The name does this sequence justice: Your muscles will be barking by the end. As the DAREBEE site says of the series: “Some workouts you are prepared for right from the moment you see them and others kinda sneak up on you and leave you feeling wasted on the floor, wondering why you did not see them coming. Howler is definitely one of the latter."
As intense as that might sound, the workout is designed to cater to your individual fitness—DAREBEE offers three different levels depending on your ability. The moves themselves are a mix of high knees and different plank variations, performed back-to-back to create a high-intensity interval series.
"The high knees provide a good dose of cardio to lift your heart rate and help you break a sweat. All the plank variations are a good opportunity to strengthen your core and improve your posture," says David Robertson, a group fitness instructor at Chicago Athletic Clubs, who points out that this makes for a nice mix of strength and cardio. "The best part is that this mini-workout is adaptable for all fitness levels." Get ready!
How to do the Howler
First round: Start with high knees for 40 seconds, then hold a 10-second plank. Finish with 10 seconds of fast-paced mountain climbers.
Need a mountain climber refresher? We got you, below.
Second round: Do another 40 seconds of high knees before holding a 10-second plank, but mix things up this time by ending with a 10-second plank rotation: From plank, lift one arm up to the sky and rotate your core toward it, then return to plank and repeat on the opposite side.
Final round: Once again, do 40 seconds of high knees followed by a 10-second plank. Finish with a shoulder-tap plank for 10 seconds: Starting in a high plank, tap one hand to the opposite shoulder, return to plank, then repeat with the other hand.
Sounds tough but doable, right? Depending on your fitness level, DAREBEE suggests repeating the full series three, five, or seven times with up to two-minute rests in between. Amp up the challenge by pushing yourself to do more sets as you start to get the hang of it.
Focus on your form
To get the most out of the workout, make sure you're using proper form:
- For the high knees movement, bring your knees up as high as you can (aim for waist level), landing on the balls of your feet. Mimic a running motion with exaggerated arm movements.
- DAREBEE also gives this pro tip for the plank rotations: Consciously tightening your lower ab muscles will force them to align better.
- Watch this video to find the correct position for all those planks:
Make it work for you
Although the Howler workout is suitable for beginners, the high-energy sequences will challenge your cardiovascular system and fire up muscles throughout your body, no matter your fitness level. If you want to make the workout low-impact, Robertson suggests turning the high knees into a march. "And you can always execute the planks from your knees to reduce the intensity," he says.
Although the Howler can offer a serious full-body workout, it shouldn't be the only cardio you do. "I would also recommend trying workouts that engage other muscle groups or integrate different cardio exercises," Robertson says, "however the Howler is a decent option if you're looking for some quick movement when you have a 15-minute break from work!"
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