When Kayla Itsines crafts a workout, the purpose isn’t to help women gain muscle or lose weight. She says, “It’s designed to help women feel fitter, stronger and more confident.”
Since she debuted her first Bikini Body Guide (aka BBG, a PDF exercise and nutrition plan) in 2014, the personal trainer has grown to have more than 14 million followers on Facebook and Instagram. Now her Sweat With Kayla app, released at the end of last year, offers new workouts and a name that focuses on exercise as opposed to body image.
Her signature 28-minute, high-intensity resistance training allows you to work out at whatever intensity is right for you. The following sweat session, courtesy of Itsines, will complement your running. She says it’s important to listen to your body and rest when you need to, and if you miss a workout, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone is different, and what one woman may struggle with, another may not.
“I find commandos challenging! I absolutely love burpees, because they help work multiple muscle groups,” Itsines says. “The program itself doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger, which is extremely rewarding and motivating.”
28-Minute Full-Body Workout
The following workout comprises two rounds of two circuits, each lasting 7 minutes. Beforehand, warm up for 5 minutes with some fast walking. Start by setting your timer for 7 minutes and aim to complete the exercises in Circuit 1 as many times as you can before the alarm goes off. Take a 30-second break. Reset your timer to 7 minutes and complete Circuit 2. Take another 30-second break, and complete the sequence with Circuits 1 and 2 again for your full 28-minute workout! Cool down afterward by stretching for 5 to 10 minutes.
Do this workout up to three times per week, preferably not on back-to-back days or on hard running days. Listen to your body, and take at least one full rest day to allow for recovery.
Circuit 1 (Lower Body): Do as many times as you can in 7 minutes!
Sumo Squat Jump: 15 Reps
Burpee + Pushup: 10 Reps
Static Lunge: 24 Reps (12 per side)
In + Out Jump Squat: 20 Reps (10 in, 10 out)
1—Sumo Squat Jump
Plant both feet on the floor, farther than shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outward. (a) Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees point toward your toes, until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. This is called sumo squat position. (b) Propel your body upward into the air, extending your legs before (c) landing back into sumo squat position with “soft” knees to prevent injury.
2—Burpee + Pushup
Plant both feet on the floor slightly farther than shoulder-width apart. (a) Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, and place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. (b) Kick both of your feet back so that your legs are completely extended behind you with your body in one straight line. (c/d) Maintain a straight back and complete one pushup. (e) Jump your feet in toward your hands, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart. (f) Propel your body upward into the air. Extend your legs below you and your arms above your head before landing with “soft” knees.
Plant both feet on the floor slightly farther than shoulder-width apart. (a) Take a big step forward with your right foot and (b) lower into a lunge. If done correctly, your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering just off the floor. Gently touch your right knee on the floor before extending both knees. Complete half of the specified number of repetitions on the same leg, before completing the remaining repetitions on the other side.
4—In + Out Jump Squat
Plant both feet together on the floor. (a) Bend your knees slightly and (b) propel your body upward into the air before (c) landing in sumo (wide) squat position. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. (d) Propel your body upward into the air again before (e) landing in a neutral standing position.
Circuit 2 (Upper Body): Do as many times as you can in 7 minutes!
In + Out Pushup: 20 Reps (10 in, 10 out)
Snap Jump: 15 Reps
X Mountain Climber: 40 Reps (20 per side)
Straight-Leg Situp + Twist: 30 Reps (15 per side)
1—In + Out Pushup
(a) Place both hands on the floor slightly farther than shoulder-width apart and both feet together behind you. (b) Quickly jump both feet outward so that they are wider than your hips. (c) While maintaining a straight back and stabilizing through your abdominals, bend your elbows and lower your torso toward the floor until your arms form a 90-degree angle. (d) Push through your chest and extend your arms to lift your body back up and jump your feet in.
Plant both feet on the floor slightly farther than shoulder-width apart. (a) Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, and place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. (b) Keeping your body weight on your hands, kick both of your feet backward so that your legs are completely extended behind you. (c) Jump your feet in toward your hands, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart.
3—X Mountain Climber
(a) Get into a pushup position. (b) Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee into your chest and toward your left elbow. (c) Extend your right leg and return to the starting position. (d) Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee into your chest and toward your right elbow. Extend your left leg and return to the starting position. Gradually increase speed, ensuring that the moving leg does not touch the floor.
4—Straight-Leg Situp + Twist
(a) Start by lying straight on your back on the floor, and place both hands behind your ears. Engage your abdominal muscles. (b) Keeping your heels firmly planted on the floor, slowly lift your head, shoulder blades and torso odd of the floor. Ensure that it is your abdominals that initiate the movement; do not use your arms to “swing” your torso up. As you sit up, extend your right arm and twist over the left side of your body. Slowly untwist and lower your torso back into the starting position. Repeat using your left arm and twist over the right side of your body.