Many of us have been stuck inside for the past few months due to the restrictions on “non-essential businesses”. This puts a screeching halt to the operations of many businesses, including the local gyms. Furthermore, even access to most local parks has been scarce, and most exercise equipment for purchase is either sold out in stores or requires longer than normal delivery times. As a result, most of us had to either find online programs to follow, create bodyweight home exercise routines, or simply take an extended absence from fitness.

The Numbers

Sadly, many people have said that they are seeing the scale moving up. As a matter of fact, a recent poll by WebMD found that of 1,012 US readers, 47% of the women and 22% of men who took the poll reported that they gained weight “due to COVID-19 restrictions”. In fact, among those US readers, 47% stated they had gained between 7-20 lbs. And for a more global comparison, another poll from WebMD found that out of 900 international readers, 55% of those men and 34% of those women reported weight gain.

Why? About 72% of US readers reported a lack of exercise as the reason they had gained weight, and similarly 73% of international readers reported “lack of exercise” as the culprit behind the weight gain they experienced. Thankfully, in many areas, it is now safe to visit the beach (provided reasonable social distancing), and beaches are opening up just in time for the summer sun. Now is the time to get that “beach body” ready!

Get Ready With This 7-Step Beach Workout

Whether you live by the beach, have a vacation planned, or just want to feel confident in your new summer outfit, I’ve got a beach body workout that will get you ready. This Beach Body Workout will not require any weights, and it will be extremely effective at toning your midsection, abs, and core. However, I do want to emphasize that although the exercises themselves are going to be effective, it is especially important to also implement a nutrition plan that will help you reduce body fat. Doing both will help to speed up getting that beach body you may have put on hold during the shutdown.

As a trainer from South Florida who lives near a beach, I’ve found that many clients looking for a beach body are essentially looking to improve definition in their mid-section. Now, it is essential to engage your core by performing functional exercises like squats, deadlifts, and lunges. However, you must also include ab and oblique exercises if you want to be sure to fully engage your core and truly get “beach body ready”. One study found that three isolated core exercises actually achieved greater core activation than those of three variations of lunges, which are a compound exercise.

With this in mind, we will not just be showing off our midsection. Instead, with this 7-Step Beach Body Workout, we will be utilizing compound exercises that will essentially work the entire body all at once. This is great not only for global muscle activation but can also save you a lot of precious time. How? It’s achieved by burning the highest number of calories you can in order to reveal all the lean muscle you’ve been working so hard to attain.

Pre-Exhaustion

However, the order in which we perform the exercises is perhaps the most important. We are going to utilize Pre-Exhaustion to get the most out of our core and abdominal muscles throughout the entire workout. Pre-Exhaustion is when you have a specific muscle that you’re targeting during a given workout and you perform one or two isolated exercises to “pre-exhaust” that muscle before performing compound exercises that are typically used for building strength. This goes against what many consider the traditional exercise order, where you perform compound exercises before moving into more isolated movements. A few studies have tested the Pre-Exhaustion method vs. Traditional Exercise Order of exercises and discovered that Pre-Exhaustion had a greater effect on hypertrophy of the targeted muscle group. Although Pre-Exhaustion is not recommended if your main goal is building strength for the compound exercise, our goal with this Beach Body Workout is to improve aesthetics rather than build strength.

Therefore, we will be starting our Beach Body Workout with two isolated abdominal exercises before moving into the full-body, compound movements. For each exercise, we will be performing four sets at 15-20 repetitions with a 30-60 second rest time.

1. Advanced Crunch

Performing a crunch with your arms and legs in the position shown here has been shown to optimally engage the most “superficial” (outermost) abdominal muscle – Rectus Abdominis.

Advanced Crunch

Advanced Crunch: Step 1

Advanced Crunch

Advanced Crunch: Step 2

Instructions:

  1. Lie face up on a mat with knees and hips bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Position both of your arms straight behind your head while keeping your elbows straight.
  3. Engage your core by drawing your tummy in and pelvic floor muscles up.
  4. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth; this will stop the muscles in the front of your neck from overworking.
  5. Tuck your chin gently towards your chest and lift your shoulders and shoulder blades off the mat. Keeping your core engaged and hands positioned behind your head, lift your torso as far towards your knees as you can.
  6. Lower back down with control so that your shoulder blades are once again on the mat.

2. V Sit Up

This ab exercise is particularly effective at emphasizing the lower abdominal region.

V Sit 1

V Sit: Step 1

V Sit 2

V Sit: Step 2

Instructions:

  1. Lie face up on a mat with legs straight and flat on the mat.
  2. Engage your core by drawing your tummy in and pelvic floor muscles up.
  3. Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth; this will stop the muscles in the front of your neck from overworking.
  4. Simultaneously lift your torso and your feet from the mat and bring them as close together above your hips as possible.
  5. Lower back down with control so that your shoulder blades and legs are once again on the mat.

3. Squat to Standing Cross Crunch

This first compound exercise emphasizes the muscles of the legs and combines an isolated core exercise that focuses on the oblique muscles.

Squat to cross crunch 1

Squat to cross crunch: Step 1

Squat to cross crunch 2

Squat to cross crunch: Step 2

Squat to cross crunch 3

Squat to cross crunch: Step 3

Instructions:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width or slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and both hands on the back of your head.
  2. Begin the squat by bending at your hips and pushing your hips backward. Then bend your knees to make sure that your toes and knees are aligned.
  3. Squat until your hips are slightly below the level of your knees. Do this while ensuring that your feet are flat on the ground throughout the entire movement and also maintaining an upright torso.
  4. Return to a standing position and bring your left knee up to your hip height, which should leave you standing on just your right leg. Then simultaneously rotate your torso to the left and attempt to meet your right elbow to your left knee while engaging your abdominal muscles.
  5. Once you have reached your full range of torso rotation, return your left foot back to the ground underneath your hips. Make sure your torso is upright with your hands on the back of your head in the starting position.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

4. Push Up to Advanced Bird Dog

This exercise targets the chest and shoulders during the push-up portion of the movement. The Advanced Bird Dog engages the mid/lower back along with the glutes/hamstrings. It requires significant core control to main a neutral spine with your now reduced, two-point base of support (only one hand and one foot on the ground).

Push up to bird dog 1

Push up to bird dog: Step 1

Push Up to bird dog 2

Push Up to bird dog: Step 2

Push Up to bird dog 3

Push Up to bird dog: Step 3

Instructions:

  1. Start in a push-up position with hands below your shoulders and both feet contacting the ground.
  2. Engage your core by slightly drawing your belly button backward toward your spine.
  3. Lower your body toward the ground while positioning your elbows around the middle of your rib cage.
  4. Once your elbows reach ~90-degree bend, press your body back to the starting position while maintaining your neutral spine to engage your core throughout the movement.
  5. Once you’re reaching the top of the movement, raise your right arm in front of your body while simultaneously lifting your left leg (all while maintaining your neutral spine position).
  6. Lift your right arm until it “hides your ear” and next lift your left leg about ½ a foot to a foot off the ground. Then return each limb to the ground.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

5. Shoulder Tap to Thread the Needle Backward

This exercise focuses on your core, shoulders, triceps, and upper back.

Shoulder tap to thread the needle 1

Shoulder tap to thread the needle: Step 1

Shoulder tap to thread the needle 2

Shoulder tap to thread the needle: Step 2

Instructions:

  1. Start in a push-up position with hands below your shoulders and both feet contacting the ground.
  2. Engage your core by slightly drawing your belly button backward toward your spine.
  3. With your right hand, tap the front of your left shoulder. After doing this, rotate your torso to the right as you reach your arm upward toward the sky. There should be a straight line toward the sky from your left hand on the ground to your right hand pointing up.
  4. Once there is a straight line from your left hand to your right hand towards the sky, rotate your torso downward by returning your right hand to the ground.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

6. Reverse Tabletop Leg Kicks

This exercise focuses on triceps, mid/lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.

Reverse Table Top to leg kick

Reverse Table Top to leg kick: Step 1

Reverse Table Top to leg kick 2

Reverse Table Top to leg kick: Step 2

Instructions:

  1. Sit on the floor with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and chest tall. Place your arms by your sides and slightly behind your hips with your palms flat on the ground and fingers pointing away from you.
  2. Drive your palms into the ground and lift your glutes off the floor while simultaneously bending one leg and drawing the knee toward your chest.
  3. Drive through your grounded heel and lift your hips so your torso is parallel to the ground. Kick your lifted foot out in front of you while flexing your toe towards your face. Your lifted leg should be parallel to the ground. Pause and then return your leg to the ground.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

7. Prone Star Side Crunches

This exercise focuses on the mid/lower back, obliques, and glutes/hamstrings.

Prone star side crunch 1

Prone star side crunch: Step 1

Prone star side crunch 2

Prone star side crunch: Step 2

Instructions:

  1. Start by lying on your stomach with both hands on the back of your head and legs completely straight on the ground.
  2. Begin the movement by engaging your lower/mid back, glutes, and hamstrings by lifting your upper chest as well as your legs off the ground.
  3. Maintain that position with your hands on the back of your head. Then bend your torso to the right until you reach the full range that your body allows.
  4. Once you feel that squeeze and have reached full range, return your torso to the center.
  5. Repeat the motion on the other side.

As this Beach Body Workout is a full-body routine, you may do this daily in order to expedite the results. However, I do recommend taking at least one-to-two days off per week for recovery, since results vary depending on your level of experience. Let’s get our body ready for this summer and afterwards! Looking forward to seeing you all at the beach.

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