Alright, alright, alright… we’ve heard this EVERY year that warmer weather is on its way and it’s time to get bikini ready. I wish I could tell you guys that I really don’t care about that, but for the last 2ish months I’ve been on a mission to get DEFINED abs. Clearly, if you’ve seen any of my snaps featuring Doritos and sour gummy worms it’s been a little hit or miss… I haven’t been deterred and I do for the most part eat fairly healthy and workout frequently so I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing at the gym to burn off the Doritos!
Disclaimer *obviously not a fitness expert this is a compilation of things learned from fitness YouTubers, pilates classes or friends who are personal trainers.
To be honest, I don’t love cardio but I don’t hate it either. I try to do 15-20 minutes of cardio before EVERY weightlifting day and I mean I push the cardio… I’ve watched a lot of YouTubers say that they do lots of low-intensity cardio but for me, I like to burn those calories, get a really good sweat and push my lungs/heart. Really I do this because a) I’m burning off Doritos and b) my allergist told me that I have a high lung capacity and if I want to stop getting bronchitis I have to actually push that lung capacity… weird and not sexy I know but it’s the truth.
I break my workouts into Leg Day, Arm and Back Day, and Cardio. On top of EVERY workout, I do minimum 10 minutes of abs. But that’s for later.
The cardio that I do on leg day is usually 15 minutes on the Stairmaster, even that for me is A LOT because I’m always dead by the time I finish the compound movements and struggle through the isolation stuff. I’ve stuck with 15 minutes however because the payoff in how my body looks after the workout is SO worth it. Seriously guys, if you can manage a slightly intense warmup 15 minutes of the Stairmaster at level 4/5 is pretty decent.
For arm and back day I’m much less fussy. I’ll do whatever I feel like really, mostly 20-25 minutes of jogging or Stairmaster at level 3ish. Nothing too intense but enough to get me warmed up and burning some calories.
Cardio day. I do indeed have a day dedicated to cardio and abs… why? Because it’s what works for me. On a cardio day I will run 5km no matter how long it takes. It’s always 5km, I did spend a couple months working on my ability to run that distance so don’t worry if at first, you run 1km then walk 1 km etc. Why the distance matters? It doesn’t it’s just the distance required for me to burn a specific amount of calories lol. The key to this day is to try and do it fasted. Fasted cardio is such a great way to tap into your bodies extra fat stores and it’s what is going to help you get that extra definition a little bit faster.
I train legs two to three times a week depending on the frequency of my gym visits and my soreness level. In terms of the “booty goals,” they aren’t anything extreme and I don’t suddenly expect to look like a Kardashian. I want to tone my legs and build strong glutes, this is probably going to result in a couple inches gained in that area but I’m not focused on growing my butt at this time.
I break leg day down into 5 sections…
- Warmup – 15 minutes on Stairmaster
- Glute Activation Exercises – Banded Side Squatwalks (25 per side x 2 sets), Banded Kick Backs (10 per side x 2 sets), Banded Diagonal Kick Backs (15 per side x 2 sets), Banded Abductors (25 reps x 2 sets) etc.
- Compound Movements – Aim for at least 2-3 sets each of 3 different compound movements – ALL THE SQUATS (if you want to grow your booty sumo squats, pause squats and pulsed squats are amazing), ALL THE LUNGES (Curtsey are my fav for outer oblique and glute targeting), and DEADS again do all the variations you want. My favourite things to do are Squat Walks with a Sumo Squat (2 reps of Four Steps then 4 sumo squats x 3 sets), Weighted Curtsey Lunge + Sumo Squat Superset (15 reps x 3 sets), Banded Sumo Squat Alternating with Wide Stance Straight Leg Dead Lift (15 reps x 3 sets). The key to the compound movements is to lift as heavy as possible and do fewer reps. I’m not super strong or confident in my lifting yet so I try to keep my weights heavy enough that I’m not doing 20 or 30 reps but not so heavy that I feel like I’m about to fall over. When mans comes home from school I’ll start lifting heavier with him because he knows what he’s doing.
- Glute Isolation – 5-6 sets each of at least 3 isolations – I do the majority of these exercises with either ankle weights or bands! I recommend trying these without the weights and bands first and add them as you get comfortable with the form! The main one I have to do at the gym is the abductor machine! Seriously go as heavy as possible on this! I try to do 4 sets of 15 reps at 100 pounds which seems a lot but once you do these a couple times you get really used to it and NOTHING works your upper (?) butt the same way. I find that this is what has made the difference in the shape of my butt. Because these next exercises don’t require dumbells, barbells or really any machine you can do that at home which is what I do on days I couldn’t be bothered to drive to the gym or am super super busy but need to hit a leg day! Hip Thrusts and Variations ((Shoulders elevated, one leg, banded with abducter, banded one leg with extension etc.) 25 reps x 5 sets if unweight 15 x 5 sets if weighted), banded leaning lunges (I love to make these harder with a kickback), Leg Extensions ((done on hands and knees) (Straight Leg Lifts, Straight Leg Rainbows, Fire Hydrants, Donkey kicks, pulsed leg lifts, pulsed fire hydrants and pulsed donkey kicks). (25 reps per leg x 5 sets).
- Burnout – I usually am pretty dead by this point but if I find myself still able to move I do a series simple movements that target glutes for a serious burnout of the muscles. They are all done lying on your side raising and lowering your upper leg in a variety of different positions. I aim for 50 reps with 2 sets of each exercise. Chair position (pretty much lie on the floor like you are seated in a chair with your thigs at a 90-degree angle from your stomach and your calves 90 degrees from your thighs), Straight legged (your legs perpendicular from your stomach), Clam (place your legs into chair position, keeping both legs pinned together lift your feet off the floor hinging from the knees. Raise your top leg keeping your feet together), Rainbow (legs in the straight legged position, raise your top leg and tap your toes first in front of your other leg and then rotating to tap your heel to the floor behind your other leg).
Arm and Back Day:
I train arms and back once or twice a week, it’s not really my priority but I do try to get to it once a week to keep everything balanced. In comparison to my leg day workout, my Arm and Back days are really simple.
It’s broken down into 2 sections:
- Warmup – 20-25 minutes of cardio either Stairmaster or Treadmill
- Arms and Back – Pull Ups (Pretty much as many as I can handle… I just started doing these so I’m really trying to work on form), This Rope Thing at my gym seriously no idea what it’s called sorry guys (10 minutes), Lat Pull Downs (10 reps x 2 sets), Dips (15 reps x 2 sets), Push Ups (25 reps x 2 sets), and Leg Extensions + Variations (done lying on your stomach and raising your legs while keeping the rest of your body on the floor).
Cardio day is a pretty chill day in terms of equipment but leaves me just as dead as leg day.
Like arm and back day this is also broken down into two sections.
- Cardio – A 5 km run
- Abs Exercises
- Weighted Abs – Medicine Ball Russian Twists (50 reps x 2 sets), Medicine Ball Sit Up + Variations (25 Reps x 3 sets), Medicine Ball Pull Throughs (15 Reps x 3 Sets) and Weighted Plan (1-minute x 2 sets)
- 10 Minute Abs – refer to my everyday ab routine.
Everyday Ab Routine
I do abs pretty much every day, even when I’m not going to the gym I try to get this in.
I pretty much stick to two different ab routines: Alexis Rens or Kendall Jenners. They both take around 10ish minutes and will leave you so sore the next day.
Alexis’s Ab Workout: More Situp Variations Than You Thought Possible
Sometimes if I’m really needing to switch up the routine I do one of these routines from Allegra Shaw:
Now you would think that by now I’d have abs and what not but they are seriously the hardest thing to build… especially when you aren’t on a strict strict cut. The biggest tip I can give someone looking to have defined abs is to keep at it and remember that abs are made in the kitchen as well as the gym.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post! Again I’m not a fitness expert so make sure to do your own research and listen to what works best for your body.