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I’m sure the last thing you want to do at the beach is exercise, especially when it’s at least 85 degrees. I feel the same way (even at a cool 75), but hear me out. If there’s one upside to a quick beach workout, it’s how much easier getting into the water will be after. By the time you’re done, you’ll be practically begging for a cool-off. And instead of awkwardly tip-toeing your way into what feels like Antartic-level waves, you’ll swan-dive into the quickest and most gratifying sense of relief.
While my beach workout expertise is limited to running, Meredith Moore’s is a bit more exciting. She’s an elite trainer at Complete Body, a set of fitness and spa destinations throughout New York City (with the newest set to open on 14th St.). Her motto is “Your core is the center of your universe” so her workouts focus on including core stabilization in everything. The best part is all of these exercises don’t require running, the most predictably boring workout for the sand. Ahead and in Moore’s own words, a handful of moves to master when you want to break a sweat before hitting the waves.
High Plank to Low Plank (3-4 Sets)
High Plank to Low Plank engages your entire body but you will feel the burn in your core and your arms. Start in a high plank position on your hands with your feet hip-width apart as well as the core and butt both pulled in tight. While keeping hips stable and the core tight, lower yourself to your elbows one elbow at a time. Keeping plank position with the butt down, raise back up to high plank by straightening your arms one arm at a time. Continue to raise and lower while staying in plank position and keeping hips stable. Up and downs count as one rep. Do this for 30 seconds or 12-15 reps.
Beginners can revert to a straight-arm plank and if you want to up the ante, place a resistance band around your thighs right above the knee, placing your feet apart until the band feels tense.
Bulgarian Split Squat (8-10 Reps on Each Side)
The Bulgarian Split Squat is a great way to train your quads, hamstrings, and glutes with minimal stress on your lower back. Stand in front of a chair (or beach bench) with both feet side by side. Put one foot back on the chair with your toes pointing down. With your chest up and your core tight, descend down by bending the knee of your front leg. Keep lowering yourself until your knee is an inch or two short of the ground. Make sure that your front knee is in line with your toes. Press yourself up by straightening your standing leg and driving through your standing heel.
Beginners can take out the chair and bring your back foot to the ground in the same position. Lean slightly forward with a straight back and butt out. Bend both knees until your back knee is 2-3 inches above the ground and raise back up through straightening both legs. If you want to challenge yourself more, perform this move while holding dumbells or a kettlebell. You can also hold a medicine ball with straight arms for an added shoulder workout.
These will take you back to your relay days as a kid and doing them in soft sand will give you a fun workout that will burn. For frog jumps, squat down like a frog with your butt almost touching the ground and your hands on the ground between your legs. Spring forward like a frog, fully extending your legs and landing back in the frog squat position with your butt almost touching the ground. Jump forward 10 times.
For crab crawls, sit on your butt and put your hands on the ground beside you with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you. Raise your hips until they are in line with your bent knees. Your arms should be fully extended beside you. Walk(crawl) like this backward, careful to keep your hips lifted back to your starting position. These will test your coordination and burn your hamstrings.
Lateral Lunge (8-10 Reps on Each Side)
Lateral Lunges are the perfect exercise to target your glutes and tighten your inner thighs. Start with feet hip-width apart, toes facing straight ahead. Keep core tight and back straight. Step directly to the side, bending the knee that is stepping out while keeping the other leg straight. Bend down until your knee is parallel to your butt. Keep your core pulled in and your back straight. Push off the bent knee and engage your inner thighs to return to starting position while keeping your back straight.
If you need a less-demanding, but equally effective version, start by stepping out into a lateral lunge position. Bend the knee to a 90-degree angle. Straighten your standing leg and repeat. When you want more of a challenge hold a dumbbell or kettlebell. You can also add an upper body twist in the lunge position.