Love Hurts

February 14, 2012

If you’re looking for a relationship that you’ll feel down to your core this Valentine’s Day, try the gym. We asked area trainers to reveal the exercises they love and to suggest ways to get these moves into your life. Some dates may be challenging, but you sure won’t forget them the next day.

Wall Squats

Sarah West, Results

The move: Place a fitness ball on a wall just behind your tailbone. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart; roll the ball down the wall until you’re seated.

The attraction: For sports that require you to be able to hold a squat, such as skiing, this will give your quads and core the prep they need. West has beginners just roll up and down. She ups the challenge by asking clients to remain in the seated position for 15 seconds every third rep. “I’ll say, ‘Grab a ball and wall space,’ and they groan,” she says. “It never seems to get easier.”

Burpees

Duncan Aldous, Washington Sports Clubs

The move: Squat, put your hands on the ground, and shoot your feet out behind you so you’re in plank. Then do a push-up, hop back into a squat, stand up and jump.

The attraction: You don’t need equipment (or much space) to perform this heart-rate raiser. And it can be scaled down by removing the jumps or ramped up by adding a weight vest. It wasn’t quite love at first sight when Aldous learned to do burpees as part of his high school’s rugby conditioning program, but that’s precisely why they’re a good fit for clients. “You come to see me to take yourself out of your comfort zone,” he says. “Burpees do that.”

Thrusters

Chad Raymond, Crunch Gym

The move: Holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height, squat down. As you stand back up, press the weights above your head.

The attraction: It’s a full-body movement, which means you’re able to lift heavier weights than you’d be able to with your upper body alone. “When I walk up to female clients with 15-pound dumbbells, I’ll say, ‘Just try it.’ I prove to them that they can do it, and they feel good about themselves,” Raymond says. Sometimes he’ll vary it by using a medicine ball or kettlebell, or do it while standing on a Bosu ball to add a balance challenge.

Partner Push-ups

Ken Clarke, Fitness Together

The move: Perform push-ups while facing a partner. Every time you push up, lift a hand and clap with your partner. Repeat, switching sides each rep, until one partner can’t do any more.

The attraction: There’s no better incentive than competition. “You most definitely do more because of that motivation from the other person,” Clarke says. Depending on your skill level, you can do the push-ups on your toes or knees. Or, lift one leg to make it harder.

Forearm Side Plank

Mariska Breland, Fuse Pilates

The move: Lie down on your side, propped up on your forearm with your palm up. Then push your body into the air, so you’re resting on just your forearm and the side of your foot.

The attraction: By performing the move on your forearm rather than your palm, it becomes a more attainable exercise that’s not so hard on the wrist. Having the palm up opens the chest more, Breland adds. When you’re comfortable, she suggests lifting the top leg, kicking it forward with your foot flexed and back with it pointed. “I felt really accomplished when I could do that without falling over,” she says. Feeling unstable? Try it with your bottom leg bent, so your shin’s on the floor, too.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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Rachel Kaufman · February 13, 2012