February Workout Challenge

Yes, it’s entirely possible that the last year of your workout life has been boring. And we get it. Especially if you’ve been training at home, you’ve had limited equipment, or maybe no equipment at all. And that means you can’t exactly dive into exotic exercises or use all the machines at your gym. And you can’t always find ways to keep things interesting.

The thing is, that’s not only shortchanging your mind and your workout excitement, it may also be shortchanging your body. The human body isn’t meant to exist on pushups, sit-ups, and squats alone. Yes, those are fundamentals, but your body is built to change directions and move in more versatile ways and doing so bulletproofs you against injury and helps you build real-world strength. (Oh, and it’ll make you better at all those pushups and squats as well.)

That’s why this month’s workout is going to get you moving in different planes and in different ways. Do it three to four times a week. Stay active on all other days, taking a walk or run, or working through a mobility routine.

Directions:

Do this workout 3 or 4 times a week. Warm up with 1 minute each of planks, reverse lunges, and jumping jacks, then jump right into the action. Do the exercises in order. Do each move for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat each move for 4 sets. Rest 1 minute between each exercise. Use either a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Goblet Lateral Step to Squat

Move yourself laterally with this squat sequence. Lateral movement is something we often neglect, but it’ll blast your glutes, and challenge your abs. Start standing, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell at your chest, core tight. Take a step to the right, first with your right foot, and then with your left. As soon as your left foot hits the ground, lower into a squat, thighs parallel to the ground. Stand back up. Repeat with a step to the left, followed by a squat.

Do 4 sets, working for 40 seconds each set, resting for 20.

Single-Arm Rotational Thruster

Start standing, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell with your right hand at your right shoulder. Squat down, then stand up explosively. As you stand, press the weight overhead, straightening your right arm. Twist your torso to the left, pivoting off your right foot and driving onto your right toes. Return to the start position and repeat.

Do 2 sets on each side, working for 40 seconds each set, resting for 20.

Position-Switch Step Pushup Count Up

Start in pushup position, hands slightly wider than shoulder width, core tight. Lower into a pushup. Drive back to a start position. Walk your hands close to each, so they’re slightly narrower than shoulder-width. Keeping your elbows close to your body, lower into a pushup; drive back up. Walk your hands back to standard position; this time do 2 pushup reps; then walk them close for 2 pushup reps.

Continue this pattern for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Do 3 sets.

Bent-Over Single-Arm Row with Rotation

Start standing, a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand held at your hip. Hinge forward and lower your torso until it’s at a 45-degree angle with the ground. Lock in your abs so your hips and shoulders stay square to the ground. Row the weight toward your right rib cage. Pause. Then rotate your right shoulder slightly higher than the ground. Lower. That’s 1 rep.

Do reps for 40 seconds, then rest 20 seconds. Do 2 sets per side.
Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Fitness Director for Men’s Health Magazine and CSCS trainer -

Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience. He's logged training time with NFL and track athletes, and his current training regimen includes weight training, HIIT conditioning, and yoga. Before joining Men's Health in 2017, he served as a sports and tech columnist for the New York Daily News.