Quick Upper Body & Core Workout (Perfect to Pair with Running)

Upper Body & Core Workout (perfect for pairing with a long run!)This post was sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. While I was compensated, all opinions—as always!—are my own.

I jumped at the opportunity to try out the Mizuno Wave Rider 18. Starting in college, I started having Achilles tendonitis flair-ups every time I went running—didn’t matter if it was 1 mile or 10 (LOL as if College Nicole would ever have run 10 miles…). For the most part, I just battled through it, but about two years ago, I switched over to a barefoot-feel running shoe and it was a total game changer. Haven’t had a single issue with tendonitis since. However, with that amazing improvement came another problem: my feet and knees started to hurt if I ran more than five or six miles. It was not quiiiiite enough support.

I’ve been wanting to try out a lightweight running shoe that offers some additional cushioning, and when I saw that the description of the Wave Rider 18 kept emphasizing this idea of “just enough” support, it struck home. After running consistently in them for a few weeks now, I’ve found that they really do have a great balance between lightweight flexibility and that cushioning shock-absorbent sole that I felt I was lacking. They’re so comfortable! But the big concern for me was that going back to a more supportive shoe would alter my foot strike and bring back tendonitis issues. Drum roll please…

So far, so good! Granted, I haven’t gone more than 5 miles at a time in the Wave Rider 18 yet, but no tendonitis flair-ups—yay! The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 retails at $119.99 and you can check it out HERE. I’m wearing it in Black/Silver/Florida Keys.

Mizuno Wave Runner 18

Since we’re on the topic of running, I wanted to share this quick workout that’s perfect for pairing with a long run. It’s all upper body and core work so those legs can save their energy for pounding the pavement (or trail or treadmill).

Upper Body & Core Workout

Equipment I Used:

You’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds before moving immediately on to the next (no breaks in between exercises). Once you’ve gone through the whole circuit, rest for 30-60 seconds. Repeat twice more for a total of 3 times through the exercises. I set my interval timer for 32 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 0 seconds of rest so that it would beep every 30 seconds, signaling me to move onto the next exercise (32 instead of 30 to account for two 30-second breaks).

Upper Body & Core Workout (perfect for pairing with a long run!)

  • Plank Triceps Kickbacks (RIGHT): Start in a plank position, left hand stacked directly under left shoulder, right hand holding onto a hand weight, elbow bent. Keeping your hips level as you do this (fight your body’s natural tendency to shift all the weight into your left side), extend your right hand straight back behind you, really squeezing the back of the arm (triceps) as you do. Hinging at the elbow, bring the weight slowly back to starting position.
  • Plank Triceps Kickbacks (LEFT)
  • Push Ups: You know the drill! If you need to modify, do these from your knees.
  • Russian Twists: Start seated, holding the weights in both hands at your chest, feet lifted off the ground with your knees bent. Lean back slightly, core engaged, balancing on your tailbone. Twist to one side, bringing the weights to the outer side of that hip; then repeat in the other direction. Really twist at the waist—you want your chest to be totally facing whatever side you’re bringing the weights.
  • Side Plank Row Extensions (RIGHT): Start in a side plank position, left hand stacked under left shoulder, dumbbell in right hand (start with a straight right arm, weight held a few inches off the ground. From here, row the right elbow straight up towards the ceiling and then straighten the elbow, lifting the weight up into the air. Make it two distinct movements: row, extend. Reverse the movement, bending the elbow and then straightening it downward to your starting position.
  • Side Plank Row Extensions (LEFT)
  • Seated Shoulder Press Ups: Imagine your forearms and elbows have magnets on them. Holding a weight in each hand, palms facing your face, hold your forearms in front of you, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Fight to hold the elbows as close to each other as you can throughout the whole movement. From here, you’re going to press your hands straight up, lifting the elbows, keeping forearms close together. Be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you do this. After pressing up as high as you can, slowly return back to starting. To engage the core, we’re going to do these in a seated position, legs out straight in front of you, posture straight and upright.
  • Serve the Platter in Plank (RIGHT): These are deceptively hard! Start in a plank position, left hand stacked directly under left shoulder, right hand holding onto a hand weight, palm facing up, elbow softly bent. From here, keeping your hips level (resist your body’s tendency to lean into that left side), reach that right hand forward, getting as close to a straight arm as you can. Slowly return to starting position.
  • Serve the Platter in Plank (LEFT)
  • Boat Pose with Serve the Platter: Start by getting into a boat pose position holding a weight in each hand. You’ll be balancing on your tailbone, leaning back slightly with a straight spine (squeeze those abs in tight!) with legs lifted off the ground. If you can, straighten the legs so that your body forms a V shape. To modify, keep your knees bent. From here, palms facing up, reach those weights up and out in front of you, extending the elbows. Slowly bring hands back to starting position, keeping legs lifted the whole time.

Upper Body & Core Workout (perfect for pairing with a long run!)WEARING | sneakers: c/o Mizuno // leggings: Nike // top: Lululemon

Next time you’re going on a long run (or short run) give this workout a try—it’s only 15 minutes long and is a great compliment to that lower-body cardio!

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25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Ladder Workout

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid WorkoutWhenever I don’t feel like working out (but, ya know, should), I always do a pyramid workout. The structure makes it so much easier to psych yourself up to make it to the end because the rounds get shorter and shorter as you go, getting the worst out of the way first. This is basically my internal dialogue during pyramid workouts (@fuckjerry is HILARIOUS to follow on Instagram, BTW):

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Ladder Workout

There are five exercises in this workout and you’ll go through them four times, with the intervals getting shorter each round. The first time through, you do each for 2 minutes. The second round: 90 seconds. The third: 1 minute. The final: 30 seconds each. At the end of each round, rest for 30-sec to 1-minute. Don’t rest between exercises in the round; move from one right to the other until you’ve completed each of the exercises.

You could just watch the clock, but I used my break in between each round to quickly reset my interval timer. First round: 5 rounds of 2 mins work and 0 sec rest (so that it just beeps every 2 minutes, signaling the next exercise). For the second, I just quickly dropped the 2 min interval down to 90 sec, keeping all the other settings the same.

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid Workout

  • Spider Man Lunges to Frog Stamp: Start in a plank position, hands aligned under shoulders. Keeping hips level, step your right foot up by the outside of your right hand. Step it quickly back to plank and then repeat on the left side. Once you’ve done one of these spiderman lunges to each side, from the plank position, jump both feet up towards the outside of your hands, landing in a wide-stance crouching position, and then jump the feet quickly back to plank.
  • Alternating Jump Lunge to Jump Squat: Jump squat, right-foot-forward jump lunge, jump squat, left-foot-forward jump lunge…and so on and so on. Start in a squat, feet shoulder-width apart, weight in your heels, knees stacked over ankles, butt down and back. Jump up and land in a lunge position, right foot forward, ball of the left foot back, both knees bent to 90 degrees. Jump up again, landing back in a squat. Repeat, this time with the left foot forward in your lunge and right foot back.
  • Rolling V Crunches: For these, you just alternate between a side v-up crunch on your right side, then roll onto your back for a regular v-up crunch, then roll onto your left side for another side v-up, back to center, and so on. Start laying on your right side with right arm stretched outwards on the ground for support. Do a side crunch, lifting your legs up and crunching the knees in to meet your left elbow and raised torso. Lower down and roll onto your back with arms overhead and legs straight out, hovering a couple inches off the floor (to make these challenging, try your best to never let your feet rest on the floor, even while rolling from side to side). From this position, do a v-up crunch, lifting your straight legs up towards the ceiling as the same time as you lift your torso off the floor, bringing your hands up towards your toes. Slowly release back down onto your back and roll over to your left side for your next side crunch.
  • Mountain Climber Burpees: These are regular burpees, except you do 10 mountain climbers at the bottom of each. So the full sequence of one looks like this: start standing; squat down, placing your hands by your feet; jump your feet back into a plank position; do 10 mountain climbers, driving your knees up towards your chest one at a time (like horizontal running) while holding the plank position; jump both feet back up towards hands; shift weight into feet and come upright, jumping up with arms overhead; land and go right into your next rep.
  • Skaters: These are like side-to-side leaping courtesy lunges. Leap to the right, landing on your right foot and bending down to touch the ground by your foot with your left hand as you swoop your left foot behind the right (think of a courtesy). Come up, leaping left and reversing the move. Keep it going quickly, back and forth, trying to never let that back foot come to rest on the ground—keep the weight in the foot you land on.

25-Minute Bodyweight Interval Pyramid WorkoutAnd in Trendy Sh*t I Wish I Could Afford news, aren’t these Lucas Hugh leggings fun?? You sort of feel like you’re stepping into a wetsuit, but once they’re on—bam!—nothing is jiggling in those babies. It’s like wearing chic Spanx. These are another piece of eye candy from the selection of workout apparel Btone has at the Sudbury and Boston locations that have been taunting me the past few months. :)

Some additional Lucas Hugh window shopping splurges:

Let me know what you think of the workout if you try it! It’s a great one to do if you’re traveling—no equipment needed and quick, just the way I like ‘em!

P.S. I shot these pictures a couple months ago and looking through this post is making me seriously miss my long hair!

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Mini Superset Pyramids Workout

mini-superset-pyramids-workout-16Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Target® C9 through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Target® C9, all opinions are my own.

This marks my third time teaming up with Target® and their C9 collection, which is pretty exciting—if you had told me when I first started this blog that companies as big-time as Tar-jey (I prefer the classier French pronunciation) would want to work with me, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. For today’s post, I got to pick out a couple items from the C9 line and went with the Short Sleeve Slub Yoga Tee in rain cloud and white and the Premium Leggings in stately blue (it’s more of a purple in person though).

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I thought the pattern of the leggings was fun and different from any other pair I own, and they proved to be super comfortable—very supportive and with a super wide waistband (a must!). I chose the tees because of how versatile they are and liked the rolled sleeves look. I can wear these when working out or teaching, as well as with jeans for a casual everyday look.target-c9-style-haul

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Today I’m wearing my Target® C9 picks in a bodyweight workout made up of five mini pyramids. I did a similar one with my Tone ‘N Torch class at Btone the other week and it was a winner. I’d say if you’re advanced, you could finish it in about 20 minutes. If you’re a beginner, set aside 30+ minutes for sure.

Mini Superset Pyramids Workout

For each of the following supersets (pairs of exercises), you’ll do a 10-to-1 pyramid. That means 10 reps of each, then 9 reps of each, and so on, down to 1 rep of each. When you finish a superset, take a 30-60 second break and then move onto the next superset.

Mini Superset Pyramids Workout

Superset 1 | Jump Lunges & Mountain Climbers

  • Jump Lunges: Start in a split-stance lunge: right foot in front, ball of left foot planted on the floor behind you. Both knees should be bent to 90 degrees with the front knee aligned over ankle and the back knee hovering just a couple inches off the floor. From here, push off your feet to jump up in the air, switching feet mid-air and landing back in a lunge with left foot forward and right foot planted behind. Continue, alternating feet with each jump. Each set of jumps = 1 rep (every time right foot is in front = 1).
  • Mountain Climbers: These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick. Each set (left, right) = 1 rep (every time right knee is in front = 1).

Superset 2 | Jumping Crab Kicks & Side-to-Side Elbow Plank Hops

  • Jumping Crab Kicks: Start in a crab position: feet on ground, knees bent, hands on ground underneath your shoulders, body facing upwards. Lift one foot into the air, straightening that leg. This is your starting position. From here, you’re going to alternate kicking one leg into the air and then the next, switching feet mid-air so that there’s never more than one foot on the ground at a time (hence jumping crab kick instead of just a crab kick, in which you’d return the foot to the ground before kicking up the other). Your whole body will be working during these: you lower your bum and bend the elbows (almost like a triceps dip) to prep for the jump kick, and then push through the hands, thrusting the pelvis upward to give you time to switch feet mid-air before landing. Each set (right, left) = 1 rep.
  • Side-to-Side Elbow Plank Hops: Start in a forearm plank (elbows stacked underneath shoulders, core pulled in tight—don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From here, hop your feet in unison to the right, back to center, to the left, and back to center (that’s one rep). While you hop, try to hold your body in a straight line, not letting your bum pike up into the air. One rep = right, center, left, center.

Superset 3 | Skaters & Jump Squats

  • Skaters: These are like side-to-side leaping curtsy lunges. Leap to the right, landing on your right foot and bending down to touch the ground by your foot with your left hand as you swoop your left foot behind the right (think of a curtsy). Come up, leaping left and reversing the move. Keep it going quickly, back and forth, trying to never let that back foot come to rest on the ground—keep the weight in the foot you land on. Each set (to the right, to the left) = 1 rep.
  • Jump Squats: Feet about shoulder-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down. From there, explosively jump straight up, swinging your arms back behind you as you do. Land softly and sink right back into a squat, hands swinging forward.

Superset 4 | Burpees & Full-body Crunches

  • Burpees: Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  • Full-Body Crunches: Start in a seated position balancing on your tailbone, hands lightly on the ground by your side for support, feet lifted off the ground and torso leaning back, core engaged. Extend your legs out straight in front of you as you lean back further (feet should be hovering), and then crunch everything inward, bringing your knees into your chest and sitting up a little straighter, abs in tight.

Superset 5 | Reptile Push Ups & Jump Tucks

  • Reptile Push Ups: Start in push up position (a plank with hands aligned under shoulders). As you lower down, crunch your right knee forward, in towards the right shoulder, squeezing those obliques. Return the foot back to the ground as you press back up into high plank position. Repeat, this time on the left. Each push up = 1 rep.
  • Jump Tucks: Jump up into the air, using your core to pull your knees up towards your chest. Lower them quickly in time to land. You’ll want to bend your knees, sinking into a squat to prep for the jump, and you’ll land this same way, sinking into a squat to absorb the landing. As you jump up bring your hands in front of your rib cage and try to hit them with your knees.

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