A Makeshift Megaformer Ab Workout You Can Do at Home

A Makeshift Megaformer Ab Workout You Can Do at Home -- all you need is a dish towel (or sliders). Under 15 minutes long and your abs will be on fire!My brain is not working today. Ever have those moments when you just can’t for the life of you form coherent sentences? I think I told my Btone classes to lift the “toes of their heels” like eight times this morning. Because heels have toes. I also gave this very helpful cue: “push up through your heel by pushing up through your heel.” Try again, Nicole. Let’s hope I can type better than I can talk today…

Speaking of megaformer workouts, I wanted to share a makeshift one I did while traveling. When I was in Australia, we were eating healthily and being constantly active during the day (walking around, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, etc.)—so active that I didn’t worry much about fitting in workouts. My boyfriend and I did, however, go on several scenic runs (one of my favorite ways to explore a new area) and I snuck in a few quick at-home workouts on mornings I woke up earlier than everyone else.

Our hotel in Port Douglas had hardwood floors, so I grabbed a towel to recreate the sliding motion of a megaformer for a quick ab workout. It’s no Btone class, but it did the trick!

A Makeshift Megaformer Ab Workout You Can Do at Home

Equipment I Used:

  • Dish towel (plus an extra one for knee padding) – if you have sliders at your gym or in your home gym, those are great. Also, sliders used for moving furniture = awesome. If you have carpets, try DVD cases or an overturned Frisbee. Get creative!

Do each exercise for 1 minute before moving right into the next. If you’re a beginner, you might want to start by doing each exercise for 30-45 second instead Try not to rest in between exercises—transitions should be quick. You can set an interval timer for 14 rounds of 60 sec work and 0 sec rest so that your timer beeps at you every minute, signaling the next exercise. You could also just watch the clock. Full descriptions below the pics!

If these exercise names sound like Jibberish, welcome to Lagree Fitness. :) I realize that this might be a confusing routine for those who haven’t taken a megaformer class, and admittedly had those familiar with the machine in mind when making it.

I’ve placed an asterisks (*) next to exercises that can be modified by doing them from your knees. Fourteen minutes is a long time to go without resting, so don’t hesitate to modify! Always better to modify than to stop moving altogether. I finished a couple of the moves with crossbody holds. Count to 10 in your head and then move on to the next exercise—it’s fine if the hold makes the next exercise a little less than a minute.

A Makeshift Megaformer Ab Workout You Can Do at Home -- all you need is a dish towel (or sliders). Under 15 minutes long and your abs will be on fire!

Feet on a towel, hands on the floor (or exercise mat) …

  • High Plank*
  • Plank to Pike | Keeping your legs straight, pike your hips up into the air, bringing your body into an upside down “v” shape. Try to keep your heels lifted as you do this, sliding on the balls of your feet. Once you hit your peak (if you have tight hamstrings, you may not be able to get your hips up very high—that’s ok!), slowly lower back down into plank position. If your wrists bother you, you can do this from your forearms (I find this to be more challenging than from my hands).
  • Bear—end with crossbody holds | Keeping your hips level with your shoulders, back flat, slide your feet forward, bending your knees in towards your elbows. Slide feet back out, straightening your legs into plank position. Two most common errors while doing this are lifting the booty up as your feet slide in and letting the low back arch down towards the floor. Pull your abs in tight the whole time, maintaining a flat back. For the holds at the end, slide your feet out to plank and from that position, bring your left knee across your body to your right elbow—really pull it forward, trying to make contact. Hold it there for about 10 seconds then switch sides: right knee to left elbow.
  • Forearm Plank*

I’m about to make things confusing with the next two moves (I’m sorry!). I did the workout as pictured: knees on mat, hands sliding out on towels. Then I realized that if I just padded my knees with an extra towel, it was way easier to keep my hands on the mat with knees sliding. I’m going to describe what’s pictured for simplicity’s sake, but you may want to try the other way (especially if your floors are a little sticky). It’s the same thing as what’s pictured/described; you just slide your body away, rather than sliding your hands away. 

  • Wheelbarrow | Start with your hands on the towel shoulder-width apart and knees on an exercise mat. Lower your hips so that from your knees to top of head is one straight diagonal line (as if you were about to do a push up from your knees). Keep your abs held in tight and arms straight (but not locked) as you hinge from the shoulders, sliding your hands out in front of you. When you reach your farthest extension, press into the hands, sliding them back in underneath your shoulders to the starting position. It’s almost like an ab roller. If you feel this straining your low back, stack your hips over the knees and your wheel from that tabletop position.
  • Cobra | Start with your hands on the towel shoulder-width apart and knees on an exercise mat. Lower your hips so that from your knees to top of head is one straight diagonal line (as if you were about to do a push up from your knees). From here, you’re going to slide your hands out in front of you. As you do, bend your elbows so that you slowly lower onto your forearms into a sort of kneeling plank. Next, reverse the motion, pressing up into your hands to slide the towel back in as you rise up to straight arms and your starting position. It’s tough! To make it easier, lower onto one forearm at a time and press up onto one hand at a time (just make sure to alternate you leading hand each time). As you do these, resist the urge to turn it into a cobra stretch (bending the spine and lifting your chest). Keep the abs in tight the whole time, maintaining that straight diagonal with your torso. If you feel any strain in your low back, stack your hips over your knees (rather than having them lowered) and do it from this tabletop position.
  • Twisted Pike (right foot in front of left) | In a plank position, feet on a towel, hands stacked under shoulders on an exercise mat, cross your right foot in front of the left and drop your heels so that you’re heel-to-toe with toes pointing towards the left. You’ll twist through the waist, slightly lowering your right hip to do so. This is your starting position. Maintaining this leg position and keeping your knees straight, pike your hips slowly up into the air. When you’ve reached your peak, slowly lower back down to that twisted plank starting position. You are targeting your right oblique with these.
  • Snake (right foot in front of left)—end with crossbody hold | In a plank position, feet on a towel, hands stacked under shoulders on an exercise mat, cross your right foot in front of the left and drop your heels so that you’re heel-to-toe with toes pointing towards the left. You’ll twist through the waist, slightly lowering your right hip to do so. This is your starting position. From here, start bending your knees in towards your left elbow, sliding your feet forward. When you’re in as far as you can go, slide the feet back out, straightening your knees back into your starting position. As you do these, try to keep your hips level with your shoulders (don’t sit your bum onto your heels as you slide the feet in; engage your right sidebody to keep them lifted). For the crossbody hold at the end, from that twisted plank position, you’ll pull your right knee across your body towards your left elbow (try to make contact!). Hold it there for about 10 seconds.
  • Side Forearm Plank (right forearm on the floor)*
  • Forearm Plank Hinges* | Maintaining a forearm plank position, just rock your shoulders back and then forward slowly. This isn’t a huge motion, you’ll slide back and forward about 3-6” each direction. Pay attention to your core as you do this: is your low back sagging down towards the ground? Is your butt piking up into the air? Don’t let either happen! Pull the abs in tight with a micro upper tilt to the pelvis to keep your body straight.
  • Side Forearm Plank (left forearm on the floor)*
  • Twisted Pike (left foot in front of right)
  • Snake (left foot in front of right)—end with crossbody hold
  • Push Ups* | Keep these slow—they’re not explosive (think Vinyasa yoga flow speed).

When you finish, relish a long Child’s Pose. Then take it to a gentle Up Dog (or cobra) to stretch out that core.

Child's Pose to Up Dog

This workout would be a fun one to turn into a real-time video, right?? I played around with making videos and GIFs on Monday and worked some of the newbie kinks out. Really excited to start putting a few together! Don’t worry—for those of you who like the pictorials, they won’t go anywhere.

Lagree Fitness lovers—try this ab workout next time you have to go without a megaformer for an extended period of time! (What an embarrassing #firstworldproblem, huh?). Count how many times you need to take a break during the 14 minutes (modifying doesn’t count as a break—stopping does). Next time you do the workout, try to reduce the number of breaks you take. I took three breaks, two during left side Twisted Pike and one during left side Snake (I was dying). I did about 20 seconds of the forearm plank hinges modified from my knees, and the last 30 seconds of push ups also modified on my knees. A Makeshift Megaformer Ab Workout You Can Do at Home -- all you need is a dish towel (or sliders). Under 15 minutes long and your abs will be on fire!

WEARING | Sevan Sports Bra and Salar Capri Foldover Capri from Fabletics // Tank from LF Stores (similar) // Nike Free +3 Sneakers (similar)

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Deck of Cards Ab Workout

Deck of Cards Ab Workout -- all you need is a towel!Towel + hardwood floor = ghetto Megaformer?? In an attempt to mimic my beloved machine while visiting my parents this holiday, I put together this ab workout using a towel to recreate a couple of my favorite Lagree Fitness exercises.

Deck of Cards Ab Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Exercise mat
  • Dish towel (if you have carpeted floors, use DVD cases or an overturned Frisbee; if you’re at a gym, use sliders)
  • Deck of cards (you can also use a smartphone app like RipDeck)

In a deck of cards workout, each suit corresponds to an exercise and the number on the card tells you how many reps to complete. Face cards = 10. Aces = 11. Flip the cards over one at a time, completing the given rep-exercise combo, flipping over the next, and continuing until you’ve gone through the entire deck.

Deck of Cards Ab Workout -- all you need is a towel!

HEARTS = Bear – Pike Sliding Plank Combo

Start in a plank position with your feet on a towel. Keeping your hips level with your shoulders, back flat, slide your feet forward, bending your knees in towards your elbows. Slide feet back out, straightening your legs into plank position. Now, keeping your legs straight, pike your hips up into the air, bringing your body into an upside down “v” shape. Try to keep your heels lifted as you do this, sliding on the balls of your feet. Once you hit your peak (if you have tight hamstrings, you may not be able to get your hips up very high—that’s ok!), slowly lower back down into plank position. That combo (1 bear with bent knees + 1 pike with straight legs) = 1 rep.

SPADES = Side Plank Hip + Leg Lifts

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. Next, lift your top, left leg straight up and then back down to starting position. That’s one rep. When you do the leg lift, make sure you’re not letting your hips sag downward—hold ‘em up! Repeat on both sides (so if you draw a 7 of spades, do 7 reps on the right and 7 reps on the left). 

DIAMONDS = Oblique Towel Sliders

Start in a plank position with feet on a towel (or other sliding object). From here, slide both feet up towards the outside of your right hand. Slide back to center and starting plank position, and then repeat in the opposite direction. Once you’ve gone to each side, that’s one rep. As you do these, avoid letting your hips drop—you don’t want to sit on your heels as you slide your feet up to the side. Engage your obliques to keep hips relatively level with shoulder-height the whole time.

CLUBS = V-Up to Full-Body Crunch Combo

Start on your back with arms stretched overhead and legs hovering just slightly above the ground. Pull your abs in tight and press your low back to the ground. You’ll then crunch up, bringing your hands towards your toes (keeping legs and arms straight). When done correctly, your body will make a “v” shape as you crunch; this means you’re not just reaching your arms up, your chest needs to move towards your knees. Lower back down to starting position. Next, go into your full body crunch, bending your knees in as you crunch your chest up to meet them, wrapping your arms around your knees. Extend and lower back down to starting position. That sequence is one rep. If possible, your feet should never touch the ground between moves and reps.

workout outfit-- fabletics, lululemon, cory vines

WEARING | top & leggings: Fabletics // leg warmers: Lululemon // bra: c/o Cory Vines

As an added bonus to this workout, your floors will be beautifully polished by the end… :)

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Arm (+Core) Workout with Hand Weights

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight WorkoutI get tons of requests for arm workouts, and since this upper body workout using light hand weights was a big hit, I decided to do another. This time, I’m making all the arm exercises a little more dynamic so that you work your core as well. Instead of just doing a shoulder press, you do it while holding a boat pose; instead of just doing a triceps kickback, you do it while in plank. This one is quick (12-18 minutes, depending on the intervals you choose) so it’s great to pair with a cardio workout or to do on days you’re “too busy” to workout.

Arm (+Core) Workout with Hand Weights

Equipment I Used:

  • Set of 5-lb hand weights
  • Set of 8-lb hand weights

As you can see, I used two different weights (light and medium), but you could definitely get away with just using one light pair. I only used the heavier ones for one exercise.

This workout flows from right to left. You’ll start with exercises isolating the right side, move into exercises with both arms, and then end by isolating the left side. You go through that a total of 3 times, taking a 30 to 60-sec rest in between each round (try not to rest between individual exercises; push to make it through the entire sequence before shaking out those arms!).

Your fitness level and the weight of the dumbbells you’re using will determine how long you stay in each exercise. To start, do each exercise for 20 seconds. If you’re more advanced, spend 30 seconds on each exercise. To help you gauge where you should start, when I did this workout using 20-second intervals, I was able to make it through the complete sequence without breaking. When I did it with 30-second intervals, I had to cheat and put my feet down a few times during the boat pose exercises.

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight Workout

RIGHT SIDE (IN PLANK)

  • One-Arm Flys: Start in a plank position with your left hand stacked directly under left shoulder and right hand gripping a hand weight. Hips should be level—fight to keep them this way throughout the exercise (your right hip will want to open up, shifting weight towards the left—don’t let it happen!). From here, squeeze your right shoulder blade in towards your spine as you lift the hand weight up and out laterally, keeping a soft bend in the elbow. Pause at the top and then slowly return right arm down to starting position.
  • Triceps Kickbacks: In a plank position, have 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. This is the one exercise I used an 8-lb weight with instead of 5.
  • Serve the Platter: In a plank position, keep 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.
  • Push Ups: Use both arms for these! If you need to modify, drop down to your knees.

BOTH ARMS (IN BOAT POSE)

All the following exercises are down while holding a boat pose. For boat pose, you balance on your tailbone, leaning back slightly, legs and upper body lifted in a “v” shape. To do this, engage your core (I think of trying to squeeze my belly button and spine together). I keep my knees bent in boat with shins parallel to the ground (except for during shapers), but if you’re more advanced, you can try keeping them straight the entire time.

  • Shoulder Press: Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. Don’t let them dip down lower than that. As you do these, be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Shoulder Shapers: Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, maintaining those 90-degree bends, bring your forearms and hand weights together in front of your face. Return back out to goal post position. Elbows should stay at shoulder height the entire time. As we do these, we’re going to bend and extend our legs in boat pose so that it almost feels like a crunch. When arms are out wide, legs straighten, when forearms come in together, bend the knees, pulling them in slightly towards your chest.
  • Arm Circles: Extend your arms straight out to the side, a weight in each hand. Keeping arms straight, trace small, controlled circles with your hands, not letting your hands fall below shoulder height. Each round, alternate the direction in which you trace those circles.
  • Crossbody Punches: These are pretty self-explanatory: twist and punch! With a weight in each hand, start by holding them in towards your chest. From here, punch the right hand across your body, twisting your torso to the left along with it. Alternate, doing the same thing with the left hand. These should be quick—punch, punch, punch!

LEFT SIDE (IN PLANK)

Repeat sequence you did on the right.

You will go through the entire sequence (right side, both, left side) three times. If you choose to stay in each exercise for 20 seconds, this workout will take you 12 minutes (plus a couple breaks). If you shoot for 30 seconds, it’ll take you 18 minutes + breaks.

Arm (+Core) Hand Weight Workout

WEARING | tank: Nasty Gal // leggings: c/o Puma // strappy-back sports bra: c/o Cory Vines // sneakers: Nike

Happy hump day!signature