20-min lower body & core workout_livengproof_plank pic

I wrote this workout on a whim because I had a last minute chance to have my amazing friend Jen offer to shoot a workout for me! You can check her skills here! So I got to feel like a real life fitness model as I stood in as her “test subject” as she just moved to a new shared studio space! She got to play with the lighting equipment and I got to pretend I was Jane Fonda 😉 Also I’m 5’10” so I’m pretty long – lets just say I realized why they have such large back drops – especially for any photoshoot involving movement! Thanks Jen for accommodating me and all my lanky limbs! I have since done this workout and let me just say for coming up with it “on a whim” I was pri-tee pleased with it!

Screenshot 2015-01-29 17.36.55

Jen is the owner of  J.Catherine Photography  you can also find her on facebook here!


Equipment I Used:

Interval Cycles: 10 Sets
45 seconds of work (High)
1:15 seconds of rest (Low) – ONLY USE 15 SECONDS FOR REST & 1 MIN FOR JUMP ROPE


You’ll do each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 10-15 seconds of rest before moving immediately onto jumping rope (or any cardio activity of your choice – you can hop on the elliptical, do jumping jacks, run on a treadmill, run outside, bike, spin – you get the idea)! When the high interval sound goes off go straight into the next strength exercise! Personally when I did this I just hopped onto an elliptical between each strength move (I thought the gym at my apartment had a jump rope – but I couldn’t find it – and I had left mine in my car). So, I would glance down at my phone as the interval timer counted down and check that I knew which exercise I was going to be doing so I could get right into it!

Also when I did this circuit I actually did it 2 times though for a 40 min workout! The time seriously flew by! If you’re up for the challenge try setting your interval time for 20 Sets for the Interval Cycles. Once you’ve completed the whole circuit, pause the timer, grab some water, and maybe take a breather for 30-60 seconds. Then repeat it again!

I set my interval timer for 20 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 1:10 seconds of rest, and selected different sounds for the high interval vs the low interval so I would know which one was signaling me to start and stop. I used the “Boxing Bell” to signal the High intensity round and the “School Bell” to signal the Low intensity round.

Each round is 20 minutes in length. And like I said if you have the time and you’re up for a challenge repeat the circuit one more time though!! As always, make sure you give yourself atleast 5 – 10 mins to warm up before you start!

Also here are the weights I actually used when I did this circuit:
alternating reverse lunges:  single 15 lb DB
side lunge + row to single leg overhead press: pair of 10 lb DB’s
kneeling woodchoppers: single 15 lb DB
front hold reverse lunge to single leg balance: single 20 lb DB

What’s the best weight to use? You should be able to go through the 12-15 reps with proper form, but the last three reps should feel super challenging. Try different weights to see which works best for you… and watch yourself get stronger!

20-min lower body & core workout_livengproof

Alternating reverse lunges with torso twist
TARGETS: thighs, core , glutes, and arms

Start by getting yourself in an organized athletic standing position: shoulder blades squeezed back, glutes squeezed, torso tall, belly down and in. Holding any weight of your choice (medicine ball, single DB, pair of DB’s, Kettlebell, or just use your own body weight) in a hammer-curl position with forearms roughly parallel to the ground and thumbs up. Step your right leg behind you, making sure you step back far enough, while keeping your left knee in-line with your left ankle. Your weight should be over your front leg (you’ll you’re your left quad a lot here!). Then twist your torso left, while maintaining your posture (shoulder blades should stay retracted). Finally twist back to the front. Using your left quad and glute to push through, step your right foot back to your starting standing position. Repeat on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides each time!

Alternating spider lunges
TARGETS: core, shoulders, and hip flexors

 Begin in a plank position: palms on the ground (thinking about screwing your palms into the ground to create torque), shoulder blades retracted, glutes squeezed. A plank is ultimately the same posture you should have when you are standing except you are horizontal instead of vertical – thinking about it this way has helped me! So your spine should be in a fairly straight line. From here bring your right foot up just outside of your right palm. If your hip flexors are tight you will definitively feel this! Contract your left glute for an even deeper hip flexor stretch in the right hip. Return your right foot back to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the opposite side. Continue alternating sides each time.

Side lunge + row to single leg overhead press
TARGETS: upper back, shoulders, and glutes

Start by getting yourself in an organized athletic standing position: shoulder blades squeezed back, glutes squeezed, torso tall, belly down and in. Holding your dumbbells by your side’s palms facing your body. Stop your right foot out to the side keeping your knee in line with your ankle. Sink into that right glute – thinking about shooting at towards the right side of the room. Keep your spine in a neutral position so that your low back is not over arched. Extend your arms down lowering your shoulders toward the ground. Initiating the row as your shoulders squeeze back I’m squeeze your traps (shoulder blades), as you draw the weights dumbbells and towards your rib cage – elbows moving straight back!

Pushing off with your right leg to return to standing position transition into a single (left) leg balance by squeezing your left glute to maintain stability. Hammer curl your way it’s up and into an overhead press keeping your palms facing each other throughout the movement. Perform all reps with the same leg for the duration of the interval. Then repeat the movement on the opposite side for the next one!

Kneeling woodchopper
TARGETS: shoulders, upper back, arms, and glutes

Again in a kneeling position with your right leg in front keeping your knee in line with your ankle. Your shoulder blades should be squeezed back, left glutes is contracted, torso tall, belly down and in, and chin stays in a neutral position throught the movement. Holding your weights with both hands down by your left hip lift them up and across your body up over your right shoulder – in an upward chopping motion. Think as if you were digging and shoveling the dirt over your right shoulder! Return the weight to starting position next to your left hip. Your torso will twist slightly but it shouldn’t be excessive. Be sure to maintain your posture (avoid overarching your low back by contracting your left glute throughout the movement). Perform all reps with the same leg in front for the duration of the interval. Then repeat the movement on the opposite side for the next one!

Front hold reverse lunge to single leg balance
TARGETS: quads, glutes, upper back, shoulders, and core

Start by getting yourself in an organized athletic standing position: shoulder blades squeezed back, glutes squeezed, torso tall, belly down and in. Holding your dumbbells in a front hold – this requires that your shoulder blades stay actively retracted throughout the movement (which is a bonus for you core and upper back muscles)! Step your right leg behind you, making sure you step back far enough, while keeping your left knee in-line with your left ankle. Your weight should be over your front leg (you’ll you’re your left quad a lot here!). Transition into a right-leg balance standing position by pushing off slightly with your back (right) foot, keeping your weight on your left leg, squeezing your left glute to create a stable position, as you draw your right knee upwards to balance. The front hold should be maintained throughout the movement. Perform all reps with the same leg in front for the duration of the interval. Then repeat the movement on the opposite side for the next one!

Side plank with a front kick & reach
TARGETS: obliques, shoulders, and core

Begin in a side plank position: right forearm on the ground. Shoulder blades retracted, shoulders down and back, glutes squeezed, belly down and in. You can have your feet stacked (as shown in the pic) or they can be staggered. Extend your left arm overhead so that it is in line with your body. Kick your top (left) leg out in front of you while drawing your extended left arm out reaching for your toes. Try and keep your hips up thoughout the movement!



Up & Autumn Kettle Bell Workout

I was inspired to create this particular workout after a serious lifting session with my friend Joe. Our workout that day included some pretty intense KB work and made me realize I’d really been overlooking this regular ‘ol piece of workout equipment. Sure, I’ve swung my fair share of kettlebells but I hadn’t really considered their uses much further than that. My new found appreciation of kettle bells was like discovering an unassuming restaurant that you pass by everyday but never give a second thought…until one day a friend takes you there, the food is amazing, and you’re like “how have I not been here before?!”


These cannon-ball-with-a-handle-cast-iron-weights really shine when performing power movements such as: snatches, swings, cleans, and jerks (which apparently is what they were designed for in the first place, go figure). But that’s enough of my blabbin’ you’re here for a workout – so give it a run! If you’re not breaking a sweat by the end of the first set then I’m gonna go ahead and say you need to pick up some heavier KB’s…just sayin 😉 It’s always easier to drop weight during a workout, than it is to increase your load part way through…AmIRight?

And if you don’t have access to kettle bells, dumbbells can be used as a stand in! One last thing, don’t laugh at my attempt at a pistol squat (especially with an 18 lb KB)..I’m working at being able to do one someday, but not going to pretend that I can do one just yet…I had to try for you guys 😉 If you’re in the same boat and have access to TRX cables (or resistance band), I like this pistol squat variation.

Photocredit to my friend and amazing photographer Jen! Check her out here!

Up and Autumn Kettlebell workout


Double Kettlebell Swing:
☑ place the kettlebell on the ground in front of you with the handles perpendicular your body
☑ your feet a little wider the hip distance apart. Pick the kettle bells up, screw your feet into the ground (imagine your feet are on big dinner plates and you’re turning them into the ground)
☑ Your feet should remain parallel but by doing this you create torque in your hips, knees, and glutes which gives you greater stability, thus an increased ability to generate power!
☑ Next I want you to think about squeezing your butt (yes you’re still just standing there holding the kettle bells and we haven’t started the movement yet) You are just getting organized to be able to execute!
☑ Hinging from your hip (without arching your low back) sit back and snap your hips forward – this should be a dramatic, fast, pulse-like movement and is driven mostly by just how tightly you can squeeze those cheeks. This hip snap will create momentum that drives the kettle bells up. As they descend back down sit back and repeat!


Turkish Getup:
☑ Laying on your back, position the kettlebell next to your right shoulder. You want your right foot posted up (think: the side you’re lifting the weight with is the same side your knee is bent). Now, reach across your body with your left hand and grip the handle with both your right and left hands. Glutes should be squeezed and belly should feel tight. Using your left hand, pull the kettlbell toward the center of your body and extend the weight up – keeping your elbow in close to your body and thumb facing toward your head as you press up. Ideally you should lock your elbow out and let your shoulder drop to the back of the socket. Keep your eyes locked on that kettlebell throughout the entire movement!
☑ Drive off the ground with your right leg, think about twisting your body up as you come up onto your left elbow. Ideally you want your elbow directly in line with your shoulder (yeah yeah, I know mine is slightly off). One more thing to think about – as if there isn’t enough already going on – you want to keep your shoulder blades pulled back and your trunk braced!
☑ Sit up and plant your left palm on the ground (again left palm should be aligned with left shoulder) As you transition to bring your hips up – think about getting your armpit forward. Squeezing your glutes and driving your right foot into the ground, lift your hips up!
☑ Left arm and right leg support you as you “needle” or pull your left leg underneath the kettlebell (your center of mass)
☑ Shifting your weight toward the right so that your torso is now vertical – I should have also kept eye contact locked onto that kettlebell – dive your right knee out , pushing off your right left , and stand tall.

Single Arm Kettlebell Snatch
☑Place a kettlebell between your feet. Bend your knees and push your butt back to get in the proper starting position.
☑Immediately reverse the direction and drive through with your hips and knees, accelerating the kettlebell upward. As the kettlebell rises to your shoulder rotate your hand and punch straight up, using momentum to receive the weight locked out overhead.


Single arm Overhead Press:
Start with your feet screwed into the ground, knees are soft, glutes squeezed , belly should feel tight (this is a stable athletic position) With the kettlebell in your right hand, keep your elbow in and your palm facing your head. Press the weight up overhead. Lower the weight back down and repeat.


Double Kettlebell Front Squats:
Screw your feet into the ground, glutes squeezed, belly tight. Load your hips and hamstrings sitting back. As you do this be sure to keep a flat back, shoulders retracted, vertical shins, and drive your knees out. Squat back and extend your hips back up to starting postion. Repeat.

Pistol Squats:
Again foot screwed into the ground, glutes squeezed to start, belly in tight. Load hip and hammies sitting back driving all your weight into your left foot. Work on building up glute strength to master this move!


Can any of you do a pistol squat?? Let me know!


30 Minute Total Body ♡ Interval Circuit

I kind of just made this up one morning before I went to the gym, but I have to say it’s a definite keeper. For this particular interval workout, I wish I’d had a yoga block, but I guess I can add that to my exercise equipment wish list. For those of you who aren’t serious yogi’s with yoga blocks just laying around, you can use a book or a light weight dumbbell (like me) to squeeze, while you do your wall ball squats! Also for the chest presses with the resistance band, remember to alternate which foot is forward for each round – think odd rounds are right, even rounds are left.

I used this circuit with a client and I think she described it best when she said that “each move feels like a break from the last”… basically you’ll forget that your legs are tired while you burn out your chest and back and so on. I know, your all “yeah right Engrid, that’s really convincing me to want to do your workout”… and I say you’ll thank me later ; )

And before I describe the workout, can we have a moment for how many times I seem to make this awesome bug-eye face when I am trying to just look normal. I wonder if I do this even without a camera pointing at me?? Moving on.

30 min Total Body Interval Circuit_wall sit with adduction

30-Minute Total Body Interval Circuit Workout:

Equipment I Used:
Interval Timer App (free)
Light-Weight Dumbbell (or yoga block)
Physio Stability Ball
Resistance Band

For each of the following exercises, you’ll set your Interval Timer App for:


5 Sets  interval cycles (number of moves)
35 seconds of work (High)
15 seconds of rest (Low)
set the repeat option to “ON” for 8 cycles.

Also, make sure you set the warm-up and cool-down to 0:00 otherwise it will repeat these each time you go to do your next round!

Each round is 3 min 45 sec round. You can pause your Interval Timer and take a quick drink of water and then quickly get going onto the next round.


Wall Ball Squats with Adduction: Hold a Physio/Stability ball behind you and stand so that the ball is pinned between your back and the wall. Place your feet about 2 feet in front of your body, so that when you squat your knees do not extend past your toes. Keeping your back in contact with the ball, lower your body (aka squat down) while squeezing your thighs together to hold your yoga block in place. You should aim to lower yourself until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor.

Rows with Resistance Band: Attach two handle grips and secure the band at or just below mid-chest height and grab a handle in each hand. You can use a stair banister or door handle. Stand facing where you’ve secured your band, feet hip-distance apart, then sit your hips back and allow your knees to be soft (slightly bent). Bend your elbows to row the handles to the sides of your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull back. Also be careful not to let your head protrude forward while you perform this move to avoid strain on your upper back and neck muscles.

Chest Press with Resistance Band: Same deal with the placement and securing of your resistance band, except this time stand facing away from where you’ve secured your band. Holding a handle in each hand in front of shoulders. Elbows bent and parallel with the floor, palms facing the floor. Step forward with one foot so that you’re in a lunge position. Maintain a slight bend in the knee of your front leg (remember to alternate which leg is forward each round – think odd rounds are right, even rounds are left). “Punch” both arms straight out in front of your chest, keeping your arms parallel to the floot. Bend elbows to return to starting position. That is one rep. 

Alternating Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings: With one hand, with an overhand grip hold a kettlebell (or dumbbell) in front of you . Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it forms about a 45-degree angle to the floor. Swing the kettlebell between your legs. Keeping the arm holding the kettlebell straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the kettlebell up overhead as you rise to standing position. As you squat back down exchange the kettlebell to your other hand on the down-swing. This can take some coordination but I promise it’s a lot easier performed than it is written out. This movement should be fluid and is driven by the hinging of your hips. You should be squeezing your glutes together as you thrust your hips forwards. This is what creates the momentum of the swing. Swing the weight back and forth with fluid force.

Inchworms: Stand tall with your legs straight and bend over and touch the floor. Keeping your legs straight, walk your hands forward as far as you can without letting your hips sag. Then take tiny steps to walk your feet back to your hands. That’s one rep.

Discovered any new moves recently that you love? Lay it on me!