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Shape studio: This total-body workout is the ultimate pick-me-up

You know about the post-workout mood lift, but it turns out there’s also a big-picture link between getting exercise and having a brighter outlook. Regular total-body workout improves your mental state in such multifaceted ways that they may add up to a self-perpetuating feel-good feedback loop.

“Optimism predicts a range of healthy behaviours, including physical activity,” says Michael Milona, PhD, the author of the recent report Hope and Optimism, a review of the latest science on health and the glass-half-full mindset. Experts like Milona hypothesize that the reverse is likely true, that getting a routine can turn on your optimism. To jump-start the cycle, try this new Shape Studio plan tailor-made to bring on a great headspace, courtesy of trainer Danyele Wilson.

She’s a master of mixing workouts for all levels, but there’s one thing Wilson tells everyone who follows her classes on the Tone & Sculpt app: Train like an athlete.

“The best way to snap into that mindset is to have a goal to reach,” says Wilson, who swears by the higher-purpose uplift it brings to your effort. “Do some performance tests before you start a program as a benchmark.” How many squats can you complete in a minute? Push-ups? Burpees? How long can you hold a plank?

Bet you’ll beat those digits in a few weeks of Wilson’s exclusive Shape Studio workout video this month — and feel Olympian doing the drills like snatches and sprinter sit-ups. You’ll need a set of dumbbells for these two four-move circuits that have you going for 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off and finishing with a fast feet blast. “It’s always a boost of confidence when you tell yourself, ‘I’ve done this before, so I know I can do it again,'” she says. Here, try Wilson’s total-body pick-me-up.

Total-body workout to boost optimism

How it works: Start with the dynamic warm-up (optional), doing each move for 30 seconds. Do each move in the first circuit for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Once you’re completed the first circuit, repeat it twice more. Do the same with the second circuit, then close out the workout with the finisher.

You’ll need: a set of medium-weight dumbbells

Dynamic warm-up (Optional):

Do each move for 30 seconds.

  • Alternating knee hug
  • Alternating hip opener to squat
  • Hamstring scoop
  • Alternating lateral squat
  • Alternating world’s greatest stretch
  • Bird dog
  • Jumping jacks

Circuit 1: Dumbbell box squat

total body workout
Image: Courtesy Sergio Pedemonte/Unsplash

A. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart in front of a chair, box, or bench.
B. Push hips back and bend at the knees to descend into a squat, tapping glutes on the box lightly without fully releasing tension or sitting down.
C. Brace core, pause, and then drive hips upward to return to start.

Repeat for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 1: Drop squats

A. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart.
B. Jump your feet out while lowering into a squat. At the same time, reach the left hand between legs to tap the floor, right arm relaxed behind the back.
C. Jump feet back in, returning to start. Repeat, alternating the hand that touches the ground.

Repeat for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 1: Dumbbell single-leg RDL

A. Stand on the right foot with the left toes just touching the floor for balance, holding dumbbells in both hands by sides.
B. Keeping hips square, lower dumbbells down along the standing leg, stopping at shin-height, while extending the left leg backward as a counter balance.
C. Engage the right glute and hamstring to lift the dumbbells along the front side of the body, stand, and return to start.

Repeat for 20 seconds. Switch sides; repeat. Rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 1: High knee run and stick

A. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
B. Do three quick high knees, starting with the left leg. Arms should be in a runner’s position, switching with each high knee, so that the arm opposite the lifted leg is always forward.
C. On the last high knee, pause with knee lifted and hold for 1 second.
D. Then repeat from start, beginning the high knees on the opposite leg. Repeat, alternating which leg starts.

Repeat for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds. Repeat circuit one twice more before moving to circuit two.

Circuit 2: Dumbbell snatch

A. Stand with feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward, a dumbbell in between feet. Squat and grab the dumbbell with the right hand, palm facing body, and elbow fully extended.
B. Forcefully extend the hips, knees, and ankles. As the lower-body joints fully extend, rapidly shrug the shoulder of the arm holding the dumbbell, and drive the elbow up so it’s pointing out to the side. As the shoulder reaches its highest point, flex the elbow holding the dumbbell to begin pulling the body under the dumbbell. The dumbbell should pass as close to the torso as possible. (At this point, the upper body and torso will be upright, and the feet may slightly lose contact with the floor.)
C. After gaining control and balance, stand up fully, dumbbell stacked directly over the shoulder.
D. Reverse the movement to slowly lower the dumbbell from the overhead position first to the shoulder, then the thigh, and finally to the floor between the feet, using a squatting movement to return to start. Reposition the dumbbell and repeat on the opposite side.

Continue alternating for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 2: Dead bug with tension

A. Lie face-up on the floor with arms extended straight up above shoulders, legs in a tabletop position, lower back pushed into the ground.
B. Push one hand against the opposite knee while simultaneously pushing knee against hand, creating tension in the core.
C. Lower the opposite arm and leg toward the floor, fully extended, ensuring your lower back remains pressed into the floor. Switch sides; repeat.

Continue alternating for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 2: Dumbbell chest press glute bridge

A. Start in a glute bridge holding a dumbbell in each hand over chest to start. (Lie face-up on the floor with feet flat on the floor and knees pointing up. Press into both feet and engage glutes to lift hips off the floor, forming a straight line from shoulders to knees.)
B. Holding the dumbbells a few inches above chest, elbows at a neutral angle to start. Press both dumbbells upward until arms are fully extended over chest.
C. Pause and slowly lower dumbbells back to start.

Repeat for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds.

Circuit 2: Sprinter sit-up

A. Start lying on the ground, legs fully extended, arms resting by sides.
B. Initiate the movement by explosively sitting up as far as possible, driving right arm forward and drawing the left knee to chest so that it looks like a sprinting motion.
C. Lower your body and return to your starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.

Continue alternating for 40 seconds; rest for 20 seconds. Repeat circuit two twice more before moving on to the finisher.

Finisher: Fast feet run to drop

A. Start standing with feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Lower into a quarter squat position, balancing on the balls of feet, and keep arms active out in front of body.
B. Holding this body position, chop feet as fast as possible while remaining in place, staying low and keeping arms active.
C. Continue for 4 seconds, then quickly drop into a push-up position and lower chest to the ground. Pop back up to return to fast feet as quickly as possible.

Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat twice more.

This story first appeared on www.shape.com

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