Spring is here, and so are exams. Perfect timing, U of A! With most of us resorting to binge studying and praying we pass stats, exercise is typically the first thing to fall to the wayside. It’s important to note, however, how powerful exercise is in improving memory, increasing sleep quality, and in the overall reduction of stress. It’s also an excellent way to refresh yourself after sitting in Rutherford for five hours staring into a dimly lit screen.
This quick workout is designed to get you outside, make your heart pump, and reignite your glutes after sitting in a stiff wooden chair all day. Today, many of us have extremely underused gluteal (bum) muscles from the sitting required in university, something that causes a whole slew of issues from back pain to fallen arches.
1. Curtsy Lunge
Starting in a neutral standing position, place your hands on your hips, or in front of you for balance. Step you right leg behind you and towards the left, maintaining ankle integrity. In order to engage your glutes effectively, make sure your left knee hits at least a 90-degree angle. Hold, and then come back up to standings. Repeat on the opposite side for one full repetition of this exercise.
2. Jump Squats
Stand with legs slightly wider than hip width a part (or whatever distance is most comfortable for you to perform a full range of motion squat). Squatting down to 90-degrees or lower, hold, then jump up with power while also flipping your body to face the opposite direction. Squat, jump, and flip sides again for one rep.
3. Froggy Hip Thrust
Lying on your back, bring the bottoms of your feet to touch, with your hands pushing into the ground. Keeping your feet together, raise your hips off the ground, squeezing your glutes as you reach your hips to a comfortable height. Hold for three seconds, then lower for one repetition.
4. Step Ups
Using a bench step up with your right leg, swinging your left leg up and into your chest. Switch legs for one repetition. While you want to be performing this exercise quickly to raise your heart rate, you also want to be engaging your core and glutes as you step. To work your glutes even more, dig your heels into the bench as you step up.
To throw these four exercises together, complete them in a circuit. Perform each for one minute, with a one minute rest after you complete all four consecutively. Complete this loop four times to bring this workout up to a total of 20 quick minutes. Incorporating sprints, or some type of vigorous cardio is a great way to increase the intensity of the workout if you have more time. Sporadic sprints are the reason why working out outside can be so great!
Don’t forget to cool down with a few stretches or some light walking afterwards, because sitting in the library with sweat still accumulating on your lower back is no fun. Also, thank yourself for taking time to invest in your wellbeing! Your body, and more importantly your mind will be grateful for it.