How long ago did you book your holiday?
6 weeks? 6 months? A year?
It was a grey and dreary day and spontaneously you decided that enough was enough – you needed some sun, sea and sand to look forward to.
And the best bit was that you made sure that you had plenty of time to get your summer body spot on before you hopped on that airplane.
But somehow the weeks drag on and things come up – such is life. Birthdays and house-moves, busy weeks at work and babysitting duties, and on those few occasions that you get some down-time, the last thing you feel like is working out. Next time, you say.
I’m not judging – how can I? I’ve been there too, we all have! Suddenly it’s one week to go before holiday-time and you think to yourself sh*t – I’m not ready.
Unfortunately in life there are no quick-fixes – anything really worth having takes both time and hard-work – but just because there’s only a matter of days before the passport comes out of the “important documents drawer” doesn’t mean that you’ve lost all hope of getting a little more toned, a little more lean – a little more ‘beach-body’ ready.
So instead of giving up completely, make the most of that last week to focus your energy on you and your pre-holiday goals – the confidence that you’ll gain from a week’s worth of hard-core training will be ten times more effective than living off nothing but juice for six weeks before your vacation, trust me.
With that in mind I’ve created a nice and snappy pre-summer one week work-out programme, to work the whole body as much as possible before you land in that lovely hotel by the sea. I’ve tried to make it realistic too – I know as well as anyone that with all sorts of other commitments, it can be difficult to devote time every day to the gym!
I hope you enjoy it – and hey, have a great holiday 🙂
“International Upper Body Day” – apparently. So jump on the hype and kick off your week with:
1) Super Set Press Ups and Tricep Dips
10 Reps Press Ups straight into 10 Reps Tricep Dips
30 Seconds Rest
Repeat 3 Times
*Super-setting two or more exercises at once is a great way to get as much done in as short a time as possible – so it’s perfect if you’ve left things a little late! If you can’t do a full press up, feel free to go on to your knees for the ¾ version – although you want to make sure you have a mat or some other padding.
2) Reverse Rows
3 Sets, 20 Reps
Using an overhand grip, hold onto a bar that is approximately waist height, as if you are lying underneath it (facing upwards) with the rest of your weight on your feet.
Keeping your body in a straight line, pull back the shoulder blades and elbows in order to raise yourself up and touch your chest to the bar.
Gently lower and repeat.
*Think about pulling the elbows back and round and squeezing the shoulder blades together. If you can’t find a free bar, you can also do these using TRX suspension ropes.
3) Swiss Ball Dumbbell Chest Press
3 Sets, 12-15 Reps
4) Swiss Ball Shoulder Press
3 Sets, 12-15 Reps
*Using the Swiss Ball for the Chest and Shoulder Press means that you’re working on core stability at the same time – so strengthening the abs. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone when you’ve only got a week to go!
5) Wide Grip Lat Pull Downs
3 Sets, 12-15 Reps
Your hands want to be equidistant from the centre of the bar, just wider than shoulder width apart.
Pull the bar down to your chest.
Think about engaging the lats and pulling the elbows back and round, rather than focusing on the biceps to bend the elbows. This exercise is great for your biceps as an accessory, but it is more about the back.
6) Lateral Dumbbell Raises
3 Sets, 10 Reps (Remember to do both arms!)
*Lateral Raises really work the shoulders and back – so they’re perfect for strengthening your posture.
Have a rest. I don’t expect you to go to the gym every day.
Remember the little things though: can you walk that bus journey? Can you take the stairs, not the escalator? Can you bicep curl your shopping bags on the way home? (Joking…)
If you feel up to it, do some ab exercises before bed (because everyone wants a flat tummy on the beach)
Cardio and Calisthenics day – so you don’t even need to go to the gym if you don’t want to!
Spend half an hour doing any cardio of your choice – run, cycle, use a cross trainer or a rowing machine. Turn up the speed every ten minutes and for the last one-two minutes of your cardio session, sprint to the finish.
Once you’ve done this do a quick round of HIIT bodyweight exercises:
30 Seconds Jumping Jacks
30 Seconds Burpees
30 Seconds Mountain Climbers
30 Seconds Army Man Plank
30 Seconds Rest
Repeat 3 times, decreasing the rest period by 10 seconds each time.
*Simple but sweaty. HIIT only works if you make sure that during the short exercise time that you really go full out. If you need to take 10 seconds longer rest, go for it – but try not to rest for more that 40 seconds. All of these are great for shedding that fat and they’ll test your cardiovascular fitness too. Lots of plank variations mean your core abdominals will be getting a great workout throughout.
Another ‘rest’ day (your body needs time to recover!) but if you really want to go hardcore, try some of these low-impact posture exercises.
Make sure you stretch yourself out as well.
Friday – Legs and Bums
1) 10 Bodyweight Squats into 10 Jump Squats – 10 Seconds Rest
Repeat for 5 Sets
*Squat form is really important whether you are doing them jumping, with weight, without weight- whatever. Don’t let your knees fall in or out, but make sure they go straight over the toes. Feet should be just a bit wider than hip width apart. When you bend, sit back into the hips until there is a right-angle (ish) in the back of your knee between the upper and lower legs. Ensure that the majority of your weight is on your heels. Don’t let the back collapse forwards – keep your chest up.
2) Cable Kick-Backs
4 Sets Each Leg, 15-20 Reps
4) Swiss Ball Lunges
3 Sets Each Leg, 20 Reps
*You can choose whether you want to add dumbbells to these. Resting your back leg on the ball will seriously throw you off balance, so if you do add weight, don’t go too heavy – especially the first time around! Make sure your movement is nice and controlled – you should feel it in the glutes and the quads (top of the thigh) as well as getting a nice stretch in the back hip.
5) Back Extensions
3 Sets, 20 Reps
Using either a swiss ball or a back extension chair (Roman Chair), position yourself face down creating a straight line with the body.
Slowly lower the upper body towards the floor, bending at the hip to try and create a perpendicular angle.
Making sure that the back stays straight (no arching or rounding) raise yourself back up to the starting position.
6) Swiss Ball Leg/Hip Raises
4 Sets, 12-15 Reps
*This is an awesome exercise for abs, legs, glutes – the lot! You can do leg raises without the ball, of course, but this just adds an extra element of instability, so you really work on your core control.
Saturday – The Final Last Minute Abs Blast
Either 5 Sets, 20 Reps or 10 Sets, 10 Reps
2) Russian Twists
3 sets for 1 minute each
Sit on your bum with your legs slightly bent in front of you, feet hip-width apart and approximately one foot away from the bum. Lean back so that the abs have to engage to stabilize and balance the body. Keeping this core engagement, twist the upper body as far as feels comfortable, shifting the weight to the right and then to the left. Make sure you hold the arms out infront of you and keep the movement controlled.
3) Flutter Kicks – Plank
Superset – 1 minute flutters, straight into 1 minute plank. 30 Seconds rest and repeat for 3 Sets.
Sit on your bum and lean back until the core engages to stabilise you. You can either balance ‘hands free’ or rest on the hands by placing them about a foot behind you. If you choose to rest on your hands, try to make sure to lean as far back as you can so that the core really still has to engage. Keeping the legs straight, make fast, small kicking movements with the legs and feet, not letting them rest on the floor but keeping them hovered 4-6 inches off the ground at all times. When finished, flip over into plank position and hold for one minute.
4) Side Plank Hip Raises
3 Sets, 20 Reps
Rest. And finish that packing.