According to Halle Berry herself, working with trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak got her into the best shape of her life. According to a few of the trainer’s other celeb clients like Megan Fox, one of Harley’s claims to fame is a super-effective workout in just 20 to 30 minutes. That (and his clients’ aspirational physiques) caught our attention and we figured we could all use a few more fitness routines to keep us all inspired and energized now.
Harley Pasternak is also the Four Seasons’ Global Fitness Advisor and has learned a thing or two about helping people work out while living in a small space like a hotel room. With more people working out at home right now than ever before, we asked Harley to share a quick, equipment-free workout with us and his classic circuit is just what we needed…
Plank | The plank is a great way to engage the mid-section without pulling your neck or wrenching your lower back, as one does with a crunch or sit-up. This simple yet effective exercise engages the abdominals to build core strength while avoiding putting any additional strain on the spine.
To engage a neutral spine position, start on your forearms and toes, then lift and straighten out your back while contracting your abdominals by imagining bringing your belly button and sternum together.
pike plank | A challenging variation is the pike plank. From your standard plank position, tilt your head inward towards your toes to round out the spine, then return to the neutral position looking towards your hands, contracting your abdominals as you move. Repeat this movement to create a crunch-like motion.
Spider Plank | To engage the obliques, try the Spider Plank. This variation involves starting on your forearms and toes in a normal plank position. From there, bring your left knee up to your left elbow, and then back to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side, bringing your right knee up to your right elbow.
If you’re looking to take your Spider Plank one step further to engage your transverse abs, add a twisting motion by bringing your left knee to your right elbow and vice versa.
Skater Lunge | Unlike the traditional lunge, which focuses on your lower body, the Skater Lunge engages your glutes, quadriceps and your core all at once.
Start by dropping your right knee behind your left heel. Then switch sides, drop your left knee behind your right heel, and repeat.
Harley’s tip: make sure you drop your knee straight down behind your heel instead of rocking towards either side.
Superman | The superman is one of Harley’s favorite posterior chain exercises, as it isolates the lower back muscle and hits the lower glutes at the same time.
Start by laying face down on a mat, then place fingers against the temples while pushing elbows outwards. Lift the chest and thighs off the ground simultaneously, relax, and repeat. For an added challenge, try only lifting the left arm and right leg, then alternate sides.
Hip Thrusts | The hip thrust is a great way to train your posterior chain. Start by positioning yourself with your shoulder blades flat on the side of an adjustable bench, laying off the side of the bench with the arms extended, your feet flat on the group and knees bent in front of you.
Drop your hips towards the ground, then bring them back towards the ceiling and repeat. For an extra push, lift one foot off the ground while dropping the hips, then repeat on the other side.
Push-Ups | The push up is a great way to engage the chest, shoulders, arms and abdominals, and can be performed wherever there is a floor, bench, wall or anything to lean on.
Start on your hands and toes, with the palms of your hands placed directly below the shoulders. With your back straight and core engaged, lower your whole body towards the ground, and push back up driving through the palms and contracting the chest at the top. For variation, bring the hands wider OR bring the hands together so that the thumbs touch, and repeat the same steps.
For another variation to ease into the advanced version, or when becoming tired, place the hands directly below the shoulders, but bring your knees to the ground and cross the legs over each other, then drop your body towards the ground, push back up, and repeat.
In addition, another variation is performing the push-up in an elevated, standing position, pushing against a bench, table, or other firm object.
The Home Stretch | To finish the routine, Harley recommends this simple yet effective series of stretches to release tension in the hamstrings, glutes, hips, adductors and hip flexors.
Start by sitting on an adjustable bench and place your left leg on the bench in front of you inclining upwards. Lean your chest slightly toward until you feel your hamstring opening. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds on each leg.
Then bring your foot towards your core so it sits parallel with the side of the bench, and similarly lean your chest forward until you feel a stretch through the hip area. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds on each leg.
Now bring the soles of the feet feet together towards the core and place your forearms parallel to the shins and push the knees down to stretch the adductors. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
Finally, give your hip flexor a stretch by placing the left foot straight in front of you, with the right leg extended on the bend, with your knee in the crevice, and contract your glutes to feel the stretch in your hip flexor. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds on each leg.
Want more workouts? If anything, Harley’s workout above reminds us just how simple and straight-forward getting fit can be. Find more favorite TCM workouts here.