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Get shredded on vacation: the ultimate bodyweight circuit

Summer: it’s vacation time. Slap some sunscreen on, pull your chair close to the water, and lay back with a cold one.

While you may be overjoyed to get away from the office for a little while, maybe you’re less enthused about putting a hiatus on getting your regular exercise.

Not to worry. It’s entirely possible to get a great, intense workout with no weights, no cardio equipment, and no one to sign you in at the front desk. And really, what’s better than finishing your workout and being able to jump off the dock and into the lake for a swim?

** This workout is a great substitute for any occasion that draws you away from your regular gym. You don’t have to be out at the lake **

I present to you a bodyweight workout that will help you build muscle and strength, stay lean, and stay fit. It’s designed as a circuit with exercises alternating between exercises that challenge the upper body, lower body, and core. The exercises will challenge the strength of your entire body and the minimal rest will challenge your cardiovascular system. It’s everything you need all wrapped into a tight little package.

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The workout

Start with number one, do the required number of reps, and move on to number two, and so on, and so on.

Once you get through all nine exercises, repeat the circuit at least one more time after a minute of rest. Two if you’re feeling particularly frisky.

Each exercise listed is accompanied by some information about the muscle groups being targeted and a detailed description of how to do the exercise.

  • 10 Burpees

Everyone’s best friend in discuss, but worst enemy when you’re doing them. Burpees are a full body strength training exercise that challenges your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs. Plus, the intensity and number of muscle groups being used will get your heart rate going.

How to: Start standing straight up with your feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on the ground, fire your feet back (you’re now in a push up position), do a pushup, hop your feet back to your hands, and jump up into the air with your arms raised straight above your head.

  • 10 Flat Pushups

Your bodyweight bench press substitute. Pushups challenge your pecs, delts, biceps, triceps, and muscles of the upper back.

How to: Start in the pushup position (hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, legs extended, a straight line formed from the top of your head to your heels), drop your chest to the ground by bending at the elbow, and stop when your chest is about an inch from the ground.

The straight line formed from your head down to your heels should be maintained the entire time. Return to the starting position with your arms straight.

  • 1-minute Front Plank

A good plank challenges your core (including your back) and your shoulders.

How to: It’s a similar position to the starting pushup position, but your elbows are bent at ninety degrees, your forearms are angled slightly inward. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders and you should be on your toes with your feet straight up and down. Don’t forget to engage your core (suck your belly button into your spine).

  • 10 Jump Squats

Back to another ballistic exercise. Jump squats challenge your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and abdominals. All training them to be able to generate more power.

How to: Your starting position is standing straight up with your feet shoulder width apart. Next, do a squat: bend at the knees and hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Then explode upward, jumping into the air with your arms raised straight above your head.

  • 10 Decline Pushups

A decline pushup will challenge the same muscles as a flat pushup. But, since the angle of movement on your shoulder joint is slightly altered, a decline pushup will target your pectoralis major group more. Consider it like an incline pushup.

How to: The form for a decline pushup is the same as a flat pushup (hands directly beneath your shoulders, straight line formed from the top of your head all the way to your heels) with one change: your feet are elevated at a 45-degree angle.

  • 1-minute Side Plank

Side planks involve many of the same muscles as a front plank with additional challenges for your adductor hip muscles and the external and internal obliques.

How to: On your side, the bottom elbow should be at ninety-degrees extended straight down beneath your shoulder; your forearm will be forward, extended perpendicularly to your body. The other arm can be resting on your hip.

  • 10 Tuck Jumps

The tuck jump challenges the same muscles involved in the squat jump, with some extra explosiveness required of the hip flexors.

How to: From a standing position, bend the knees slightly and explode into the air. While airborne, tuck your knees quickly into your chest before extending them back down beneath your body to prepare for the landing. Bend your knees to cushion the landing and explode back into the air.

  • 10 Close-hand Pushups

Similar muscles to a flat pushup involved with extra targeting of the triceps and serratus anterior (the muscles directly under your armpit).

How to: Standard flat pushup position modified in the following way: your hands meet together underneath your chest. Your fingers and thumbs should just meet at your body’s midline forming a diamond in between your hands. Lower your body down, keeping your elbows in tight, until your chest is about an inch off the ground.

  • 1-minute Side Plank

Whatever side you did for the first plank in the circuit, repeat it on the opposite side.

Take a 1-minute break and repeat the circuit in its entirety at least one more time. Additional reps of the circuit can be added.

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Being on holidays doesn’t mean you can’t progress towards your fitness goals. It is possible to be healthy, get stronger, and get leaner without the help of a gym or formal gym equipment.

Mixing in a bodyweight workout is also a perfect opportunity to challenge your body in a way that it might not be used to.

If you find the circuit too easy, bump up the number of reps you perform each exercise or add on additional reps of the circuit as a whole.

Enjoy your vacation!

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