It's easy to see how someone can become close with their trainer and/or workout buddy. There are a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes) that go into those early morning workouts, so it's important to make sure you've got the right person by your side! For this story, I gave my trainer, Marlene, the go-ahead to tell you how she whips my butt into shape. Her workouts are focused on building long, lean muscle and a little bit of cardio. I first met Marlene at FlyBarre when I accidentally parked my car in an illegal zone—I wish I could say that was the first time. Anyway, when I got out of her class, my car had been blocked in, and the parking attendants had left. I had no way of getting my car out! Also, my phone was about to die, so Uber was also going to be an issue. It was pretty much a disaster. And then, out of nowhere, Marlene appeared! She gave me a ride home, and that was the beginning of our friendship. If that experience didn't bond us, then her blood-pumping workouts certainly have! She makes the 7 a.m. alarm a little less daunting—which we all know says a LOT.
Keep scrolling to discover Marlene's expert moves that help whip my body into shape, fast.
The mermaid press helps to strengthen and tone your triceps and core. It targets your oblique muscles for a sculpted midsection.
- Lie on your right side, and wrap your right hand around your torso.
- Next, press your left hand into the ground and pulse your hips up, pushing away from the floor.
- Pulse for one minute.
- Make sure you keep your feet on the floor.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
The bridge is one of the best exercises to strengthen and tone your gluteal muscles. It works your quads and hamstrings as well.
- Lie down on your back with your feet flat underneath your knees and your hands down by your sides.
- Raise your glutes up, keeping your stomach tight.
- Hold for 10 seconds, and pulse up 10 times for 10 reps total.
- For an extra challenge and to work your abdominal muscles, raise one leg off the floor.
The push-up plank is one of those moves that targets your entire body, including your core, arms, shoulders, and legs.
- Start in a plank position with your core tight and your body in a straight line.
- Do a push-up with both feet on the floor, and, as you come up, rotate to a side plank.
- Open your arm up to the sky, and slowly lift the same leg.
- Next, rotate the hand and foot back down to the floor back into a plank.
- Perform another push-up, then repeat on the other side.
- Do as many as you can for one minute.
The tabletop exercise is another fabulous full-body move. It strengthens and tones your hips and thighs, as well as your core stabilizing muscles. It also targets your back extensor muscles, which help to support your back.
- Start on your hands and knees with your navel tucked into your spine and your shoulders away from your ears.
- Release your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind you.
- Bend the elbow and knee in together, and release back out 10 times.
- Next, place your hand back on the floor, and press the foot toward the ceiling 20 times. Keep the knee bent and above your hip.
- Then, straighten the same leg behind you with a pointed foot, and lift up 20 times.
- Lastly, tap the foot to the right and outside to the left, making a rainbow arch behind you, 10 times.
- Repeat on the other side.
Butterfly crunches work those lower abs, which are notoriously difficult to target. This exercise will strengthen the muscles that support your back and help you create a lean midsection.
- Lie on your back with hands behind your head and pointed toes in front of you.
- Lift your head as you crisscross your feet up to 45 degrees and back down just above the floor.
- Perform this move five times.
- Next, bring your knees and elbows in together, and release your legs back out five times.
- Lastly, keep the knees bent above your hips and twist side to side, opposite elbow to opposite knee.
- Perform 10 times.
This stretch is important for creating a long, lean line. It helps to relax and elongate the muscles post-workout. The result is greater joint range of motion and improved flexibility. Your exercise routine will become much more efficient and effective.
- Start on your knees with your arms at your sides.
- Place your right leg out to the side with your toes facing up.
- Lift your left arm up while slowly sliding your right arm down your right leg.
- Lean to the right, feeling the stretch all along your side.
- Go down as far as you comfortably can while maintaining proper form.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
And that's it—you're done!
Working out is all mind over matter. Your body is a lot stronger than you think and capable of so much. Just make a commitment for a few weeks, and keep it consistent. Workouts don't have to be grueling or monotonous. Grab a friend and try new classes to mix it up! If you are consistent with this routine three times a week, after two weeks you will start seeing results!
Remember: If you are having consistent pain with any of these exercises, stop and see a licensed physical therapist to address any strength imbalance or issues with form in order to be able to continue safely.