FitFriday #20: Cardio + Core

Hello and hey, it's FRIDAY! 

AND less than a week away from Turkey Day!

To be honest, I'm more excited about the week that I'm going to have off than the turkey. I've been going pretty hard as far as school goes. Of course, almost all of our major assignments for the semester were due this week. I've been writing papers left and right and I am just ready for a BREAK!

Anyways, rant over, let's get to the stuff you came for....



I tend to save all of my workouts on OneNote on my phone, makes it REAL easy if I want to be lazy and not come up with something to do either at home or at the gym for the day. Here's a workout I pulled out from January of this year, put it to use again this Tuesday morning and figured I may as well share it!

This is a Tabata-inspired workout, but rather than the typical 20-second work intervals we're doing 30 seconds. :) I love high-intensity work. It's a great metabolism booster, plus this workout only takes about 30 minutes! Get a good sweat to burn off that extra dessert you're going to have at dinner Thursday! ;) 

These exercises may not be for everyone. Physical and other health concerns may limit your ability to perform these exercises. If there is any concern about performing these exercises please consult your doctor. Physical activity is important but there are contraindications that may warrant a less intense form of activity. 

These exercises may not be for everyone. Physical and other health concerns may limit your ability to perform these exercises. If there is any concern about performing these exercises please consult your doctor. Physical activity is important but there are contraindications that may warrant a less intense form of activity. 

Exercise Breakdown:



Start this exercise standing. The basic sequence of this exercise is as follows: (you may wish to start with a jump straight up similar to the jump you do to finish the burpee to get your momentum going) Go into a squat positionand place your hands on the floor just in front of your legs (this image does a poor job of showing this position correctly, try to start from a squat with the heels on the floor rather than the knees together and heels up as shown); shoot your legs back so that you end up in a high plank position; jump your legs back in to a squat position; and finally jump straight up with your arms up; as you land, bend your knees to soften the joint impact and go right into your next squat position and continue this flow.


There are a multitude of ways to modify the burpee to increase, or decrease, the difficulty level.

Decreased difficulty (feel free to do what feels comfortable or a few of each modification)

  • Take out the jump at the end of the movement
  • Instead of shooting your legs back both at one time, step backward and forward one foot at a time
  • Reach or jump up bend over to touch your toes and come back up taking out the high plank position

Increased difficulty (feel free to add one or more of these to your sequence)

  • Add a push up once you get to high plank position
  • When jumping up to finish the movement, perform a tuck jump lifting your knees up to waist height, bringing your hands down to hit your knees 

Oblique Plank Crunch

Start in a push-up position. Make sure your hands are directly under your shoulders, your legs are straight, and your core is engaged so your hips aren't elevated. Everything from your head to your heels should be in a straight line. 

Bring your knee out to the side of your body and towards your elbow then return to your start position.

Alternate sides for the allotted time. 


For added intensity: Add a push-up.  When you bring your knee up to your elbow, bend your elbows to perform a push-up at the same time. Return to neutral when your return your leg to the starting position. 

Decrease intensity:

Perform this same type of movement standing for less intensity. 

Jumping Jacks

Just your basic jumping jack, nothing fancy here. Just be sure to keep soft knees, in other words, make sure as you're jumping and landing there is a slight bend in the knee, again, to make sure that there is a lessened impact on the joint. Arms go up, legs go out. Arms come down, legs come in. 

To modify this, either add a larger jump (making a sort of "X" or star shape in the air) or, to simplify, slow it down, still having the arm motion but tapping one foot out to the side and alternating feet/sides each time your arms go up. 

In and Out

Start in a seated position. Place your hands behind your hips and lean back to lift your feet off the ground. Bend your knees in towards your chest. This is your starting position.

From there, bend your elbows lowering your upper body and straightening your legs at the same time. Once you're fully extended, straighten your arms and bend your knees to come back to your start position. 


To make this more difficult, don't use your hands. Instead place your arms straight out in front of you, outside your legs. 

Squat Jump

When you squat, make sure your weight is in your heels. To help me with this, I usually try to think of lifting my toes up off the ground. From a squat position, launch yourself up into the air, I usually have a bit of an arm swing going too for added momentum. At the bottom of your landing you’ll be back in that squat position ready to go again, but remember weight in the heels. That being said, don’t land directly on your heels, a bruised heel bone is no fun. Being a dancer I have the “toe, ball, heel” landing mechanism pretty much perfected. When I land, I land toes first and then roll through my foot and end with the weight in my heel. Don’t think about it too much, this is the natural landing mechanism for most people. Slight bend in the knee when you land.


This exercise has pretty basic mechanics but it can get tough with increased reps. You can transition to a basic squat as Plan B. If the jump squat is too much to handle, or if you're unable to perform the exercise for the full 30 seconds, just continue to do bodyweight squats. Get back to jumping as soon as you feel you are able!

Hip Taps

Get into a low plank position. Make sure your elbows are directly underneath your shoulders and your hips are not elevated. Straight line from your head to your heels. In this position, start rotating your hips left and right without excessive movement in your upper body. The idea is to "tap" your hip on the floor when you twist. Hold your core tight and keep your balance!

Continue to rotate side to side for the full time.  

High Knees

High knees are a lot like jogging in place but just giving it some extra power! It requires a more elaborate motion of the lower body bringing your leg up in front of you, ideally, so that your thigh is parallel with the floor, a horizontal line from the hip to the knee. Keep the knees as high as possible for as long as you can. You may notice that your knees may drop as time goes on, just push through it and get them as high as you can!

Flutter Kicks

First, lay flat on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift your legs a few inches off the floor. Make sure your core stays engaged. Think "belly button to spine" and if you're having a difficult time making that happen, slide your hands just underneath your hips. 

Alternate your legs in a vertical scissor motion keeping your core engaged the whole time. Remember to BREATHE! Continue alternating for the allotted time.


Start standing in a neutral position with plenty of room on either side of you. Begin the movement by reaching your right leg toward the right corner of the space and push off towards that leg with the left leg that is still on the ground. Land with a bent knee and the left leg ends up behind you. 

From there, the left leg you just pushed with, should be behind you and with that left leg, you want to reach toward the left corner of your space and push off with the right leg. You'll get the hang of the motion and pick up speed. Keep alternating sides until time runs out!


Lay flat on your back. Place your hands behind your head. Your hands are there simply to support your neck, don't use your hands to pull your neck upwards. 

Start with your legs a few inches off the ground, one straight, and one bent. Reach your opposite elbow towards the bent knee.

Switch your legs, and and you switch rotate your upper body to have your elbow meet the opposite knee. Keep switching your legs and rotating side to side. 

As always, e-mail me with questions!

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