Fitness Tips

13 Minutes Is All You Need To Build Strength In Your Core and Upper Body

This January, it’s time to take it easy and hone in on healthy habits that you can live with for an entire trip around the sun—and beyond. We’ve enlisted the help of industry experts to put together three four-week plans designed to help you move your body, eat more sustainably, or show yourself some loving care. Pick a plan—or three—and hit refresh. Get the Program

Starting a new fitness regimen can be overwhelming, so we created our ReNew Year Movement Program to bring us together to work out, stay motivated, and have some fun as we press "reset" together.

To kick things off, Nike trainer Tara Nicolas is leading us through a killer upper-body and core strength workout, which will get you on and off the mat in only 13 minutes. After a quick warmup, you'll dive into two equipment-free circuits, which you'll repeat twice. Be forewarned: you're pretty much guaranteed to feel your heart rate spike as you work your way through the moves. Though it may feel challenging at times, as Nicolas says, "Just enjoy the ride."

Ready to get started? Press play on the video above, and follow along with the movements below for a 13-minute upper body workout that's sure to leave you breathless.

13-minute upper-body and core strength workout with Tara Nicolas

Circuit #1

Go through the circuit two times. 

1. Dead bug hold: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your calves parallel to the floor and your arms stretched out on the mat above your head. Engage through your core to curl your upper body off the mat, bringing your right elbow to your right thigh as you straighten your left leg. To modify, press your right hand into your right thigh. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides so that your right leg is straightened and your left elbow is pressing your left thigh. Hold for 15 seconds.

2. Prone T-raise: Lie on your stomach, with your arms outstretched in a "T" position on the mat. Squeeze your glutes and core as you lift your arms off of the ground and pulse. Make sure to keep your shoulders pressing down toward your spine.

3. Crab toe-touch: Sit on your mat with your feet pressing into the floor. Place your hands on the mat behind you with your fingers pointing toward your butt. Lift your butt off of the ground, like you are about to do a crab walk. Bring opposite hand to opposite toe; if you don't have that range of motion you can modify by reaching toward your thigh or knee. Return your butt to the ground slowly, controlling your landing. Alternate sides.

Circuit #2:

Go through the circuit two times. 

1. Modified blast-off push-up: Start in a plank position. Press your shoulders back and widen your knees to create space for your pelvis. Then "blast off" and press forward into a plank. To modify, you can control your way back into a plank instead.

2. Swimmers: Lay on your stomach with your arms reaching out in front of you. Lift opposite arm and opposite leg, then switch sides. Be sure to engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you move.

3. Alternating knee-to-chest: Lay on your back. Raise your feet off of the mat and lift your head, neck, and shoulders. Bring one knee in toward your chest and grab it with both hands. Hold for two seconds, then switch sides.

Looking to hit refresh on your healthy habits this January? Check out our full 2022 ReNew Year program for expert-led plans for better sleep, nutrition, exercise, and self-care routines.

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