The following moves are designed to keep your heart rate up, and the more calories your body burns, the harder it is for fat to accumulate around your midsection.
Push-ups are a compound exercise, meaning they target more than one muscle group at the same time. They work your arms, chest and abs — and with enough reps (ahem, 50), can even help you lose weight!
The best part about push-ups is that you can do them almost anywhere and just about anytime. Whether it’s during a commercial break while watching TV or during your lunch break at work, this crowd favorite is an easy way to sneak in some additional strength training.
Here’s how to do a proper push up
- Start by placing yourself on all fours on the ground – ensure that your hands are flat on the floor directly under your shoulders and within shoulder width of each other. Your toes should be touching the ground hip width apart. This will be your starting position. Keep in mind that for some people with sensitive wrists, it may be beneficial to place their hands on dumbbells or medicine balls instead of directly on the floor. If you go this route, make sure that your upper arms remain perpendicular to the ground throughout each repetition in order to better target your triceps. For additional support, you can also place your knees flat against the floor instead of having them off of the ground as demonstrated above (but keep in mind that this will reduce the effectiveness of this exercise).
- Slowly begin to lower yourself toward the ground until there are only a few inches left – move only as far as possible without causing any pain! It should feel like your chest is nearly touching the floor but not quite there yet. The key here is to focus on keeping good form rather than getting yourself too low if you have limited mobility or flexibility concerns such as shoulder issues or wrist problems – if at any point during this exercise it feels like something isn’t quite right then stop immediately and consult with a medical professional before continuing with this exercise routine! If everything checks out ok then continue lowering yourself until both elbows bend no more.
From a standing position, lower into a squat while keeping the chest lifted and the weight in your heels. Jump up as high as possible, using your arms to propel you higher. This is an explosive move, so make sure to land softly with bent knees to avoid injury. If jumping is too jarring on your joints, try step-ups instead.
- To make it harder: Increase height of step/platform or hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- To make it easier: Reduce height of step/platform or do without any additional weight.
Start on your hands and knees. Your hips should be aligned with your shoulders and knees. Think of a tabletop position (a).
Keeping your core tight, lift up one foot so that your knee is directly under your hip and the other foot is behind you. This is a starting position (b).
Simultaneously jump to switch feet, so that the starting position becomes reversed: left leg lifted off the floor and right leg straight behind you (c).
Make sure to keep your core tight while jumping.
The plank is an effective isometric exercise that builds strength in your core, back and shoulders while toning your glutes and legs. It’s a challenging move, so you may have to start by holding the position for 5 seconds at a time. Once you can hold the plank for 30 seconds or more, add moves such as lifting one foot from the floor or raising an arm to make it harder.
How to do a plank
- Get into a pushup position on the floor.
- Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from head to feet.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds (or as long as you can hold it if you’re just starting out).
- Get into a pushup position, then jump your feet up to your hands.
- From there, jump back down to the pushup position, then back up again so you’re standing.
- Repeat for one minute, or as much as you can handle (repeat until no more burpees are possible).
There are also modified versions of this exercise that may be easier for some people at first: instead of jumping out from the pushup position and jumping back in, step out with one foot at a time and then step back in with both; instead of jumping up to standing when done with your set of pushups while you’re in the bottom part of the move, either walk or hop on the spot where you are until you feel ready to start again; take breaks between sets if needed.
How to: Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Step back with one foot and bend both knees, lowering your body until the front thigh is parallel to the ground. Make sure the knee of your forward leg stays directly over your ankle, not pushed out too far, and don’t let it collapse inward. Push up through the heel of your front foot to return to starting position. That’s one rep; do two sets of 10 reps on each side.
- Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly, and jump into the air.
- As you jump, spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out and over your head.
- Jump back to starting position. That’s one rep. Do this move as a circuit of five exercises in order for 30 seconds each, resting 15 seconds between moves; repeat once (a total of two circuits). To make it easier, try doing quick steps rather than a full jump!
Side Lunge With Twist
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Step out to the right side, bending your knees and lowering into a side lunge as you push your hips back. Make sure to keep your left leg straight, with the toes pointed forward.
- Keep your torso upright as you twist toward the right side, placing your right hand down on the floor next to your right foot while keeping your left hand on your hip.
- Push off of the floor with both hands to return to standing position in one explosive movement.
This is a great exercise for strengthening your core while also improving balance and stability.
To do it, lie on your side, resting your weight on your forearm. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder and feet stacked, one above the other. Raise your hips off the floor by bracing through the core and glutes, keeping a straight line from head to toe. Place the free hand on your hip or extend it towards the ceiling for an added challenge. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds for 3 sets before repeating on the other side.
This is a great move that targets the triceps.
- Step 1: Sit on a bench with hands shoulder width apart and fingers facing towards your body. Extend legs forward, and lift bottom off the bench. Bend knees to about 90 degrees (or however far you can go without pain in lower back). Make sure your legs are close together, and toes are pointed up. This is the starting position.
- Step 2: Lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel with the floor while keeping elbows close to your body (don’t flare them out). Keep abs tight, don’t arch back or shift torso forward as you lower down, and keep spine straight throughout movement. You should feel this in the backs of your arms.
- Step 3: Push back up to starting position by extending at the elbows only until arms are straight but not locked out at top of movement (straightening elbows all the way reduces range of motion for this exercise). This completes one rep.