Sometimes, doing multiple rounds of the same moves during a workout can feel a bit... monotonous. But according to professional dancer and Lululemon Studio trainer Amanda Baxter, you actually don't want to just repeat an exercise the second (or third) time through. Each round calls for its own approach.
“The first round, just train your body in the exercise sequence,” says Baxter. Focus on your form, and getting a feel for the moves. That way, during later rounds, you can dig deeper, push harder, or move faster to safely challenge yourself in a new way. "Once you get the reins, just take them and run with it," says Baxter.
In a new episode of Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club, Baxter takes us through a full-body strength session that pulls elements of barre, Pilates, and cardio into one 10-minute workout so that you can lengthen, strengthen, and condition in one fell swoop. With two rounds of supersets, the class will scorch your glutes, abs, quads, and arms. Bonus: There's absolutely no equipment needed.
After a brief warmup to loosen up the body with some light, fluid stretches, Baxter dives right in with the first superset: a wide second-position plié into a curtsy lunge, and a "windmill" leaning to one side then stepping into reverse lunge. In your first pass through, just focus on getting down the pattern, feeling the muscles activate, and finding your balance.
But don’t be afraid of a little wobble, says Baxter. “If at any point your legs start to shake a little bit, that’s totally normal. We’re pushing for endurance.”
On the second round, Baxter points out that the moves should now feel more familiar, so you can try to push them to the next level. "Maybe the feet get a little wider, curtsy gets a little deeper," she says. On a difficulty scale of one to 10, Baxter says to aim for an eight or a nine effort: challenging, but doable. Hitting this level means you’ll get the most out of your workout (and time).
“As you’re in it, be present, be focused, and just continue to try the best that you can,” says Baxter. “It might get a little spicy too at moments. It’s all right—don’t be afraid of the spice. Just keep working, keep pushing.”
Baxter offers variations if you want to kick things up a notch on the second go-around, whether by increasing the resistance or upping the tempo. "I always want to give an option in case you want a bit more spice or to push yourself a little bit more," she says.
How hard you take each round is up to you, but if you focus on stepping on the gas just a little harder each time you return to an exercise, this workout can pack a mighty punch in a short amount of time.
“Be proud that you’re taking some time for you today, even if it’s 10 minutes,” says Baxter. “I always say something is better than nothing!”
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