Taking just a few minutes to perform these basic exercises can get your body moving in the right direction.
Plank—By far the easiest and most basic core development exercise, the plank helps develop abdominal muscle strength and endurance as well as target stabilizer muscles surrounding the trunk.
• Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
• Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
• Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
• Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
• Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
Push up—The most renowned, yet usually performed incorrectly, the pushup is one of the best exercises to strengthen the shoulders, chest and arms.
• Lie face down on mat, with palms facing down beside the chest.
• Feet are spread apart, with toes pressing into the mat
• Head forward, begin pushing up until arms are fully extended. Hands should be in line with the chest, not the shoulder.
• The goal is to remain in a straight line throughout the entire movement. If this is too hard, try using your knees instead of your feet as a base!
• After returning to the mat, we have found it useful to release the hands and start back from a neutral position, then repeat steps. Releasing the hands prevents cheating and calls for a full range of motion.
The Squat—By far the best lower body strengthening exercise, our squat technique will engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while maintaining perfect form.
• Start with your hands together in front of chest, with elbows parallel to the floor.
• Have feet firmly planted and spread at least shoulder width apart.
• Once you begin to sit back, ensure that your knees never come over the toes, resembling a “sitting” motion.
• Once the elbows touch the knees, return back to the standing position while still keeping the knees from coming over the toes. If unsure about knees, squat next to a mirror! Repeat movement 10-15 times for 2-3 sets.
*Form is key here, so for beginners, use a chair or surface to provide a safe surface to sit on, and then stand back up. When you feel comfortable and form is good, remove the chair and use your elbows touching the knees as a guide.
The Sit Up—Commonly referred to as “the crunch”, sit ups are a great way to sculpt those abs and strengthen core muscles.
• Start by laying on the back, knees bent, and feet shoulder width apart.
• With arms crossed, and elbows parallel with the floor, begin raising the upper body toward the knees while keeping the lower body (from waist line down) still throughout the entire movement. Once elbows hit knees, return to the starting position on your back. Aim for 15-25 reps and repeat for 1-3 sets.
*For advanced, reduce the amount of flexion in the knees by having less bend in the knees.
Overhead Shoulder Press—In this version of overhead presses, you can use dumbbells which will challenge each arm independently.
• Begin standing or sitting with elbows bent and weights next to the ears.
• Press the weights up over the head, refraining from touching dumbbells together.
• Lower the weights, bringing the hands next to the ears and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
Standing Bicep Curl—Summertime is right around the corner, so what better way to prepare than to sculpt and shape up those arms. The banded bicep curl is a useful and cheap way to exercise the arms, while also not having to buy a set of dumbbells.
• Simply place both feet on tube and grasp handles (the wider the feet, the harder the exercise).
• Bend the elbows and curl hands up towards shoulder while keeping elbows in a fixed position.
• Lower arms and repeat. Repeat for 10-25 reps, 1-3 sets. If resistance is too hard by last set, simply place one foot on the band rather than two.