Summer is finally here, which means it’s the perfect time to exercise outdoors! Outdoor workouts are great because you can bathe in the glorious sunshine and reap the extra health benefits of the vitamin D exposure from the rays. Getting active in the sun can be social too; get your friends or family to join you so that you can all get fit together! No more hours spent staring at a blank wall in the gym, it’s time to get out there and learn to enjoy moving again!
This outdoor workout can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment so you can do it whenever the mood strikes. Maybe in your garden, while the kids play, or maybe in the park with your friends. Always remember to warm up properly before a workout and stay hydrated by always having a water bottle with you.
The first round is a small circuit comprising of 5 exercises. Aim to complete each exercise for 60 seconds with no rest. If you are a beginner or you have an underlying injury, take it at your own pace and rest whenever you need. If you want more information on how to do an exercise, click the name of the exercise.
The second round is based on a Tabata style of HIIT training. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training and is a great way to burn fat and get fit. Tabata consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, and you can repeat that as many times as you like with as many different exercises as you like. In this workout, you'll be completing 8 rounds (1 round = 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest) to last 4 minutes with all different exercises. Go straight from one round to the next until you are finished.
Your final round is based more on body-weight strength training. You don't need equipment to have a good workout! Complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each of the following exercises with 30-60 seconds of rest in between each one. This is a full body workout which will target every muscle group. Take the exercises slow and perform each repetition with care, focussing on the muscle under tension.
Well done for completing the Sundried Summer Workout! On completion of this workout, you should really be feeling the effects! If not, you can either work harder or make the exercises tougher! Remember, exercise is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, and you should fuel your body with nutritious food afterwards. If you find a particular workout boring, don't make yourself suffer by doing it! Find something you love, and you will find that staying fit has never been so easy.
Part of our wedding workout guide.
Create slender thighs for your garter to slip over. Wedding workout four ups the ante, we’re working on legs - your biggest muscle group. Why do we work the biggest muscle group? Bigger muscles mean more energy is needed to use them and what does that equal? More calories burned. Warning - What I wouldn’t do is train legs in the last few days before your big day, not unless you fancy tumbling down the aisle like a newborn calf.
Before we start:
Before we get ahead of ourselves, there is an important rule one must abide by when completing this workout.
Let me hear you say it ladies:
“Thou shalt not wear see through leggings”
When you're squatting, lunging and with this workout, jumping all over the place, you need to be able to trust that your leggings are protecting your dignity and see through leggings could see you making your big debut long before your wedding night. Sundried Ruinette tights are not only comfortable, they offer complete coverage of your behind through a full range of motion. They also have a double fastening waist secured with both a flat elastic band and a drawstring, for that personalised fit you can guarantee will go no where, so you can squat down low without your gym tights following suit. Now we’ve got that one cleared up, it’s time to get going.
Jog on the spot: 3 minutes, this is a light jog to start elevating your heart rate.
Pelvis and hip openers
This workout requires a lot from your hips and pelvis, so it’s important you warm up effectively. To wake up your hips and pelvis we start by bending one leg to bring your knee up in front of your chest and then circle your knee out away from your body, opening up your hip flexors. Repeat this 10 times per each leg.
This time we’re going for deep squats, taking our legs gently through the full range of motion. Start with your feet just outside of shoulder width and point your toes out. Squat down as low as you can, your bum should be hovered over the floor, with your thighs and calves pressing. Complete 10-20 deep squats to give your legs a preview of what’s to come.
Lunge with Torso Rotations
The final warm up exercise is a lunge with torso rotations. With each lunge forward, twist your body towards the outside of your hips. Complete 10 per side.
Legs workout - AMRAP
For this workout we suggest you go for 30 minutes - AMRAP - as many rounds as possible, however if you’re a wedding warrior, please feel free to bump up the time!
Squat jump with floor touch
Start by standing with your feet together and jump both legs into a squat simultaneously, as you do, touch a hand to the floor before jumping back to the start position. Complete 20.
Jumping alternating lunges
Jump into a lunge sinking down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Explode up and switch legs, so you land in a lunge on the alternate side. Same deal, 20 reps, but we will let you off with 10 per side.
Facing forward lift your knee up and extend the lower leg to snap into a front kick, with your toes facing up, leading with the heel. No wussy kicks, imagine you’re kicking someone away from you, making sure to alternate between legs each time. 20 reps, 10 kicks per leg.
Try this one standing for an extra balance challenge and calorie burn. Bend your supporting leg to provide a bit of extra stability and then lift the other leg off the ground. Kick backwards leading with your heel. You should feel this one in your glutes (aka bum) if you’re not, have a check of your form! 10 kicks per leg.
It’s time for a cardio interval. For 30 seconds go flat out as fast as you can running up and down your stairs, if you live in a bungalow and can’t find a step, high knees will serve the same purpose, just keep the intensity high and get that heart rate rocketing!
For travelling squats, every step you take becomes a squat. Squat and step ladies, squat and step. 20 steps, 20 squats.
Grab a dumbbell in both hands, the heavier the better, with a minimum of 5 kg. Sink into a squat and swing the dumbbell through your legs and then up to in front of your face with your arms extended. As the dumbbell reaches in front of your face you should thrust your hips forwards, before returning to your squat position as the dumbbell passes through your legs.
Hip thrusters with pulses
Lay on your back and raise your hips up to the ceiling, lifting your bum off the floor. With your feet on the ground. Return your bum down until it hovers just above the floor before thrusting upwards again. Complete 20 of these full reps, followed by 20 small hip pulses at the top of the movement.
Those are all your exercises, but it’s not over yet! Whizz back to the start and carry on, remember it's a war against the clock so keep going until your time’s up.
Cool down Yoga
Once your 30 minutes are up, however exhausted you are don’t skip the cool down, it’s part of your recovery. Yoga poses can be a great way of relieving tired muscles and these stretches will help prevent stiffness post workout, although you should expect to ache when you’ve worked that hard.
Recline hero pose
The recline hero pose provides a deep stretch to the thighs, hip flexors and ankles and is an easy move to master - once you get the hang of it. Start by kneeling on the floor with your legs pressed together and feet very slightly wider than your hips. Keeping the tops of your feet flat on the floor with your toes facing towards you. Exhale and sit back in between your feet, without changing their position. From here you can then place your hands on the floor behind you and lean your weight backwards. Gradually lean back and shift your weight from your hands, down to your elbows and then lay yourself back against the floor completely opening your hip flexors and resting your arms by your side. Continue to the next pose by supporting yourself back up onto your elbows and then hands.
Sit down and bend your legs so that your feet are lined up touching. Now grab your feet and bring them as close to your body as possible. Now push your knees and thighs down as close to the ground as possible, gently lift and lower your knees (like butterfly wings) and then repeat, pushing your thighs to the ground. Exhale and bring your torso to the floor, inhale when you’re ready to return your chest slowly back up.
Wide angle seated forward bend
Staying in your seated position, now open your legs as widely as possible keeping your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Exhale and bring your torso forward, folding in half with your chest as close to the floor as possible. Inhale as you return to the start.
Half frog pose
Start by laying on your front and lift your chest up to the ceiling using your hands. Supporting yourself on one hand, use the other to reach and raise your foot towards your bum, folding your leg in half. Relax as you return the leg back down and reach to the opposite side with the opposite hand.
Thread the needle
Lay on your back, with your knees bent and feet on the ground. Cross one foot over the other leg so it rests on the thigh. Lift the other leg off the ground and feed your hand through the gap in your legs to pull your back leg up towards your face.
Whilst these stretches will aid recovery, it’s inevitable your legs are going to ache, to improve any discomfort you may experience, grab yourself a torture device… I mean foam roller. Foam rolling your calves is particularly important if you’re walking down the aisle in heels.
And when your partner laughs at your aching pins, warn him, next week we’re bringing in reinforcement, so he’d better grab his trainers!
What is fitness without movement? Does how much you can squat matter if you can’t bend over to tie your laces? Can you move your own bodyweight? Could you escape a burning building?
What is functional fitness?
Function is defined as “an activity that is natural to or the purpose of a person or thing”. Functional fitness therefore is being good at what we are naturally meant to do.
Why is functional fitness important?
A good level of fitness is important. We know this. Having a good level of fitness promotes better health and a longer lifespan, but why is functional fitness important?
Because functional fitness trains us for everyday life. Functional fitness trains the body for the stuff we do every day. The stuff we do without even thinking about it. The exercises mimic real life activities and are designed to allow you to perform your day to day activities more easily and without injury. Each exercise focuses on more than one body part – instead of just one muscle – so all of your muscles work together. This is important because all of our muscles depend on each other and are supposed to work together. By using our muscles together, we become more efficient.
The four pillars of functional training
Come on baby do the locomotion! Whatever you're doing, it will involve moving from point a to point b. Whether it’s skipping, jumping, jogging on running. In most movements where locomotion is required, single leg movements dominate. Functional training therefore includes lots of single leg movements designed to enhance functional movement patterns.
In everyday life we are often challenged to move from low to high. From seated to standing, bending over to pick things up and lift things from a to b. A great way to train for this is to vary the angles of your exercises and incorporate movements with level changes such as a single leg deadlift to shoulder press, or crossbody woodchopper, pulling the cable from low to high across the body.
Push and Pull
Push and pull movement make up almost every exercise, whether it's pushing and pulling weights, cables, objects or your bodyweight. These two movement patterns are fundamental to functional training. Most functional push and pull movements require you to push and pull whilst standing. So whilst a bench press wouldn’t be functional, a standing chest press using a cable machine would. With pulling motions, you’re typically pulling something towards you, often off the ground, and that’s where bent-over rows come in. Pull-ups are also great for training various grips required for sports, however rows are probably the best functional pulling move.
Rotation is required in most movements, we bend and twist to pick things up, to get dressed of a morning or to shoot in tennis or rugby. Rotation accelerates and decelerates movement, cables are great for training with rotation as they add resistance to regular movement patterns.
What makes an exercise functional?
An exercise becomes functional when it improves everyday function. If an exercise has a real life equivalent, it becomes functional. Yes, in real life you may not do a lunge with a medicine ball cross body rotation as such, but you may stagger your stance as you catch and twist to throw to another player in a netball match.
A pistol squat is often declared as a functional exercise, but how often do we squat down on one leg, extending the other in front of us? Not often. However this doesn’t mean the move isn’t functional as what the pistol squat does is takes a natural movement and accentuates it, making it more difficult and therefore forcing the body to improve when it has to recreate a similar movement pattern in real life.
Let your kids teach you..
When it comes to functional movements, your kids probably move far better than you. Children typically perform squats and deadlifts without anyone having to show them how and it is as we grow older and become ever more sedentary that these movements become unnatural. The bottom line? … Move like a child and you will move more functionally.
Functional muscle slings
When we talk about training functionally, we look at how muscles work together to support entire body movements. This means we look at how muscles connect to form a chain of reactions which create movement, identifying any weak links in that chain can improve performance. When we focus on muscles working together for function, we call these “muscle slings”. You can read about the movement patterns of each muscle sling.
Adding functional movement to any routine, will help improve your day to day function and keep your training varied.
Get Fit with 10,000 Steps
10,000 is the magic number for anyone with a fitness tracker, but why 10,000. What's the trick to this magical digit?
With more and more people tracking their every move with fitness trackers, what can 10,000 steps really do?
History of 10,000 Steps
The recommended 10,000 steps that we see so regularly on our wrists today actually ventured over from Japan. In the 19060’s Japanese Doctor Yoshiro Hatano was concerned about the rising levels of obesity in the Japanese people and so began to research the activity of the people of his culture. The doctor and his team found that the average person walked 3,000 - 5,000 steps a day. His research found that in order to burn just 20% of their daily calorie intake, most people would need to walk at least 10,000 steps a day.
Dr Hatano then created a pedometer called the “Manpo-Kei” meaning 10,000 steps meter.
The watches motivation and simplicity made it become very popular in Japanese culture and it remains popular to this day, so much so that the Japanese government have provided an accuracy measure which all pedometers must reach, of 3% accuracy for all pedometers sold in their country.
Fast forward to today and the 10,000 steps per day is being backed by huge federations such as the NHS, World Health Organisation, American Heart Association and the US Centers for Disease Control. It’s the number at everyone's wrist.
Research supporting 10,000 Steps
Today research has proven that tracking your steps can increase your daily activity and help to improve health. Research published in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine trialled the use of Fitbit as a physical fitness intervention in inactive, postmenopausal women. After 16 weeks of monitoring their activity with a Fitbit, those who wore a Fitbit were significantly more active than the control group and wore the tracker 95% of the time.
Research into the Influence of changes in physical activity on frequency of hospitalisation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease published in Respirology found that walking for two miles a day or more can cut your chances of hospitalisation from a severe episode of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about half.
Another study by The American Stroke Association found that daily walking reduced the risk of stroke in men over the age of 60. Walking for at least an hour or two could cut a man’s stroke risk by as much as one-third, and it didn’t matter how brisk the pace was. Taking a three-hour walk each day slashed the risk of stroke by two-thirds.
Walking is often underestimated as studies show that simply moving around that bit more can have an array of health benefits. However, we’d say walking isn’t exercise, more essential movement, like drinking water, we need it to stay healthy.
Since walking isn’t exactly exercise but essential movement you can do it everyday without needing any recovery days for your body to repair and regenerate, so it doesn’t require recovery time and the older you get the more important it becomes.
How far is 10,00 Steps?
The average person has a stride length 2.1 ft, or around 60cm, meaning it takes over 2,000 steps to walk a mile. To put it in a clearer perspective, 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles. A brisk 10 minute walk? 1,000 steps. The average inactive person walks anywhere between 3,000 to 7,000 steps a day, so for most reaching 10,000 steps would involve adding a 30-60 minute walk to their daily routine.
How many calories will I burn if I walk 10,000 steps a day?
A person aged 45 and weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) can burn around 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps briskly. If you're trying to lose weight, walking is very low impact and the real difference will come from your nutrition, you should aim to reduce your daily calorie intake by around 500 calories and look for nutrient rich whole foods.
10,000 Steps helps reverse the dangers of Sitting
Part of the 10,000 steps charm is that it gets you up and out of your chair, as sitting for too long has been found to increase your risk of death from multiple health issues such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Research has shown that sitting for more than 8 hours a day is associated with a 90% increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Aiming to reach 10,000 steps simply just by getting up and moving more can reduce your risk of these health issues. Sundried created the concept EHOH, every hour on the hour we get up and move for 5 minutes, doing a 5 minute workout which can be anything from a jog around the block to mountain climbers. For more on EHOH visit here: https://www.sundried.com/blogs/training/77412101-ehoh
Research also studied the effect of lunchtime walks on effectiveness of employees at work and found that lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work.
Walking was also found to improve quality of life for depressed middle-aged women. Those who averaged at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or just over 3.25 hours of walking each week reported feeling more energised and more social at their three-year follow ups.
For more in depth research see here: http://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-5868-8-79
If you’re ready to buy you next activity tracker, why not read some of our reviews here:https://www.sundried.com/blogs/reviews/tagged/wearables
Whilst 10,000 won’t get you super fit, it’s a step in the right direction.
Everyone remembers the dreaded bleep test at school, you’d be winded, huffing and puffing and willing your best friend to give up so you could finish one round ahead of them. Those bleeps aren't the only way we can test our levels of fitness.
Modern technology as well as traditional testing allows us to get a clearer picture of our level of fitness and identify strengths and weaknesses to help us improve.
There are hundreds of fitness tests out there, some good, some bad and some ugly. We’ve sifted through the masses to bring you our top fitness assessments.
When it comes to fitness, you’ve probably heard of this phrase, it’s hard to avoid the term VO2max if you're interested in exercise, but do you know what it means?
V02 max is simply your body’s ability to consume oxygen. This is effected by factors such as how adapted your muscles are to exercise and how much blood your heart can pump.
The most accurate VO2max tests take place in laboratories. Participants are masked up whilst running on a treadmill, with their effort getting progressively more intense. Your oxygen intake is monitored and your VO2 max occurs when the rate at which you uptake oxygen redlines, usually this takes a fast speed, bordering a sprint.
The units of oxygen are then measure per kilogram of bodyweight and your VO2max is calculated.
Whilst many new smart watches such as the Garmin 630 provide VO2 max readings, these are only estimates, as they don’t take into account the measure of ventilation, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of the inhaled and exhaled air. Whilst they may be a useful guess, don’t get caught up by the value you’ve been given.
VO2 Max Scores
Maximal oxygen uptake norms for men (ml/kg/min)
Maximal oxygen uptake norms for women (ml/kg/min)
When it comes to reading your V02max score, the higher the reading, the better.
Top VO2 Scores
How do you compare with these famous athletes?
VO2 max (ml/kg/min)
Espen Harald Bjerke
Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Tore Ruud Hofstad
Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Runner
A person who is fit, in the cardiorespiratory sense of the word, would have a higher VO2max than someone who is less fit. However, having a larger VO2max than someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean that you could beat them in a race. It means your body is more able to absorb and use oxygen to generate energy for your muscles, and this will certainly give you an edge, but what you are actually capable of doing with that energy depends on many other factors.
Sit and rise test
The sit and rise test looks specifically at musculoskeletal movement as a way to predict mortality.
Brazilian physician Dr. Claudio Gil Araújo, the developer of the test, says that if you struggle while attempting it, your risk of dying in the next five years may be five times greater than those who do the test with ease.
How to do the sit and rise test:
Step 1: Stand straight and barefooted. Without leaning or using support, lower yourself onto the floor into the sitting position with legs crossed.
Step 2: Stand back up without any support.
You get 5 points for sitting and 5 for standing. Minus 1 point every time you use your hands, forearm, knee, or place your hands on your legs. Minus half a point every time you lose your balance.
Good: The 8-10 range mean you've got the greatest life expectancy.
Fair: The 3.5-7.5 range means you've got a problem. You may be twice as likely to die than those in the good range.
Poor: 0-3 is a warning that, according to the test, you're five times more likely to die in the next six years than those in the good range.
The good news is that you can improve your score. Every point you move up the scale reduces your risk of death by 21 percent, according to Araújo's study. So get moving and exercising.
Developments in technology have led to fitness testing via DNA tests. Users are sent a swab which they wipe with their saliva and then send back. These tests claim to analyse your genes to determine what type of exercise and diet is best suited to you (or so they say). Depending on the provider and the chosen test, anywhere between five and thirty genes are tested for common variations known to impact on exercise and/or weight management.
The variations you are found to have can tell you what your body responds best to in terms of endurance versus power exercises, your rate of recovery following exercise, how well your body utilises carbohydrates or fats, and even your likelihood of being lactose or gluten intolerant.
Whilst these brands offer a great insight into how your genetics affect your fitness, this is very much an evolving industry and there is not enough conclusive evidence to support their accuracy as of yet. The DNA fit website states: “"DNA testing for nutrition and fitness is an emerging science. Knowledge is evolving rapidly but is still far from complete. DNAFit prides itself on basing its genetic analysis and recommendations on the best science available, but that science is dynamic and may not always be conclusive. DNAFit may benefit some people more than others, and in some cases possibly provide no benefit."
Wattbike 3 minute test
The latest Watt bikes offer a 3 minute aerobic test to monitor your fitness. During the test the aim is to ride at a pace you can maintain for 3 minutes. A more advanced cyclist will be good at pacing, but for beginners try not too start to strong and use all your power in the first 20 seconds, 3 minutes is a lot longer than you think when you're trying to go as fast as you can!
Following the 3 minutes the Wattbike will be able to tell you:
- MMP - This is the maximum amount of power you can produce per minute.
- MHR - This is your maximum heart rate. For training zones see here
- Power to weight ratio - Per every kilogram of weight how much power you can produce. This is a fairer way than who can lift the heaviest weight.
- VO2max estimate - As mentioned above you VO2max is the maximum amount of Oxygen you can uptake.
- METs - Represents the intensity of the test.
The sit and reach flexibility test
The sit and reach test uses flexibility as a basis for judging your level of fitness. The test measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings. Tightness in this area is associated with lumbar lordosis, forward pelvic tilt and lower back pain.
How to do a sit and reach test:
- The participant warms up for 10 minutes and then removes their shoes.
- The measurer secures the ruler to the box top with the tape so that the front edge of the box lines up with the 15cm (6 inches) mark on the ruler and the zero end of the ruler points towards the athlete.
- The participant sits on the floor with their legs fully extended with the bottom of their bare feet against the box.
- The participant places one hand on top of the other, slowly bends forward and reaches along the top of the ruler as far as possible holding the stretch for two seconds.
- The measurer records the distance reached by the participant’s fingertips (cm)
- The participant performs the test three times.
- The assistant calculates and records the average of the three distances and uses this value to assess the athlete’s performance.
The vertical jump test
The vertical jump is a measure of fitness through explosive power in the legs. The test is really simple to complete, to set up all you need is a wall and a tape measure. Start by getting the participant to stand next to the wall and stretch their closest hand up as far as they can and make a mark of this point. This is the standing height. The participant then leaps as high as they can in the air and touches the wall at the highest point of their jump. The distance from the start point to the highest point is then measure as your score. Take the test 3 times and take an average for the most accurate results.
Vertical jump test scores
Males (height in cm)
Females (height in cm)
Cooper run test
The Cooper run test is one of the most popular fitness tests used to determine aerobic endurance. It is also used as part of military training, with different scores being required to make the different roles entry requirements. The test lasts just 12 minutes and participants are required to run as far as they can for the entire duration. The test can also be used to measure VO2 max using several equations (in ml/kg/min) from the distance score (a formula for either kms or miles):
VO2max = (35.97 x miles) - 11.29
VO2max = (22.35 x kilometers) - 11.29
Cooper run test scores
Very Good (metres)
Male: 2700m +
Male: 2800 +
Male: 2400 +
Female: 2200 +
The bleep test
The bleep test is old school. The test involves 20m shuttle runs from two marked points. The aim is to reach the cone before you hear the bleep. As the test continues, so the frequency of the bleeps increases, with the time between getting shorter and shorter. The test requires a cd and the score is then measured depending on how many rounds you last.
Bleep test scores
11 - 13
10 - 12
9 - 11
8 - 10
7 - 9
6 - 8
5 - 7
4 - 6
Whichever test you decide to do, don’t just do it once and leave it at that. In six weeks time, hit it again, has your score improved? Fitness tests are a great way of monitoring your progress and seeing if your training is actually working. Fitness tests make goals measurable, if you can’t measure it how are you going to know how to celebrate when you’ve smashed it?