One great way to get in peak condition is through periodization. Often used by athletes training for a competition, periodization involves manipulating the progression of workouts over specific increments of time. This prevents overtraining and overuse injuries that commonly occur with intense, regular workouts.
This program consists of three two-week cycles. The first two weeks will provide you with a training base. The second phase is designed to accelerate your metabolism by increasing the volume and intensity of the workouts. The third part is a metabolic phase that peaks power output and stimulates your fat-burning hormones to their max. The topper? These exercises may be done at home (or outdoors if the weather allows), and they require only your bodyweight to perform. No equipment necessary!
Toning Time (Week 1 and Week 2)
You’ll establish a strength-and-conditioning base with the main exercises in the first two weeks. Perform a thorough warm-up and then do two sets of the exercises at 15 reps each in Week 1 and three sets of 15 reps in Week 2. Do all the sets for each exercise before going on to the next one, allowing one to two minutes’ rest between each move.
Do the three-day routines twice per week and rest on the seventh day. If you are experiencing undue fatigue, take an extra day off between one training day and the next, between the two weeks in this phase or before the next phase. Always listen to your body.
|Days 1 & 4|Days 2 & 5|Days 3 & 6| |-|-|-| |Squat|Step-Up|Split Jump| |Lunge|Two-Leg Bridge|Squat Jump| |Push-Up (Regular)|Lateral Push-Up|Explosive Speed Push-Up| |T-Roll Push-Up|Diamond Push-Up|Pump Push-Up| |Leg Raise|Crunch|V-Up| |Crunch|Reverse Crunch|Bicycle Crunch|
Toning Nutrition Tips
• Drink ½ gallon of water daily.
• Eat five or six meals a day — and don’t skip any, even if that means using a protein shake or two per day.
• Don’t eat past 9 p.m. or within a couple of hours of going to bed if you’re on a second- or third-shift schedule.
Firming Drills (Week 3 and Week 4)
In these two weeks, you’ll begin to accelerate your metabolism via supersets. In Week 3, perform two exercises, one immediately after the other, for two sets of 15 reps per dual set, resting 30 to 60 seconds between each set. In Week 4, follow the same format but increase reps to 20 and sets to three.
Do the three-day routines twice and rest on the seventh day. Take an extra day off between one training day and the next, between the two weeks in this phase or before the next phase if you are feeling fatigued.
|Days 1 & 4|Days 2 & 5|Days 3 & 6| |-|-|-| |Squat superset with Lunge|Step-Up superset with Two-Leg Bridge|Split Jump superset with Squat Jump| |Push-Up (Regular) superset with T-Roll Push-Up|Lateral Push-Up superset with Diamond Push-Up|Explosive Speed Push-Up superset with Pump Push-Up| |Leg Raise superset with Crunch|Crunch superset with Reverse Crunch|V-Up superset with Bicycle Crunch|
Firming Nutrition Tips
• Drink ¾ gallon of water per day.
• Avoid all canned, deli and prepackaged food.
• Continue eating five or six meals daily (two may be protein shakes).
Fat-Burning Spree (Week 5 and Week 6)
The final workouts focus on fat burning and muscle definition. In Week 5, perform the exercises one after the other once through (one set) for 12 to 15 reps each; rest one minute after completing the reps for each exercise. In the final week, do two sets, also 12 to 15 reps per set, of each exercise without resting.
Do the three-day routines twice and rest on the seventh day. Of course, if you are experiencing excessive fatigue, take an extra day off between the two weeks or between one training day and the next.
|Days 1 & 4|Days 2 & 5|Days 3 & 6| |-|-|-| | Legs: Squat Lunge, Step Up, Two-Legged Bridge, Split Jump, Squat Jump| Upper Body: Push-Up (Regular), T-Roll Push-Up, Lateral Push-Up, Diamond Push-Up, Explsive Speed Push-Up, Pump Push-Up| Abs: Leg Raise, Crunch, Reverse Crunch, V-Up, Bicycle Crunch| |Squat superset with Lunge|Step-Up superset with Lunge|Split Jump superset with Squat Jump|
Fat-Burning Nutrition Tips:
• Try to drink almost a gallon of water per day.
• Make berries your go-to fruit for their blood-sugar-stabilizing effect.
• Focus on fibrous veggies and lean meats at dinner, for example two vegetables and a lean turkey burger.
Setup: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance.
Action: Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Lower yourself until your thighs are as parallel to the ground as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. Keep your body tight and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
Setup: Stand with your feet together and hands on your hips by your sides (not shown).
Action: Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend both legs until your knees form 90-degree angles, with your back leg a couple of inches off the ground. Push through your right front foot to return to the start, being careful not to arch your lower back. Alternate legs for desired number of reps.
Setup: Lie on the ground facedown and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Rise up onto your toes and hands, keeping your body in a straight line from head to toe. Keep a tight core throughout the entire push-up.
Action: Lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and then push back to the starting position.
Setup: Start in a plank position.
Action: Lower yourself to the ground like in a regular push-up and push back up, and as you raise your body, roll your feet so that your body is resting on the outside of your ankles while you simultaneously raise one hand to the sky, creating a straight line from one hand to the other. Make sure to move your hips and shoulders simultaneously. Alternate sides with each rep.
Setup: Lie faceup on the ground or mat. Keep your lower back in contact with the ground, feet and legs straight and together. Place your hands to your sides or under your lower back for support.
Action: Keeping your legs straight and together, back flat, lift your legs upward until they are straight above your hips. Lower down to the start position slowly and with control (but do not allow your feet to touch the ground between reps) to complete one rep. Keep your bellybutton pulled in and back flat on the ground throughout.
Setup: Lie on the ground/mat on your back. Loosely interlace your fingers behind your head and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the ground.
Action: Curl up as far as you can without pulling on your neck, then return to the starting position.
Setup: Stand in front of a step.
Action: Step up with your right leg. Bring your left foot up. Step down with the right leg, then left. Repeat with the right leg first for the recommended amount of repetitions, then perform with the left leg first.
Setup: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the ground and arms down to your sides.
Action: Raise your hips by digging your heels into the ground and pushing up until your shoulders, hips and knees form a straight line. Squeeze your glutes as you pause at the top and slowly lower back down; do not rest between reps.
Setup: Get into a push-up position with your hands wider than shoulder width, fingers spread out and elbows pointed back.
Action: Shift your weight and lower yourself toward one side (laterally) as you bring your hips and chest toward the ground, keeping one arm straight as the other goes into a push-up position. Alternate from one side to the other to complete one rep.
Setup: Start in a plank position.
Action: Perform regular push-ups but with your hands close together in a triangle formation, thumbs and forefingers together, which targets triceps.
Setup: Lie flat on your back with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees, arms by your sides.
Action: Move your knees toward your torso as you raise your hips off the ground. Hold the contraction for a moment and release your legs back to the starting position.
Setup: Stand in a staggered stance with your right foot in front of your left, 2 feet apart.
Action: Keep your torso upright, bend your legs and lower your body into a lunge. Now jump with enough force to propel both feet off the ground. While you’re in the air, scissor-kick your legs so you land with your left leg forward. Repeat, alternating your forward leg for the duration of the set.
Setup: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
Action: Squat down until your knees are bent about 90 degrees. Jump upward as high as you can. As you land, be sure to bend your knees and sink back down into the squat position and immediately explode up into your next rep.
Explosive Speed Push-Up
Setup: Start in a plank position.
Action: Perform a standard push-up, but use enough force to push yourself up to jump your hands off the ground; once you get stronger, try to add a quick clap while your hands are in the air. Tip: If these are too difficult, start from your knees.
Setup: Start in a plank position.
Action: Do these “mini-push-ups” by performing regular push-ups, but bend your elbows less than the normal range of motion of a regular push-up (about 10 to 15 degrees only).
Setup: Lie on your back with your arms and legs straight.
Action: Engage your abdominals as you simultaneously raise your upper body while lifting your legs (keeping them straight) to form a V position. Make sure your shoulders and thighs come off the ground.
Setup: Lie on your back with your legs extended, feet about 10 inches off the ground, hands behind your head.
Action: Bend your right knee as you simultaneously straighten your left leg and lift your shoulders off the ground and rotate your torso to bring your left elbow toward your bent right knee. Quickly switch arms and legs by pulling in your left knee toward your right elbow in a “cycling” motion. Continue switching from right to left; each set counts as one rep.
Written by Linda Melone, CSCS for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.