My Message- PFP Magazine, Summer 2018

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26-minute A-Z Bodyweight Workout

After 26 blogs, 26 exercises, 26 instructional videos, and 26 @BrookBenten Instagram posts, it all comes down to this 26-minute workout!

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Z is for Z Sit

A Z Sit is a gentle limbering exercise.  Done alone, it’s a so-so stretch with so-so strength engagement exercise of the gluteus medius.  But adding a can-can (“V Sit”) to transition to the other side adds awesome core strength and bumps the Z Sit to a pretty good way to spend a minute!

Step 1: Have a seat on the floor.  Stagger your legs to the side with both knees bent.

Step 2: Lift both legs up through the center to transition to the other side.

Step 2: Stagger your legs to the other side with both knees bent.

“Z” is for Z Sit!
Do 1-minute of this move…

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Y is for Yoga

Yoga improves flexibility, muscular endurance, balance, and helps you to focus on breath. This series of yoga poses can be expected to be performed several times through in any Vinyasa Flow yoga class. Here are the steps!

Step 1: Mountain Pose- Stand tall with your arms by your sides, palms facing forward.

Step 2: Extended Mountain Pose- (inhale) Reach your arms long overhead.

Step 3: Swan Dive- (exhale) Drop your chest and let your arms follow as you fold your body in half, taking your chin toward your chins.

Step 4: Lengthen Your Spine- (inhale) Lift your back to flat, like the top of a table {this prepares your back for the next step}

Step 5: Forward Fold- (exhale) Return to the position at the end of “Step 3.”

Step 6: Step or Jump to top of a push-up (“float” is often instructed in yoga in place of “jump”)

Step 7: (inhale) Draw your body weight slightly forward on your toes. Bend your elbows and hover your body halfway down to the ground. Keep your elbows tight in to your ribcage.

Step 8: Cobra- (exhale) and draw your chest through to a lower back strengthening pose where your chest is lifted and belly down (low cobra) or chest and hips lifted and legs down (full cobra- more advanced) or chest, hips and legs lifted and tops of the feet down (upward facing dog- most advanced)

Step 9: Downward Facing Dog- You may add a triceps push-up (optional) then draw your hips up and back, drop your heels toward the floor, suction cup your hands to the ground and press through all parts of your hands (even into your fingertips), and pull your chest and torso through your arms, as if trying to bring them closer to your thighs.

Step 10: Rise on your tippy toes and slightly bend your hips and knees, like a crouching tiger.

Step 11: Step or jump (“float”) your feet in-between your hands.

Step 12: Reverse swan dive to return to “Step 2″ (inhale) Extended Mountain Pose.

Step 13: (exhale) Return to Mountain Pose “Step 1″

“Y” is for Yoga.
Do 1-minute of these moves…

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X is for X Jumps

X Jumps are cardio exercises that work the gluteus medius and minimus; the lateral deltoids; and the core. In other words, they work the same muscles as jumping jacks– but the intensity is much greater! An “X Jump” is a jumping jack performed in the air.

Step 1: Bend your hips and knees slightly and hold your arms in toward your chest.

Step 2: Jump up and spread your arms and legs out wide in the air to form an “X.”

Step 3: Land lightly, toe-to-heel, as you return to the floor. (Also, be sure to wear the right footwear for high impact exercise. I recommend Ryka cross trainers for women).

Modify an X Jump the same way you would a jumping jack- keep one leg stable on the ground and abduct the other leg out to the side. Come to a shallow squat as you transition between legs. If you have pain in hips, knees, or lower back- or if you are new to exercise- opt for the modification!

“X” is for X Jumps!
Do one-minute of this move…

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W is for Windmill

A windmill is a full-body exercise that improves strength, stability, mobility, and flexibility. This move is often performed with a kettlebell. It’s best to begin with body weight only to “nail” all of the moving parts, then maybe add equipment in time to come!
Brook Benten kettlebell windmill
Step 1: Take a stance slightly wider than hips width. Turn the toes of the base leg forward and the toes of the free leg towards the side wall. Lift the arm on the base side up towards the ceiling.

Step 2: Bend the free knee. Barely apply any pressure into that foot. Push your weight through the base leg, darting the hip out and back.

Step 3: Slide your hand on the free side down the free leg* with palm facing out. Tip equal and opposite, stopping the movement before your top shoulder starts tipping downward. Slide back up with arms equal and opposite.

*In the video, I reference this as the “loose” leg.  You should relax through the muscles on the free side.  The loose side just provides you with balance.  Put the burden of body weight load on the muscles of the base leg.

“W” is for Windmill
Perform 1-minute of this move…
(30-seconds on each side)

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V is for V Up

A “V Up” is a somewhat advanced core strengthening exercise. It can be modified by lifting only one leg at a time (still super hard), or modified further by bending both knees as you draw the legs in, as opposed to keeping the legs straight (better option for those new to exercise– but trust me, your abs will still quiver)!

Step 1: Lay on the ground, belly facing up. Reach your arms long overhead and your legs long away from you. Point your toes.

Step 2: Lift your upper and lower body in tandem to rise up to seated. Reach your hands toward your shins. Hold momentarily.

Resist gravity and lower back to starting position, with control.

“V” is for V Up.
Do 1-minute of this move…

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U is for Under/Over

Under/Over has a couple of different interpretations in fitness. My personal favorite, and the one I choose to showcase in this context is a side plank variation.

Step 1: Assume side plank. From side plank, you’ll weave the top arm through the gap between the torso and supporting arm. This will twist the spine and also strengthen the obliques on the bottom side.

Step 2: Return to side plank.

Step 3: From side plank, you’ll reach your top arm long overhead. Arch your body like a rainbow by hoisting your top hip bone high to the sky! This will stretch the side of your body on the top side, and strengthen the obliques on the bottom side.

Toggle between “over” and “under” for 30-seconds. Switch to side plank on the other side. Toggle between “over” and “under” for 30-seconds.

“U” is for Over/Unders.
Do 1-minute of this move…

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T is for Triceps

The muscles on the backs of your arms can give your arms major definition.  Unlike biceps, which only have two heads, triceps have three heads.  They are strong, mighty, and, if trained, can seriously firm up the look and feel of your arms.

My favorite do-anywhere exercises for the triceps are tricep push-ups and tricep kickbacks.  Tricep kickbacks are typically done with dumbbells, but if you really focus your mind on contracting the triceps muscles at the apex of the kickback, you don’t need any equipment at all!  Body weight alone works wonders if you use your mind to trigger the muscles to contract.  Trust me, in only 60-seconds, this series of bodyweight only triceps exercises will have the backs of your arms feeling a’flame!

Perform 4 Tricep Push-ups (on your toes or on your knees).  Next, to perform 4 Tricep Kickbacks, slide your knees and shins in; lean forward over your thighs with your torso; lift your elbows just higher than your back; and flex/extend your elbows in-and-out.  Stay stable through the shoulders on the tricep kickbacks, only moving at the elbows.  Make a concerted effort to really tighten the tris at the end of the extension phase of the kickback.

Continue to toggle between 4 tricep push-ups and 4 tricep kickbacks.

“T” is for Triceps!
Do 1-minute of these moves…

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S is for Scaption

Scaption is an upper body exercise that tones the fronts and backs of your shoulders and your upper back.  It can improve your posture as well as improve the function of your rotator cuff.  This move is commonly done with light dumbbells, but you will definitely still “feel the burn” with body weight alone.

Just stand upright with your arms long by your sides to begin this exercise.  Next, raise your arms out to a “V” position, thumbs facing up. Stop the movement and hold the position, momentarily, when your arms reach shoulder height. Make an effort to really squeeze in your upper back “posture” muscles.

“S” is for Scaption!
Do 1-minute of this move…

 

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