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Week Four: Holiday bootcamp ramps up the cardio


What you need

A resistance ball, free weights and a mat. Pick a weight light enough that you can perform repetitions using proper form. When you're done, you should feel like that was the last rep you could have completed with good form.

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What you need to know

This week, each strength-training session consists of three circuits. At the end of a circuit, rest one minute then repeat for a total of three times before moving on to the next circuit.


Before each circuit, do two to five minutes of butt kicks: Alternate bringing each heel backward toward your butt and lowering it again. For the advanced program, add a hop in-between knee lifts.


Strength training: Two sessions a week on non-consecutive days.

Cardio (NEW): Three sessions a week.

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Strength training (NEW): Three sessions a week on non-consecutive days.

Cardio (NEW): Three sessions a week, plus 10 minutes of additional cardio on two of your strength-training days.


1. Bench press

Beginner: 12-15 repetitions.

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Advanced: Perform with your head and shoulders on a resistance ball, feet on the floor and hips in the air (12-15 reps).

2. Wide row with stomach on ball

Beginner and advanced: Place your chest on a resistance ball and your feet against a wall. Holding a weight in each hand, place your arms on the floor on either side of the ball and row your elbows up to a 90-degree angle (12-15 reps).

3. Lunges

Beginner: Place the resistance ball between your lower back and the wall. Place your right foot forward and your left foot back. Bend both knees and lower your body toward the floor. Straighten back up to the starting position (10 reps each leg, holding light weights).

Advanced: Do the lunges without the support of the ball (12 reps each leg, holding light weights).


1. Biceps curl to shoulder press

Beginner: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a weight in each hand. Curl both hands up toward your shoulders, then press the weights up over your head. Slowly return to starting position (12-15 reps).

Advanced: Sit on the ball and lift one leg up in the air as you perform the exercise. (12-15 reps.)

2. French press

Beginner: Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and straighten your arms over

your shoulders. Bend at your elbows so the weights come down to either side of your ears (12-15 reps).

Advanced: Put your feet up on a resistance ball. As you straighten your arms lift your hips up in the air (12-15 reps).

3. Plank

Beginner: Hold 10-30 seconds.

Advanced: The exercise is the same, but come up onto your toes instead of your knees. Alternate lifting one leg off of the floor at a time (20 reps).


1. Push-ups

Beginner: 10-12 reps.

Advanced: Kneel in front of a resistance ball and then roll out so your legs are on the ball and your hands are on the floor. This week, add a knee tuck: As you push yourself away from the floor pull your knees into your chest. The ball should roll with your knees. Slowly return your legs back to the start position and go directly back into your push-up (8-10 reps).

2. Bent-over rows

Beginner and advanced: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in each hand. Hinge forward at your hips. Start with your arms straight and perpendicular to the floor, palms facing each other. Row your elbows up toward the ceiling, then slowly lower (12-15 reps).

3. Squat

Beginner: Place a resistance ball between your lower back and a wall. Place your feet about a foot farther forward than your hips. Bend at hips and knees and lower your bum to the floor. Press back up to the starting position (15 reps, holding light weights).

Advanced: Perform with no ball (15 reps, holding light weights).


Beginner: This week, aim for three sessions instead of two. Return to the version of cardio you were doing in week one, which was 30-minute sessions on a different machine each day. Keep your heart rate 60-85 per cent of your max for the duration of your workout.

Advanced: This week, aim to do three stand-alone cardio sessions and tack on an extra 10 minutes of cardio to two of your strength workouts. Two of your cardio-only workouts should be 30-45 minutes in duration. Keep your heart rate 60-85 per cent of your max. Try to do different activities for each of your workouts. Also, do one day of interval training: Do a five-minute warm up and then do five sets where you alternate two minutes of intense effort with three minutes of more moderate activity. Cool down for five minutes.

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