Many of you have been following the Strong Figure Conditioning Workouts for a while now, and this challenge is going to be something FUN (and typical of the SFCWs) for you to do! And if you haven’t been following our conditioning work, that’s ok too!
This 30-day challenge is a challenge that can be started at any time by any person. This is a GREAT kick start for someone who’s ready to jump back into fitness or a challenge for someone ready to grab a “heavier than noraml” kettlebell and up his or her game.
All you need is a kettlebell and yourself. That’s it. Over the course of 30 days, you’ll swing your kettlebell 1000 times and work the heck out of your abs. This is the perfect way to boost some extra fat loss, build your core strength, or supplement your regular training routine.
*If needed, see exercise descriptions below
1. Kettlebell Swings: Here, Ashley, one of my amazing bootcamp participants, demos the Russian (swinging to eye level) and the American (swinging overhead) kettlebell swing. If you’re new to swinging or prone to shoulder issues, stick with the Russian style. You can swing a heavier bell this way and it’s great glute, ham, low back, and core work. By swinging the bell overhead, you add an upper body element. Be cautious to keep your ribs pulled down and don’t arch your back. Keep your gaze forward (don’t put a cramp in your neck!), don’t drop the bell too low (this isn’t a squat), and use your hips to generate power, not your arms!
2. Sit-ups: Keeping your knees together (traditional) or letting them fall apart (butterfly style) make sure your shoulders touch the floor at the start of each sit-up and then use your abdominal muscles–not momentum–to sit all the way up ensuring you reach full flexion (closing) of the hip. Don’t stop too short–your lower abs will miss out on the fun! If full sit-ups are too difficult, start with crunches. And if either of these bother your low back, skip them, and hold planks instead.
2. Plank: Keep your body tight! Whether you do a regular plank (pictured above) or a side plank on either your right or left arm, keep the glutes, abs and thighs TIGHT! Think about squeezing the glutes first and then locking the core (belly) in place. Keep your body in a straight line, shoulders should be over the elbows, and don’t let the butt sag or vice versa.
3. Flutter Kicks: lay on your back and place your hands underneath your low back for support. Kick your legs, alternating, and don’t let your heels touch the floor. The closer you can keep your legs to the floor, the harder this will be!
4. Hollow Rocks: Think about “hollowing out” your belly. Try to keep your arms by your ears if you can and rock from your shoulders to your heels–BUT–do not let your heels touch the floor! That’s where the “magic” happens! Keep your belly tight (how can you not?) and do your best. Try not to lift your legs too high in the air on the rock back to your shoulders–just like the flutter kicks, keep your legs low.
5. Supermans: This is similar to a reversed hollow rock. Lay down on your stomach and squeeze those glutes to lift your arms and legs off the ground. Don’t forget to squeeze the glutes for low back protection and better range of motion!
6. Cherry Pickers: Keeping your legs straight and belly tight, reach with your right hand to your left foot, release then left hand to right foot. Your legs are the trees, and you’re reaching up to pick those cherries right off! (And then make a nice home-made cherry tart, right?) 😉
7. V-Ups: Not to be confused with the hollow rock, the V-up starts by laying extended on the floor and then squeezing the abs to reach both your arms (which are back by your ears) and your legs up into a “V” formation. (I did, in fact, confuse these in my photo library with hollow rocks and deleted the pictures before I realized it. Ooops.)
8. Mountain Climbers: Holding a plank position with your hands under your shoulders, jump your right towards your right hand and then left towards your left hand.
9. Russian Twists: Try to keep your feet in the air and twist your arms from side to side. You can make this easier by putting your feet on the floor, or you can make it harder by holding a weight.
10. Burpees: Start from a standing position. Tighten the belly. Reach down towards the floor, kick your feet back, and bring yourself gently to the floor. Belly still tight, jump your feet back in towards you, keeping them WIDE so as to land in the bottom of a squat position. Then jump up!
11. Forward Rolls: Just like when you were a kid–tuck your head and roll forward. If you can stand at the finish of this move–do it!
12. Candlestick Rolls: From a standing position, feet together, sit down onto the floor and let momentum carry your legs back until you can point them straight up in the air. Then kick your heels to your butt as hard as you can and try to stand up! These will take some practice!
13. Shoulder Taps: From a plank position, keep your hands under your shoulders, butt and abs squeezed super tight! Touch your right hand to left shoulder and then left hand to right shoulder. Do NOT let your hips sway side to side when shifting your hands to touch your shoulders! That’s where the work happens–keeping your hips parallel to the floor!
14. Up Dogs/Down Dogs: Transition smoothly from a down-dog yoga pose to an up-dog pose. Practice proper breathing control (inhale with the down dog, exhale with the up dog) and this will help build shoulder strength and allow for some fantastic total body strengthening and stretching as well! Ideally, I’d love to see Ashley, above, work out some of that back and shoulder tension so that she can channel her inner yogi and get even deeper/elongated in this stretch!
Thanks Ashley for being my wonderful Strong Figure model for the day!
If you have any questions about the challenge, ask in the comments section below! Don’t forget–you can start this any week you want. Get some friends on board and do it together!
Suggestions for the next Strong Figure Challenge? List them below!