As some of you may have seen, I was really fortunate to work with the UK edition of Women’s Health magazine in recent months as the ambassador for a new Tiger Balm campaign. Asked to design a short HIIT workout and stretch sequence, I got to flex my favourite muscle (my mind) and get creative with a flowing sequence of exercises you can do absolutely anywhere.
The videos below shows a few highlights from the shoot. Scroll down for a full description of Women’s Health workout, including 4 bodyweight moves that are perfect for balancing out the season’s indulgences as we commence our countdown to Christmas. If you’d like more workout inspiration, I’ve also designed a festive-themed session for Sweaty Betty – head to the SB blog to get the scoop!
Women’s Health Workout 1 – Bodyweight HIIT
Complete 45 seconds of each exercise, then move straight onto the next one without stopping. At the end, rest for 60 seconds then repeat from the top for a total of 5 rounds. That’s 20 minutes of high-intensity, highly effective exercise. You’ll have definitely earned that lengthening, relaxing stretch sequence that follows…
Inchworm walkouts: From standing, roll down to the floor and walk your hands out to a plank position. For an extra challenge, continue walking your hands past your shoulders and squeeze your butt to maintain a flat back. Reverse your steps and return to standing. Add an optional jump at the top before your second rep.
Tempo mountain climbers: On your final walkout, pause when your shoulders are stacked directly above your hands and lock your torso in place while driving knees to chest. Perform 4 slow climbers, hollowing the abdomen for intense core-activation, then 10 fast reps. Continue alternating between both tempos.
Alternating lunge twists: Take a reverse lunge, dropping the back knee nice and deep while keeping your chest and shoulders active. At the bottom of the lunge, twist in the direction across your front knee. Think actively about your oblique on the twisting side, fully exhaling and squeezing the muscles in your abdomen to get the most from every rep. Come to stand and alternate sides.
180 degree burpees: With your feet together, plant your hands on the floor and jump your feet softly into a high plank position. Now jump your feet back into your hands, pushing through your heels and taking a full 180 degree turn to land facing the opposite direction. Plant your hands and repeat. Remember it’s just 45 seconds til your recovery. Well done!
Women’s Health Workout 2 – Stretch & Flow
Perfect in isolation or as a cool down routine after the HIIT workout above, this sequence is time for you to smooth out any tightness in the body and slow the mind through meditation in movement. Run through each flowing stretch at your own pace, synchronising your breath to the movement and holding each phase of the exercise for as long as necessary to feel the muscles soften. This is your time – you deserve it.
Downdog to updog: From a plank position on your hands, lift your hips high and roll your shoulders away from your ears so you resemble a long upside down V. Exhale deeply here, then on the inhale roll your chest through your hands and lift your breastbone and chin gently to the ceiling. Try to keep your thighs off the floor as you stretch your midsection. Squeeze your glutes to prevent unsupported dipping into your lower back.
Runners lunge to forward fold: Take a reverse lunge position with your right foot in front and your left foot behind. Lift your hands in the air and squeeze your left glute until you feel a gentle pull across the hip flexor on the same side. Slowly straighten your back leg and hinge from your hips to fold your chest over your right shin, taking the stretch into your hamstring. Slowly repeat on the same side, synchronising your exhale with the fold and your inhale with the lunge. Switch sides when your body and mind feel suitably open.
Tick tock legs: Lie on your back with your knees in tabletop position and your arms in a nice wide T. Keeping both shoulders glued to the floor, gently rotate your knees to the right. Go as far as you need to feel a gentle stretch through the middle and lower back, then bring the knees back through centre to the other side. You can go as fast or slow as you need to lengthen through the spine, or even fully relax into one side where you feel extra tightness.
I hope you enjoy my Women’s Health workout routine. Although my blog can get a little quiet when other elements of my business and life get busy, I will always prioritise quality over quantity because I want these posts to be useful and inspiring to you. If there’s any advice you’d like to read, workouts you would find useful or insights you’d love to learn, I always love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks for reading and happy festive fitness!