Little known fact: summer gains start in September. And they begin with an often underrated piece of equipment: the resistance band. Employ it to maintain strength when it’s too cold to hit the gym and prevent your hard-won muscle from wilting on the vine. Do four rounds of this five-move giant set, taking a two-minute break between the completed rounds. The best part? It’ll take you just a quarter of an hour.
1|| BANDED BENT-OVER ROW (12 reps)
Begin your set by standing on the middle of the band with your feet shoulderwidth apart. With your knees slightly bent, hinge forward at your hips to grab each end of the band. Brace your core and make sure your back is straight (A). Leading with your elbows, pull the band back to bring your shoulder blades together (B). Squeeze for a second at the top, then slowly release.
2|| HAND-RELEASE PUSH-UP (12 reps)
Stopping at the bottom removes the natural bounce of your arms, chest and back, firing extra muscle with fewer reps. Assume the push-up position with your body straight and your hands below your shoulders (A). Lower your chest to the floor (B), lift your hands off for a second, then place them back and push up explosively.
3|| DIP (12 reps)
With your feet in front of you, set up on a box (a chair will do) – or, if you’re less confident about your triceps, a step or the side of your bed. Start with your arms locked out and your shoulders set down (A). Drive your elbows back to lower yourself until you feel a stretch in your shoulders (B). Push back up. Rest in the starting position if you need to.
4|| BANDED FRONT RAISE (12 reps)
Target your shoulders and abs in one move: think of this as a beach-body cocktail. Stand with your feet on the band, holding each end. Keep your back straight and your glutes tense (A). Squeeze your shoulders to raise your arms until they are parallel to the floor (B). Tense your abs to stay solid. Release slowly and return to the start.
5|| BANDED BICEPS CURL (12 reps)
You knew it was coming – you hoped, even. And we dare not disappoint. Stand on the band with your feet at shoulder width. Grab each side of the band (A). Keeping your elbows close, curl the band to shoulder height (B). Squeeze your biceps for a moment, before gently lowering. Then administer sunglasses. And smile
BURN OFF WINTER LARD
Winter weekend away got the better of you? This workout is the salve for any… er,“soreness”. With the help of a skipping rope, you’ll move your entire body to enhance blood flow, with some gentle cardio thrown in to flush out last night’s booze. Allow 15 minutes to complete the following sequence twice. Remember: slowly but surely wins the race to a full recovery.
1|| LATERAL LUNGE (5 reps per side)
Your first challenge is to stand up. With your feet wide apart and your chest up (A), put a slight bend in your knees and hips. Staying low, step to your left and shift your weight in that direction (B). Keep your chest and head high. Pause at the bottom, then push off the bent leg to return to the starting position and proceed straight into a lunge to your right.
2|| SKIP (30sec)
Pick up your rope as quickly as possible (A) and start skipping. . Keep your elbows tucked in by your sides and try to rotate with your wrists, rather than at your elbows. Don’t look down at your feet. Keep your head and eyes up (B) – it will stop you tripping on the rope, even as you start to tire at the end of your 30 seconds.
3|| PLANK GET-UP (8 reps)
You should be blowing a bit now, and that’s good. Set up in a plank position, with your feet and elbows on the floor, your core tight and your back flat (A). Push up onto one hand, then the other, into a high plank, with your arms straight and under your shoulders (B). Reverse the move to the ground and repeat seven times.
4|| SKIP (30sec)
If you’re new to skipping, focus on getting through the 30 seconds without getting in a tangle. With a relaxed grip on the handles (A), rep away (B) until your timer sounds – counting your reps can make you tense up as you approach your previous best mark. If you’re a dab hand at this, upgrade your efforts to double-unders
5|| ELEVATED PUSH-UP (20 reps)
Select a raised surface and get into a push-up position, with your index fingers and thumbs forming a diamond (A). Slowly lower yourself, pause at the bottom (B), then flex your chest to power back up. Give yourself 30 seconds’ rest before restarting the circuit from the top.