Celebrity personal trainer Alexa Towersey’s holiday workout for women

Five exercises that will help keep you fit and toned over the indulgent festive season

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 December, 2015, 8:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 December, 2015, 8:02am

Even 20 minutes of movement at a high intensity can be beneficial for maintaining tone and providing a psychological boost over the coming holiday, says celebrity personal trainer Alexa Towersey.

“My moves are all dual purpose – focusing on opening the front of the body, and strengthening the back of the body to improve posture, core strength and decrease injury.

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“I advocate spending time on a dynamic warm-up to switch on the nervous system, identify and address any structural imbalances, improve range of motion and reinforce correct movement patterns.”

After the warm-up, do the five exercises continuously without rest, taking only 45 to 90 seconds of rest at the end of each circuit. Aim to do the circuit three to five times.

The warm-up

Reverse lunge

Opens the front of the hips and strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and VMO of the front leg.

Start with feet together and step back with one leg reaching the arms overhead and driving the back hip underneath you to create length along the front of the hip. Weight is always on the front heel. Alternate legs.

Do 12 reps each side.


One of the major exercises I use as part of a dynamic warm-up to activate the glutes before the actual workout.

Lying on your side, bend your knees up to a 90-degree angle. Line up your heels with your lower back and shoulder blades as if you were lying against a wall. Keeping the heels together and the hips facing forwards (don’t roll backwards) open the knees and squeeze the top of the glutes.

Do 30 reps each side.

The circuit

1. Glute bridge

The ultimate “booty building” exercise which strengthens the glutes, while opening up the front of the hips.

Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance underneath the knees. Drive the hips up through the heels to a table-top position, keeping your neck in line with the spine, and pause to squeeze the glutes together at the top of the movement for a couple of seconds. Control yourself as you lower your butt to touch the ground, then repeat. Turn the feet out and place a resistance band around the knees to increase glute activation.

Do 15 – 20 reps.

2. Lateral lunge

Strengthens, tightens and tones the glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs of the working leg, while lengthening the inner thighs of the non-working leg.

Step wide to one side; turn the toe out to 45 degrees. Aligning hip, knee and second toes and squat down pushing your butt back and keeping the other leg straight. Weight on the heel throughout and try to stay as upright as possible.

Do 12 to15 reps each side. Try and get deeper each rep and each set.

3. Sumo squat

Perfect for lifting and shaping the butt and top of the hamstrings.

Feet wide and turned out, knees must track toes throughout. Squat low staying as upright as possible driving the knees out, then draw everything in and pull up through the heels, squeezing the butt at the top. Add water bottles for extra weights.

Do 15 to 20 reps.

4. Bicycle

This is the one exercise that uses every single abdominal muscle.

Lying on your back, bring the legs to tabletop position. Aim the armpit towards the opposite bent knee while the other leg straightens, then switch. Keep the elbows wide and focus on rotating from the ribs, not the head and neck. Keep the alignment through the hip, knee, second toe throughout and don’t let the hips rock from side to side.

Do for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Plank

The best way to train the abs for women is to focus on drawing the belly button in (think planking) not pushing it out (crunches).

Either with arms straight (focuses more on the shoulders) or bent (focuses more on the abs) push your legs straight back behind you and focus on drawing the belly-button in throughout to create a vacuum-like effect. Squeeze your butt throughout. Add difficulty by lifting your knee to touch your elbow.

Do for 30 to 60 seconds.