Bodyweight Butt Workout (+Giveaway!)

Crane & Lion workout legging giveawayEarlier this year, I attended a demo event in New York and had the chance to meet the ladies behind Crane & Lion, a new women’s activewear line. I was immediately drawn to the collection by the soft, pretty color palette, and then was completely sold after feeling how comfortable (and high-quality!) the material is. And I know it’s a small detail, but I am a huge fan of the signature back seam on the leggings—so flattering.

Ranging from $60-$100, Crane & Lion’s collection of bottoms isn’t exactly cheap, so I’m pumped to be able to giveaway a pair to one lucky reader! In today’s post, I’m wearing their original tight in marlin, but the winner can choose from any one of their styles and colors (and sizes, of course!). I’ve been wearing my tights a ton, so I know you guys will love them. Details on entering are at the bottom of this post—if you’re not interested in today’s booty workout and want to get straight to winning free swag, scroll down.

Bodyweight Butt Workout

This workout will take you 20 minutes to complete. You stay on each exercise for 20 seconds and then move immediately onto the next (no rest!). Once you’ve completed each exercise, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat twice more, going through the set of exercises three times in total.

The list of exercises below looks long, but you’ll notice the changes from one to the next are small. In some ways, it’s very similar to the work you do on the floor in barre classes. You start with a bunch of squat variations, then move onto a bunch of hip bridge variations, then finish with a bunch of variations in a tabletop (hands and knees) position. It’s really just a handful of movements, making a few small changes to each as you go: full range (large movement) –> pulse (small movement) –> hold (isometric).

I’m breaking up these explanations into three groups: squat moves, bridge moves, tabletop moves. This is just to give you a better idea of the flow of the workout—you do not take breaks in between these groups of exercises. You only rest when you’ve completed the entire list of exercises.

Even though the whole point of this workout is that no equipment is involved, you could always do it with ankle weights on and hold a set of dumbbells during the squats to make it more difficult (neither are needed to feel the burn though—I promise!).

Bodyweight Butt Workout

Squat moves:

  • Squat: Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!) and driving your arms behind you. Make sure you’re actively engaging the outer thighs to prevent the knees from caving inward (knock-knees) as you lower down into your squat.
  • Pulse Squat: Now just take it down to your lowest squat and from that position pulse up an inch and down an inch.
  • Squat Hold: Take out all movement and just hold down low in your deepest squat. Make sure weight is in your heels.
  • Plié Squat: This is your basic squat but with feet much wider than hip-distance apart and your toes pointed outward (like a ballerina’s feet when doing a plié). Keeping your spine straight, abs in tight and chest open, bend your knees and lower your booty down into a squat. From there, return to standing, squeezing those buns and straightening your legs as you power up. Knees should track out in the same direction as your toes the entire time, and feet should be wide enough apart so that as you squat down, your knees are jutting forward, in front of the toes.
  • Pulse Plié Squat: You’ve probably got the drill by now—lower down into your deepest plie squat and pulse from there, up an inch and down an inch.
  • Plié Squat Hold: You guessed it—take out the pulsing movement and just hold your deepest plie squat.
  • Alternating Sumo Squat Leg Lifts: This is a wide-stand squat with alternating side leg lifts. Feet wider than hip-distance apart, squat down low. Shift your weight into the right side and, staying as low as you can (it’s natural for the right to straighten a little, but don’t come out of the bent knee all the way), lift the left leg straight up and out to the side. Lower it, bringing your weight back to center in that deep squat. Repeat to the other side.

Bridge moves:

Do these all on the right…

  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts: Lay on your back, arms flat on the ground by your side for support, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. From here, squeeze your glutes and lift your hips a couple inches off the ground so that your butt is hovering. Lift your left foot into the air as well. This is your starting position. Your butt and that lifted foot will never touch the ground again (well, not until you’re done with this side). From here, thrust the hips upward, squeezing your glutes and pressing through the planted foot. Hold for a second at the top and then slowly lower hips back down to a hover.
  • Pulsing One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts: Make the movement of the previous exercise smaller—you’ll send your hips up as high as you can, and then from there just lower the hips down an inch and up an inch. It’s a small, pulsing movement at the top of your range of motion. Think of it as a squeeze (of the glute/hamstring) and release. Left leg still is pointing straight up in the air as ou do these.
  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Hold: Now take out all movement, holding your hips up as high as you can with that left leg pointing up towards the ceiling, squeezing your right glute and hamstring.

Then do the same moves on the left…

  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts
  • Pulsing One-Leg Hip Bridge Thrusts
  • One-Leg Hip Bridge Hold

Tabletop moves:

Do these all on the right…

  • Donkey Kicks: Start on all fours: knees stacked under hips, hands stacked under shoulders. From here, you’re going to press the bottom of your right foot up towards the ceiling, squeezing that right butt cheek. Pause at the top and then lower down most of the way (don’t let the right knee come to rest on the floor). As you do these, keep a straight spine by engaging your abs, pulling the belly button in towards the spine.
  • Fire Hydrants: Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. Keeping your right leg in that 90-degree angle, lift that knee out and up in a wing motion (like a dog lifting to take a pee), opening up at the hip. Bring it back in close to the starting position, but try not to fully rest the knee back on the floor. As you do these, pay attention to your core: You wants a straight spine, protecting the low back by pulling your abs in tight the whole time.
  • Straight-Leg Side Lifts in Tabletop: This is like the fire hydrant move, except with a straight leg. Get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. From here, bring your right leg straight out to the right side. Lift it up a couple inches so that it’s hovering off the ground. This is your starting position. From here, lift the right leg up as close to hip height as you can (it’s tough!) and slowly lower back down to a hover. As you do these lifts, try to avoid shifting all your bodyweight into that opposite left side—instead of leaning in the opposite direction as the right leg lifts, you want to keep your body in a centered tabletop. A good way to achieve this is to lift the opposite, left hand off the ground (it’s also more challenging this way).

Then do the same moves on the left…

  • Donkey Kicks
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Straight-Leg Side Lifts

If you’re like me, you’ll feel it more in your quads than butt during the squats, but then as the sequence progresses, you’ll really feel the burn in your booty—and by rounds two and three, you’ll notice what the squats are doing for your glutes as well. Ok now on to the fun stuff…

Crane & Lion Workout Tights Giveaway

Crane & Lion outfitOne winner will get the leggings (or pants) of her choice! Right now, Crane & Lion doesn’t ship internationally, so for this one—sorry global friends!—only US readers can enter. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Browse Crane & Lion’s collection of bottoms here—which style is your favorite?
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me which item you’d pick if you won. Make sure you record your entry using the widget below so that you’re properly accounted for in the randomized winner selection!

As you’ll see, you can also receive bonus entries for getting social on Twitter, but it’s totally optional. I’ll pick the winner Friday at noon and will send that lucky person an email shortly thereafter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to their original tight, I’m also wearing Crane & Lion’s bra tank. I love it!


Quick Kettlebell Ladder (+My Lorna Jane Picks)

Hello, weekend, you beautiful thing!

I wanted to share the tutorial to the quick kettlebell workout I posted to my Facebook page earlier this week for anyone who’s unfamiliar with the exercises (and, of course, for all of you who don’t follow the blog on the ‘book). This took me just under 15 minutes to complete and was the perfect way to start the day. I was going to take a class at Btone later that night before teaching, but needed to do something before gluing my butt to my desk chair. This did the trick!

Quick Kettlebell Ladder

Equipment I Used:

  • 25-lb kettlebell

You’ll go through the following exercises five times. The first round, complete 50 reps of each. Next round: 40; and so on, down to a final round of 10 reps of each. For the side bends, split up your reps (for example, during the first round, you’d do 25 to the right and 25 to the left).

Quick Kettlebell Ladder

  • Kettlebell Swings: Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat. Your knees should remain slightly bent, but the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting.
  • Figure 8 Squats: Start standing with feet a little more than hip width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand. Squat down, and as you do, pass the bell through your legs to the other hand, tracing half of a figure 8. Stand up, squeezing that booty and popping your hips forward. Squat back down, finishing the figure 8 shape around your legs as you pass the kettlebell through your legs to the starting hand.
  • Standing Side Bends: These are sneaky! The first few reps you’ll feel like you aren’t doing anything, but man are these effective. My obliques were noticeably sore the next day. Stand upright with fieet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in your right hand. With your left hand on your hip or overhead (I have mine overhead in the pictures, but it doesn’t matter—do what’s comfortable), lean to the right, lowering the kettlebell towards the floor. Return to starting position using your core (arm isn’t moving or doing any of the work; your torso is where the movement originates). Split up the reps between sides. Round one, you’ll do 25 to the right and 25 to the left. Round two, 20 to each side, and so on.

Lorna Jane Picks

In today’s post I’m wearing the Coco Excel Zip Through and Berry Support Full Length Tight that Lorna Jane so graciously sent me. I was super excited about the top because black zip-ups are such a wardrobe essential—gym, running errands, grabbing lunch on the weekends. I actually lost the one I previous owned so thank you for the perfectly timed gift, LJ! In addition to the items I’m wearing, I wanted to share some of my other favorite picks from the brand (just in time for holiday shopping wink wink).

Keeping It Real Tank // Sabina Stripe Bra // Erica Active ¾ Pant // Cruz 7/8 Tight // Mia Excel Tank Bra Combo

Lorna Jane also sent me their 2015 Move Nourish Believe Diary which is essentially a weekly planner with healthy recipes, workouts and pictures thrown in. To go along with it, LJ has the Move Nourish Believe site that covers all things health and fitness (sort of like an online magazine meets blog)–check it out! In particular, this Beetroot Crust Pizza looks delish and I loved this article comparing cold press juicers to centrifugal juicers.

Enjoy your weekend! If you’re in Boston and looking to get a workout in, I’m subbing tomorrow morning at Btone and there are a couple spots left in the morning classes. Sign up here! :)


This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Lorna Jane.

My Latest Stitch Fix Styles (+Tips for Getting a Good Fix)

stitch-fix-outfits-styled-2I got another A+ fix this month from Stitch Fix (kept everything!) so decided it was time for more fake modeling. If you’re new to the blog and Stitch Fix, you can read more about it in my first post here. Otherwise, let’s get to the clothing! :)

Street Level Benian Easy Tote with Chain Detail = KEEPER

I made a note to my stylist that I’d like a handbag in this fix and loved her pick! I need more large totes for traveling and weekend trips so this was perfect.stitch-fix-outfits-styled-4

41Hawthorn Presley Colorblock Button-Back Sweater = KEEPER

This is one of those pieces that prove having a stylist can be helpful—I never would have picked it out myself, but love it!stitch-fix-outfits-styled-11 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-10 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-12

Tart Aldo Faux Suede Detail Sweatshirt = KEEPER

This hoodie is so me. Basically if something is black and there’s faux leather involved, I want it in my closet no questions asked.stitch-fix-outfits-styled-14 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-17 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-15

Skies are Blue Emira Faux Fur Collar Knit Vest = KEEPER

It’s (faux) fur season! I know I’ll wear this vest a ton, and love that it can be dressed up or down easily.stitch-fix-outfits-styled-7 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-8

Mavi Gold Nigel Tall Length Skinny Jean = KEEPER

These fit like a dream and are a perfect color for the holiday season.stitch-fix-outfits-styled-1 Stitch Fix outfit

How to Get a Good Fix

In addition to the “OMG I love Stitch Fix, too!” comments I get on these posts, I also hear the occasional complaint of a fix that was a total bust. Of course there’s a bit of luck that goes into these things as style and taste are more of an art than science, but I do think there are a few things you can do to greatly improve your chances of getting a fix you love.

1. Create a style board on Pinterest and link it to your Stitch Fix account. When you set up your Stitch Fix profile, there’s space to link to a Pinterest board. Do it! And if you don’t already have a fashion/style board, make one. It’s a great way for your SF stylist to get an idea of what clothing appeals to you. My stylist frequently refers to pins she sees on my Fashion board in the notes she includes in my fixes; I recently pinned a picture of a girl wearing burgundy pants and guess what I just got…stitch-fix-outfits-styled-3

2. Leave detailed feedback. When you check out online after receiving your fix, there’s space to leave feedback about each item you’re keeping or returning. Hated that shirt? Tell them why. Loved the scarf? Also tell them why. Your fixes will be more accurate as your stylist gets to know you better. Last time I told my stylist I was sending back a pencil skirt because I wouldn’t get much use out of it as I don’t work an office job and tend to wear casual clothing. Based on this fix, she totally listened! stitch-fix-outfits-styled-13

3. Request items you like. Whether it’s an item your friend got in a fix, a piece from a blog post like this, or something you spot on Stitch Fix’s Instagram, don’t be afraid to request specific items. There’s not a guarantee you’ll get them because of availability, but at the very least, it will give your stylist an idea of what kinds of pieces you’d like to see in a fix. You can request an item by leaving a note to your stylist in your SF account, or you can pin items to your Pinterest board. All the pics in this post are pinnable for that very reason!stitch-fix-outfits-styled-16 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-9 stitch-fix-outfits-styled-6

 Which item is your favorite from my fix? Would you have kept any of them yourself? Current Stitch Fix users–any tips to add for getting a great fix?