Fitness

The Bikini Body Workout: Let the Summer Begin

bikini body workout
We all let a little loose during the holidays and pack on some pounds. Here’s a bikini body workout that is sure to help with looking your best on the beach.

Summer’s coming. That means it’s time to pull out that bikini and start shaping up for your beach body. You’re probably thinking that that isn’t going to happen. If your body has acquired a layer of wintry padding over the past few months, then you’ve got some work to do. That’s okay. No need to hit the panic button.

We’ve got a banging bikini body workout that will shed that winter coat and have you rocking that bikini in a matter of just 6 short weeks.

Setting the parameters

To shape up and shed those unwanted inches, you need a two pronged workout attack. On the one hand, you need to burn off those excess calories with high intensity cardio training. At the same time, you need to get stuck into an interval training type program that will target the major muscle groups of your body. That way you’ll be losing fat while shaping and toning muscle at the same time.

Fit-woman-refreshing-after-workout

To get in bikini body shape in 6 weeks, you’ll be doing 3 sessions of cardio and 3 sessions of resistance training each week. Your cardio will comprise of high intensity interval training, while the interval training exercises will revolve around bodyweight movements that you can do in the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Warming up and cooling down

The aim of any warmup is to prepare the body for the tougher work ahead. It’s a vital part of any workout regime, as well as increasing body temperature and heart rate, making your muscles more pliable and getting your mind focused.

When it comes to your cardio sessions, you will be doing a two minute slow jog warmup. Make sure to move your limbs through a full range of motion, including doing high knee and butt kick leg movements as you jog.

Fit-woman-stretching-her-leg

Just as we need to gradually prepare the body for tough exercise through the warmup phase of the workout, it also makes sense to gradually reduce the intensity of the session, allowing the various systems of the body to return to normal. This helps you to unwind from the training session, letting the heart rate and blood pressure get back to normal.

Evidence that a cool down prevents muscle soreness is mixed and a certain amount of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is to be expected when beginning a new exercise program or increasing the intensity or duration of a program.

Performing some light cardio work, cycling, walking or jogging while gradually reducing the intensity for three to four minutes should be sufficient to remove waste products and cool down.

Your cardio sessions:

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is performed by interspersing periods of quick, intense sprints and movement with even shorter periods of recovery. The sprint / recovery times can vary, but the most effective ratios appear to be 20 seconds of sprint followed by 10 seconds of recovery.

In terms of exercise choice, you need to opt for an exercise that you are able to perform to maximum exertion. Running, cycling on an exer-cycle and skipping are great options. Typically between 6 and 10 cycles of HIIT training are performed within a workout.

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HIIT: Benefits

• Burns calories like crazy
• Increases VO2 Max
• Don’t need equipment
• Time efficient
• Burns fat, not muscle
• Increases metabolism for 26 hours following the workout

HIIT – The proof

A recent study out of California State University, San Marcos had test subjects performing HITT cardio workouts for 3 weeks. At the end of that 21-day period, college aged men and women improved their maximal oxygen uptake by 6% as well as improving their stationary bike power output and blood pressure.

In another study, this one based at Colorado State University, a single HIIT cardio workout was shown to increase daily energy expenditure by 200 calories. A third study, out of Brisbane, Australia showed that HIIT cardio workouts also have amazing benefits for people suffering from coronary artery disease and obesity related conditions.

Beautiful-fit-female-fitness-model-running

HIIT – How to do it

Your HIIT training sessions will be performed 3 times per week on alternate days. If possible do this workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Training in this semi-fasted state will further ramp up the fat burn.

If you are using running as the core HIIT movement (recommended), make your way down to an open field that allows for a flat sprint of 20 second duration in a straight line.

Jog up and down slowly for a 2-minute warmup. After the first minute, alternate high knees with butt kicks to fully prepare your quads and hamstrings for the work ahead.

Set your stopwatch to beep at 20 second and 10 second intervals. Now get yourself psyched for your first all-out sprint . . .

3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

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Blast off into a full-on sprint, pushing as hard as you possibly can. Imagine that you are being chased by a big old, nasty dog – and he’s closing on you. Pump your arms and legs and keep going until that stopwatch beeps that your 20 seconds are up.

Now revert to a slow jog. Take deep breaths to recover as quickly as you can – you’ve got exactly 10 seconds.

Now move into your second sprint. Work as hard as you can to maintain the same speed as you did on the first sprint. Keep pushing through – don’t leave anything in reserve. Push it for the entire 20 seconds.

Slow down to a recovery jog again. Take three deep breaths and then get psyched for the third sprint.

Repeat this sprint / recovery cycle 8 times for a total training time of 4 minutes. Do it right and it will be the toughest 4 minutes of your life – as well as the most efficient workout investment you’ve ever made.

Warm down for two minutes and then head home for a shower and breakfast, knowing that you have just nailed your cardio for the day.

young-athletic-woman-having-breakfast

HIIT: The bottom line

If you’re not doing HIIT cardio workouts for fat loss you are depriving your body of the most effective cardio fat burning method out there. Work HIIT into your program 3 times per week on alternate days. Yes, it’ll be hard work. Yes, you’ll hate doing it – and yes, it will get you leaner than any other single thing you could do with your body!

Your interval training workout

Your interval training sessions can be done anywhere, at any time. Just make sure that you’ve got a stable surface, a well aired training environment and a bottle of water.

Warm up

For your warm up, you will complete three different moves, three times each.

Jumping Jack x 20

Stand with your feet together and arms at your side. Simultaneously kick your legs out to the side while bringing your straight arms overhead, clapping them together above your head. Bring both arms and feet back to the starting position. Perform this action as quickly as possible.

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Bodyweight squats x 10

With your feet shoulder width apart, your eyes focused on the ceiling and your lower back arched, place your hands on your head. Now lower down to a parallel squat position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. After a slight pause, and without rounding your back, push through your heels to return to the start position.

Perform your body weight squats with a smooth, rhythmic cadence. Take 4-5 seconds per repetition and focus on feeling the work that your thighs, glutes and hamstrings are doing.

Mountain climbers x 20

Start in the plank position (extended arms on the floor, shoulder width apart, body flat, legs straight and together), as if you were starting a sprint. Now alternate bringing your knees to your chest, going as quickly as possible. Keep your back flat and but down.

Don't rush through your warmup. Take your time and make sure that you are moving through as full a range of motion as possible on each movement.

The workout

The workout involves 5 key moves that will work every single muscle group in your body, but with a focus on the beach body focal points – the legs, the abs and the arms. The exercise should be done as a circuit with absolutely no rest between them.

Young-woman-working-out-at-the-beach-on-a-sunny-day

Bodyweight squats x 10

With your feet shoulder width apart, your eyes focused on the ceiling and your lower back arched, place your hands on your head. Now lower down to a parallel squat position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. After a slight pause, and without rounding your back, push through your heels to return to the start position.

Perform your body weight squats with a smooth, rhythmic cadence. Take 4-5 seconds per repetition and focus on feeling the work that your thighs, glutes and hamstrings are doing.

Plank walk out, glute kick x 10

With your feet shoulder width apart, slide your hands down your legs and then walk them out to a plank position. Once you are in a plank position, replace your elbows with where your hands are, one arm at a time. Then climb back up, replacing your hands with where your elbows were.

Now do a glute kick back with each leg. Keeping your legs extended raise them, one at a time, as high as you can in the air behind you.

Booty bridge to crunch x 10

Lie on the floor, back down and with your knees bent. With your hands at your sides arch your glutes into the air as high as you can. Once your booty comes back to the ground, do a normal sit up. Crunch up intensely to feel the isolation in your lower abdominals.

Triceps push up x 10

Get into push up position on your knees. Rather than placing your hands out to your sides, keep them in close to your body. Lift up so that your arms are fully extended, then come back down until your chest touches the ground. Push through the heel of your hands.

Exercise-woman-doing-push-ups-in-the-forest

V up x 10

Lie on your back with your legs extended. Your arms should be extended at your sides. Making sure that you are moving from your core, simultaneously bring your upper body up towards your core as you draw your knees towards your chest.

Perform this circuit three times with minimal to no rest between each circuit. This is a six week program that progressively ramps up the intensity as you get leaner and stronger.

You should add five reps to each movement each week, so that, in the last week you’ll be doing 35 reps on each movement. That means that, once you’ve completed your third circuit, you will be completing 105 reps on each of the five movements, for a total rep count of 525.

This bikini body workout is a super effective, cardio and strength workout all in one. It will give you all of the benefits of resistance training without having to go to the gym. That means that all of the excuses are gone. And when you’re getting ready to unveil that beach bikini body, excuses won’t cut it. But this workout will. So, get out there and do it – no excuses!

Rate of Perceived Exertion

The RPE scale is used to measure the intensity of your cardiovascular training. It uses a scale between 0 and 10 to determine how difficult your training should be. The scale is as follows . . .

0 = No exercise at all
0.5 = Just noticeable
1.0 = Very light exercise
2.0 = Light exercise
3.0 = Moderate exercise
4.0 = Somewhat intense exercise
5.0 = Intense exercise
6.0 = Increasing intensity exercise
7.0 = Increasing intensity exercise
8.0 = Very intense exercise
9.0 = Very, very intense exercise
10.0 = extremely intense exercise

Cover photo: alpha.wallhaven.cc

About the author

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer who lives in New Zealand with his wife, Shelley, and two daughters. For the last decade, Steve has taught literacy to Middle School students. He also runs a fitness boot camp for pre-teens.

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