There are lots of ways to change how an exercise feels. I’ve talked a bit on the blog about range of motion (this movement pyramid workout is a good example), but another great way to switch it up is to vary your speed. I was always of the opinion that faster = harder … until I tried a Lagree Fitness class. One isn’t necessarily better than the other–it just depends on the goal. Different speeds require our muscles to activate in different ways.
I love including both types of training in my weekly routine–a slow Btone class one day and then an explosive HIIT bootcamp workout the next. They’re different ways to challenge your body. Today’s quick workout is made up of some basic core moves that you’ll preform slowly at first and then as fast as possible. Pay attention to how the tempo changes the way the exercise feels. Going faster is more of a cardio challenge, but a full range of motion can be more challenging when you slow it down.
Tempo Change Core Workout
Equipment I Used:
- Exercise mat
- Gymboss Interval Timer
You’ll spend a minute on each exercise. 20 seconds slow, 10 seconds as fast as possible, and repeat. Move immediately on to the next exercise without resting. I set my interval timer for 22 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest to time the workout. Once you complete all 11 exercises, rest for 30-60 seconds and then go through once more for a total of two times through. If you’re a beginner or want a shorter core blast, just go through once.
Slow should NOT mean easy. When you’re performing the exercise slowly, I want you to be super deliberate in your movements. Think of adding in a “squeeze” or pause at the top of each muscle contraction. For example, on the side plank hip dips, as you lift your hips slowly back up to plank, really squeeze the oblique at the top, pressing your hips that extra inch upwards.
- Push Ups | Feel free to modify from your knees if necessary!
- Crossbody Mountain Climbers | Start in a plank position with hands stacked under shoulders, abs held in tight (don’t let your low back arch down towards the floor). Pull your right knee across your body towards your left elbow, trying to make contact between the two if you can. Step the right foot back into your high plank and then repeat on the other side, left knee to right elbow. Especially when going slowly, I want you to try to physically tap the arm with your knee every time.
- Superman Lifts | Start laying on your stomach, arms stretched overhead. From here, squeeze the shoulder blades, back and glutes to lift your arms and legs off the ground as high as you can. Pause for a second at the top, and then slowly lower extremities back down to starting position. For more of a challenge, don’t let your arms and legs ever come fully to rest on the ground; lower to a hover and then lift back up.
- Rolling Sit Ups | Think Pilates C curve; think “tucking” at your favorite barre class. Start laying on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly planted on the ground, arms outstretched. You’re going to a do a sit up, keeping your feet on the ground and rolling up, vertebrae by vertebrae, keeping your low back glued to the ground until the last few inches of your sit up. Reverse the motion once you’ve reached the top, pulling the low abs in tight as you roll first your low back and then mid and upper back down to the floor. Try not to tuck your chin into your neck as you do this.
- Bicycle Crunches | Start laying on your back, hands behind your head (but not pulling on your head) and legs extended straight out, hovering off the floor a couple inches. From here, bend your left knee in, keeping the right leg extended out straight, and crunch your upper back up off the floor, twisting the right elbow across your body to meet the left knee. Repeat to the other side, fluidly moving from one side to the next, legs alternating in a pedaling motion.
- Leg Scissors | Lay on your back with hands under your butt for support or by your sides. Straighten your legs, lifting the left leg a couple inches off the ground to a hover and the right leg straight up in the air, perpendicular to the ground. You’re going to alternate leg positions, lifting and lowering them back and forward. The goal is to never rest the bottom leg on the ground; only lower it to a hover. As you do these, pull your abs in tight and press your low back to the ground. If you feel your low back lifting off the floor and straining in anyway, add a bend to your knees as you do these.
- Leg Lifts | Lay on your back with hands under your butt for support or by your sides. Lift legs straight up, perpendicular to the ground and then lower until they are just a couple inches off the ground. Legs should stay straight the whole time, and should never come to rest on the ground in between reps. As you do these, pull your abs in tight and press your low back to the ground. If you feel your low back lifting off the floor and straining in anyway, add a bend to your knees as you do these.
- Side Plank Hip Dips (Right) | Start in a side plank position, right hand stacked under right shoulder. From here, dip your hips down towards the ground and then squeeze your right sidebody to lift them back up to starting position.
- Side Plank Hip Dips (Left)
- Side Plank Leg Lifts (Right) | Start in a side plank position, right hand stacked under right shoulder. From here, lift your top, left leg straight up and then back down to starting position. For more of a challenge, never let that top leg rest on the bottom one; lower it to a hover and then lift back up. With this one, you’re using your oblique to keep the hips lifted and using your side butt to do the leg abductions. If your wrists bother you, you can do this one from your forearm.
- Side Plank Leg Lifts (Left)