You read right. You don’t need a lot to keep in shape just before New Year. I’ve realized this after having spent thousands of dollars on gym memberships before spring break, weddings; you name it.
There are a handful of basic exercises with variations that I’ve found offer the perfect last-minute workout. I’m going to share with you the only 7 exercises you need to get in shape for New Year’s Eve.
You won’t need hours out of your busy year-end schedule. Only about 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise each day will get you quick results. I promise!
Pushups for Great Arms and Fantastic Posture
Pushups are old, tried, tested and they work on your arms, chest, hips, core, and legs. They strengthen your core, tone your upper body muscles and give you a fantastic posture.
It’s the go-to exercise for guys and girls in law enforcement agencies to stay fit, and they are definitely my role models. That’s a good enough reason for me to do pushups whenever I can!
Here’s how you do pushups the correct way.
- Lay out your exercise mat. Get on the floor and place your hands on the mat directly under your shoulders. Your fingers should point out.
- Your feet should have a hip-wide gap between them. (You can stretch them a little further apart for a bit more stability).
- Stretch your body straight like a plank all the way from your toes to your head. Doing this before a mirror helps to maintain posture. Or have a friend guide you.
- Raise yourself on your arms, keeping your neck in line with your shoulder. Bring your elbows close to your body as you lower yourself. That’s one pushup. Do this in three sets, alternated with three sets of pull-ups, which we’ll talk about next.
For a little more challenge, perform six pushups, lower your body and hold your chest above the floor for six seconds, then five more pushups and a five-second hold and so on until you’re down to one pushup and a one-second hold.
You can also do a feet elevated pushup or any of the other challenging pushup variations if the standard pushup is too easy!
Pull-ups to Complement Pushups
I think it’s essential to combine your pushups with pull-ups. In fact, you can ask any buffed up guy at the church gym or army base what their favorite workout is to get their big chests and arms, and they’ll tell you it’s a combination of the two.
Pull-ups work on your chest, triceps, shoulders, and your core. So basically when you do pull-ups with push-ups, you’ve more or less got your upper body make worked out. Just be careful not to overstrain your muscles. The DEA physical task training guide says it’s good to do a combination about thrice a week and that’s what I do.
You’ll need a chin-up bar for pull-ups. But I’ve found getting under the bed, or the dining table or even using kids’ playground equipment works as a hack if you don’t have access to pull up bar. Even a sturdy door frame can serve. Here’s how you do it.
- If you’ve got a pull-up bar: Hang from the bar so that your hands are more than shoulder width apart. Your palms should be facing away.
- Pull yourself up until your chin is just over the bar. Lower yourself again and repeat.
Here’s a great video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGAK2-_kn1U on the different ways you can do pull-ups at home without a pull-up bar.
The Plank Walk Is Great for Flat Abs
I’ve found planks are great to work my overall body and my abs. I normally do it at the end of my other exercises, so it’s harder to do. You can do a side plank or any of the other variations of planks.
I think a plank walk or a walking plank is an excellent and practical challenge.
To do a walking plank, start in the basic plank position.
Keep your abs tight and your shoulders away from your ears as you walk your hands and feet out to the right, both at the same time.
Walk’ once more to the right. Go back to original position, and then do the same twice to your left. Do this four times.
I like to add a push up after each walk’ to the side.
Plie Squats for a Fantastic Bottom
I love squats. They work to strengthen the lower body. But it’s well-known that plie squats are better than regular squats because they work on muscles in your outer and inner thigh that the regular squat doesn’t manage to do.
Here’s how you do the plie squat:
- Stand with your feet apart at a distance greater than your hip-width.
- Next, squat down until your buttocks are parallel to your knees. Slowly go back to the standing position. You can repeat this squat sixteen times.
- To give your muscles a workout, you can hold weights while you do the squat or do plie squat jumps to get the adrenaline pumping.
Power Skips for Getting Warmed Up
Power skipping is a lot of fun. It makes me feel like a kid again, and it’s a great cardio for getting warmed up. It’s got nothing to do with skipping ropes, though. You may need a little space for this if you choose to do the skipping variation. Here’s how you do it.
- Start with your feet flat on the floor.
- Pretend you’re marching in place. Lift your right knee to your waist while you punch skyward with your left arm.
- As a variation, skip with your raised foot while you do this.
- Change sides and repeat the whole movement 32 times.
Jump Lunge for Killer Legs
Start with your right knee forward at ninety degrees and your left knee lowered near the floor in a basic lunge. It’s important to keep your core tight so you don’t hurt yourself.
Next, push off the bottom of both your feet into a jump to switch positions in mid-air. Land softly, again in a basic lunge, this time with the opposite feet positioning.
Note: As you do this, make sure your torso is completely straight and your weight is distributed evenly between your back and front feet. Make your arm movements coordinate with your feet movements.
That’s all there is to it! If it’s too tough, do regular lunges without the jump. Make sure that your knees don’t touch the ground.
Bench Hops for Cardio, Strong Lower Back and Pecs
Finally, I like to do some bench hops for warming up with a bit of lower back strength. They do this move a lot for sports fitness drills, in combination with squats. You may even have done it a lot at school. It works on the lower back and the pecs.
I find a low bench and face it. It has to be a bench without a back. Then I bend over and place my hands on either side of my shoulders, gripping the bench edges.
Then, I hop my right leg out to the side and bring my left leg to meet it. I repeat on the other side. I recommend that you do sixteen reps of this move. To challenge yourself further, try to hop both legs together to each side. Or use weight cuffs if that’s too easy.
So that rounds up my list of what I think are the only workouts you need in the run-up to New Year’s Eve. Whenever I’ve got a social occasion coming up that I’ve got to look my best for, I start incorporating these core exercises and their variations into my workout routine a couple of weeks ahead. Together, they work on my whole body, and I don’t even need gym equipment for most of them!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list and the resources I’ve shared with you. If you have any comments, please weigh in below. Do you think there are other and if you like my list, please do let others know.