Shed the sweater and get ready for spring with a new workout plan

March 11, 2014

Though it may be hard to believe after the terribly bitter and frigid winter, spring is on its way, bringing with it warm temperatures, sunny skies, longer daylight hours and a renewed commitment to fitness goals.

Whether you’ve been diligent about finding time each week to get in your session on your home workout equipment or those fitness treadmill workouts have fallen by the wayside, now is the time to get back in the saddle (of your stationary bike, of course).

The impending arrival of spring is a great time to reassess your fitness goals and create a new workout plan now that sweater weather is over and soon it’ll be time to pull out those shorts and sleeveless tops.

You’ll want to consider both a cardio and strength plan in order to get yourself back in top shape and ready to show off strong biceps and gorgeous gams.

Cardio workout
Creating an interval plan is the best way to maximize your cardio workout in a time-efficient manner, no matter if you prefer the elliptical machine or home exercise bike. Start with an easy warm up with little resistance for about five minutes, then alternate between high intensity and lower intensity bouts for between 30 and 60 minutes. Whether you’re switching between running and walking, standing and sitting or higher and lower resistance levels, intervals will definitely have you working up a sweat and burning tons of calories.

Weight training workout
The strength section of your new fitness plan can be time-efficient as well. Setting up a circuit workout using your body weight and a pair of dumbbells is an excellent method for toning and firming your whole body. Try these exercises from Shape magazine in conjunction with your cardio and you’ll be ready to come out from hiding beneath that sweater in no time. Do each exercise one time through for 10 to 12 reps and repeat the whole list three times:

Lunge with bicep curl:

  • Stand with feet hip-distance apart and a 5- to-8-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing out. Step forward with your right foot and drop both knees to bend at 90 degrees.
  • At the bottom of your lunge, curl the weights then move toward your shoulders during the return.
  • Step back and repeat with the left foot.

Plank walk-out:

  • Start standing with feet hip​-distance apart.
  • Bend forward until your hands touch the floor, then walk them out until you’re in a plank position with your back flat, keeping your abs tight.
  • Hold for five seconds, then walk your hands back and stand up.
  • For a challenge, once you walk out to the plank, drop from your hands to your elbows, then back up before walking your hands back in.

Squat with opposite arm raise:

  • Stand with feet hip-distance apart and a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keeping your abs tight, sit your butt back and lower into a squat, then push back up.
  • At the top of the squat, extend your right arm forward and left arm back, keeping them straight. Repeat the whole motion, bringing the left hand forward and right hand back.

Pli​é squat side crunch: 

  • Stand with your feet wider than your hips and toes turned out to a 45​-degree angle.
  • Lower straight down into a squat, drop your right elbow toward your right knee then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the whole motion on the left side, keeping your obliques tight.

Rotating tricep kickback:

  • Stand with feet hip-distance apart with a slight bend in your knees and leaning forward a little.
  • Keep your abs tight to protect your lower back.
  • Start with the dumbbells at your armpits, palms facing each other.
  • Extend your arms straight back and rotate your hands so your palms face upward.
  • Return to the start.