If you’re into fitness and you’re on Instagram, chances are you know — and love — Mapule Ndhlovu a.k.a. @QueenFitnass. She’s our WH cover star, 2016 Next Fitness Star and all round #fitnessgoals. And it doesn’t stop there — she’s also a contestant in the Toyota Fortuner Challenge, which she fully intends to win, of course.
To get to the top spot, Mapule has been even more on top of her fitness game than usual. And when Maps decides to level up, well, get ready to scoop your jaw off the floor. Maps says that she loves doing compound movements — exercises that work two or more muscle groups — as they get you fitter in less time. These combos work your whole body, while improving your cardiovascular fitness, strength and core stability.
1. Barbell Push-up Mountain Climbers with Overhead Press Into Jump Squat
Even just saying it is a workout! As for the combo itself — it’s everything in one and it’s a killer! You’ll work your arms, core, legs and butt. Here’s how to do it.
With a barbell on the floor (or on a squat rack, to make it easier), place your hands on the bar about shoulder width apart. Get into a standard push-up position, brace your abs and glutes and slowly lower your body until your chest almost touches the bar — be sure to keep your elbows at your sides throughout the movement.
As you push back up, pull your right knee to your chest, keeping that bum and tummy tight. Quickly switch legs, bringing your left knee in. Return to start, then jump up to standing. With feet a little wider than hip width apart, knees slightly bent, pick up the bar and press it overhead. Be careful not to arch your back or pull through your neck when you pick up the bar. As you press it overhead, keep your posture upright and look straight ahead. Lower the bar behind your head to your shoulders, sit back into a squat and then drive through your feet and butt to jump up explosively. Land with soft knees.
That, if you can believe it, is one rep. Do as many as you can. If you can get past two, take a free high-five from us!
Way too hard? Check out this barbell jump squat / jumping lunges combo…
Mapule’s next-level skipping skills helped catapult her to stardom during the Next Fitness Star competition — one video and the votes, they came a-pouring in — but even if you can’t skip and squat and high kick all at once, skipping is still an excellent cardio workout. Do it regularly, even just for a few minutes a day, and it’ll help you burn fat and tone up those legs. Best part? All you need are a rope and space to swing it.
Skipping off the charts!
3. Ball Slams With Pull-ups
Ball slams? Doable. Pull-up? Meh. But put them together and you have a total-body strengthener that will also get your heart rate up, fast. It’s no wonder Maps loves this one so much!
Stand near a pull-up bar with your feet shoulder width apart, shoulders square, a heavy medicine ball on the ground at your feet (you’ll want a slam ball for this; no bouncy balls). Keeping your back straight, squat down and pick up the ball. In one movement, stand back up, rising onto your toes, and simultaneously raise the ball above your head, fully extending your arms. Then, immediately throw the ball down as hard and forcefully you can.
From here, hop up to grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip and pull your chest to the bar. Can’t do a pull-up yet? Loop a resistance band around the bar and step into it with one or both feet so it supports your weight as you pull up. Keep those shoulders down – don’t pull through your neck.
You don’t need to clock marathon distances to reap the benefits of this O.G. cardio fix — it’s about the intensity. Maps runs at least five kays twice a week — but you can bet she’s not setting her treadmill to stroll! If you’re a new runner, start by run-walking. Run for a minute at a comfortable pace, then walk for two minutes to recover and repeat that pattern. As you get fitter, cut your walking time and up your running time. Once you can run for the full duration, start going faster and playing with inclines.
No slackers here…
5. Push-up To Box Jump
This strength-plyometric combo will sculpt your guns and ignite your metabolism!
Get a plyo box (one of those boxes you see at the gym) ready in position. Position your hands on the ground about one step from the box, get into push-up position and perform one push-up. Back at the top of the move, jump your feet to your hands and stand up into a squat. From here, jump onto the box, swinging your arms for momentum and landing softly with both feet simultaneously. Stand up straight before stepping down off the box, then get back in position to go again.
Don’t have a box? No worries! You can do a tuck jump instead. Once you’ve done your push-up and hopped your feet to your hands, rise into your squat and from there, jump up explosively, tucking your knees to your chest. Land softly on the same spot and immediately put your hands on the floor and hop or step your feet back to push-up position so you can go again.
So, reckon you can keep up with Maps? She needs a partner to take on the Toyota Fortuner Challenge… and it could be you! There are some serious prizes up for grabs (like a new Toyota Fortuner, mountain bikes, Reebok gear and even Garmin GPS multisport watches). Go on, enter here. We dare you!