Category Archives: Exercise

Jump Rope

Get Set: Grab a rope and get in an open space.

Work: Jump 1 to 2 inches off the floor— just enough space for the rope to pass under the balls of the feet. Keep elbows at sides and slightly above the waistline while you turn the rope.

Tip: Having the correct jump rope length will make getting into a good rhythm easier. An easy test to find the right length: When you put the rope under your feet and lift the ends, the handles should reach your sternum.

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Mountain Climbers

Get Set: Get in a plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width.

Work: While maintaining upper body position, bring one knee up to the chest while touching toe to the ground. Switch legs. Continue alternating legs briskly— the faster the speed, the greater the intensity.

Stability Ball Push-ups

Get Set: Begin with your hips on the ball, hands on the floor and feet stretched out straight behind you. Walk hands out a bit so that the ball is positioned either below the thighs or, to make it more difficult, below the ankles. Place hands on floor in line with shoulders.

Work: Lower body by bending elbows, bringing the chest as close to the floor as possible. Make sure to keep head, torso and legs aligned and tight. Straighten arms to complete rep.

Variation: If the stability ball push-up is too challenging, try kneeling push-ups on the floor or a plank hold for 30 seconds (with or without a stability ball).

Seated Bent-Over Lateral Raises

Get Set: Sit on the end of a bench, knees together and take a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward from the waist and bring dumbbells to the sides of your legs with your palms facing in.

Work: Maintaining the bent-over position, lift the dumbbells out to the side until the weights are in line with your shoulders. Slowly lower the weights and repeat.

Tip: To keep the work in your rear delts, think about keeping the hands wide and lifting the weights straight out to the side. Don’t let the weights shift back behind your shoulders,
as this transfers the work to your trapezius muscle.

DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.

Seated Side/Front Raises

Get Set: Sit on a bench with your feet extending out in front and your torso erect.

Work: Complete a side lateral raise and then a front raise. That is one rep. When performing the front raise, make sure the dumbbells pass in front of your face rather than out to the side.

Tip: You will need a lighter weight than what you usually use for lateral or front raises, as sitting on the bench with the feet extending minimizes momentum, making the movement more difficult.

DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.
DON’T SWING. Avoid swinging the weight when performing raises. Instead, move the weights in a strong, but controlled movement.

Seated Top-Hold Dumbbell Presses

Get Set: Sit on bench and hold dumbbells at shoulder height with elbows out to the sides and palms facing forward.

Work: Lift one dumbbell straight up and hold it. Then, lift the other arm. Once the second arm reaches the top position, lower the first arm. Continue this alternating press with a brisk but controlled pace until all reps are complete.

Tip: Don’t lock out the elbow in the top position, as this transfers work to the triceps.

DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.

One-Arm Leaning Lateral Raises

Get Set: Grab onto a bench or other stable structure and lean away toward the working arm. Hold that position throughout the set.

Work: Lift the dumbbell up slightly higher than your shoulders with a slight bend in the elbow. Lower the weight slowly and repeat.

Tip: To get the most from this exercise, don’t let momentum take over. Perform this exercise in a slow, controlled motion, starting each rep from a dead stop rather than swinging the weight.

A leaning lateral raise gives you a little more range of motion to work and isolate your middle deltoid.

DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.
DON’T SWING. Avoid swinging the weight when performing raises. Instead, move the weights in a strong, but controlled movement.

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Get Set: Sit on bench with back pressing against the back pad. Firmly plant feet on the floor. Hold dumbbells at shoulder height with elbows out to the sides and palms facing forward.

Work: Lift the dumbbells straight up until they almost touch and your arms are just short of straight. Lower dumbbells and repeat.

Tip: Don’t lock out the elbow in the top position, as this transfers work to the triceps.

DON’T SHRUG. When performing shoulder presses or raises, it’s easy to tense your traps and neck. Doing so takes the tension out of the deltoid and can strain the neck in the process.

Boot Camp Workout

Do theses exercises, cranking out as many reps per move as you can in one minute (aim for at least 20 reps each). Take a quick breather after each set — 20 seconds tops — then go on to the next exercise. Complete two to three full circuits, making a game of it by trying to squeeze in more reps than on each of the previous go-rounds.

Ruby Slippers

Targets butt, legs, inner thighs, and outer thighs

  • Place a coiled garden hose (or a rolled-up towel) on ground and straddle it, hands on hips.
  • Lower into a squat, then jump as high as you can and tap heels together in midair. MAKE IT EASIER: Jump without tapping heels together or do move without hose.
  • Land with knees soft in start position. Repeat for 1 minute.

Bridge ‘n’ Curl

Targets abs, hips, butt, and hamstrings

  • Lie face up on ground, arms by sides, knees bent and feet flat, squeezing a soccer ball (or a rolled-up towel) behind knees. MAKE IT EASIER: Squeeze ball between thighs.
  • Keeping knees tightly tucked, curl hips off ground to bring knees toward chest.
  • Return feet to ground, then lift hips so that body forms a straight line from knees to chest.
  • Lower to start. Repeat for 1 minute.

Superskater

Targets back, abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides.
  • Cross right leg behind left in a curtsy and bend left knee 90 degrees as you reach right hand to touch ground in front of left toes. MAKE IT HARDER: Keep right foot off ground when you curtsy.
  • Pushing off left foot, jump to right. Land on right leg, lowering into curtsy with left leg behind right and touching left hand to ground by right toes.
  • Repeat for 1 minute.

Bottoms Up

Targets shoulders, back, chest, arms, abs, and butt

  • Start in full push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart on the seat of a sturdy bench or chair, legs extended behind you and feet together on ground.
  • Keeping hips level, lift left leg directly out to side as high as you can.
  • Return to start, switch legs and repeat to complete 1 rep. MAKE IT HARDER: Do a push-up after each rep.
  • Repeat for 1 minute.

Olympic Rings

Targets abs, butt, quads, and calves

  • Form a garden hose (or piece of string) into a large figure eight on ground; step right foot inside front loop and left foot inside back loop.
  • Bend both knees to lower into a lunge, then jump straight up as high as you can, switching legs in midair so that you land in a lunge with left foot forward. MAKE IT EASIER: Omit the jump and quickly switch legs.
  • Repeat for 1 minute, alternating sides.

High Plank Roll

Targets shoulders, back, arms, and abs

  • Start in full push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart on ground directly under shoulders and legs extended behind you, ankles resting on top of a soccer ball. (No ball? Place toes atop a rolled-up towel on a wooden or other smooth floor surface to allow feet to slide.)
  • Bring knees in toward chest, rolling with ankles on ball throughout.
  • Roll feet back to start position.
  • Repeat for 1 minute.

Liftoff

Targets shoulders, back, abs, butt, and hamstrings

  • Stand with feet together, arms by sides.
  • Hinge forward from hips until back is parallel to ground, arms extended down.
  • Simultaneously lift left leg behind you and raise arms directly out to sides.
  • Maintaining hinge position, lower arms and leg so that they are a few inches off ground; repeat for 1 minute. Switch legs for next circuit.

Air Crunch

Targets shoulders, back, triceps, abs, obliques, and butt

  • Start in full push-up position with hands shoulder-width apart on the seat of a sturdy bench or chair, legs extended behind you, feet on ground.
  • Lifting right hand off chair, rotate body to right into side plank position; rest right foot on top of left foot and reach right arm overhead, balancing body on left arm and foot.
  • Bring right knee and right elbow together at chest level. MAKE IT HARDER: Hold arm and knee in crunched position for 3 extra counts.
  • Return to side plank position.
  • Repeat for 1 minute. Switch sides for next circuit.

 

Your office is your gym

Whether you work in a cubicle or your own office, just about everyone who works at a sedentary job has a few accessories in common: a desk and a chair.

Use that desk to do push-ups a few times a day; simply place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of the desk and mimic a floor push-up, keeping your back straight and your feet together behind you. If you have enough room on the floor, you can do push-ups there, too, providing a different workout angle for your chest, shoulders and arms. And if your chair has armrests, use them to elevate yourself straight up off the chair with your legs out in front of you, working your triceps and abdominals simultaneously.

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