All Entries For home workouts

A 6-Step, Full-Body Barre Workout


Barre, the ballet-inspired workout that focuses on isometric strength training, continues to gain new fans around the country due to its quick results and unique, graceful movements. Get a taste of this increasingly popular way to work out with this routine developed by BarreAmped creator and fitness instructor Suzanne Bowen. The total-body barre workout can be done anywhere you have a ledge or some other support for balance. These six effective moves will have your muscles shaking and working. Grab your mat, some light hand weights and a stopwatch, then warm up for five minutes and try it for yourself!

Up & Back with Arm Sculpt 
To begin, hold on to something sturdy for balance and grip a light weight in your left hand. Extend left leg forward while keeping the right knee soft and hips squared. Take your left arm straight back behind rib cage as you feel your triceps contract.

On your inhale, hinge at the hips, bend your left leg and move the torso to face down as you reach the left leg straight back and your left arm forward. Exhale and return to start move. Continue for one minute.

Make it easier: Decrease range of motion, hand weight size or duration.

Make it harder: Increase time to 90 seconds and, with each move, pause and pulse arm and leg 10 times.

Troubleshoot: Be careful not to lock out the standing knee. Make sure that the leg is moving straight. When you hinge to move the leg back behind your body, bend the knee and press it back.

Works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and triceps.

Fiddler with Rear Shoulder Lift 
From the last rep of "Up and Back" above, hold that hinge. Bend your elbow and face palm to the back, keeping the arm in line with your shoulder. Bend your left knee and point toes, then lift your right heel. Pulse left knee and elbow up in tiny moves up and down for one minute.

Make it easier: Drop right heel down, drop the weight and stay more upright.

Make it harder: Hinge more parallel to the floor, dip down a little lower in the right knee and increase duration to 90 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Keep hips square, right knee soft and core tight so that you don't move the lower back at all.

Works: Glutes, hamstrings, calves, rear deltoid, lower back.

Wide Second Middle Shoulder Lift 
Holding support with right hand and weight in left hand, which is in front of hips, step out into a wide plie position and raise heels up. Stand up, keeping your heels lifted and raise your left arm to shoulder height. Move down and up slowly within this full range of motion. Repeat for one minute.

Make it easier: Keep heels down, decrease duration.

Make it harder: At the end of the 60 seconds, keep arm lifted, bend knees to the lowest point and pulse for 30 more seconds.

Troubleshoot: Ensure that knees and feet are tracking by making sure not to turn your feet out too much. With the heels up, keep the weight on your big and second toes, and less on the pinky toes. Keep your heels below the knees.

Works: Quads, inner thighs, calves and middle deltoids.

Turn around and repeat the first three exercises on the other side.

Tabletop Bent Knee Lift 
On a mat, bring your hands below the shoulders and your knees underneath the hips. Place weight behind the front knee, securing it so it does not fall out. Tuck your back toes under and lift knee off mat as you raise the front of the leg up. Keep your core tight and pulse the front bent leg up for one minute.

Make it easier: Keep back knee down on the mat and/or do not use a weight behind the knee.

Make it harder: Move front knee in a full range of motion (all the way down and all the way back up) for 30 seconds, then pulse at the top for 30 seconds.

Works: Shoulders, arms, chest, glutes, hamstrings, quads, abs and lower back.

Troubleshoot: Keep everything in the upper body lifted and engaged. Do not let your neck or lower back sag. Core should be lifted to ensure that movement is in the leg lifting, not the lower back.

Repeat on the other side.

Single Straight Leg Stretch 
Lie face up on the mat, draw legs up, keeping them as straight as possible, and feel your abs lift. Raise shoulder carriage and keep your head in line with the spine as you gaze up and ahead. Inhale. On the exhale, lower your front leg down as your bring your back leg up, keeping both legs straight. Inhale and exhale to change legs. Repeat for one minute.

Make it easier: Lower your shoulder carriage and your head down to the mat. Keep knees soft or slightly bent and decrease the range of motion. 

Make it harder: Speed up the leg motions while maintaining control and stability through the core.

Troubleshoot: This move requires flexibility in the hamstrings and strength in the abdominal muslces. If you feel a strain in your neck, try pulling the abs in more. If your neck is still straining, lower your head and shoulders to the mat, but stay very connected to your core. As you build strength, attempt to lift the upper torso and head back up. Also, try not to tuck your chin, but instead keep your head in line with the spine.

Works: Abdominal wall and hip flexors. Stretches hamstrings.

Mermaid Bridge with Chest Lift 
Lying face-up on the mat, bring your knees together and your feet apart, keeping your feet close to the hips. Holding a light weight in each hand, bring your arms straight above the chest with palms facing knees. Inhale. On the exhale, press your hips up and lower arms down to either side of the shoulders. Inhale as you lower the hips back down and lift your arms. Repeat this move for one minute. 

Make it easier: Rather than creating the mermaid shape with the legs and feet, keep legs parallel and hip-distance and keep your heels down. 

Make it harder: At the end of the minute, keep hips up, then lower and lift the arms for an additional 30 seconds.

Troubleshoot: It will be tempting to lift the lower body so high that the upper back begins to leave the mat. To avoid this pressure on your neck, be careful to keep you upper back in contact with the mat throughout the move. Also, as you lift your heels to create the mermaid shape, make sure that you are not turning your ankles out too much. In barre exercises, always consider alignment.

Works: Chest, lower back, inner thights and glutes. 


About the Author
Classically trained at the prestigious Lotte Berk Method in NYC, Suzanne Bowen is the creator of Suzanne Bowen Fitness #SBF, an efficient mind-body technique that combines cutting-edge cardio, intelligent strengthening and dynamic stretching. Students flock to Suzanne because of her encouraging, no nonsense, straightforward teaching approach that provides targeted and overall results while guiding people to be the best they can be. From her training in modern and classical dance, Pilates, yoga and deep stretching, Suzanne has also developed the highly successful BarreAmped program that is licensed to over 50 studios worldwide and continues to grow under her tutelage. ''BarreAmped'' (Classic Barre) and ''BarreAmped Boot Camp,'' her newest DVDs, epitomize the best of her Barre targeted workouts and are available on Amazon and www.suzannebowenfitness.com.  
Posted 7/27/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   18,360 views
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5 Ways to Make Walking More Wonderful


Whether you have been walking for years or are just getting started with it, making your walking time more enjoyable can help you stay more motivated to stick with it over the long term, which is the key to lasting results!

Try these five simple tips to help you take your walk from good to great:

#1: Step in the right shoes.
This one may sound super obvious, but so many of us are walking around in shoes that are either the wrong size or aren't designed to support our unique needs. If your feet are in pain after you finish a walk, chances are you are in need of a sneaker makeover! The right footwear could be what's missing from your routine and could help turn your walking time into a more pleasurable experience that you'll actually look forward to.

If you regularly experience pain or tenderness in your feet, you may have issues with plantar fasciitis, overpronation (your feet rolling inward as you step), flat feet or even high arches that need to be addressed by either a specific type of shoe and/or orthopedics. Depending on what kind of issues you are experiencing, you may need the expertise of a podiatrist or orthopedist to best advise you on what type of shoe or orthopedics you should be wearing. Please don't wait until the pain is unbearable to make an appointment - do it today! 

It's also important to find the right fit. Your sneaker size is typically (though not always) a half to one full size larger than your formal shoe size. If you aren't sure what your specific sneaker size is, take the time to get fitted properly in an athletic store. And don't forget that even the perfect sneakers wear out over time and mileage, so be sure to replace them as needed (like when you start to notice the support or tread wearing out in your shoes) to keep a spring in your step over the long term.
 
Posted 6/25/2015  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   8,889 views
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The 1-Mile Indoor Power Walking Workout


This one-mile indoor power walking workout will help you stick with your walking routine no matter what time of day or night it is--or what the weather is like outside! 
We'll use a mix of moves that can be done easily in a small space to help you prevent joint strain. We're keeping it simple to help you squeeze in some extra steps anytime, anywhere. Just a heads up, we'll be jumping right into this walk to make this mile short and sweet, so please be sure you are warmed up first. And be sure to stick around for the cool-down to find out more about our upcoming #5MileChallenge with SparkPeople and brand new DVD, "Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles".
 
Posted 5/24/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   28,934 views
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5 Dance Moves Anyone Can Do


Dancing is one of the most enjoyable exercises you can do to be healthy and ecstatically happy while getting fit and losing weight! Dance is fun and exciting, and you’re always learning something new and interesting. All you need is your two feet and your favorite music. The best part is that there is no prior experience necessary! The more you dance and the longer you do it, the better it feels and the more skillful you become. Not only can dance workouts can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour, but dance also builds stamina, strength, agility and flexibility. Dance also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes a healthy immune system, and can even help you sleep better and reduce the symptoms of depression. Try it and see for yourself how good you feel after! Here are some simple and fun dance moves for everyone to try at home. 
Posted 3/3/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   11,839 views
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The 5-Minute Abs Workout


Want to work more on your core strength, but aren't sure where to start? We've got you covered! Strengthen your core at home in just 1-5 minutes per day with this quick video series--no gym or equipment required! 

We've created this 5-Minute Abs series for you to use as you see fit. If you're just easing into core work, you can do one video each day for a fun fitness boost, or do all five videos consecutively for a mini core workout that will seriously challenge you. Follow along with each video and post how you did in the comments. We'd also love to hear your feedback about the video series, and are open to hearing ideas about other workouts you'd like to see in this format. Have fun! 
Posted 3/2/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 16 comments   73,817 views
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15-Minute Beginner Barre Workout


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Barre (or ballet-inspired) workouts are typically low-impact and help develop total-body flexibility, strength and coordination, making them a fantastic way to get fit! If you've been wanting to try a barre workout, this is the perfect place to start! 
 
Posted 1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   85,552 views
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Finally: A Yoga Routine for Bad Wrists!


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Yoga is a wonderful way to build flexibility, range of motion and relieve stress. But if you are just starting out, some traditional yoga poses and postures can be a little overwhelming and/or too tough on the wrists. This gentle, yoga-inspired routine uses a chair to help safely support your body into a deeper stretch.
Posted 1/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 18 comments   30,334 views
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15-Minute Bodyweight Basics Workout


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Whether you are just starting to exercise, or have been working out for years, there is nothing more effective for building strength, alignment and body awareness than basic, bodyweight only exercises. This 15-minute full-length home workout routine helps keeps your heart rate elevated while developing strength and stamina from head to toe. Refresh your form and perfect your body alignment with these traditional moves to safely get more out of every workout. 
Posted 1/12/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   33,461 views
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A Zero-Equipment Cardio Jump-Start


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Forget slogging through countless miles on the boring treadmill or running outdoors in the bitter cold--a good cardio session can be quick and effective, and done from the comfort of your home with zero equipment! Join me for this short and sweaty cardio workout any time you need a fun way to spark up your calorie burn FAST. 
Posted 1/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   38,468 views
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How to Start Exercising: A 20-Minute Routine


Ready to start exercising, but not sure where to begin? I’ve created this workout just for you! Everybody has to start his or her own personal exercise journey somewhere, so if you are ready to start moving, join me for this efficient and effective workout that uses just your body weight, a chair and a wall. This 20-minute routine will help you develop strength and stamina and will teach you proper form for basic exercises like squats, planks and push-ups.
 
Posted 12/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   73,236 views
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The 12-Minute Better Posture Workout


Your mom was right--standing up straight really is good for you! Better posture can also help you look taller and slimmer instantly (no Spanx required). With all the sitting and slouching we do while typing, texting and driving, maintaining good posture can require a little extra work. Join me for this equipment-free, full-length workout video designed to develop strength, flexibility and proper alignment in the postural muscles of the neck, shoulders, back and core. A mat is recommended for the floor work (though a carpeted surface should work fine). 
Posted 11/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   41,589 views
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The Best Abs Exercises (that Won't Hurt Your Back)


If traditional abs moves like crunches and twists bother your back, don't suffer! There are plenty of ways to work your abs without straining your back that are just as (and sometimes more!) effective. Join me (and my puppy Peanut) for this full-length workout routine that is designed for those who experience back pain during floor abdominal exercises.
 
All you’ll need for this workout is a sturdy chair and a single light dumbbell (or similar weighted object). 
Posted 11/3/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   138,986 views
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A 15-Minute Lower-Body Workout for Bad Knees


Squats and lunges are two of my favorite classic moves to incorporate into lower-body workouts because they really work! However,as effective as they are, these particular moves can cause knee pain for a lot of people. The good news is that you can still effectively target the lower body with these alternative exercises that won’t strain your joints. This full-length, low-impact workout doesn’t include a single squat or lunge and is designed to be gentle on the joints but tough on your hips, thighs and glutes! 
Posted 9/30/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   117,445 views
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Sculpt Your Legs in 8 Minutes (at Home!)


No equipment? No problem! This quick set of exercises is guaranteed to fry your thighs using just your body weight and a small amount of space (making this routine perfect for travel!). Try this lower-body circuit as its own workout (1, 2 or 3 times through depending on how much time and energy you have), add it to your strength routine or try it after a cardio session for one short, but serious, lower body sculpting session.
 
Keep an eye out for Peanut the French bulldog, who also joins us for this workout (well, sort of)!



Leave me a comment below and let me know if you tried the workout. What was your favorite (or least favorite!) move?
 
Want more? Click here to try more of our lower body routines on JESSICASMITHTV!
 
Like this workout? Be sure to subscribe at Youtube.com/JessicaSmithTV to access a full library of over 200 FREE full-length workout videos. New episodes air every Saturday at noon EST!

About the Author
Jessica Smith is co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare's Top 10 Online Influencers, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Fordham University.

Posted 8/31/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   36,400 views
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12-Minute Indoor Power Walking Workout


Short on workout time? Need a quick energy boost? Trying to rack up a few more steps today? Join me for this quick, powered-up walk that is easy to do at home (or even at the office!) in a small space. I've included a few fun intervals to help mix up your steps and get you sweating for this short burst of activity. 
 
Oh, and be sure to look out for Peanut the French bulldog who joins us for this walk (well, in her own way)! 
Posted 8/11/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 29 comments   137,630 views
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