New Year Total Body Challenge – Week 3: Core Day

The holidays are special as it brings together friends, family, and of course delicious foods to your plate, or glass! Sadly, these treats tend to stick around long after the holidays pass. This is the perfect reason why sweating it out into the New Year is so important!


To help shed some of those extra pounds and get you motivated to accomplish your fitness goals, I have created a 5-week total body workout challenge that will keep you focused to have you feeling and looking your best in no time!


This 3rd week of the challenge is all about your core! The exercises are designed to flow seamlessly in multiple ranges of motion to target different angles of your abdominals. It’s the perfect set of movements to help define a chiseled midsection, plus they can be included into any workout!


Before we go over the details of week 3’s workout, I want to discuss the importance of incorporating a solid cardio program into your fitness routine.



Every good workout plan should involve both cardio and strength training. Cardiovascular activities such as running, power walking, or biking are excellent ways to burn calories. Cardio training along with muscle building strength exercises are the winning combination that allows your body to utilize more calories for energy and to keep your metabolism running strong.


Power walking, jogging, and running are some of the easiest cardio activities to perform since they require no equipment and you can technically do them anywhere! If you are just getting back into the fitness game, start out slowly with moderate intensity aiming for short sweat sessions of 20 minutes and you can build up from there. If you are already doing a daily dose of cardio workouts, try to amp up your routines with intense intervals to blast away extra weight from the holidays!


No matter what activity you do to get your heart pumping, try to perform at least 30 minutes of cardio at least 3-5 times a week. Alter the time and the activity performed on each sweat session to get the most out of your hard training!


Ultimately, a cardio program will help you achieve the best results for your fitness goals and will keep your body at the top of its game. Now let’s go over the core workout challenge!



Take on a progressive 5-week total body challenge! The workouts are targeted to focus on a specific muscle group each week and will build upon the previous weeks. By the end of the challenge, you will have many exercises to add to your routine and you will have achieved strength development throughout your entire body.



To make planning your workouts simple, I have created a workout calendar for you to follow and keep on the right track each day of the 5 weeks. Print it, pin it, save it, and love sweating to it! Here is a link to the 5-week calendar.



Goal: The New Year’s Challenge is a 5-week series that focuses on total body strength to tone, define, and condition your body from post-holiday festivities.


Frequency: 3 total strength days

  • 2 non-consecutive core workout days
  • Week 2’s leg workout

Reps & Sets: 10 Reps, 2 sets in circuit format



  • Perform the core workout on 2 non-consecutive days along with the legs workout from week 2 on a different day.
  • To keep your muscles guessing, perform the core exercises listed in order: 1-5 for the first workout. On the second workout, perform the exercises listed in reverse: 5-1.
  • Include other workouts that you are familiar with during the week that target your fitness goals; such as cardio, yoga, stretching, etc.
  • Refer to the previous blog(s) and video(s) to get the full challenge details.

Week 1, Week 2, Calendar

Adjust the incline to challenge your strength level.





  1. Torso Rotation
  • Sit, kneel, or assume a high kneeling position (advanced) facing the side of the tower while holding the back cable in both hands.
  • Rotate from the torso, not the arms, to perform the correct movement.
  • Both cables can be used to increase the strength challenge, however the range of motion will be less.


  1. V-sit Twist
  • Sit at the top of the glide board facing the tower with both feet either hooked around the outside of the rails or resting in between them.
  • Hinge the spine back to achieve “V’ position of the spine and place the arms in front of the chest.
  • Begin to twist from side to side at a steady tempo.
  • The greater the angle, the greater the challenge.


  1. Pullover Crunch
  • Lie supine on the glide board facing away from the tower with the cables in each hand.
  • Extend the arms out from the chest, bend the knees, and place the feet on the glide board to begin.
  • Lower the arms straight to the hips while simultaneously lifting the upper torso into a ‘crunch’.
  • Keep the lower spine in contact with the glide board at all times.
  • Advanced: lift the knees to 90 degrees, and then progress to straight legs.


  1. Side Crunch
  • Lie supine on the glide board facing away from the tower with the cables in each hand. (same position as pullover crunch)
  • Extend the arms at an angle out from the chest to one side, bend the knees keeping the feet on the glide board and angle the knees to the opposite side of the arms to begin.
  • Simultaneously lower the arms to one side while lifting the upper torso into an oblique ‘crunch’.
  • Advanced: lift the knees to 90 degrees, and then progress to straight legs.


  1. Forearm Plank Pulls
  • Facing the tower, open the glide board and assume a forearm plank position.
  • Position the arms parallel so that the shoulders are directly on top of the elbows, core is engaged, and legs are extended long to create a diagonal line from the head to the heels.
  • Use your arms to open and close the glide board while remaining in plank.
  • Keep the core engaged at all times to prevent ‘sinking’ or ‘piking’ of the hips.
  • Modify the plank by either raising the incline or placing the knees at the bottom base for a decreased range of motion.
  • The lower the incline, the harder the challenge.
  • Advanced: extend one leg back or add a dynamic movement by bringing one knee toward the arm as you move the glide board down.


  1. Back Extension +Rotation
  • Slightly open the glide board and lie prone (belly down) with your head closest to the tower. Place your feet onto the bottom base to stay in proper position and hands are positioned at forehead.
  • Slowly lift and lower the upper torso off of the glide board to activate the lower back muscles.
  • Advanced: extend the arms straight to intensify the exercise.
  • Rotation: Using the same set up, add a rotation as you lift and lower. To intensify, extend the arms.


POST WORKOUT STRETCH: End your workout with a few minutes of stretching or foam rolling to lengthen the muscles worked and to prevent soreness.


Refer to the video for exercise demonstrations.




Use this chart as a planned workout schedule to follow for week 3’s challenge. The cardio listed is just a guide to help keep you in a fat burning mode and on a set schedule. Please feel free to do other activities on these days. The key is to remain active daily.

Refer to the video for exercise demonstrations.



The abdominal muscles are one of the most difficult muscles groups to sculpt, but it can be done! So really focus on the execution of proper form when performing the workout. Add in some cardio days to keep your body in fat burning mode. Also, focus attention to the foods you choose to eat. A balanced workout of cardio and strength along with daily healthy foods choices will ultimately give you the best results.



Good Luck this week. Stay tuned for the core workout for week 4’s challenge.




Maria Sollon

Maria Sollon Scally MS, CSCS holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Enhancement/Injury Prevention and Kinesiology. She has obtained numerous certifications in various areas of fitness and is a national conference presenter. Maria specializes in Pilates, Performance Coaching, and Corrective Exercise Techniques and Kettlebells. She is the creator of the Plyo Pilates Method and has developed a series of amazing workout DVDs. She is a Master Trainer for Total Gym, Resist-a-Ball, Body Blade, Peak Pilates, Kettle Bell Concepts and is a freelance writer for Fitness accredited magazines, newsletters, and fitness blog sites. Maria demonstrates her knowledge each day and uses her dynamic creativity throughout her specialized line of work. (purchasable workout videos) (workout clips)

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