Supercharge Your Fitness Regimen With A New Workout

Above: Learn how to get more out of your usual gym routine

Presented by Ford

If your fitness routine is feeling a bit boring, an easy way to inject some fun into it is to try a new activity. Taking on a new workout such as free running or a surf-inspired training session can be a challenging and motivating way to put your muscles to the test. To help you get your body ready for these new classes, or to improve your skills if you’re already hooked (or to get similar results if a class isn’t available in your city), fitness expert Shaun T, creator of the INSANITY workout, shares his top cross-training tips when taking on one of the latest workout trends.

If you want to try: Free running
Work on: Your explosive movements and abdominal strength
Try this: Shaun T recommends the things he used to do growing up and in college —running hurdles, doing hurdle drills, coming out the blocks, doing explosive movements and plyometric drills. “Also, add weights to your thighs or to your ankles, because those kinds of things really help you with the explosive movements, and I believe that you definitely need to be able to explode off the walls,” he says. Strengthening your core is also key for free running, he adds. “If you’re going to be doing flips and jumps, you’ve got to get the knees up, so you have to have good abdominal strength to be able to run free.”

If you want to try: Aerial yoga
Work on: Strengthening your core
Try this: A variety of plank positions is key. Shaun admits that while he knows he has good upper body strength, he’s always focused on his core. “As I get older, I’m 36, and you know, things ain’t as easy as they used to be. I just want to make sure I have really good core strength and control over my body,” he says. While he’s not afraid to go high in the air on the silks, he concedes that it still might be a little nerve-wracking since he’s new to aerial yoga. “But as long as I keep my core tight, I think I can succeed,” he says. His favorite exercises for improving core strength are plank exercises — low plank and/or high plank. And while he’s not into crunches, when he does do crunches when lying on his back, he suggests lifting your legs for the exercise. “Most people’s legs are the heaviest part of the body, and a lot of people want to concentrate on that lower ab area,” he says. Alternate the legs for 60 to 90 second intervals to get that burn — “that good burn we all love to hate,” he says.

If you want to try: A surf-inspired workout such as SURFSET Fitness
Work on: Improving your core strength and stability, and improving your cardiovascular endurance
Try this: As fit as he is, even Shaun admits to finding surfing terribly hard. “I got in the water one time and I was like, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this again,’” he says. It’s your core that you’re asking to do a lot of the work when you’re surfing. “Think about it — you’re using your body to get up on the board, you’re using your body to balance your body, and you need to do single leg movements. Plank exercises (see “aerial yoga” above) are among his favorite exercises when it comes to improving the core.

A strong heart is also key, notes Shaun. “The other thing that people don’t realize is that as far as cardiovascular health, you need to be in the zone. You need to be in the pocket when it comes to surfing. Because I’m telling you that 10 seconds of paddling out can really wear you out. It’s almost like a sprint,” says the fitness pro. Given this, he recommends sprint intervals on a track or street. “When you’re running down the road, do intervals with the telephone poles, sprint one, jog the other, sprint one, jog the other and that’s going to help you when you need to pop up on the board and hold your life together.”

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