The 15-Minute Anytime, Anywhere Workout

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You don’t need a pricey new fitness class to shake up your routine. Work out any time, in any place, with this total-body plan—which uses nothing but a household hand towel—created by Melissa Paris, a New York City–based personal trainer. “The key to seeing continued results and avoiding plateaus is to keep challenging your body in different ways, whether that’s with new moves, a new environment, or new equipment,” says Paris. “Incorporating a towel into your routine is a no-cost and efficient way to take your workout to the next level.”

That’s because with every exercise, the towel provides either friction (as in the lateral lunge) or tension (as in the seated oblique twist) to help engage muscles that would otherwise be missing the action.

So rather than using the towel to dry off, use it to break a sweat. Complete the exercises as instructed, moving from one to the next with little or no rest in between. Stop for 30 to 60 seconds at the end (if needed), then repeat up to two more times.

Innovate your workouts with Shape-Up Shortcutsand get a smoking-hot body in shorter workouts!

MOVE 1Leg Curl
Leg Curl
Beth Bischoff

Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent and both heels on a towel; lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders (a). Slide your heels away from you as far as you can without dropping your hips (b). Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep. Do 15.

MOVE 2Seated Oblique Twist
Seated Oblique Twist
Beth Bischoff

Sit on the floor and hold the towel taut between your hands, arms straight and extended at shoulder height; lean back and raise your feet about a foot off the floor, keeping your core tight and knees bent (a). Pull the right end of the towel toward the floor, rotating your shoulders and torso (b). Pause, then rotate back to center and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Do 20.

MOVE 3Lateral Lunge
Lateral Lunge
Beth Bischoff

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, and your right foot on a towel (a). Bend your left knee and push your hips back as you slide your right foot out to the side as far as you can (b). Pause, then pull that foot back to start. That’s one rep. Do 15, then switch sides and repeat.

MOVE 4Superman Press
Superman Press
Beth Bischoff

Lie facedown on the floor, chest lifted, and hold a towel taut between your hands in front of your shoulders, elbows bent (a). Press the towel away from you until your arms are straight (b). Return to start. That’s one rep. Do 20.

PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 14, 2013   |   BY CAITLIN CARLSON

Women’s Health Magazine

Action Hero Hot-Body Yoga

Build a slim, trim body like screen siren Kate Beckinsale with these muscle-sculpting mat moves. 

Strange as it sounds, Kate Beckinsale prepares for the physically demanding job of playing futuristic fighters and werewolf hunters with a yoga-based routine.

She also practices qigong, a discipline involving controlled breathing and fluid movements that’s similar to tai chi. In addition to making her physically strong, yoga and qigong help Kate relax.

Want an action-star body like Kate’s? Her instructor, Mandy Ingber, let us in on her body-sculpting moves. Do two or three sets of each four or five days a week.

MOVE 1Down-Dog Split with Knee Drives

Begin in downward facing dog, then raise your left leg to move into down-dog split (a). Bend your left knee and pull it toward your forehead (b). Straighten the leg back, then bring the knee outside your left elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your right elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat.

MOVE 2Lunge Switchback

Begin in a lunge with your left foot in front of your right, left knee at a 90-degree angle, and hands on the floor on each side of your left foot (a). Keeping your hands on the floor, shift your weight onto your hands, and in one swift motion, switch the positions of your legs (b). Spring from the right to the left and back again 10 times.

MOVE 3

Crow Pose

Begin in a low squat with your feet together, knees apart. Place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, elbows slightly bent; rest knees on the outsides of your triceps (a). Gaze at the floor a foot in front of you, and shift your weight onto your hands. Lift one foot off the floor (b), then the other. Hold for five breaths. Repeat three times.

MOVE 4Temple Pose to Plie Squat

Begin with your feet about three feet apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees, and hands in prayer position (a). Keeping your back straight, sit your hips down and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (b). Hold for eight breaths; squeeze your butt and straighten back up. Repeat eight times.

LAST UPDATED: AUGUST 1, 2013

Women’s Health Magazine

4 Yoga Moves for a Better Butt

There are some seriously cute yoga pants out there that can take you from mat to cocktails, but here’s the catch: They’re all pretty tight. The good news is that you don’t need to hit up Google for the best butt workout ever to keep your buns looking great. Instead, use these four moves, all earmarked fromThe Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga. You can do the poses on their own or as a sequence. If you have extra time, throw in a few Sun Salutations to warm up and do some hip stretches afterward to keep muscles loose.

Chair pose
Begin standing with your feet together. Bend your knees and drop your hips, brining your weight into your heels. Drop your tailbone, firm your front ribs in and lift your arms up shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders relaxed in their sockets, and rotate the outer edges of your arms inward to broaden your upper back. Gaze upwards. Hold for eight breaths.

 

Warrior III
Standing on one straight leg, lean forward with your chest until it is in line with your lifted back leg and parallel to the ground. Extend your upper chest and gaze forward as you flex your back foot, keeping your leg straight and all of your toes pointing down. Stay here or extend your arms straight out in front of you and keep them shoulder-width apart or join your palms together. Hold for eight breaths.

 

Revolved half moon
Start in a standing forward fold. Place your fingertips on the floor and sweep your right leg up to a 90-degree angle behind you (or enter from Warrior III, placing your fingertips onto the ground). Keep your hips square and move your base fingertips under your shoulder (the hand opposites your standing leg should be down). Revolve your chest toward your standing leg and firm your base shoulder blade to open your chest. Reach your top arm up until it points straight to the ceiling. Stack your shoulders while keeping your hips square. Hold for eight breaths.

 

Side leg lift
Come into a standing forward fold. Hook one of your big toes and keep your other hand on fingertips on the ground. Stack your shoulder over your fingertips and lift your big toe and leg up to the side so that it’s parallel to the ground (or close to it). Firm your standing hip to keep it straight as the other leg goes higher. Hold for eight breaths.

Published on May 7th, 2013
Thumbnail photo: Purestock/Thinkstock

Action Hero Hot-Body Yoga

Build a slim, trim body like screen siren Kate Beckinsale with these muscle-sculpting mat moves

Strange as it sounds, Kate Beckinsale prepares for the physically demanding job of playing futuristic fighters and werewolf hunters with a yoga-based routine.

She also practices qigong, a discipline involving controlled breathing and fluid movements that’s similar to tai chi. In addition to making her physically strong, yoga and qigong help Kate relax.

Want an action-star body like Kate’s? Her instructor, Mandy Ingber, let us in on her body-sculpting moves. Do two or three sets of each four or five days a week.

MOVE 1 Down-Dog Split with Knee Drives
Begin in downward facing dog, then raise your left leg to move into down-dog split (a). Bend your left knee and pull it toward your forehead (b). Straighten the leg back, then bring the knee outside your left elbow. Straighten the leg again, then bring the knee toward your right elbow. Repeat three times. Switch legs and repeat.

MOVE 2- Lunge Switchback
Begin in a lunge with your left foot in front of your right, left knee at a 90-degree angle, and hands on the floor on each side of your left foot (a). Keeping your hands on the floor, shift your weight onto your hands, and in one swift motion, switch the positions of your legs (b). Spring from the right to the left and back again 10 times.

MOVE 3- Crow Pose
Begin in a low squat with your feet together, knees apart. Place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart, elbows slightly bent; rest knees on the outsides of your triceps (a). Gaze at the floor a foot in front of you, and shift your weight onto your hands. Lift one foot off the floor (b), then the other. Hold for five breaths. Repeat three times.

MOVE 4- Temple Pose to Plie Squat
Begin with your feet about three feet apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees, and hands in prayer position (a). Keeping your back straight, sit your hips down and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (b). Hold for eight breaths; squeeze your butt and straighten back up. Repeat eight times.

Last Updated: January 29, 2013
Women’s Health Magazine Online

LOOK HOT FROM BEHIND

Do these five serious shapers for your best butt ever.
ON YOUR MARKTargets shoulders, arms, abs and butt

  • Start on all fours, hands under shoulders and back flat
  • Step left foot forward on floor by left hand, left knee bent 90 degrees
  • Extend your left leg behind you, raising it as high as you can, pointing toes
  • Quickly return left foot to floor by left hand
  • Do 15 to 30 reps, switch sides and repeat
  • Do 2 Sets

SADDLEBAG TRIMMER – Targets abs, butt, inner and outer thighs

  • Start on all fours, then lower right hip to floor so that hips, knees and ankles are staked
    • Bring left knee into chest as you bend elbows to lower chest toward floor
    • Straighten left arm as you extend left leg behind you
  • Do 15-30 reps, switch sides and repeat. 
  • Do 2 sets

LUNGE LEG LIFT –Targets abs, butt, hamstrings and quads

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, then lunge back with left leg, raising arms in front of you shoulder height
  • Stand up on right leg, knee slightly bent, and lift left knee to hip height in front of you
  • Extend left leg behind you as you hinge forward at hips and bring hands to hips
  • Return to knee-lift position with arms at shoulder height, then step back to lunge position to complete one rep
  • Do 15-30 reps, switch sides and repeat.
  • Do 2 sets

WALL KICKTargets abs, butt and inner thighs

  • Stand facing a wall, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and place hands on wall at shoulder height.  Make it harder by maintaining this position without the wall
  • Hinge forward at hips and raise left leg behind you to hip level, bending knee so that heel nears butt
  • Bring knee into chest then extend leg directly behind you.  Return knee to chest and repeat
  • Do 15-30 reps, switch sides and repeat
  • Do 2 sets

TABLETOP ON TOESTargets shoulders, arms, abs, butt, quads and calves

  • Sit on floor with knees bent, feet flat.  Lean torso back slightly and place palms on floor under shoulder
    • Lift hips off floor so that body forms a tabletop position with torso parallel to floor, raise heels off the floor.  Make it easier by keeping feel flat
    • Reach right arm toward ceiling
  • Return right hand to floor, switch arms and repeat
  • Do 2 sets of 15-30 reps, alternating sides

FITNESS MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2011