Ready to Get Lifted? - Muscle & Performance

Ready to Get Lifted?

Combine meditation with these five tough, total-body exercises to improve focus while you get your sweat on.

Talk about a mind-muscle connection: This workout was designed by Holly Rilinger, Nike master trainer and creative director at Cyc Fitness in New York City, and is based on her wildly popular class and book, Lifted (Da Capo Press, 2017). The method combines elements of meditation with total-body, functional movements.

“When you meditate before your workout you create separation between your day and the time you are dedicating to yourself in the present,” says Rilinger. “At the end of the workout you do a few more minutes of meditation to bottle up that feeling, rather than rushing off to whatever is next in your day.”

Start with two to three minutes of meditation. A note to newbies: Don’t overcomplicate this step. “Sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing,” says Rilinger. “When you drift off, simply bring your focus back to your breath. It’s natural to drift off over and over again, so try not to get frustrated with yourself.”

Once focused, warm up with a few minutes of calisthenics — jumping jacks, jogging, skipping rope — then get into the workout. Do each move for 40 seconds, and rest 20 seconds before moving to the next. Go through the workout three times, then follow up with a cool-down and another two- to three-minute meditation.

The Moves

Rock Star

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and place your hands behind your hips, fingers forward. Quickly lift your hips, pressing through your heels as you drop your head back and lift into a small backbend. Reach one arm up and over your head, pointing your fingers away from you, then lower to the start. Continue, alternating sides.

Make it easier: Eliminate the backbend and simply lift and lower your hips.
Make it harder: Pause at the top and squeeze your glutes.

Reach Back

Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent feet flexed. Reach forward with both hands to touch your toes, then reach one arm behind you as far as you can, twisting toward that hip and leaning back and away from your feet. Return to the start and continue, alternating sides.

Make it easier: Bend your knees more and don’t reach back as far.
Make it harder: Place your hand on a towel and slide it rearward along the floor to increase the stretch.

Drop Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Quickly drop down into a squat and touch the ground between your feet with one hand. Explode upward and jump your feet together underneath you and stand tall. Continue, alternating the hand that touches down.

Make it easier: Eliminate the jump and step your feet apart and together.
Make it harder: Jump higher and go faster.

Spiderman Push-Up

Get into a push-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders, and your head, hips and heels aligned. Bend your elbows and drop your chest toward the floor while simultaneously bringing one knee toward your same-side elbow. Pause briefly then return to the start. Continue, alternating sides.

Make it easier: Do this move with your knees on the ground.
Make it harder:Hold your knee to the elbow for a count of three on each rep.

Fighting Sumo

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, legs and feet turned out, and lower into a deep squat so your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor, torso vertical. Hold here as you alternately punch across your body to the right and left sides.

Make it easier:Throw 10 punches, then extend your legs to stand up. Lower back into a squat and repeat.
Make it harder: Get lower and punch faster.

About Holly Rilinger

A former pro basketball player, Holly Rilinger is now a Nike master trainer and creative director at Cyc Fitness in New York City. Her new book Lifted: 28 Days to Focus Your Mind, Strengthen Your Body, and Elevate Your Spirit is available in June. Follow her on Instagram at hollyrilinger, and Facebook and Twitter at hollyrilingerfitness.