There are a lot of at home workout options available online and trying to decide what works for you is important. One thing I noticed however in a lot of home workouts available is the lack of focus on the posterior chain. Lots of push ups and crunches but not much for the backside of the body, upper/lower back and the glutes/hamstrings. Let’s fix that shall we? Let’s fire up the posterior chain with this week’s workout. Interval workout #4 from my free 31 day bootcamp.
I’ve already broken down interval training workout #1, #2 and #3. This week will be the final interval workout #4 including the modifications for each exercise. The full follow along video is available on youtube. Remember that the 31 day no excuses bootcamp is available for free, along with my free health & Fitness planner. Plus, I have so much more coming! Stay tuned.
Fire the Posterior Chain – Interval workout #4
As I said above, I try to encompass a total body workout in the bootcamp and that means hitting the posterior chain hard. It’s an area that often gets neglected when working out at home. Due to single leg exercises this workout should take about 30 minutes, plus a 5 minutes warm up, and cool down. So bear that in mind. Still totally doable for most people. If you absolutely positively MUST only have a 30 minute workout then I have a couple of options for you. Reduce the rest time. The standard rest time is 15s between exercises, if you cut that out completely you save 5 minutes! Another way is to shorten the workout set time, standard is 45s so you could reduce that to 40s and save 3 minutes. Another way would be to do the first half of the workout only. Or do TWO sets of each exercise rather than the recommended three. The last option would be a better choice as it immediately saves you 10 minutes.
As with the other interval workouts we start with cardio, then lower body, upper body and finally core. Our first cardio exercise of this workout is Skaters. Imagine a speed skater. Ice or roller skates it really doesn’t matter. From a standing position take a wide lateral hop from side to side, getting low as you can. So sink into the legs. Land with a bent knee.
Modification. Rather than hop side to side, step side to side for less impact. This will also reduce the range of motion. For a truly low impact version stand with the feet wide apart and bend and alternating knee, swaying the upper body from side to side.
Reverse Lunge & Knee Lift*
While this reverse lunge is strength you will also feel some cardio as it’s a power exercise. Start in a standing position. Step the left leg back, and bend both knees to 90°. From here drive up through the right leg and sweep the left knee up towards the heart. For a pumping heart add a hop on the right foot at the top! Land on the right foot, then bring the left leg behind you and repeat. *Repeat on both sides!
Modifications: I already mentioned that the hop was optional, but definitely omit the hop if high impact is not your prefered workout or you want to take OUT the cardio element. Instead of bringing the knee through you could step the foot back to the floor (standing). Another option would be to do a standing static split squat. Step one leg back, one leg forward and just bend and extend the legs for a no-impact version.
If you do a lot of ab work then you need to balance things out by working the lower back. One great exercise is this back extension. Great for the posterior chain, Lie face down with the hands resting on the low back/pelvis. Keeping the head in line with the spine lift the shoulders, chest and head away from the floor creating and arch in the back. Lower back to the floor with control. Ensure you don’t throw the head back but instead move from the lumbar spine.
Modifications: Described and shown above is an intermediate version. For an easier version have the hands and forearms resting on the floor for a little assistance, and leave the hands on the floor. For a harder version place the hands to the temples and lift the arms up with the torso. Ensure it’s the lower back and glutes doing the work here!
We worked the back so let’s work the abs next! Lie on your back with the legs up, feet towards the sky. Arms can be resting down by the sides. Pull the hips up towards the sky by contracting the abs. Control the movement. Feet should go UP rather than over the head.
Modifications: Shortening the lever here is the easiest modification, so bend the knees. Focus on the curl of the back, as the hips lift and knees come towards the chest. Try not to make the movement happen with movement in the legs from the hip crease, but from the abs.
Ok one round done, one to go! Cardio again. This time a jump laterally. Which is a fancy way of saying side to side. I added marks on the floor on the photo so you can see the movement happening side to side. Try to land with the knees bent and both feet together.
Modification: If this is too much impact and intensity modify! Maybe keep the jump but just jump up and down, not side to side. If the jump is too much, step side to side and omit the jump completely. Another option would be to do a squat to standing calf raise, mimicking the action of a jump but keeping the impact low.
Single Leg Glute Bridge*
These are so good for the posterior chain. Fires the glutes and hamstrings, while working on some external rotation in the hip and stability if you do the single leg variation shown below. Yep it packs a punch! Lie on your back with the knees bent, feet on the floor and arms resting by the sides. Shown below take right foot and place the ankle across the top of the left knee. Keeping a small natural ARCH in the low back, drive the left foot into the floor raising the hips with control. Lower back towards the floor. *Repeat on both sides!
Modifications: If you really want to continue with single leg variation then simply limit the range of motion. Don’t lift the hips as high. For a much easier version leave both feet on the floor and push both feet down to lift the hips. This version will also save time as you won’t need to do each leg.
Can I just quickly say that I love this movement? Not only is it challenging but it really makes the glutes, hamstrings and lower back light up! Who knew such a small movement could be so challenging? Start lying face down on the floor with the knees bent, knees apart, and feet pushing together. Place the hands under the forehead. Tip here: the head, arms, hands, shoulders etc DON’T MOVE, so make yours upper body comfortable. From the glutes/hips lift the knees up off the floor, feet towards the sky. Lift and lower with control.
Modifications: I’ve already said this can be a challenging exercise. To make it easier it sounds counter intuitive but lengthen the legs out across the floor. Then lift one LEG off the floor at a time. Alternating sides. Make sure the whole LEG lifts from the hip so that the knee lifts off the floor.
Come onto your right side with your right forearm on the floor, right butt cheek on the floor (not the boney hip, but the fleshy cheek), and the left hand behind you for support. Dont’ sink into the right shoulder, lift the chest, lengthen the spine. Pull the knees towards the chest [as shown below], with control lengthen the legs away from you keeping the legs slightly in front of the body, feet lifted off the floor.
Modifications: An easier version would be to reduce the range of motion so don’t straighten the legs as far out. You could lift the legs up higher to reduce the load on the core. Or for an easier version, from the same set up position. Place the right foot on the floor and perform a single leg exercise.
Each exercise is done for 45s, with 15s rest between exercises. You have options. In the videos I chose to do the first four exercises and repeat them three times, then do the same thing for the next four exercises. Or you could work through all eight exercises and repeat three times the whole way through all eight. The idea is that you don’t change the sets of four. This is to get the body working through cardio, lower body, upper body and core for a little peripheral heart action training. This helps get you fitter, faster.
Those are the exercises for interval workout #4 of the no excuses bootcamp. Even if you don’t do this format, I hope you found something useful, inspiring or motivational from this post, and the program. All of the workout videos are on my YouTube channel. Remember to keep moving. stop complaining and start training!