The Busy Woman’s Workout
At loggerheads with your busy schedule? Like many women today, trainer Stacie Clark is juggling a career, family and social life, all of which doesn’t leave much time for working out! So, in keeping with her mantra – “burn kilojoules, not time” – she creates quick and efficient routines that are pretty much excuse-proof and work like a charm.
Can you believe she’s forty-something with two kids?! Also, Stacie can’t be bothered with fitness and diet fads; instead, her approach focuses on functional strength training, which uses exercises that mimic real-life movements (think squatting down to pick up a washing basket or hoisting hand luggage into an overhead compartment on a plane) and engages multiple muscle groups at once to maximise results. The seven moves here are a taste of her method for scoring an amazing lean, toned, fit body.
You’ll need: a set of dumbbells and a light medicine ball
1/ TRACK-START DEADLIFT
Many women neglect the muscles on the back of their body. Get a brand-new rear view with this move, which concentrates on toning your hamstrings and glutes.
DO IT: Place a dumbbell on the floor in front of you and stand with your right foot a few steps in front of your left. Bend both knees, keeping your right knee over your ankle. Lower to grab the dumbbell by both ends, keeping your chest lifted (A). Press through your right heel to straighten your leg, raising your left leg into the air behind you (forming a T shape with your body) and lifting the weight off the ground, arms straight and directly under your shoulders (B). Slowly lower your body back to start. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 12, then switch sides and repeat.
2/ ROPE CLIMB
Some ab moves don’t fully engage your obliques; others completely neglect them. This one recruits your entire core to cinch your waist with every reach.
DO IT: Sit on the floor, knees slightly bent, and lean your torso back. In one motion, reach your left arm up and across your body while lifting your right foot and glute off the floor (A). Slowly repeat on the other side (B). That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15.
3/ PLANK TO POP-UP SQUAT
A twist on one of the most effective body-weight exercises there is: the burpee.
DO IT: Start in push-up position, hands under your shoulders and legs extended, body forming a straight line from head to heels (A). Brace your core and jump your feet outside your hands, then quickly lift your chest and hands so that you’re upright (B). Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can in 60 seconds.
Quick tip: This move reinforces proper posture and form – something most women lose during quick, dynamic exercises. Focus on keeping the movement controlled.
4/ REVERSE LUNGE WITH FRONT RAISE
Reverse lunges activate your glutes, while raising your arms sculpts your abs. Doing them together makes it more challenging and effective.
DO IT: Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides (A). Keeping your chest tall and shoulders back, step one foot back and bend both knees to lower into a lunge, while simultaneously raising the weights in front of you to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight (B). Press through your front heel to return to start. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do eight to 10.
5/ REACH-OUT PUSH-UP
This subtle tweak on the classic push-up recruits more of your chest muscles with every rep.
DO IT: Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders and extend your legs behind you, so your body forms a straight line (A). Reach one hand 30cm to the side and bend both elbows, lowering your chest towards the floor (B). Return to start; repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do eight to 10.
Quick tip: Keep your core tight to prevent your hips sagging when you reach.
6/ CHANGEUP SPLIT HOP
Dynamic, multi-directional exercises like this build power and agility, improve balance and dial up the kilojoule-burning potential of any workout.
DO IT: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees bent and hands raised in front of your chest (A). In one motion, jump and rotate 90 degrees to the right, bending both knees into a lunge as you land (B). Jump back to start. That’s one rep. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds. Switch directions (rotate to the left) and repeat.
7/ OBLIQUE CRUNCH WITH BALL
No easy button here! Your shoulder blades have to stay lifted off the floor the entire time (which engages your abs fully throughout the move).
DO IT: Grab a light medicine ball and lie on your back. Raise both knees over your hips and place the ball between them. Raise your right shoulder and bring your right elbow to the outside of the ball; hold it in place while extending your right leg out in front of you (A). Pause, then return to start and repeat on the other side (B). That’s one rep. Continue alternating for 10 to 12 reps.
Quick tip: Concentrate on keeping your hands behind your head, with your elbows out wide, during the entire set.