.
Why? They work your core and whole lower body.
How? Stand with a bench 30cm behind your hamstrings. Keeping your gaze on the horizon and your body straight, slowly squat until your butt touches the bench. Sit down. Pushing through your legs, stand up again. Go straight into your next rep.
- Breathe through the exercises. The combination of alcohol in your bloodstream and holding your breath is a recipe for making you feel sick.
- Rehydrate before you go to bed the night before and drink water again when you wake in the morning.
- Take water with you to train.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Don’t start the year with sunburn.
- Get some friends to join you in your positive start to the year.
Kate Johnson, 28, is a model and graphic designer. She likes walking her dogs and strength training in her home gym.