Equipment-Free Workout! ‘Punchy Likes To Squat’

22 07 2009

Try this one out at home or anywhere you have a few feet of space to work with. Seriously, you could do this one in a phone booth (do those even exist anymore?):

Take up an orthodox boxing stance; left foot forward, feet shoulder width apart, weight evenly distributed between the ball of your back foot and your front foot, abs tight, hands up, chin down (but look up).

Throw a 1-2 combination; fire your left lead hand first, followed by your right rear hand. Breathe out with every punch and twist your body. Remember, your hip, knee, and toe all need to be pointing in the direction of your target so this means you’re really going to have to rotate those hips (which makes this a fantastic exercise for trimming your waist line, among other things).

After your 1-2, perform 2 striker’s squats. Weight on the heel of the front foot and on the ball of the back foot, back straight, abs tight, looking forward (I like to pick a spot on the wall and focus on that). Bend your knees and squat down as low as your comfortably can.

After your two squats, throw 4 straight punches. Lead hand – rear hand – lead hand – rear hand, keeping in mind the same things from the 1-2. As the workout goes, you’ll just keep adding 1-2s together.

Now perform 2 more striker’s squats, then 6 straight punches. Then 2 more squats, and 8 straight punches. Keep going all the way up, in increments of 2, until you get to 20. Then, come back down in increments of 2.

Now here’s the fun part: switch to a southpaw stance and do the whole thing again. To form a proper southpaw stance, just do everything from your orthodox stance in reverse. It will be humbling to your ego to throw punches (or do most everyday tasks this way) but that is why we do it. Don’t let your ego chase you away from doing something because you’re not good at it the first time out. If you really want to do your body and mind a favour, start this drill with your non-dominant side. The ability to throw a good, hard punch from any stance, or in any position is something that everybody should carry with them and hope that they never have to use.

If this is too much for you, just scale it back. Work your way up to 10 punches and back. If you know what you’re doing, mix in some of your other strikes: uppercuts, hooks, palm heel strikes, hammer fists, elbows, knees! String them together in different combos to keep it interesting for yourself.

Be sure to shake out your legs afterward and do a little running in place, or a few jumping jacks just to help cycle out the lactic acid that you’ll have built up from doing those squats.

Here’s another helpful tip: keep some water close by. It’s super important to stay hydrated while you train. Adding a pinch of sun dried sea salt to your water will also help with your hydration, and it’ll make your water taste great – just don’t use too much!


The Return of the Monday Workout

27 04 2009

Another Monday, another equipment-free workout to get you going for your week! This time, we’re slowing things down a bit. For this workout you’ll need: a little bit of space, some water and a towel. An iPod is an awesome asset for this one.

Today’s workout is all about balance. At the gym, I do this on yoga bricks, but if you don’t have any of those kicking around at home, use a phonebook. If you’re some sort of super human, stack two. What I want you to do today is simply balance. It seems easy at first, but trust me, it gets tough. You can start from the floor, or from on top of your brick/book. Simply raise one leg in the air, pull your belly button in towards your spine, breathe deeply and just balance. In the gym I like to have my clients go Miyagi crane position (I think we all know what that looks like, no?) with light weights in their hands. If that sounds like something you’re up for, go ahead and grab anything that’s got some nice weight to it. In school I remember a teacher once made a kid hold two hymn books out like that for what seemed like an eternity; no telling where your inspiration will come from! Switch from one foot to the other in whatever pattern suits you; a specified number of seconds, maybe the length of a song on your iPod. This is where hvaing music really benefits you; you can kind of zone out and take a few seconds to perform some active meditiation. Don’t limit yourself to just standing there like a karate man/woman all day long, either. Try some one-legged squats, hold your arms in different positions, get creative with it. Enjoy a few songs and before you know it you’ll have been balancing for a good 20-25 minutes. Notice how your abs feel. Notice how your whole body feels. This is a killer workout, and if you’re anything like me you’ll wind up doing it for a lot longer.

More Bikini Body Ab Action: Leg Lifts!

15 04 2009

A New Variation on Plank w Weight Transfer

14 04 2009

It’s no secret, we’ve got a thing for core strength and we’re always looking for new, fun, and interesting ways to challenge the cores of our clients. It is in that spirit that I came up with this little gem; check it out!

So maybe you don’t have a weight bench at home, but do you have a piano bench? A window seat? You can even try this at the bottom of the stairs (just put a couple of weights on the first step and plank right in front of it). I’d even advise you to try this in a park, with a few odd objects laid across a park bench. If you get creative, you can make this exercise work anywhere.

Bikini Body Moves: Pike Crunches

13 04 2009

Answering Viewer Emails: Russian Twists

8 04 2009

I apologize for not explaining what a Russian Twist is during last week’s equipment-free workout. So, here it is:

Bikini Bodies! PT 1

7 04 2009

I realize this article isn’t well timed as the snow is still swirling outside my window, but, technically it is Spring now so we all need to be thinking about squeezing into those short shorts, bikinis and swim trunks for you guys.  Does anyone else find it odd that although we always know that the summer will inevitably follow the winter, that we still go through the motions of last minute panic as swimsuit season inches closer?  I do!

If that is you, if you are worried about a little bit of extra jiggle this year, then read on and have no fear!

Let’s talk about DANGER ZONES!  Pt 1 will talk about your core, for more body parts, check back frequently.

1. Core or Tummy! – This encompasses everything from the sagging gut, the muffin top, love handles and just plain old jiggly belly!  A rampant myth about abdominal strength and six-pack abs is that crunches will solve all your problems.  This is just not true!  The most superficial muscles, the rectus abdominus, is actually one of the weakest muscles in the core, but since it is the muscle that shows the best 6-pack definition, many people train it exclusively, leaving the rest of their core weak and soft.

The solution to this problem is to train all areas of your core from your center abs (the rectus abdominus), your lower abs (the baby bump area for ladies), the love handles/muffin top or the oblique abs and your lower back (quadratus lumborum)  which helps support your tight, toned abs as well as keeping free of debilitating lower back pain.  You need to work equally on each of these sections of your core to build a tight and sexy midriff as well as to ensure lower back health and heart health.  One of the most dangerous places to carry extra weight is your middle as the fat coats and surrounds your organs and heart.  This not only creates more potential for health problems and complications, it also makes any kind of surgery (from heart bypass surgery to an appendectomy) more difficult for doctors and more risky for you.

So, let’s hit it!

1. Center Abs (rectus abdominus) – Yes, crunches are useful here, but ensure first that you are not pulling on your neck or straining your lower back.  A great way to help both those issues is to do your crunches on a Swiss ball instead of on the floor.  The Swiss ball supports your lower back and allows you to get a broader range of motion.

Some other great exercises for your middle core;

Plank (with many variations such as weight transfer, dynamic plank etc)

Pilates roll downs on the ground

Pike crunches (a little tougher so don’t try alone for the first time)

Many others, check back to The Body Temple blog frequently and we’ll be posting new ways to blast your core!

2. Obliques! – I call these the ‘corset’ muscles because they give you the great hourglass figure, whittle your waist down, help support your lower back and cut into that muffin top!  These are the unsung heroes of the abs, but at The Body Temple, we give them the respect they deserve.  Here are some great ways to work your obliques;

Side planks

Bicycle crunches

Russian Twists

Heel reaches

Side extensions

Salsa Steps (check out the professional females on Dancing with the Stars, they have sick obliques!)

3. Lower Abs – This is one of the hardest places for women especially to lose weight and inches.  We are biologically engineered to retain padding there for our future offspring, so we have to work extra hard to lose that little paunch.  Here are some great ways to start;

Reverse crunches

Partnered Leg tosses

Windshield wipers

Knee lifts from hanging

Slow leg raises from prone position

4. Lower Back – This portion of your core may have been carrying the extra load for your weak abdominals, which means you may be one of those people with chronic lower back pain.  Many of our clients have complained initially of lower back pain and within a few weeks of training and strengthening their core, the lower back pain has all but vanished!  Try these to help your lower back;

Back extensions

Cobras and Upward Dogs


Russian Twists

Grounded backstrokes

I realize that many of the exercises above may sound complicated or strange, but we at The Body Temple, are going to create some short videos for you this week demonstrating all of the techniques I have mentioned above.

Remember that to lose weight, strength training is not enough, at the very least you need to be completing 25 minutes of cardio 1-2 times each week to burn fat and lose weight.  These exercises will help burn fat but, for the most part, will build up your core strength and endurance.

SO, remember to check back soon for the video to go with this article and the next installment of


Start today and look like a million bucks on the beach this summer!