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A quick, 10-minute workout in the morning can make a truly great start to the day, despite our bodies’ protests that sleeping sounds just fine. Brazilian culture, especially in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, is built around a sport-centric and outdoor lifestyle, with toning exercises an everyday ritual. Culture Trip rounds up some popular ones to squeeze into your morning routine.
It may sound an aggressive exercise, yet it is one of the most popular strength building ones out there, and works on toning and tightening the glutes – in other words, it’s good for muscle development on the butt. To do it, get on your hands and knees, ensuring that your core is kept tight to help keep your back straight and flat. Raise one leg, keeping your knee at a 90-degree angle. Maintaining that angle, push your leg as high into the air as you can and lower. To truly develop strong glute muscles, it’s a great idea to try that exercise for as many times as you can in one minute, then repeat with the other leg for another minute. Pause for a minute and breathe, then repeat the series twice more.
This is the fancy name for the humble squat, an exercise that has become the buzz-word of the moment, yet for good reason – the squat is a bit of an all-rounder, targeting the quads, hamstrings, and the glutes. Best of all it can be done at home. This exercise is particularly effective with dumbbells, but if you don’t have weights at home, then it’s time to get creative. Even holding a two-liter bottle of water will add some resistance, helping you to maximise your muscle workouts. How to do it? Place feet wider than hip-width with your feet pointing forward. Keep your back and your arms down and straight while holding the dumbbell (or your homemade improvisation). Lower your body into a squat making sure to focus on using your quads and butt rather than your knees and rise back to your starting point. Do this as many times as you can for one minute, then pause for one minute, then repeat. Either keep this going to do three sets and combine with another exercise from this list, or if you’re feeling energetic, keep this series of one-minute squats, one-minute pause for a full 10 minutes.
The well-known lunge can be jazzed up a bit to help train your butt muscles and give your abs a workout at the same time. By holding an object above your head – such as a dumbbell or your bottle of water – it actually forces the core muscles to work harder to help the spine stay straight. To do it, take your object and hold it above your head. Make sure you tighten your core to keep the pressure off your spine and keep your back nice and straight. Once in position, take a huge step forward and lower your back knee until it is just off the ground. Then return back to the start. You should feel your butt muscles working hard. Tip: Before doing it with the weight, try practicing lunges to make sure you have the movement and balance down. Do each leg for one minute then take a one-minute pause. Repeat the series three times.
One thing that is often ignored in fitness is good posture, yet that is vital to keep your spine healthy and we all know that walking tall helps to slimline the body. This is a great exercise in this series that helps to develop the muscles in the back that are often overlooked and keeps the spine elongated and supple. How to do it? Stand against a wall and keep your body as flat as possible against it. Raise your arms to your side and keep your elbows bent and flat against the wall. Raise your hands up the wall – remember, keep everything pressed against the wall – until they are together above your head then lower back down. Be careful to not arch your lower back. You can add small weights for extra resistance if you wish. Repeat as many times as you can for one minute then take a one minute pause. Repeat this three times in total and combine with the abductor squats to get a just-over-10-minute workout.
This exercise is all about the glutes and is a great exercise to develop muscle in the butt. How to do it? Lie on your back with your knees brought up and bent with your feet flat on the floor. The ideal way to do this exercise is to place a weight on your pelvic area – a dumbbell is good, or a bottle of water wrapped in a towel for padding is just as effective. Then, raise your hips off the ground and push them upwards as high as they will go while supporting the weight and giving your glutes a good squeeze at the same time. Lower without letting your butt touch the floor and then repeat. Try doing this as many times as you can for one minute before taking a rest of one minute. Repeat this series a total of three times and combine with the back-posture exercise or the abductor squats to get in a 10-minute exercise.
This simple combination of exercises is great for toning shoulders and biceps and is best done holding weights for extra resistance. To do it, stand up tall with your core tightened and back straight. With your weights in both hands, raise your arms out to the sides until they reach shoulder height. Hold this position a couple of seconds then lower back down. Then, raise your arms out in front of you, keeping your elbows straight until they are again shoulder height. Lower back to the starting position and repeat as many times as you can in one minute before resting for one minute. Repeat this exercise three times and combine with another exercise on the list, or try to do the one-minute exercise, one-minute pause series for a total of 10 minutes if you can.
These ballet kicks are great for shaping and toning your hamstrings and glutes, in addition to elongating the muscles in the legs. How to do it? First of all, get into a great starting position by standing tall with your core tightened, chest up, back straight, and shoulders back. Lower both hands as if to touch the floor in front of you. At the same time, bring your left leg up and try to raise it up as high as you can while keeping it as straight as you can. Hold the move before going back to the start. Repeat for one minute for the left leg, one minute for the right leg, then take a one-minute pause. Repeat a further two times.