The Hardest Workouts We Did This Year—Ranked

Photo: W+G Creative
To be sure, 2021 was the year of the at-home gyms, but just because we were planking, lifting, and stretching where at our own abodes, doesn’t mean we were sweating any less. Thanks to the ever-evolving marriage of the fitness and tech industries, we’ve never had more access to fantastic workout equipment and streaming options—be it a virtual spin class or a stellar Pilates sweat courtesy of Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month series. Here’s a look back at five of the hardest workouts of the year that left us feeling the burn and then some—and we loved it.

5. 10-minute, full-body HIIT workout with Simone De La Rue

Okay, who can forget De La Rue’s head-to-toe HIIT workout? Simone came in hot with two sets of six, high-energy, endorphin-pumping moves with 10 reps each. A lateral lunge-to-hop, mountain climbers, and the love-hate, sweat-inducing favorite: burpees. Ten minutes is all it takes to feel the effects of this gem of a workout.

4. Plank series with [solidcore]

A quick core workout may seem like a breeze, but [solidcore] trainer Triana Brown brought the heat. Here, she taught us how to curl, crawl, plank, and crunch our way to stronger abs in just six moves. Grab some sliders, plates, or towels, and give this mat workout a try.

3. Full-body Pilates workout with Brian Spencer

Never underestimate the power of a good Pilates session—especially with Brian Spencer of East River Pilates. In just under 20 minutes, Spencer brings an effective, total-body sweat sesh that strengthens and works your muscles from head to toe. The forward curls and pulsing forearm planks?! Hurts so good.

2. 10-minute oblique workout with Sydney Lotuaco

This year, trainer Sydney Lotuaco reminded us of the importance of keeping our obliques (the abs muscle the run along the sides of your torso and are responsible for rotation and side bending) in tip-top shape. Her hardcore workout kicked our obliques into high gear, thanks to her barre-inspired moves. As an added bonus: Each move takes almost as much balance as it does core strength, so you’re getting two types of training in one.

1. 20-minute, no-equipment booty burn workout

It may be no surprise that the best booty-kicking workout of the year was targeting, you guessed it, our glues. And it came courtesy of Colette Dong, founder of The Ness boutique fitness studio in New York City, who brought the heat during this 20-minute butt workout that only requires bodyweight. No equipment needed. As tough as this glute burner is, it quickly became a fav for 2021. Each movement is low impact, yet highly effective, at activating the glute muscles in a big way. We can still feel those pulsing leg lifts now!

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