Healthy Living

Celebrate Veterans Day with This Boot Camp-Inspired Workout

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Whip yourself into shape with this boot camp-inspired workout.

Whip yourself into shape with this boot camp-inspired workout.

Boot camp-style workouts are all the rage lately, and why not? They work! We went to Alex Fell and Ruben Belliard, two former Marines, and instructors at Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, an indoor boot camp in N.Y. to get their favorite moves.

Although boot camp-style workouts tend to focus on the basics, "all of these moves are part of the 'Marine Daily 16'," Belliard says. "I was a Marine for eight years, and I can tell you, we did these moves on a regular basis, and I'm sure they still do."

So, in honor of Veterans Day, grab a group of friends and try working out like real Marines (yelling optional)!

What you'll need: You need a space either indoor or outdoors to perform these moves, and a bar on which to perform pull-ups or chin-ups.

How it works: Star with four sets of 10 to 12 reps for each move. If you're a beginner, Belliard and Fell recommend performing these moves every other day, as well as alternating these with a "cardio day" to prevent boredom. As you feel more comfortable, change the amount of sets and reps you do each week to challenge yourself and add variety to your workout.

1. Jumping Jacks:

"For the multi-tasking women this a great workout ," Fell says. "It can serve two purposes- you can warm up, and you're also getting the benefits of aerobic exercise."

How to do them: Start by standing up straight with your hands down by your side and your palms facing your thighs. Then jump and simultaneously fling out your arms and legs so that when you land your feet are spread about shoulder width apart and your hand are reaching up to the sky. Then jump again to return to your starting position.

2. The Pull-Up:

"Women are often apprehensive to even attempt a pull up or chin up but as we say at Warrior Fitness, you have to try," Fell says. "They are possibly one of the best upper body exercises for women and if you have the willpower to push yourself, you'll feel like the toughest women in the room."

Tip: There's a difference between a pull-up and a chin-up. In a pull-up, your palms are turned away from you. Pull-ups use your back muscles, as well as biceps and shoulders, whereas in a chin-up, your palms are turned toward you, shoulder-width apart, and you're employing your arm muscles more than any others. Both Fell and Belliard say that if you've never done either one before, the chances of you being able to complete multiple are slim. The important thing to remember is that you have to gradually work your way up to them.

3. Elbow to Knee (Bicycle Crunch):

How to do it: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. For this exercise, you will need to put your hands beside your head. Now lift your shoulders into the crunch position. Next, bring your knees up so that they're perpendicular to the floor, with your lower legs parallel to the floor. This will be your starting position.

Now slowly kick your right leg out at the same time as you bring your left leg in. Bring your right elbow close to your left knee by crunching to the side as you breathe out. Go back to the initial position as you breathe in. Crunch to the opposite side as you cycle your legs and bring closer your left elbow to your right knee and exhale. Continue alternating in this manner until all of the recommended repetitions for each side have been completed.

4. Lunges:

How to do them: Stand in a split stance with the right foot forward and the left leg back. The feet should be about two to three feet apart, depending on your leg length. The split stance will require balance, so hold onto a wall or chair if you feel wobbly. Before you lunge, make sure your torso is straight and that you're up on your back toe. Bend your knees and lower your body down until the back knee is a few inches from the floor. At the bottom of the movement, your front thigh should be parallel to the floor and the back knee should point toward the floor. Keep your weight evenly distributed between both legs and push back up, keeping the weight in the heel of the front foot.

Tip: If you want to add variety and engage your muscles in a different way, try sliding a paper plate under your back foot to engage your quads more and improve balance and stability.

5. Push-ups:

How to do them: Position yourself face down on the floor, balancing on your toes and hands. Your hands should be wider than shoulders, with your body in a straight line from head to toe. Try not to sag in the middle and don't stick your butt up in the air. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body to the floor, stopping when your elbows are at 90 degrees. Exhale and push back up. Do this move two to three non-consecutive days a week and add a rep each time you do the exercise .

Tip: If you don't feel comfortable on your toes, start by balancing on your knees, and work up to doing push-ups on your toes.

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