Get into your party dress in a fortnight — part 2

Exercises to get you fit for Christmas

Try these exercises to get you into shape for Christmas and fit into your party dress in time for the festive season.

Get in shape for your party dress

The strength circuit

Perform the strength circuit after your daily dose to save time warming-up. On days where there is no daily dose, warm up for at least five minutes by walking, marching on the spot and performing some general gentle circling, bending and extending motions.

Aim to do one set of each exercise (the number of repetitions suggested is shown in each case) and then repeat the whole sequence again. Do the exercises in the order shown to give muscles that have just worked a chance to recover before they are called upon again.

Squat jumps

Works 70 per cent of the body’s musculature, according to studies, including pretty much every muscle below the belt!

Stand with feet below hipbones, tummy gently pulled in and arms relaxed by your sides. Lower your bottom down into a squat position (thighs close to parallel to the floor, knees behind toes) and then leap up as high as you can, landing straight back into the next squat. You can use your arms to help propel you.

Aim for eight repetitions.


Works back of the arms, upper back and shoulders.

Shuffle to the front of a low coffee table or use your bottom stair, with your hands gripping the edge (fingers pointing forwards) and your shoulders pressed back and down. Your legs should be bent, feet flat on the floor. Now, lower yourself towards the ground by bending the arms but do not allow the shoulders to roll forwards. Only go so far as to create a right angle at the elbow joint. Execute each repetition slowly, focusing on using the muscles at the back of the upper arm to push you up.

Aim for 12 repetitions.

Ball curl-ups

Works the abdominals.

Sit on a fit ball close to a wall and maneuver yourself so that your feet are against the wall and you are facing it. Lie back on the ball, with fingers lightly supporting your head and position your bottom at the very front of the ball’s surface. Now draw your navel to spine and curl the shoulders and torso upward. Pause then lower and repeat.

Aim for 16 repetitions.

Lunge with overhead press

Works the bottom, thighs, shoulders and back of upper arms.

You’ll need a little coordination for this one! Stand with feet below hipbones, and a weight in each hand, resting on your shoulders. Lunge forward with your right leg, bending the knee and allowing the left foot to come off the floor and the left knee to travel towards the floor. Simultaneously, extend the arms overhead – lifting the weights straight up, with palms facing forwards. As you return the right leg to the start position, lower the weights back to the shoulders. Lift them again as you step forward with the left leg.

Aim for 12 alternating repetitions.

Ball pullover

Works upper and mid back and chest and stabilizing muscles.

Take a weight in both hands (hold the stem with both hands) and carefully lower yourself back on to a fit ball, with the weight suspended directly over your chest. Stabilise yourself by keeping the bottom and ab muscles tight and your pelvis level, and then extend the weight up and over your head, allowing the arms to slightly bend as the weight lowers behind you. Pause, then without arching your back, draw the weight back to the start position and repeat.

Aim for eight repetitions.

Step-ups with biceps curl

Works hips, thighs bottom and biceps.

Stand in front of a step between ankle height and just below the knee (the lower the easier) with a weight in each hand. Step up with the right foot, ensuring the foot goes fully on to the step with heel down. As you step up, bend both arms, to bring the weights in towards the shoulders. As you step down, lower the weights by straightening the arms. Now step up with the left foot, repeating the arm curl.

Aim for 20 repetitions.

Incline push up with rear leg lift

Works chest, upper arms, shoulders, bottom and back of thighs.

Stand a metre in front of a sturdy table and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge. Draw your navel to spine and bring your body into a straight line from the heels to the crown. Now, lower your chest towards the table by bending the arms at the elbow. Simultaneously, extend one leg behind you, really squeezing the bottom to lift it. Lower the leg as you straighten the arms. Lift the other leg as you perform the next rep and continue to alternate for the rest of the set.

Aim for 12 repetitions.

Ball roll in

Works core stabilizers, abdominals, chest, front of shoulders, upper arms and hip flexors.

Lie face down over a fit ball, and shunt forward until just your knees are on the ball, and your weight is supported on your hands, arms shoulder width apart. Contract the abdominals and tilt the pelvis so your back is in a straight line with the legs. Now curl the ball in towards your chest by contracting the abs and rolling the ball towards your torso with your lower legs. Hips should never be below shoulder height - keep shoulders drawn back. Do the move slowly, with control four to five seconds each way.

Aim for eight repetitions.

Bridge with fly

Works glutes (bum), lower back and inner thighs and chest

Lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and a cushion, rolled-up towel or foam ball between your knees and a weight in each hand, held extended above the chest. Raise the body up by rolling through the spine enough to allow the pelvis to clear the floor, squeezing the cushion with your inner thighs to maintain the position. Visualise your knees moving away from your body. Now, holding this position, lower your arms out to the sides at nipple level (keeping the elbows slightly bent). Pause just before they reach the floor and return arms to start position. Complete all repetitions while maintaining the pelvic bridge.

Aim for eight repetitions.

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