With all the festivals in town recently, I know we are all looking for a little exercise inspiration to take off those few extra pounds accumulated from all the fine southern food.
In my experience of designing group exercise classes, I always found new inspiration by adding little twists to old exercise favorites. Some of the most effective and versatile exercises known in the fitness community are the squat and the jumping jack.
The squat is a great exercise for strengthening the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes, and the jumping jack is a cardio exercise phenom. Combining the two can be a power workout in itself. Below are a few workout ideas including the jumping jack and the squat.
1. Jump Jack Squat
Reinventing the jumping jack, the jump jack squat adds a little body sculpting action to the typically aerobic exercise. To complete this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms down by your sides. Keep your back straight and abdominal muscles tight. In one motion, lift your arms above your head while simultaneously opening your legs. Squat down after you jump out (adding strength to your legs) and then return your arms and legs to the starting position. As you squat, be sure that your knees do not extend beyond your toes, and ensure that your spine is straight throughout the exercise. Complete one set of ten repetitions to start, and progress as you feel comfortable. For a pictured description of this exercise, click here.
2. Interval Power Workout
Combining jumping jacks and squats into one workout routine gives you a component of cardio and strength training. Check out this video for a great workout you can easily do at home.
3. Power Jumping Jack
The power jumping jack is an explosive exercise designed to increase endurance in experienced exercisers. To do this exercise, start with your feet together and arms by your sides. Keep your back straight and abs tight. Jump as high as you can in the air, open your legs and raise your arms simultaneously. Clap your hands together as they reach above your head, and quickly close your legs and lower your arms so as to land with your knees slightly bent. Try one set of five repetitions to start and continue as you feel able. Play this great video for a description of this exercise.
Remember, it is always best practice to consult a physician or personal trainer before starting a new workout routine.