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Not all of us were born to love bootcamp-style workouts. And thanks to creative trainers like Nicole Winhoffer, we don’t have to. The self-proclaimed fitness artist (and Madonna’s former trainer) is known for her mega-creative routines, emphasis on the mental aspects of exercise, and unique training style that combines dance with bodyweight strength moves. As Winhoffer says, “You won’t get results by just doing a movement—you have to connect to it by thinking about it and feeling it too.”
To give you a beginner-friendly taste of her signature style, we asked Winhoffer for her go-to moves when she only has 20 minutes to work out. The resulting routine (below) requires no equipment, though you do need a wall for the last move. Consider doing a full-body warm-up first or just put on your fave jams and freestyle.
Directions: Perform each move in order for 60 seconds with the right leg only with no rest between moves. After performing all 4 moves, rest for 60 seconds (the full circuit takes 5 minutes). Repeat circuit with left leg, and then one more time with each leg again. The entire workout (4 rounds total) will take 20 minutes.
1. Inward Extension
Start on all fours, keeping wrists below shoulders and core engaged. Angle your left knee in toward your right knee. Point your left toe and press the leg up and away from your body on a diagonal. At the end of the movement, your leg should be fully extended, knee straight. Lift leg as high as you can, engaging your glutes, but being careful not to arch your back or place excess pressure on your low back. (Editor’s note: The images above demonstrate the move on the left leg, but you should stick to the original directions: Perform the entire circuit with the right leg before switching to the left.)
2. Foot Grab
Start on all fours. Keep hips as level as possible as you lift your right leg, with knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Your thigh should be in line with your hip. Reach back with your right hand and grab your right foot, holding for a moment before releasing and extending your right arm in front of you and your right leg straight behind you. Repeat the grab-and-extend without letting your right hand or foot return to the floor.
Lie on your left side, propped up on your elbow, knees bent and legs stacked. Extend your right leg in front of you, parallel to floor, so your leg forms a 90-degree angle with your hip. Point toes and lift right leg toward ceiling. Bend right knee, drop your right leg behind your back, and tap the floor with your toes. (Try to tap behind your butt, so your hip really opens up, and glute engages.) Straighten leg, as you point toes toward ceiling, then extend leg in front. Repeat.
4. Wall Taps
Stand with your back toward a wall, stepping at least two feet away from it. Squat and place hands on the ground. Lift your right foot to the wall. Brace yourself using both hands by rolling your shoulders down and packing your shoulder blades. Engage your core and carefully step your left foot against the wall. Still using your hands to support you, walk your feet up the wall so legs and hips are at an angle greater than 90 degrees. In this supported handstand, you may find it easiest to keep your balance by looking at the ground between your hands. Keep your core engaged throughout the exercise to help feel balanced. (You can also push against the wall with your feet.)Now, point your right foot, lower it to the ground beside you, and tap your toes to the floor. Tap back in place on the wall. Continue to alternate between tapping floor and wall for 60 seconds.