I sometimes use my water bottle to keep my hips up in a plank or between reverse crunches to mix it up a bit. As I was doing that in a workout the other day I got to thinking, what else could I do with this bad boy? And no… this post is not sponsored by Essentia 😀
This workout is more of a quick circuit, full body workout. I used this the other morning to get my body going before I taught later that day. When I worked out later that afternoon, I didn’t feel exhausted but felt that my muscles had definitely been worked. So if you are someone that just wants to take 10 – 15 minutes in the morning to get going, then this is a great circuit for you! Works the core and is a new way to work the legs too!
I did 15 reps each move (each side), 3 times around. I think this could also be a great workout to do Tabata style! 20 seconds of quick spurts, break for 10 seconds, then go right back into the next move for the following 20 seconds, and so on. If you do, I would maybe do 4 sets instead of 3! But this is a great way to improve your endurance and keep your heart rate up, increase the intensity of every move.
Oh, and sorry for my camera! It decided to not focus for 2-3 moves at the end. So, no, your eyesight isn’t going! It’s just technology.
I hope you enjoyed this workout as much as I did! I always love coming up with new ways to workout using everyday items, making it easy to workout anywhere at any time! No excuses! Sorry 🙂
Keep an eye out for more workouts like this in the future! More fun to come!
*Every time you do a workout from Keegan Michelle, you do so at your own risk. Please consult a doctor before completing a workout if you are, or have been recently; injured, pregnant, asthmatic, or any other physical condition that may hinder your physical performance.
Their name does not disappoint. Along with the mini bands, these are the most highly used pieces of equipment in my home gym.
These bands are a little thicker, and much larger than the mini’s, so a little more versatile. This workout is focused on the legs, but the upside of this equipment is that when you are using them, you are engaging your core and upper body throughout every move. Another reason why I love them! Not only are they portable, but it doesn’t just focus on one muscle. It’s a full-body workout, even if it isn’t!
Trust me, it makes sense
Here is a great selection of super bands; from extra light to extra heavy! I suggest getting several and start with a lighter one when you first try the workouts. With that, you are going to want heavier resistance with certain moves! So get a variety!
Below is a breakdown of the moves, how to do them and what muscles they’re working, or you can skip right down to the video and watch the full workout, as well as links to my outfit and some other great (and affordable) activewear!!
SQUAT + OH Press
I love this move because it hits sooooo many muscles! Adding the Overhead Press is the key to making this full-body. It engages your core and back like crazy! In fact when I first started doing this move, I could barely do 5 lb. weights in good form. And any arm move that goes overhead is going to be harder than others, so if your upper back or core is weaker, this is might prove a little difficult, but with a little effort you will see great results in just a short amount of time!
SL DEAD LIFT INTO REVERSE LUNGE
This move combo is one that I regularly include in my workouts. Whether it’s with a kettlebell, or justly bodyweight, I love it. The lunge and the deadlift both target your hamstring and glute but in slightly different ways. They compliment each other really well, and the need for balance in the deadlift is a great added challenge. Be sure, during the deadlift, to keep your hips as square to the ground as possible. If lean into that stabilizing leg you’ll end up stretching or straining your inner thigh instead of working your hamstring and glute.
LATERAL LUNGEs + CHEST PRESS
This is my new favorite! I had never tried it before I got these super bands but know that I need to work more on my lateral lunge game, so let’s get to it!! The swaying motion from side to side will hit those glutes more than if you came out of the lunge every time. I urge you to use a mirror! Keep something in the background in your view and keep note if your hips come above that point. That will tell you that you need to sit that backside down! The chest press is a great way to activate your shoulders and front deltoids. It’s different than a front raise, and adds a challenge of keeping your hands high instead of just lifting up and down over and over.
I know, everyone’s least favorite. But I couldn’t help but include it! I always like to include one higher interval move into my strength work. I feel like getting your heart rate up quickly just once or twice will help elevate the rest of your workout!
VARIATIONS: LEG LIFTS & OBLIQUE STRAIGHT LEG CRUNCH + DONKEY KICK
The donkey kick is a commonly known move that I see people do all the time in gyms. Many times with dumbbells clenched behind their knee, sometimes with a machine and added weight. I love all of these different options in the video and think they should all be done together! It really fatigues the glute and hamstring and keeps your leg moving! I especially love the oblique crunch with the straight leg. The added resistance with the super band really targets the side body. Be sure to take that one slow and reach that leg out to the side as far and as slowly as you can. Can’t forget the core now, can we?
WALL SIT + FRONT RAISE
Ah, the wall sit. Also known as my former gym teacher’s form of torture. But believe it or not, it has now become a regular in my workout routines! However, I like to add a little something special to keep it interesting. This one adds a front raise, which also engages the core like crazy! Focus on your lower back (lumbar), and make sure it maintains contact with the wall. That way you know your core is engaged. This move is also great for those shoulders you want to show off this tank-top season 😀
Want to shop my active look in the video? And some of my other favorite pieces? Check out this selection Forever 21. All great choices to keep your activewear looking stylish and fresh, without breaking the bank!
*Any time you complete one of these workouts, be sure that you are healthy enough to do so! Any workout you complete from Keegan Michelle is done so under your own volition.
This is my absolutely favorite piece of equipment to use at the gym.
In fact, aside from free weights it is one of the only pieces of equipment I use at the gym. There are so many moves that you can do with it and the different elevations offer versatility to the work your muscles are doing.
This particular box is THE BOMB! The design offers three different heights, therefore offering a wider variety of moves and difficulty-level that you can execute in your work out. Plus, it feels super sturdy! Sometimes the boxes they have at the gym feel like they’re gonna tip over if I step on it the wrong way :-O And I would be that person in the gym to step on it the wrong way.
I know, I preach efficiency, but you will not be disappointed with these moves. And when I say full body? I mean it. FULL body moves that will keep you from ever getting bored. Here is a breakdown of each move in this workout PLUS where to take caution in your form and movement. Scroll all the way down for the video!
This is a staple with this piece of equipment. And while it’s a simple move, it’s a great one! It’s a good move to get your heart rate up and to set the tone for your HIIT workout. And because of the different heights of this box, you can vary your difficulty. So if you’re just starting out with high intensity work outs, maybe start on a lower height and work your way up.
*Also, notice your knees! Do this move in front of a mirror and make sure your knees do NOT collapse inward while you are exploding off of the ground, as you land on the top of the box, or when you land back on the ground. If you do, this indicates that your hip abductors, esp. the gluteus medius are weak and deactivating as you do this move. But most importantly is that this leaves your knees susceptible to injuries because it puts uneccesary pressure on those muscles and joints around your knees.
SIDE PLANK REACH THROUGH
I love both versions of this move (as seen in the video) because while side planks are great, they aren’t the most efficient move to target your side body and obliques. By adding the dumbbell and a bit of movement, it forces those oblique muscles to activate and stabilize the rest of your body.
*Keep an eye on your top hip. If it opens up too much? Then you are putting pressure on your upper back and stabilizing shoulder. If that top hip leans forward towards the ground, then you are deactivating that stabilizing oblique and side body. Therefore, not getting all that you can out of this move.
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
One of the most dreaded moves, I think. A split squat by itself isn’t as terrible, but you add in the elevation of the back leg and you are forcing an isolation on that working front leg. It’s AWESOME 🙂 By adding the hop in the advanced version, you are further emphasizing the work in that front leg by exploding out of it and, with balance, lowering yourself back down to 90 degrees.
*Your knee is also important in this move! That front knee needs to be directly over your heel. So use the mirror to make sure that knee hasn’t creeped forward creating a smaller angle (both) at your ankle, and your knee. This also puts unnecessary pressure on your knee joints and deactivates your glute and hamstring, so… you’re essentially working less on the muscles you’re targeting with this move.
KNEE TO ELBOW PLANK
I call this the Spider Man crunch. But this is also a great one to get that side body! I like the elevation in your legs here because it puts a little bit more activation in your center core as well. But make sure those shoulders are right over your hands and you aren’t leaning too far forward.
STEP UP + REVERSE LUNGE
This move is amazing! You’ll feel your legs fatigue after a few. Plus, by adding in the opposing high knee you get activation in your core as well. Your core is actually activated during this entire move because of the constant up, down, and reverse motion. But I LOVE the advanced option. It puts the ‘high intensity’ in HIIT and is a great way to evenly work both legs and create a quicker and efficient move.
It’s no secret that these are some of my favorite pieces of gym equipment.
And for so many reasons! One of which being that you can take them and use them anywhere! But mostly because by using these in a standard move, like the squat? You are activating so many more muscles than you are without them. These days people don’t have an hour to work out ever day! Sometimes it’s 20 minutes, and sometimes it just as long as the kiddos don’t wake up 😛
This is an awesome work out to get your heart rate up, activate the the legs and obliques, and doable in 15-20 minutes! All of these moves are designed to hit more than just your legs, your glutes, or whatever the fitness trend is now days. I want my moves to be functional, and efficient!! And voila!
Let’s break it down!
PLANK LEG LIFT + KICK
This move is great because it takes the standard plank, and kicks it up a notch! It also is a great way to warm up your abs, your gluten and the backs of your legs that occasionally are missed!
*Keep your lower back tight and the plank form CORRECT!! After you do a few your gluteus maximus and biceps femoris are going to start to fatigue, but keep your form strong!! That was just a fancy way of saying butt and hamstrings 😀
SIDE STEP SQUAT
You add the side step because it activates your IT band and your gluteus medus more so than in a regular squat! Make the squat slightly lighter of a stance than your regular squat. So as you take your side step out, don’t be shy on the kick out, and keep your squat form strong! Butt back, chest up, knees over heels! BAM!
IN-N-OUT SQUAT JUMP
I know, people usually prefer it when ‘in-n-out’ is followed by “burgers” 🙂 But this is a great move to follow the side-step squat! Your side body is warmed up, your squats have been perfected, now to add a bit of a cardio component and getting your heart rate up!
STANDING LEG LIFT
Now, let’s hone in on that side body! We warmed it up with the workout leading into it, but now we’re going to isolate those muscles I mentioned before: your IT band, gluteus medus, and even your performis a bit as well!
SQUAT SIDE STEP
Staying in a low squat, you’re going to combine all of these moves and muscles that you have used so far for the final kicker!! Try to use your reflection to make sure that you aren’t leaning to far into the static leg; to the side or forward! You can also use a couch/bench/chair behind you to have as a reminder for how low to keep your butt! It’s easy to come out of this squat as you get tired
LADDER TOE TOUCHES!
Last chance to get your heart rate up and remind those hammies what’s up!
Now, go rock it!
Hope you enjoyed this workout as much as I did! Leave your thoughts and comments below!!
And keep an eye out for more mini bands work outs to come!
These small and portable pieces of equipment are amazing!! And most because they get the muscles that many other machines, moves, or heavy weight exercise cannot get. I am all about making my work outs as efficient as possible. Who has time to mess around the gym these days??
Hold that thought, you don’t need to go to a gym to use these??? Score! These at-home moves are wonderful! AND… target muscles that so many women try to target in the gym, on the treadmill, on an elliptical or whatever the magazines try and tell them to do. But to be honest? The simpler the better.
It’s not always about the heaviest weight you can lift, Sometimes it’s just about using more of your body to do it. By adding these bands to some of the simplest moves out there, like the squat, you are already making your exercise more efficient and functional. So you can get as creative, or as simple as you’d like! But this equipment either way adds another layer to your workout without adding a ton of weight that, in all honesty, could do more damage to your body over time.
This is the set that I use and carry with me when I travel! Yes! When I travel! Not sure when you’ll be able to head to a studio class or go to the gym? Well these bands can be used ANYWHERE and at ANY TIME! Check out these moves below as great starter moves if you’re a novice to bands. And keep an eye out for ore posts to come with more moves and more ways to use these awesome pieces of equipment.
By adding a band to one of the most common moves out there, the squat, you are already activating so many more muscles than you were without the band! And PLEASE do this move in a full-body mirror. You will see how your knees and legs react differently during this move when you are activating these muscles. Now, to get technical? These bands activate the vastus lateralis muscle more than a regular squat. That’s because a majority of America when they do squat have weakness in this muscle, which causes your knees to buckle when you’re fatigued. Do you find that when you squat your knees do this on the way back up in a squat? That doesn’t mean that you’re weak! It just means that some muscles are overtrained than others and these are muscles aren’t activated in the way that they should be.
But by adding these bands to again, one of the simplest moves out there, the squat, you are activating the muscles like the vastus lateralis muscle which attaches to your hip and kneecap and therefore functionally working your entire leg; front, back and the sides.
This is one of my least favorite exercises. Mostly because after the first one, you feel like you’re gonna nail it… then a few reps later… different story. But it is one of the most functional movements out there. The lateral movement in exercise is sometimes a forgotten art. Again, read the paragraph above and you’ll understand why it is so important to activate the muscles that this exercise gets so very well 🙂 If you spend hours a week on the elliptical or treadmill, this exercise is a MUST! You’re only training your body to go one way on those machines, which is a common reason why people who use those machines a ton have knee and hip problems. You need to strengthen the muscles around those joints, and I cannot tell you the importance of the vastus lateralis muscle and how it works in your body.
To complete: lower to a squat > stay low and step your right leg into a wide squat > continue to stay low and return to a regular squat > then repeat the step into a wide squat on the left side > return left leg to regular squat > stand > repeat.
Looking to step up your squat game a bit? This one’s a great one. I could give my lecture on functional movement a million times, but I’ll just refer you to the paragraphs above. This particular squat isn’t just an up and down motion. In this version I start in the standing position and jump into a wide squat position. But instead of just going right back up and right back down, jump out of the wide squat position into the standing position. And repeat! With the addition of the band, it gets those muscles on the side more than if you did it without the band and it doesn’t overwork the other muscles that I’m sure you have taken care of by now.
Now, this won’t give you a big booty! I love this move because it isn’t solely focused on your big muscles in your butt. It gets those little guys underneath and below the gluteus maximus that connect to your hammies as well as your lower back! I am huge on back health and because people tend to sit way too much, their lumbar is weaker. Focus on standing up straight and not bending your upper body over during this move. That’s your body trying to use your stronger core muscles for this move instead of your back. But that’s not why we’re doing it 😀 It’s a simple move and might not take you to fatigue or make you sweat, but a great functional movement to get every little muscle in the back of your leg that other exercises sometimes forget!
I hope that get a set of bands and try these exercises soon. If you do, let me know how it went in the comments below! I would love to hear how it went, and if you have any other types of workouts that you want to learn more bout.