May 20, 2022

A Cardio Legs, Shoulders, and Abs Workout That’ll Make You Breathless

The workout below is for Day 1 of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge. Check out…

The workout below is for Day 1 of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge. Check out the full four-week workout program right here. Or go to the workout calendar here. If you’d like to sign up to receive daily emails for this challenge, you can do that here.

Welcome to Day 1 of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge! We can’t wait for you to see what’s in store throughout this month-long program, starting with this total-body HIIT workout.

Over the next four weeks, you’ll complete 20 transformational workouts designed to increase your strength, build muscle, improve your cardio endurance, and get sweaty. As SELF’s associate director of fitness and food, and an ACE-certified personal trainer, I created this program to help you build fitness on two different fronts: through strength training and cardio routines. During the course of the program, you’ll get stronger and build on your endurance.

So here’s a quick overview of what you can expect over the course of the next four weeks. Each week, you’ll complete five different workouts (and enjoy two sweet rest days). The workouts will differ each week, but they’ll be structured the same: Each week, you’ll be tasked with three strength training workouts and two cardio HIIT routines. Your strength training days, which will require dumbbells, will be broken up into one upper-body workout, one lower-body workout, and one total-body workout. Your cardio HIIT routines, which will be made up only of bodyweight moves, will include one total-body HIIT workout and one cardio-core HIIT routine.

These workouts will be challenging on their own, but if you’re looking for an extra dose of heat, you can try our optional finishers at the end of each routine. Your finishers in the first two weeks of the program will be 60 seconds of a bonus move. As you progress, your finishers will, too: The last two weeks you’ll end with four rounds of EMOMs (which stands for “every minute on the minute”), where you’ll perform two moves back-to-back for the prescribed number of reps, and then rest for the remainder of the minute, before starting the next round.

Your first workout on tap for the 2022 Spring Challenge is a cardio total-body HIIT workout, but before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about what to expect on your cardio days throughout the challenge. (We’ll get into what to expect on the strength days on Day 2, since that’ll be your first strength workout!) Your weekly total-body HIIT routine will be a low-impact workout, which basically means you won’t be jumping. Your second weekly cardio workout, your cardio-core HIIT routine, will really hone in on your core, and will bring explosive or plyometric moves into the mix to crank up the sweat factor. Of course, in these routines—and in all routines in the 2022 Spring Challenge—you can always modify moves or programming to best fit what your body needs.

Today’s routine is a cardio legs, shoulders, and abs circuit that’ll definitely leave you breathless. There’s no jumping, but because the circuit includes two compound moves—exercises that recruit big muscle groups—in the form of the sumo squat and the elevated push-up, all of your muscles will be working. Combine that with HIIT-based programming, and you’ll be sweating by the time the routine is done. You’ll also really hit your core with this routine, plus work the small muscles in the back of your shoulders, which can help reduce injury when you strength train as well as improve your posture.

One quick note on HIIT: If you’re new to working out, you may want to start with the HIIT option that’s more evenly split between work and rest, rather than one where you’re working longer than you’re resting. And regardless of whether you’re just getting started, quality wins out over quantity every time with HIIT. That means it’s more important to perform the move correctly with proper form rather than to rush through the move to get a few more reps in. If you ever find your form starts to falter, that’s a sign to slow down and focus on it!

Before you begin a workout—especially a HIIT-based one—it’s important to warm up your muscles so you don’t go into the routine cold. This will help increase your blood flow and get you into the mental headspace to work out—along with these other warm-up benefits. Here’s a suggestion of a quick warm-up routine that’ll prep you for what comes next.

Keep scrolling for the details on how to do your very first workout of the SELF 2022 Spring Challenge—a cardio legs, shoulders, and abs routine that’ll make you sweat!

WORKOUT DIRECTIONS

Complete each exercise for the chosen work/rest interval:

I = 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
II = 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest
III = 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest

Rest 60 seconds between rounds. Complete 2 to 5 rounds.

EXERCISES

  • Sumo Squat
  • Elevated Push-up
  • Flutter Kick
  • I-Y-T Raise

BONUS MOVE

After your last circuit, try the bonus move for 60 seconds.

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