What does Harry Potter and 50 Shades of Grey have in common? You can use both books for an awesome full body workout! Grab the books you read, the books you should read and the books you will never read and let’s get to work. Safety tip: be careful, use big books and make sure they are stable.
1. Russian Twists
(Russian book not required to perform exercise)
Time/Repetition: Perform this exercise for 30 seconds straight. Keep a moderate pace. Repeat for a total of 3 sets.
What it Works: This exercise mainly targets your oblique muscles as well as engaging your back muscles that will strengthen your spine.
Starting Position: sit on the ground with your knees bent and keep your feet off of the floor. Your heels should be about a feet away from your butt. Hold a heavy book with both hands. A heavier book will advance the move.
Step 1. Lean back without rounding your spine. Place arms in front of you with the elbows bent. Twist slowly to the left while pulling your navel towards your spine. It should be a small movement and it comes from the ribs rotating and less from your arms swinging.
Step 2. Inhale through center and rotate to the right. This completes one repetition.
Tips and Tricks: the most important thing to think about while doing this movement is to avoid rounding the spine. This should be a fluid motion without any stops throughout the exercise.
2. Side Plank
Time / Repetition: Hold the side plank for 30 seconds each side and repeat for a total of 2 sets on each side.
What it Works: This exercise targets the obliques and core muscles.
Starting Position: Hold your body in a straight line from your head to your toes with your elbow directly beneath your shoulders. Stack your feet on top of each other on top of a stack of books.
Step 1. Hold the position for 30 seconds without letting your hips drop.
Step 2. Repeat on the other side.
Tips and Tricks: For modifying this movement, bend the bottom knee backwards but keep the leg in line with the one on top.
3. Bulgarian Split Squats
Time / Repetition: Perform 15 split squats on each leg and do a total of 2 sets.
What it Works: This exercise is great for glutes and legs and also improves your balance.
Starting Position: Put one leg on the stack of books, and bring the opposite leg to the front.
Step 1. Start with a slight bend in the back leg. Slowly squat down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
Step 2. Leading with your chest and hips while you contract your quadriceps, move back up to the starting position. How far down you can get will depend on how flexible you are. If your lower back starts rounding, it means that you reached the limit for your body and from there you should come back up to starting position.
Tips and Tricks: when you squat down, make sure that your knee doesn’t go beyond the line of your toes. If it does, place your front leg further forward.
4. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
Time / Repetition: Perform 20-25 bridges on each leg and repeat for a total of 2 sets. Try to hold each repetition for 2-5 seconds.
What it Works: This exercise works the glutes mainly but it’s also a good exercise to strengthen the hamstrings
Starting Position: Lay on the floor with one leg on top of a stack of books. Raise the other leg off the ground with your foot sole facing up towards the ceiling. Try to keep the leg straight.
Step 1. Execute the movement by driving through the heel and extending the hip upwards. Raise the glutes off of the floor.
Step 2. Extend as far as possible, then hold for a couple of seconds before you return to the starting position.
Tips and Tricks: Make sure to keep the hips as square as possible throughout the execution of the exercise.
5. Incline Push-up
Time / Repetition: Perform 15-20 push-ups for a total of 3 sets.
What it Works: This basic exercise is great to strengthen your chest in addition to work your biceps and triceps.
Starting Position: Put your hands on the two piles of books.
Step 1. Start in a full plank position with hands shoulder-width apart.
Step 2. Lower your body by bending your elbows and then return up to the starting position.
Tips and Tricks: To modify the push-up, you have the option to perform the exercise on your knees. Remember to keep your core muscles activated throughout the movement.
Time / Repetition: Perform 12-15 reps of dips for a total of 3 sets.
What it Works: This movement mainly works your triceps.
Starting Position: Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the two stacks of books. Extend your legs out in front of you.
Step 1. Straighten your arms with a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your shoulder joints.
Step 2. Bend your elbows to lower your body towards the floor until your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, straighten your elbows to return to the starting position.
Tips and Tricks: to modify the exercise you can have your knees bent with a 90-degree angle. Make sure you keep the shoulders pulled back.
7. Overhead Tricep Extension
Time / Repetition: Perform 15 overhead extensions for a total of 3 sets.
What it Works: This exercise is great for toning your arms, and more specifically, the triceps.
Starting Position: Stand up and hold a big book with both hands. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Reach your arms over your head. This is your starting position.
Step 1. Bend your elbows in a controlled manner, and lower the book behind your head. Do not allow your upper arms to move. Continue to bend the elbows to a 90-degree bend until your upper arms begin to move backwards.
Step 2. Slowly straighten the elbows and return to starting position.
Tips and Tricks: Try to keep tour upper arms vertical to the floor throughout the exercise and your elbows shoulder-width apart. Try to avoid any arch in the lower back and don’t let the elbows drift away from the head, which takes the focus away from your triceps.
So the next time you have some old books that you don’t know what to do with, make some use of them to help you get a better workout. Be creative, but be safe! Have a great workout.
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