Whenever I do a back-centric workout, I always think of motivational speaker Brené Brown's idea that we should all strive for "strong backs, soft fronts, and wild hearts." For some reason, it helps me to think that physically strengthening my posterior chain helps me "have a spine" when it comes to setting boundaries and standing up for myself. And for this week on Well+Good's Trainer of the Month Club, trainer Billie Robyn has created a 25-minute, no-equipment back workout that will, hopefully, remind you to advocate for yourself while you break a serious sweat.
"Each exercise is going to be 50 seconds and we're going to be moving right from one straight into the other," says Robyn at the top of the session. From planks to push-ups to seal jacks, the trainer's workout is here to get your spine extra strong for better posture (and maybe... a more "wild" heart?). When you're ready to try it, just grab a mat and let's get going.
Try this 25-minute no-equipment back workout for an express sweat
Superset 1 (repeat two times)
High side planks with reach: Start in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists and your abs engaged. Pour your weight into your right hand and come into a side plank with your left foot staggered next to your right. Reach your left fingertips up to the sky. Flip back into plank and pour your weight into your left hand. Stagger your right foot in front of your left and stretch your right arm up to the sky. Keep going back and forth for 50 total seconds.
Mountain climbers: Come back into a plank position and pull your right leg to your right elbow. Return to neutral, then pull your left leg to your left elbow. Keep alternating back and forth at the speed of a run for 50 seconds.
Superset 2 (repeat two times)
Bear crawl: Come to back the of your mat and get into all-fours position (shoulders over wrists, hips over knees). Squeeze your abs and lift your knees an inch off the ground. Like a bear, walk to on all fours to the front of your mat. Walk back to the starting position and continue on for 50 seconds.
Plank opposite arm to leg hold: Come to forearm plank position. At once, lift your left leg a few inches off the ground and your right arm to the same level. Come back to center, switch sides, and keep repeating for 50 seconds.
Superset 3 (repeat two times)
High plank hold: Return to plank position and hold for a full 50 seconds.
Plank up-downs: From high plank position, lower down onto your forearms, clasping your hands together in a forearm plank. Push off your right hand then your left to come back to high plank. Keep going, making sure to alternate which hand pushes you up first, for 50 seconds.
Superset 4 (repeat two times)
Push-up release: Start in a high plank position. Lower your body all the way to the ground in one straight line. Lift your palms off the ground, return them, then push yourself back up into plank pose. You've got 50 seconds on the clock.
Push-up to side plank: Come into plank post (drop down to your knees, if you want). Complete one push-up, then come back into a side plank on your right (either on your knees or feet). Do the same thing on the left side and keep going for 50 seconds.
Superset 5 (repeat two times)
Front lying back extension: Lie down on your stomach (phew!) and bend your elbows, bringing your hands alongside your ears. Use your back muscles and your core to extend your chest, arms, legs, and feet to the sky. Lower back down. Keep it up for 50 seconds.
Side to side elbow touches: Still on your stomach, engage those back and core muscles to bring your chest and legs off the ground. Bend your elbows and bring your hands alongside your ears. Begin twisting from side to side, giving those obliques a good burn. You've got 50 seconds of this one.
Superset 6 (repeat two times)
Seal jacks: Stand up, bring your feet three feet apart, and stretch your arms out wide to either side. Like a seal, clap your legs and hands together. Re-extend and keep going for 50 seconds.
Reverse plank with leg lifts: Come to sit and extend your legs straight forward. Press your palms into the ground to come into a reverse plank. Crunch your right leg into your chest, then crunch your left leg into your chest. Keep going for 50 seconds.
Superset 7 (repeat two times)
Seated tricep dips: Still in reverse plank, bend your knees and come into a reverse tabletop. Make sure your fingers face your butt, then bend them straight back, bringing your glutes just shy of touching the ground. Press back up into reverse tabletop. 50 seconds!
Tricep push-ups: Flip back into plank position (either on your feet or knees). Lower your body halfway down to the ground, hugging your triceps to your torso as you do. Push back up in a straight line and keep this last move going for 50 seconds.
Repeat the entire workout twice through.
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