Swimsuit season is mere weeks away, ladies. And if you’ve been enjoying the comfort food that comes with the cold winter weather, it’s time to whip things into shape and get physical. Sure, eating right is half the battle, but so, too, is getting active! We polled some of the South’s most popular fitness folks to see what moves they suggest for a boost to the backside before the pool opens. Here are their favorite go-to moves that can be done in the comfort of home, while traveling or wherever! I think I hear Olivia Newton-John singing now …
Expert: Jill H. Wood, Red Ride Fitness, Louisville
When we think of getting our bodies “bikini ready,” it’s best to choose fitness moves that multitask and engage more than one muscle group. Try some kettlebell swings: stand with feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with toes pointed outward. Keep your shoulders retracted and down to avoid rounding your back. The lowering (backswing) movement is like sitting back on a chair. The upswing should be a forceful pop with hips hinged forward and glutes squeezed as you raise the kettlebell slightly above shoulder level. Do three 30- to 45-second intervals.
[EXPERT TIP: Choose a kettlebell that is 15 pounds minimum, and after this series, your quads, glutes, biceps, triceps, rhomboids and lats (upper back) will be ripped and ready to hit the beach!]
Expert: Lucy Gentry, Pure Barre, Louisville
When I think of preparing for bathing suit season, I think “full body workout” and what will quickly target and tone my thighs, seat, arms and abs, and one of my favorite go-to exercises for this is chair. It targets all those areas!
Expert: Tara Joiner, Pink Barre, Atlanta
My one go-to fitness move is a dynamic plank! Holding a plank in proper alignment works the core, seat, thighs and upper body. I love to add ball squeezes to shape the inner thighs, leg lifts to sculpt the thighs and seat and barre tucks at the pelvis to work the core even more!
Expert: Allyn Hinton, PT, Swell Studio, Nashville
I love planks because they work every muscle group, they’re so versatile, and they can be done practically anywhere. Here are some different variations of my favorite planks. Try to add in tricep and wide-arm push-ups, and you can add glute squeezes to work and lift the bottom. I also love a good pike into plank to stretch the spine. Always remember to pull the shoulder blades down, pull the lower abs in and up, and squeeze the glutes and quads.
Expert: Christine Boyer, Bikram Yoga, Memphis
My two favorite moves are part of the Bikram Yoga series: “triangle” (Trikonasana) and “standing bow” (Dandayamana Dhanurasana). These poses work every muscle in the body—arms, legs, waist, buttocks and stomach. Triangle in particular works the heart and lungs at the same time, but also utilizes every muscle, joint and organ in the body.
Expert: Carrie Ward, Bar Method, Nashville
Stand on profile next to a chair or railing. Place your feet in a wide V with your heels together and your legs and feet turned out into your natural widest turnout. Soften your knees, lift your chest and pull your abs in. Extend your working leg forward, keep it slightly bent, and raise it as high as you can. Keep your hips level, and pull your abs in again. Then lift your leg up one inch and down one inch for 10 reps. Hold onto your leg for a reset. Release your leg and lift up 20 times quickly to finish.
Expert: Olivia Lomax, Delta Groove Yoga, Memphis
For the upcoming swimsuit season, I work on my “boat pose,” known as Navasana in Yoga. I know that if my navel is strong, then all other areas of my body will be compensated and supported. If my boat pose is strong, it affects my arm balances as it strengthens the muscles I need to activate while in an inversion. It will also support my balance in all standing poses, like high lunge or warrior 1.
Expert: Rashna Carmicle, B.You Fitness, Louisville
I absolutely love mountain climbers! Not only do they elevate your heart rate and burn calories, but they also strengthen and tone your entire body. Typically known for building core strength and lower body power and speed, when elevating your feet as in our B.Silque cardio class (pictured), you also get a tremendous upper body workout.
Expert: Rebecca Williams, Neighborhood Barre, Birmingham
My favorite moves are the ones that target your lower seat. Below is a picture of our instructor Kit Clark demonstrating a movement that lifts and tones the lower seat. This pose/position is called the “Head to Barre,” which enables you to lift the lower seat through isometric movements.
Expert: Amzie Williams, Shed Fitness, Nashville
I love the fire hydrant with kick. It can be used without anything or, for best results, with ankle weights. On all fours, raise your knee out to the side, then kick straight back from there. It’s almost a two-part move. Do 20 reps on each leg, and repeat that for three sets.
THREE BONUS MOVES:
Expert: Camille Moseley, Fit Lou Boot Camp and Run Lou Run, Louisville
I love squats because they work every part of the body, and they can be modified for everyone. Squats are truly the king of all exercises. They engage the core, hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and arms. They produce amazing results in overall body physique, while improving balance, coordination, bone density and daily functional movement. You have many squat options: overhead, front, back, body weight and weighted. Switch it up with each workout, and gain all the amazing benefits!
Expert: Meg Gavin, Hot Yoga Plus, Memphis
Plank is my go-to move for a full-body workout, especially when I teach in my yoga classes. You can drop down and plank anywhere!
Expert: Susannah Herring, Hot Yoga Plus, Nashville
Probably a burpee (I can hear all of the groans now! I have a love/hate relationship with them, too!) because it gets your heart rate up and works both your upper and lower body at the same time. You can even incorporate some yoga by moving from the push-up to downward facing dog and then jumping forward to start it again.