Tomorrow we’ll start week four of the IFBNewsfeed.Org Better Together Challenge. Can you even believe it?! To finish out week three strong, we’ll be completing a five-move strength-building workout, no pun intended. Let’s get this started! Fellow
For today’s workout, we’re getting funky with some moves that will have you twisting and dipping, using your body weight to build strength and work up resistance. But before we begin, let’s get one thing straight if we haven’t already: Being strong is good for you. Sure, a strength-building workout can help you do more strength-building workouts more easily. If that’s your goal, awesome! But strength training has a bunch of other great benefits too. First of all, it’s one of the best ways to help your body stay functional and healthy in the long run, as previously explained. Having strong hips, for example, might help someone stop themselves from falling (and thus preventing an injury), which becomes increasingly important as you age. And then there are the more obvious benefits of being strong: Everyday activities, like carrying groceries, chasing after kids, or squatting down to grab something can feel easier too.
Something else to note: We talk about strength building quite often, but many people don’t realize that building strength is actually different from building muscle. To build strength, trainers generally suggest doing a low number of reps of a certain exercise, as previously reported. To build muscle, on the other hand, you’ll want to do more reps of a certain move (think 8 to 12 instead of 1 to 5). Doing even more reps than that will build muscle, strength, and also muscular endurance.
One of the benefits of keeping your rep counts low is that it enables you to pay better attention to your form. Often, when you push yourself too hard to get in a certain number of reps in a given set, or when you’re trying to speed up your reps depending on the type of circuit you’re doing, your form will take the hit. For example, it’s hard to focus on keeping your knees directly above your ankles or tightening your core, and tucking in your tailbone when you’re fatigued or rushed.
Not only can sacrificing form during a strength-building workout lead to injury, but it also makes the moves themselves less effective. Form is integral to getting the most you can out of any given exercise. So today, let’s think strong and slow. Lower your reps or take a deep breath, and slow down if you feel your form slipping. Your body will thank you for it!
The strength-building workout below is for Day 21 of the IFBNewsfeed.Org Better Together Challenge. Check out the full month of workouts right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you haven’t signed up to receive daily emails, do that here.
Do each move below for your selected interval of work and rest. At the end of all the moves, rest for 60 seconds. That’s 1 circuit. Do the circuit 3–5 times. Then try the EMOM finisher.
- Option 1: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest
- Option 2: 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest
- Option 3: 50 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest
- Reverse Lunge (Alternating Sides)
- Bodyweight Dips
- Squat to Standing Crunch (Alternating Sides)
- Pop Squat
- Triple Climber
10-10-5 EMOM FINISHER
Do each move below for 10 reps as fast as you can. If you finish in under 60 seconds, rest. At the start of the next minute, repeat the circuit again. Continue in this way for 4 minutes.
- Pop Squat x 10 reps
- Bicycle Crunch x 10 reps
- Frogger x 5 reps
1. Reverse Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, core engaged.
- Step back with your right foot and bend both knees to sink into a lunge. Keep your core engaged, hips tucked, and back straight.
- Return to your starting position by pushing off your right foot and stepping forward.
- Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate sides.
- Make it harder: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Bodyweight Dips
- Start seated on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands-on the floor behind you with fingers facing forward. Engage your core and lift your hips until your torso is straight (your hip flexors are fully extended).
- From here, with your core engaged, bend both elbows and lower back down until your butt taps the floor. Work to keep your elbows parallel to your body—don’t let your elbows wing out.
- Keeping yourself supported with your hands, straighten both arms to push back up.
- Repeat, keeping your core tight throughout and weight in your arms.
3. Squat to Standing Crunch
- Start with your feet hip-width apart, core engaged, and hands held in prayer or fist at chest height.
- Do a squat by hinging at the hips, sending your hips back, and bending both knees until thighs are parallel to the floor.
- As you stand, lift your right knee and twist to tap it to your left elbow—a standing twisting crunch.
- Place your right foot back on the floor and immediately drop into another squat.
- Next time as you stand, bring your left knee up and tap it to your right elbow—doing a twisting crunch on the other side.
- Continue to repeat, alternating sides.
- Make it easier: Eliminate the twisting crunch and as you stand, raise alternating knees to chest height, pausing for a moment to work on balance. Or eliminate the leg raise entirely and do bodyweight squats.
4. Pop Squat
- Start with your feet wider than hip-width and do a squat by sending your hips back and bending both knees. Keep your core engaged and push through your glutes to stand.
- As you stand, jump and bring both feet together, taking a hop in place.
- Immediately jump feet apart and sink into a squat again. Repeat, hopping once in place between each squat.
5. Triple Climber
- Start in a high plank position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders, core engaged, hips level, and legs extended straight behind you. Lift your right foot a few inches off the floor.
- Draw your right knee to your right triceps. Then extend your right leg to return to a three-legged plank position.
- Draw your right knee to your chest (like a mountain climber), then return to a three-legged plank position.
- Draw your right knee to your left triceps (like a twisting mountain climber), then return to high plank (returning your right foot to the floor).
- Repeat on the other side.
6. Bicycle Crunch
- Lie faceup with your feet off the ground so your shins are parallel to the floor, knees bent to 90 degrees and stacked over your hips. Place your hands behind your head, elbows bent and pointing out to the sides. Use your abs to raise your shoulders off the floor.
- Twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee, while simultaneously straightening your right leg.
- Then twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee, simultaneously straightening your left leg.
- Continue alternating sides. Go at a slow, steady pace so you can really twist and feel your abs working.
- Start in a high plank position, with your palms flat on the floor, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
- Jump your feet forward and land them lightly outside your hands. Lift your chest, drop your butt down so that you’re in the bottom portion of a squat, and lift your hands off the floor.
- Then lean forward again, place your hands back on the floor in between your feet, and jump your feet back out to return to a high plank.
- Continue to move as quickly as possible.
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