Whether you're a runner or a fixture at the gym, this creative outdoor workout will make you better at what you do, all while looking stunning while doing it. "I call this workout the AHA workout — abs, hips, and ass," says Jennifer Pattee, owner of Basic Training (and our fitness model!). Her workout focuses on your core, shoulders, legs, and butt to create body balance, joint flexibility, and strong, sexy muscles.
This workout's big secret, however, is its focus on your hips. "We all have kind of weak hips, and it's hard to incorporate hip-strengthening into our daily lives," Jennifer says. "We can all be stronger there, and it doesn't take long. When your hips are strong, especially your gluteus medius, it doesn't take long to become a more efficient runner. . . . It sets you up to be a strong athlete for your whole life."
Ready to take advantage of Fall's cooler weather to work on those gams and glutes? Take a look at the workout Jennifer's created just for us (with a little help from fellow Basic Training instructor Sandra Possing and Fergus Jacobs of Gotham Gym New York). You'll need a find an outdoor location with stairs and a soft area for the exercises done on the ground.
After a few minutes of warming up, start out with a bang by running up a staircase. Do this for five to 10 minutes, and then continue by running sideways on the stairs (as shown, facing right) for two to five minutes. Repeat facing your left side.
"The star sequence is great for strengthening your shoulder joints, and it's going to help you in so many sports and activities," Jenn says. "Whether it's yoga or lifting or resistance training, having strong joints is something that a lot of people overlook in their strength training." If you feel any discomfort in your hips or lower back while doing this move, stop — it could mean your body isn't ready to perform this move quite yet.
- Start in a plank position, hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart (top photo, above).
- Slowly lower down while you count to seven. Bring your chin to the ground if you can (lower photo, above).
- Press up as quickly as possible back to plank, and then move your right arm to the center line of your body, so it's directly below your sternum.
- Pivot onto your right side, stacking your feet, into side plank. Raise your opposite arm straight into the air. Look forward, and make sure your neck is long and your shoulders don't feel scrunched. Hold for three to five seconds. You can lift your let leg up as shown (top photo, below) or, if you need an assist, fold the foot of your left leg behind you like a kick stand.
- From the side plank, continue to rotate to your right, lowering your left leg down until your torso is facing the sky in an advanced bridge pose. Keep your left leg bent and your right leg straight out in front of you (see bottom photo above). Bring your hips and pelvis up toward the sky. You should feel a gentle twisting in your spine that feels like a good stretch. Engage your glutes, and stretch your back and hold for three to five seconds.
- Return to side plank, and then return to starting plank position.
- Lower down while counting to seven as you did above. This time, move your left hand to the center of your body, and pivot on your left side into side plank. Then continue into advanced bridge for one minute before returning to starting position. Repeat these motions for one minute; then rest for 30 seconds and repeat again.
When it comes to this difficult move, "do what feels comfortable, and know that if you've never done these before, you are going to feel them the next day or the day afterward, so take it easy," Jennifer advises. "Focus on quality over quantity. . . . For some people that might be five, while other people can go up two flights of stairs or more. "
- On the ground in front of the bottom stair, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms resting on your hips.
- Start by doing a regular squat; then engage your core and jump up explosively, propelling yourself to the next step.
- When you land, sink down to lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Start your next jump from this low squat position. Repeat until you reach fatigue.
Get the rest of the workout below.