Strength Training – Life by Daily Burn https://dailyburn.com/life Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:21:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/inner-thigh-workout-gliders/ Tue, 06 Mar 2018 12:15:27 +0000 https://dailyburn.com/life/?p=66156 The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders

[caption id="attachment_66182" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders Photo: Daily Burn[/caption]

Forget the thigh gap or even worrying about the size and shape of your legs. It’s strengthening your thighs that really matters. Strong inner thighs — or adductors — help improve core control (they do help make up the five muscles that attach to the pelvis, after all!) and assist in injury prevention. Thanks to their ability to counterbalance external rotation of the hip that comes from the glutes and hamstrings, they keep your knee in a more neutral position too — a benefit that’s extra clutch for runners and cyclists alike.

It’s not always so easy to target these pelvis-stabilizing muscles, though. Unless, that is, you snag a pair of gliders. These slippery disks you see in classes or at your gym offer a unique and effective way to strengthen your inner thighs, while dialing up the core-centric benefits.

“Adding gliders brings variety to moves that can start to feel redundant,” says Becca Pace, trainer on Daily Burn 365 and Barre Harmony. “The shift in balance and full-body activation is something that adds a nice edge to enhance your weekly workout routine,” Pace says. “Core and stabilizer muscles will also engage more thoroughly as you introduce balance challenges with single-leg work. Plus, gliders are easy to use, take up no space and help with overall body conditioning and function!”

So, it’s time to slide right into stronger body benefits with this inner thigh workout from Pace.

RELATED: Lower Body Blast: 5 Moves for Your Butt, Hips and Thighs

6 Glider Exercises for a Serious Inner Thigh Workout

Don’t have sliding disks at home? The substitution is simple. Just make sure you’re on a slick surface and grab two small towels. Then mimic these six moves for a solid inner thigh workout, as Pace demonstrates below. Perform each of the inner thigh exercises for eight to 10 reps, taking a 10-second break between sets. Then repeat for two to three rounds.

“When doing the lower body exercises, be very aware of the standing foot on the floor. Feel the toes, pinky edge of the foot and weight in the heel,” Pace says. “Always engage the core muscles by drawing the belly button back and 'closing' the ribs.” Not only will your legs feel the heat, but your abdominals and even your shoulders will fire up, too.

RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Low Lunge Exercise

1. Low Lunge

How to: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, your right foot on the glider and your left foot planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot straight back behind you, as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees, knee over your ankle. At the same time, bring arms straight up to shoulder height (b). Driving into the floor of your left heel, slide your right foot forward and come back up to stand (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Mountain Climbers Exercise

2. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Both feet should be on gliders (a). Drive your right knee in toward your chest, then slide it directly back to plank (b). Drive your left knee in toward your chest, then slide it directly back to plank (c). Continue alternating, moving with control and maintaining a strong plank position.

RELATED: 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: 1st to 2nd Plie Exercise

3. 1st to 2nd Plie Glide

How to: Start standing with feet together, heels touching and toes pointing slightly outward. Right foot on a glider and your left planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot out a little wider than hip-width and drop your hips down to form a sumo squat position. Shoulders stay over your hips and knees over ankles (b). Push off your right foot and squeeze your thighs together to come back up to stand, bringing your right foot back to touch your left (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Curtsy Lunge Exercise

4. Curtsy Lunge

How to: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, your right foot on the glider and your left foot planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot back behind you on a diagonal, as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees, knee over your ankle. At the same time, bring arms straight up to shoulder height. Your hips should stay square to the front (b). Driving into the floor of your left heel, slide your right foot forward and come back up to stand (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

RELATED: 5 Power Lunges for Killer Glutes

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Plank Rainbow Leg Exercise

5. Plank Rainbow Leg

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Place your right foot on the glider (a). Slide your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand, keeping both legs straight and maintaining a solid plank position (b). Pause, then slide it back to plank position (c). Repeat, then switch sides.

Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Pike Plank Exercise

6. Pike Plank

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Both feet should be on gliders, with legs together (a). Keeping your shoulders over your wrists and legs straight, pike your hips up, using your abs to pull your feet toward your hands (b). Slide both feet back to plank position (c). Repeat.

Read More
No More Sit-Ups: 7 TRX Moves to Work Your Abs
7 Easy Pilates Moves for a Quick Core Workout
21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored

The post The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders

[caption id="attachment_66182" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders Photo: Daily Burn[/caption] Forget the thigh gap or even worrying about the size and shape of your legs. It’s strengthening your thighs that really matters. Strong inner thighs — or adductors — help improve core control (they do help make up the five muscles that attach to the pelvis, after all!) and assist in injury prevention. Thanks to their ability to counterbalance external rotation of the hip that comes from the glutes and hamstrings, they keep your knee in a more neutral position too — a benefit that’s extra clutch for runners and cyclists alike. It’s not always so easy to target these pelvis-stabilizing muscles, though. Unless, that is, you snag a pair of gliders. These slippery disks you see in classes or at your gym offer a unique and effective way to strengthen your inner thighs, while dialing up the core-centric benefits. “Adding gliders brings variety to moves that can start to feel redundant,” says Becca Pace, trainer on Daily Burn 365 and Barre Harmony. “The shift in balance and full-body activation is something that adds a nice edge to enhance your weekly workout routine,” Pace says. “Core and stabilizer muscles will also engage more thoroughly as you introduce balance challenges with single-leg work. Plus, gliders are easy to use, take up no space and help with overall body conditioning and function!” So, it’s time to slide right into stronger body benefits with this inner thigh workout from Pace. RELATED: Lower Body Blast: 5 Moves for Your Butt, Hips and Thighs

6 Glider Exercises for a Serious Inner Thigh Workout

Don’t have sliding disks at home? The substitution is simple. Just make sure you’re on a slick surface and grab two small towels. Then mimic these six moves for a solid inner thigh workout, as Pace demonstrates below. Perform each of the inner thigh exercises for eight to 10 reps, taking a 10-second break between sets. Then repeat for two to three rounds. “When doing the lower body exercises, be very aware of the standing foot on the floor. Feel the toes, pinky edge of the foot and weight in the heel,” Pace says. “Always engage the core muscles by drawing the belly button back and 'closing' the ribs.” Not only will your legs feel the heat, but your abdominals and even your shoulders will fire up, too. RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Low Lunge Exercise

1. Low Lunge

How to: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, your right foot on the glider and your left foot planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot straight back behind you, as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees, knee over your ankle. At the same time, bring arms straight up to shoulder height (b). Driving into the floor of your left heel, slide your right foot forward and come back up to stand (c). Repeat, then switch sides. Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Mountain Climbers Exercise

2. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Both feet should be on gliders (a). Drive your right knee in toward your chest, then slide it directly back to plank (b). Drive your left knee in toward your chest, then slide it directly back to plank (c). Continue alternating, moving with control and maintaining a strong plank position. RELATED: 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs Glider Inner Thigh Workout: 1st to 2nd Plie Exercise

3. 1st to 2nd Plie Glide

How to: Start standing with feet together, heels touching and toes pointing slightly outward. Right foot on a glider and your left planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot out a little wider than hip-width and drop your hips down to form a sumo squat position. Shoulders stay over your hips and knees over ankles (b). Push off your right foot and squeeze your thighs together to come back up to stand, bringing your right foot back to touch your left (c). Repeat, then switch sides. Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Curtsy Lunge Exercise

4. Curtsy Lunge

How to: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart, your right foot on the glider and your left foot planted firmly on the floor (a). Slide your right foot back behind you on a diagonal, as you bend your left knee to 90 degrees, knee over your ankle. At the same time, bring arms straight up to shoulder height. Your hips should stay square to the front (b). Driving into the floor of your left heel, slide your right foot forward and come back up to stand (c). Repeat, then switch sides. RELATED: 5 Power Lunges for Killer Glutes Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Plank Rainbow Leg Exercise

5. Plank Rainbow Leg

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Place your right foot on the glider (a). Slide your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand, keeping both legs straight and maintaining a solid plank position (b). Pause, then slide it back to plank position (c). Repeat, then switch sides. Glider Inner Thigh Workout: Pike Plank Exercise

6. Pike Plank

How to: Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists and forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Both feet should be on gliders, with legs together (a). Keeping your shoulders over your wrists and legs straight, pike your hips up, using your abs to pull your feet toward your hands (b). Slide both feet back to plank position (c). Repeat. Read More No More Sit-Ups: 7 TRX Moves to Work Your Abs 7 Easy Pilates Moves for a Quick Core Workout 21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored

The post The Inner Thigh Workout You Can Do with Gliders appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/best-workouts-reduce-body-fat-percentage/ Mon, 05 Mar 2018 12:15:52 +0000 https://dailyburn.com/life/?p=66125 The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat Percentage

[caption id="attachment_66131" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat Percentage Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

When it comes to people’s top goals for improving body composition, fat loss often takes the cake. But we can’t talk about how to lower body fat percentage without touching on how to drop pounds in general. That’s because you can’t necessarily target fat loss in one specific area — say, just your arms or belly. You have to work to reduce fat all over. And that comes down to one main principle: calorie deficiency.

“To lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit,” says Jamie Costello, CPT, director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity + Spa, a top-rated weight loss resort in Miami. In other words, you have to burn more calories than you consume. While of course diet is involved in that, Costello also emphasizes moving more — and not just in a sweat session, but also those hours between your morning alarm and your bedtime.

“If people are sedentary all day — and just work out for an hour every other day — that might improve cardio, heart health, bone strength and lower the risk of injury. But when it comes to weight loss, the amount of effort [you’d need in that hour] is pretty big,” Costello explains.

So, what should you be doing in those daily hours from dawn to dusk to help you drop that body fat percentage? We scoured the science and spoke to the experts. Here, four fitness must-dos to see results, plus other can’t-miss tips for finding success.

RELATED: The Big Benefits of Losing Just a Little Bit of Weight

4 Strategies for Reducing Body Fat Percentage

[caption id="attachment_66132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Workouts to Lower Body Fat Percentage: MetCon and Strength Training Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Start Steppin’

It may seem small, familiar and just a little too easy, but it’ll make a difference: Get on your feet more often. As Costello puts it, it’s difficult to burn enough excess calories in an hour-long sweat session alone. But frequently taking breaks from your seat? That could actually make or break your daily deficit. In fact, a recent study found that simply standing rather than sitting for six hours a day could help a 140-pound person burn more than 50 extra calories in 24 hours. And that doesn’t involve any movement, just static standing. Imagine the calorie-crushing possibilities if you took brisk walks on the daily.

RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

2. HIIT It Hard

Besides taking more moments to stand up, doing a more efficient workout means you’ll blast more calories and burn more fat. For that, you’ll want to turn to interval workouts, says Costello.

Metabolic conditioning (aka metcon) workouts place a high-demand on the body by testing its different energy systems. “Once you influence your metabolic burn rate, it stays up even during rest intervals. That gives you a much more efficient fuel burn, without feeling like you overdid it,” says Costello. He suggests sticking with metcon workouts of about 30 minutes and HIIT workouts (in which you work at an even higher intensity) for about 15 minutes. Aim to do these every other day, or take two to three days of rest between each, so your body can properly recover, Costello says.

“As you get in better shape, you’ll see that you burn more calories week after week, because you don’t get as exhausted,” Costello explains. That’ll also help you reach the caloric deficit you need for weight and fat loss.

RELATED: HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips

3. Add Some Resistance

Beyond sweat-inducing intervals, another way to increase your fat-burning and muscle-building potential is resistance training. “Strength training is indispensable, because it’s the only thing that preserves muscle tissue over time,” says Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in Bronx, NY. “Cardio can burn more calories, but it doesn’t do much to prevent muscle loss.” And you’ll want more muscle to burn more daily calories.

Science backs up this need to lift weights for weight loss. A recent study involving about 250 individuals in their 60s pitted cardio workouts against strength sessions. The researchers found that while you need both, resistance work wins out in terms of losing fat without losing muscle.

“If you want to preserve muscle during weight loss, you need to stimulate it with a progressive resistance training program,” says Kristen Beavers, assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University and lead author on the study. (She notes these results most likely apply to younger people, too.) So if you want to build muscle that staves off weight loss, you can’t turn to walking or running alone.

Another benefit of strength training: It preps your muscles to push even harder during tough interval sessions, says Costello. “When you improve your muscles’ metabolic conditioning — so think of building lean muscles — you’re building the capacity to go faster,” he says. While lots of people place emphasis on how this helps you burn more calories at rest, Costello says it also lets you push yourself in your next workout. Aka the more you strength train, the harder you work in your next workout, and the more calories you burn overall. Hello, calorie deficit, weight loss and body fat reduction.

To effectively implement strength training into your schedule, Shoenfeld suggests continuously changing up your routine and adding more resistance to see weight loss and muscle gain. “You have to lift at a high level of effort and challenge your muscles on a consistent basis,” he says. Shoenfeld suggests focusing on total-body, compound movements that work multiple muscles at once, which will also up the calorie burn. Aim for at least three days a week for these workouts, he says. As for choosing a weight (if you’re upping it from bodyweight), mimic the protocol of the Wake Forest study, opting for 70% of your one-rep maximum and readjusting as you get stronger.

RELATED: Strength Training for Beginners: Your Guide to Reps, Sets, Weights

4. Focus on Burning Calories, Not Necessarily Fat

No matter which workouts you choose, keep in mind, if you want to burn fat, you don’t necessarily need to work in the fat-burning energy system. If you’ve ever stepped on a cardio machine (an elliptical, in particular), you may have noticed the meter on the dashboard illustrating your training zone (say, warm-up, fat-burn, cardio and peak heart rate). Fat-burn is on the lower end of the effort scale — we burn fat even while sleeping, Costello explains — therefore, it’s not necessarily the ideal training zone for fat loss.

“People mistakenly think that if their goal is to lose fat, then they should train in this fat-burning zone,” Costello says. “The problem is, you’re still not burning very much. It’s your total caloric expenditure that’s most important — not the type of fuel source you’re using at any given time.” That means, if you opt for high-intensity interval training level, then you’re burning more energy overall — even if less of that energy comes from fat as the fuel.

RELATED: Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat?

[caption id="attachment_66133" align="alignnone" width="620"]Reduce Body Fat Percentage: Diet Tips Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Don’t Forget What’s on Your Plate

As mentioned earlier, to lose fat (and weight) you need a calorie deficiency — therefore, it’s also time to address your diet habits.

“The least important thing you should be considering [in terms of exercise for fat loss] is where the fuel source is coming from. But the opposite is true when you’re eating — you need to think about where your calories are coming from,” Costello says. Instead of strict calorie counting, Costello recommends focusing on less calorie-dense foods, meaning those that will fill you up thanks to fiber and water, more so than empty calories. You probably guessed this means lots of veggies — as in at least half your plate — plus, fruits and legumes.

Schoenfeld also mentions the importance of protein. “Make sure you have adequate protein intake, as it’s well documented that it helps maintain lean body mass,” he explains. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight or about 46 grams for an average woman, though if you’re super active you probably need more.

Another strategy for success: Avoid diets that are too restrictive, as you won’t stick with it long enough to see results. Shoenfeld suggests sticking with the 80/20 rule and learning your food habits, so you can avoid overeating before it starts.

RELATED: 5 Signs You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

Sleep Also Plays a Role

Finally, to lose fat, you have to focus on catching those zzz’s. Costello says that without recovering from exercise properly (translation: getting ample sleep!), it’s tough to see results. “Sleep is a huge component to reset and reenergize so you can burn more calories the next day,” he says. “Also, recovery between workouts [is crucial]. Choose just three to four workouts a week where you really push yourself. Then have the medium-effort workouts, too. That recovery will help you push harder through the tough ones.”

RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

The Big Picture: Small Steps, Big Results

You probably know this at heart, but it’s worth mentioning. Lowering your body fat percentage doesn’t happen overnight. Or even over seven nights. Costello says, on average, losing about one to two percent body fat a month is a realistic goal. (Here are a few ways to measure your progress.) Don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing results right away. Continue with your interval and strength training workouts, and focus on eating a clean diet and getting ample rest in between. As they say, all good things come to those who wait…and hustle to the gym.

Read More
3 Fat-Blasting HIIT Workouts to Try Now
12 Awesome Ways to Measure Your Non-Scale Victories
EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss?

The post The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat Percentage

[caption id="attachment_66131" align="alignnone" width="620"]The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat Percentage Photo: Twenty20[/caption] When it comes to people’s top goals for improving body composition, fat loss often takes the cake. But we can’t talk about how to lower body fat percentage without touching on how to drop pounds in general. That’s because you can’t necessarily target fat loss in one specific area — say, just your arms or belly. You have to work to reduce fat all over. And that comes down to one main principle: calorie deficiency. “To lose fat, you have to create a calorie deficit,” says Jamie Costello, CPT, director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity + Spa, a top-rated weight loss resort in Miami. In other words, you have to burn more calories than you consume. While of course diet is involved in that, Costello also emphasizes moving more — and not just in a sweat session, but also those hours between your morning alarm and your bedtime. “If people are sedentary all day — and just work out for an hour every other day — that might improve cardio, heart health, bone strength and lower the risk of injury. But when it comes to weight loss, the amount of effort [you’d need in that hour] is pretty big,” Costello explains. So, what should you be doing in those daily hours from dawn to dusk to help you drop that body fat percentage? We scoured the science and spoke to the experts. Here, four fitness must-dos to see results, plus other can’t-miss tips for finding success. RELATED: The Big Benefits of Losing Just a Little Bit of Weight

4 Strategies for Reducing Body Fat Percentage

[caption id="attachment_66132" align="alignnone" width="620"]Workouts to Lower Body Fat Percentage: MetCon and Strength Training Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Start Steppin’

It may seem small, familiar and just a little too easy, but it’ll make a difference: Get on your feet more often. As Costello puts it, it’s difficult to burn enough excess calories in an hour-long sweat session alone. But frequently taking breaks from your seat? That could actually make or break your daily deficit. In fact, a recent study found that simply standing rather than sitting for six hours a day could help a 140-pound person burn more than 50 extra calories in 24 hours. And that doesn’t involve any movement, just static standing. Imagine the calorie-crushing possibilities if you took brisk walks on the daily. RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

2. HIIT It Hard

Besides taking more moments to stand up, doing a more efficient workout means you’ll blast more calories and burn more fat. For that, you’ll want to turn to interval workouts, says Costello. Metabolic conditioning (aka metcon) workouts place a high-demand on the body by testing its different energy systems. “Once you influence your metabolic burn rate, it stays up even during rest intervals. That gives you a much more efficient fuel burn, without feeling like you overdid it,” says Costello. He suggests sticking with metcon workouts of about 30 minutes and HIIT workouts (in which you work at an even higher intensity) for about 15 minutes. Aim to do these every other day, or take two to three days of rest between each, so your body can properly recover, Costello says. “As you get in better shape, you’ll see that you burn more calories week after week, because you don’t get as exhausted,” Costello explains. That’ll also help you reach the caloric deficit you need for weight and fat loss. RELATED: HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips

3. Add Some Resistance

Beyond sweat-inducing intervals, another way to increase your fat-burning and muscle-building potential is resistance training. “Strength training is indispensable, because it’s the only thing that preserves muscle tissue over time,” says Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS, assistant professor of exercise science at Lehman College in Bronx, NY. “Cardio can burn more calories, but it doesn’t do much to prevent muscle loss.” And you’ll want more muscle to burn more daily calories. Science backs up this need to lift weights for weight loss. A recent study involving about 250 individuals in their 60s pitted cardio workouts against strength sessions. The researchers found that while you need both, resistance work wins out in terms of losing fat without losing muscle. “If you want to preserve muscle during weight loss, you need to stimulate it with a progressive resistance training program,” says Kristen Beavers, assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University and lead author on the study. (She notes these results most likely apply to younger people, too.) So if you want to build muscle that staves off weight loss, you can’t turn to walking or running alone. Another benefit of strength training: It preps your muscles to push even harder during tough interval sessions, says Costello. “When you improve your muscles’ metabolic conditioning — so think of building lean muscles — you’re building the capacity to go faster,” he says. While lots of people place emphasis on how this helps you burn more calories at rest, Costello says it also lets you push yourself in your next workout. Aka the more you strength train, the harder you work in your next workout, and the more calories you burn overall. Hello, calorie deficit, weight loss and body fat reduction. To effectively implement strength training into your schedule, Shoenfeld suggests continuously changing up your routine and adding more resistance to see weight loss and muscle gain. “You have to lift at a high level of effort and challenge your muscles on a consistent basis,” he says. Shoenfeld suggests focusing on total-body, compound movements that work multiple muscles at once, which will also up the calorie burn. Aim for at least three days a week for these workouts, he says. As for choosing a weight (if you’re upping it from bodyweight), mimic the protocol of the Wake Forest study, opting for 70% of your one-rep maximum and readjusting as you get stronger. RELATED: Strength Training for Beginners: Your Guide to Reps, Sets, Weights

4. Focus on Burning Calories, Not Necessarily Fat

No matter which workouts you choose, keep in mind, if you want to burn fat, you don’t necessarily need to work in the fat-burning energy system. If you’ve ever stepped on a cardio machine (an elliptical, in particular), you may have noticed the meter on the dashboard illustrating your training zone (say, warm-up, fat-burn, cardio and peak heart rate). Fat-burn is on the lower end of the effort scale — we burn fat even while sleeping, Costello explains — therefore, it’s not necessarily the ideal training zone for fat loss. “People mistakenly think that if their goal is to lose fat, then they should train in this fat-burning zone,” Costello says. “The problem is, you’re still not burning very much. It’s your total caloric expenditure that’s most important — not the type of fuel source you’re using at any given time.” That means, if you opt for high-intensity interval training level, then you’re burning more energy overall — even if less of that energy comes from fat as the fuel. RELATED: Does Fasted Cardio Really Burn More Fat? [caption id="attachment_66133" align="alignnone" width="620"]Reduce Body Fat Percentage: Diet Tips Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Don’t Forget What’s on Your Plate

As mentioned earlier, to lose fat (and weight) you need a calorie deficiency — therefore, it’s also time to address your diet habits. “The least important thing you should be considering [in terms of exercise for fat loss] is where the fuel source is coming from. But the opposite is true when you’re eating — you need to think about where your calories are coming from,” Costello says. Instead of strict calorie counting, Costello recommends focusing on less calorie-dense foods, meaning those that will fill you up thanks to fiber and water, more so than empty calories. You probably guessed this means lots of veggies — as in at least half your plate — plus, fruits and legumes. Schoenfeld also mentions the importance of protein. “Make sure you have adequate protein intake, as it’s well documented that it helps maintain lean body mass,” he explains. The recommended dietary allowance for protein is about 0.8 grams per kilogram bodyweight or about 46 grams for an average woman, though if you’re super active you probably need more. Another strategy for success: Avoid diets that are too restrictive, as you won’t stick with it long enough to see results. Shoenfeld suggests sticking with the 80/20 rule and learning your food habits, so you can avoid overeating before it starts. RELATED: 5 Signs You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

Sleep Also Plays a Role

Finally, to lose fat, you have to focus on catching those zzz’s. Costello says that without recovering from exercise properly (translation: getting ample sleep!), it’s tough to see results. “Sleep is a huge component to reset and reenergize so you can burn more calories the next day,” he says. “Also, recovery between workouts [is crucial]. Choose just three to four workouts a week where you really push yourself. Then have the medium-effort workouts, too. That recovery will help you push harder through the tough ones.” RELATED: 6 Signs That You’re Exhausted (Not Just Tired)

The Big Picture: Small Steps, Big Results

You probably know this at heart, but it’s worth mentioning. Lowering your body fat percentage doesn’t happen overnight. Or even over seven nights. Costello says, on average, losing about one to two percent body fat a month is a realistic goal. (Here are a few ways to measure your progress.) Don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing results right away. Continue with your interval and strength training workouts, and focus on eating a clean diet and getting ample rest in between. As they say, all good things come to those who wait…and hustle to the gym. Read More 3 Fat-Blasting HIIT Workouts to Try Now 12 Awesome Ways to Measure Your Non-Scale Victories EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss?

The post The Best Workouts for Reducing Body Fat appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-after-lifting-strength-training/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/cardio-after-lifting-strength-training/#comments Sat, 03 Mar 2018 14:15:56 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=40523

[caption id="attachment_66030" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

By now you know if you want to build a lean, fit body, you can’t stick to the treadmill or elliptical alone. It takes some heavy lifting to get that strong and chiseled physique. In fact, even if you want to be a better runner, you still need to incorporate strength training into your routine. But when you’re strapped for time, and need to squeeze cardio and weights into a single sweat session, which should you tackle first? Strength training, according to the research and fitness pros. Here’s why.

RELATED: How to Get Toned Armed with 6 Easy Exercises

Why Weights Shouldn’t Wait

In one study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers pinned three workout tactics against each other: Strength training alone, running then strength, and cycling followed by strength. They found that exercisers did fewer weight lifting reps if they had just ran or cycled. Yet, doing strength training with no cardio beforehand resulted in more reps.

Another recent study found similar results. After research subjects performed different bouts of treadmill running, the number of reps they performed during resistance training decreased, as did muscle power. Their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion also increased during the strength training sessions that followed aerobic exercise, especially after a HIIT running workout.

“In my experience, I’ve found that most exercisers feel ‘stronger’ when they engage in resistance training first,” says Robert Confessore, PhD, clinical exercise physiologist at Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, MT. Many scientific studies also demonstrate that aerobic training can negatively affect strength development when performed prior to lifting (whereas research is lacking on the reverse effect), he says. This is due to physiological changes in the muscles that help you move. When you use those fibers to fatigue before you do resistance exercises, your form and drive will likely suffer.

And that can have a noticeable impact. According to Lacey Stone, an LA-based celebrity trainer, if you want the muscle-building benefits of strength training, it’s best to start with those exercises. “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,” she says.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_66031" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? Experts say strength training. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

When Cardio Matters Most

In terms of fighting off fat, both resistance exercises and anaerobic workouts are crucial. “When you gain muscle, it raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster,” Stone explains. And according to research, doing both strength and cardio decreases body fat significantly more than each method alone. So you can probably stick to the same formula mentioned above, but keep in mind this caveat: That same study showed that while fat mass and waist circumference decrease when you do a combo of the two techniques or just aerobic activity. In other words, lifting alone didn't lead to weight loss.

So if you want to slim down, you need to kick up your cardio — even if that means skipping some weights when you’re short on time. “Remember: Strength training changes your shape and cardio changes your size,” says Stone.

If it’s better cardio capacity you’re after, Stone says there are mixed reviews on what to tackle first. It’s still smart to strength train even if you want to be a better runner or biker. In fact, one study found that resistance exercises improved endurance athletes’ performance, muscle power and economy. You may just need longer and more frequent cardio moves (some of those being stand-alone aerobic sessions), with cross-training days sprinkled throughout your weekly schedule.

Research suggests taking ample recovery time between strength sessions, too, so you don't mess with your endurance benefits. As shown in the study, the physiological stress from resistance training can fatigue muscles and potentially slow down the benefits of running or cycling sessions. Similarly, ACE-sponsored research shows that strength training before cardio increased heart rate by 12 beats per minute, which can increase your rate of perceived exertion. This makes your workout feel more vigorous and causes you to feel tired, faster. An important note to keep in mind if you're aiming to go for a longer run or ride.

RELATED: 8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What To Do Instead)

Finding Your Formula for Success

Of course every individual has different ideas for what they want to get out of their gym time. So tailor yours to your goals. “To the recreational exerciser, I recommend experimenting with the order of the two types of training within the same workout. Then gauge which works best for you,” says Confessore. If you’re still unsure of what to do, Confessore suggests scheduling these two types of workouts on different days. That way, you don’t have to worry about one affecting the other.

The bottom line… Do what works for your body, but if you need a place to start: Tackle strength, then cardio.

Originally published June 2015. Updated February 2018.

Read More
Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts
6 Plyometric Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time
5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

The post Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_66030" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? Photo: Twenty20[/caption] By now you know if you want to build a lean, fit body, you can’t stick to the treadmill or elliptical alone. It takes some heavy lifting to get that strong and chiseled physique. In fact, even if you want to be a better runner, you still need to incorporate strength training into your routine. But when you’re strapped for time, and need to squeeze cardio and weights into a single sweat session, which should you tackle first? Strength training, according to the research and fitness pros. Here’s why. RELATED: How to Get Toned Armed with 6 Easy Exercises

Why Weights Shouldn’t Wait

In one study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers pinned three workout tactics against each other: Strength training alone, running then strength, and cycling followed by strength. They found that exercisers did fewer weight lifting reps if they had just ran or cycled. Yet, doing strength training with no cardio beforehand resulted in more reps. Another recent study found similar results. After research subjects performed different bouts of treadmill running, the number of reps they performed during resistance training decreased, as did muscle power. Their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion also increased during the strength training sessions that followed aerobic exercise, especially after a HIIT running workout. “In my experience, I’ve found that most exercisers feel ‘stronger’ when they engage in resistance training first,” says Robert Confessore, PhD, clinical exercise physiologist at Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, MT. Many scientific studies also demonstrate that aerobic training can negatively affect strength development when performed prior to lifting (whereas research is lacking on the reverse effect), he says. This is due to physiological changes in the muscles that help you move. When you use those fibers to fatigue before you do resistance exercises, your form and drive will likely suffer. And that can have a noticeable impact. According to Lacey Stone, an LA-based celebrity trainer, if you want the muscle-building benefits of strength training, it’s best to start with those exercises. “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,” she says. RELATED: 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout [caption id="attachment_66031" align="alignnone" width="620"]Is It Better to Do Cardio or Strength Training First? Experts say strength training. Photo: Pond5[/caption]

When Cardio Matters Most

In terms of fighting off fat, both resistance exercises and anaerobic workouts are crucial. “When you gain muscle, it raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster,” Stone explains. And according to research, doing both strength and cardio decreases body fat significantly more than each method alone. So you can probably stick to the same formula mentioned above, but keep in mind this caveat: That same study showed that while fat mass and waist circumference decrease when you do a combo of the two techniques or just aerobic activity. In other words, lifting alone didn't lead to weight loss. So if you want to slim down, you need to kick up your cardio — even if that means skipping some weights when you’re short on time. “Remember: Strength training changes your shape and cardio changes your size,” says Stone. If it’s better cardio capacity you’re after, Stone says there are mixed reviews on what to tackle first. It’s still smart to strength train even if you want to be a better runner or biker. In fact, one study found that resistance exercises improved endurance athletes’ performance, muscle power and economy. You may just need longer and more frequent cardio moves (some of those being stand-alone aerobic sessions), with cross-training days sprinkled throughout your weekly schedule. Research suggests taking ample recovery time between strength sessions, too, so you don't mess with your endurance benefits. As shown in the study, the physiological stress from resistance training can fatigue muscles and potentially slow down the benefits of running or cycling sessions. Similarly, ACE-sponsored research shows that strength training before cardio increased heart rate by 12 beats per minute, which can increase your rate of perceived exertion. This makes your workout feel more vigorous and causes you to feel tired, faster. An important note to keep in mind if you're aiming to go for a longer run or ride. RELATED: 8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What To Do Instead)

Finding Your Formula for Success

Of course every individual has different ideas for what they want to get out of their gym time. So tailor yours to your goals. “To the recreational exerciser, I recommend experimenting with the order of the two types of training within the same workout. Then gauge which works best for you,” says Confessore. If you’re still unsure of what to do, Confessore suggests scheduling these two types of workouts on different days. That way, you don’t have to worry about one affecting the other. The bottom line… Do what works for your body, but if you need a place to start: Tackle strength, then cardio. Originally published June 2015. Updated February 2018. Read More Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts 6 Plyometric Exercises for a Better Workout in Less Time 5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

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How to Get Toned Arms With 6 Easy Exercises https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-get-toned-arms/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/how-to-get-toned-arms/#comments Sat, 24 Feb 2018 14:15:45 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=45150 6 Exercises to Get Toned Arms

[caption id="attachment_65912" align="aligncenter" width="620"]6 Exercises for Toned Arms Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Want to live every day like it’s #FlexFriday? Of course you do! But it can be frustrating to crank out endless bicep curls or tricep dips without seeing results. Believe it or not, getting the leaned, toned arms you’ve been longing for isn’t impossible — as long as you ditch those static movements and vary up your routine. By working out in a way that challenges your muscles from different angles, you’ll work the entire circumference of your arm. “You may get a more chiseled look, because you are working all of the different muscles instead of that one little line in the back [the triceps] and a little bit of bulk in the bicep,” says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Sarah Snyder.

RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

And while we’re debunking muscle myths, here’s another mistake we know we’re all guilty of: You’re standing in front of the mirror, carefully concentrating on the upward motion of that bicep curl — before flopping the weight back down before your next rep. Reality is, it’s important to focus on both the up and down (or concentric and eccentric) portions of each move. “If you’re slowly lowering, you’re working on stability, the deep muscles, as well as recruiting more muscle fibers,” Snyder says.

Ready to ditch your old routine? These six exercises demoed by Snyder (yup, she’s pregnant!) will give you that all-over sculpted look you’re looking for — and all you need is a set of dumbbells. (No clue what size weight to choose? Check out this handy guide.) Do this routine two times a week — you can even squeeze it in before or after your next 30-minute cardio workout. Then, get ready to show off your guns with your next sweaty selfie.

6 Better Moves for an Awesome Triceps and Biceps Workout

Toned Arm Exercises: Dumbbell Floor Press with Glute Bridge

1. Dumbbell Floor Press with Glute Bridge

This compound exercise strengthens your chest and triceps, while firing up all three major muscles that make up your glutes.

Targets: Triceps, chest, shoulders, core, glutes
How to: Lay on the floor holding dumbbells in your hands. Keeping feet flat on the floor with knees bent, raise hips. Begin with the weights fully extended above you, palms facing one another (a). Lower the weights towards your shoulders until your upper arms come in contact with the floor. Hold for one count (b). Next, raise dumbbells back to starting position by extending through the elbows (c). Complete three sets of 15 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets.

RELATED: Dumbbell Workout: 5 Moves, 1 Full-Body Burn

Toned Arm Exercises: Bicep Curl with Static Hold

2. Bicep Curl with Static Hold

Want to take your average bicep curl to the next level? The addition of the static hold on the opposite arm ensures you're building muscle endurance as well as strength.

Targets: Biceps, forearms
How to: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length, palms of your hands facing forward (a). Raise right dumbbell so that the elbow is flexed at a 90-degree angle (b). Then, curl left dumbbell to left shoulder. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to your side (c). Complete all lifting reps for one side while keeping the 90-degree static hold throughout (d). Repeat for two sets of eight reps on each side.

RELATED: 10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Workouts

Toned Arm Exercises: Side Lying Tricep Push-Ups

3. Side Lying Triceps Push-Ups

Swap your tricep dips for these side push-ups. The push motion specifically targets the smaller arm muscles, but also activates your obliques to sculpt those unwanted love handles.

Targets: Triceps, biceps, obliques
How to:
Lie on your left side (rolled towel or mat under hip) with your legs straight and staggered (bottom leg forward), feet flexed (a). Bring left hand to right shoulder, place right hand flat on the floor in front of your left shoulder, elbows bent to 90-degrees (b). Push up to straighten your right elbow, pushing your torso away from the floor while keeping core tight (c). Then, slowly lower back to starting position (d). Perform two sets of 15 reps on each side.

RELATED: The Strength Workout Every Woman Should Be Doing

Toned Arm Exercises: Push-Up Hammer Curls

4. Push-Up Hammer Curls

Want to work your way to a woman or man maker exercise? This move tests your stability and core strength as you adjust your weight to perform a curl.

Targets: Biceps, triceps, shoulders, core
How to: Step back into plank position, feet wide, hands on dumbbells under shoulders (a). Engage core to lock hips in place (b). Curl right hand dumbbell toward your right shoulder, slowly lower (c). Repeat left side (d). Perform 20 each side.

RELATED: 5 Plank Exercises to Get Hardcore

Toned Arm Exercises: Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

5. Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension

If you think your triceps are the only thing that's getting love in this exercise, think again. Anytime you add weight overhead, you engage your core to keep your spine neutral and prevent overarching.

Targets: Triceps, core
How to: Stand up with a dumbbell held by both hands, feet shoulder-width apart (a). Gasping the dumbbell with both hands, lift it overhead sp both arms are fully extended, palms of hands facing up towards the ceiling (b). While keeping your biceps next to your ears and elbows stable, lower the resistance in a semicircular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps (c). Return to starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell (d). Perform 4 slow reps, followed by 8 quicker paced reps; repeat 2 times.

RELATED: Strength Training for Beginners: 4 Must-Do Exercises

Toned Arm Exercises: Crazy 8's

6. Crazy 8’s

You'll cover different all ranges of motion in this challenging biceps exercise. From partial to full extension, you'll challenge your arm muscles in new ways.

Targets: Biceps, forearms, core
How to: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length, palms of your hands face forward (a). Raise both arms halfway so that elbows are bent at 90-degrees, lower and repeat for 8 counts (b). Then position arms so that your elbows are bent at 90-degrees and raise both dumbbells to shoulders, lower and repeat for 8 more counts (c). Finally, return arms fully extended down at sides and raise both dumbbells the full range of motion to shoulders and lower for the final 8 counts (d). Repeat sequence 2 times with 60 seconds rest between sets.

Originally published November 2016. Updated February 2018.

Read More
5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout
8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before
3 Quick Triceps Exercises for Stronger Arms

The post How to Get Toned Arms With 6 Easy Exercises appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
6 Exercises to Get Toned Arms

[caption id="attachment_65912" align="aligncenter" width="620"]6 Exercises for Toned Arms Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Want to live every day like it’s #FlexFriday? Of course you do! But it can be frustrating to crank out endless bicep curls or tricep dips without seeing results. Believe it or not, getting the leaned, toned arms you’ve been longing for isn’t impossible — as long as you ditch those static movements and vary up your routine. By working out in a way that challenges your muscles from different angles, you’ll work the entire circumference of your arm. “You may get a more chiseled look, because you are working all of the different muscles instead of that one little line in the back [the triceps] and a little bit of bulk in the bicep,” says DailyBurn Fitness/Nutrition Coach Sarah Snyder. RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes And while we’re debunking muscle myths, here’s another mistake we know we’re all guilty of: You’re standing in front of the mirror, carefully concentrating on the upward motion of that bicep curl — before flopping the weight back down before your next rep. Reality is, it’s important to focus on both the up and down (or concentric and eccentric) portions of each move. “If you’re slowly lowering, you’re working on stability, the deep muscles, as well as recruiting more muscle fibers,” Snyder says. Ready to ditch your old routine? These six exercises demoed by Snyder (yup, she’s pregnant!) will give you that all-over sculpted look you’re looking for — and all you need is a set of dumbbells. (No clue what size weight to choose? Check out this handy guide.) Do this routine two times a week — you can even squeeze it in before or after your next 30-minute cardio workout. Then, get ready to show off your guns with your next sweaty selfie.

6 Better Moves for an Awesome Triceps and Biceps Workout

Toned Arm Exercises: Dumbbell Floor Press with Glute Bridge

1. Dumbbell Floor Press with Glute Bridge

This compound exercise strengthens your chest and triceps, while firing up all three major muscles that make up your glutes. Targets: Triceps, chest, shoulders, core, glutes How to: Lay on the floor holding dumbbells in your hands. Keeping feet flat on the floor with knees bent, raise hips. Begin with the weights fully extended above you, palms facing one another (a). Lower the weights towards your shoulders until your upper arms come in contact with the floor. Hold for one count (b). Next, raise dumbbells back to starting position by extending through the elbows (c). Complete three sets of 15 reps with 60 seconds rest between sets. RELATED: Dumbbell Workout: 5 Moves, 1 Full-Body Burn Toned Arm Exercises: Bicep Curl with Static Hold

2. Bicep Curl with Static Hold

Want to take your average bicep curl to the next level? The addition of the static hold on the opposite arm ensures you're building muscle endurance as well as strength. Targets: Biceps, forearms How to: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length, palms of your hands facing forward (a). Raise right dumbbell so that the elbow is flexed at a 90-degree angle (b). Then, curl left dumbbell to left shoulder. Pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to your side (c). Complete all lifting reps for one side while keeping the 90-degree static hold throughout (d). Repeat for two sets of eight reps on each side. RELATED: 10 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Workouts Toned Arm Exercises: Side Lying Tricep Push-Ups

3. Side Lying Triceps Push-Ups

Swap your tricep dips for these side push-ups. The push motion specifically targets the smaller arm muscles, but also activates your obliques to sculpt those unwanted love handles. Targets: Triceps, biceps, obliques How to: Lie on your left side (rolled towel or mat under hip) with your legs straight and staggered (bottom leg forward), feet flexed (a). Bring left hand to right shoulder, place right hand flat on the floor in front of your left shoulder, elbows bent to 90-degrees (b). Push up to straighten your right elbow, pushing your torso away from the floor while keeping core tight (c). Then, slowly lower back to starting position (d). Perform two sets of 15 reps on each side. RELATED: The Strength Workout Every Woman Should Be Doing Toned Arm Exercises: Push-Up Hammer Curls

4. Push-Up Hammer Curls

Want to work your way to a woman or man maker exercise? This move tests your stability and core strength as you adjust your weight to perform a curl. Targets: Biceps, triceps, shoulders, core How to: Step back into plank position, feet wide, hands on dumbbells under shoulders (a). Engage core to lock hips in place (b). Curl right hand dumbbell toward your right shoulder, slowly lower (c). Repeat left side (d). Perform 20 each side. RELATED: 5 Plank Exercises to Get Hardcore Toned Arm Exercises: Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

5. Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extension

If you think your triceps are the only thing that's getting love in this exercise, think again. Anytime you add weight overhead, you engage your core to keep your spine neutral and prevent overarching. Targets: Triceps, core How to: Stand up with a dumbbell held by both hands, feet shoulder-width apart (a). Gasping the dumbbell with both hands, lift it overhead sp both arms are fully extended, palms of hands facing up towards the ceiling (b). While keeping your biceps next to your ears and elbows stable, lower the resistance in a semicircular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps (c). Return to starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell (d). Perform 4 slow reps, followed by 8 quicker paced reps; repeat 2 times. RELATED: Strength Training for Beginners: 4 Must-Do Exercises Toned Arm Exercises: Crazy 8's

6. Crazy 8’s

You'll cover different all ranges of motion in this challenging biceps exercise. From partial to full extension, you'll challenge your arm muscles in new ways. Targets: Biceps, forearms, core How to: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand at arm's length, palms of your hands face forward (a). Raise both arms halfway so that elbows are bent at 90-degrees, lower and repeat for 8 counts (b). Then position arms so that your elbows are bent at 90-degrees and raise both dumbbells to shoulders, lower and repeat for 8 more counts (c). Finally, return arms fully extended down at sides and raise both dumbbells the full range of motion to shoulders and lower for the final 8 counts (d). Repeat sequence 2 times with 60 seconds rest between sets. Originally published November 2016. Updated February 2018. Read More 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout 8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before 3 Quick Triceps Exercises for Stronger Arms

The post How to Get Toned Arms With 6 Easy Exercises appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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6 Core Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-back-pain-core-exercises/ Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:15:28 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65888

[caption id="attachment_65890" align="alignnone" width="620"]6 Core Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

When most of us think about exercising with lower back pain, we think about workarounds. As in, “is that squat going to hurt? And what variations can I sub in to prevent a flare-up?”

But, according to new research, we should actually be asking, “what can I do to strengthen my core?” After all — while four out of five people will battle back pain at some point in their lives, per the American Chiropractic Association — the 2018 study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows that weak core muscles in runners (and, probably, any exerciser) can increase the risk of lower back pain. Meanwhile, 2017 research out of Pakistan shows that performing core stabilization exercises is more effective than traditional physical therapy at reducing lower back pain.

Why? Because the deep-lying core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis (which hook in and around the spine) serve to stabilize the body’s entire midsection, explains Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, founder of Movement Vault flexibility and mobility online program. But when one muscle, or group of muscles, is weak, another one is forced to pick up the slack, he says.

RELATED: 6 Core Exercises to Make You a Stronger, Faster Runner

For example, in The Ohio State study, researchers found that when people’s deep core muscles were weak, running placed excess stress on their more superficial core muscles, as well as the spine. Over time, these compensations can cause wear and tear and painful overuse injuries, Wickham explains.

Unfortunately, most of us head into our workouts with pretty weak, inactive core muscles. (Thanks, desk job.) That’s why, to both ease and reduce the risk of mid-workout back pain, Wickham recommends adding core exercises to your pre-workout warm-up.

Start with these six core exercises, courtesy of Wickham, performing them back-to-back before any workout or as a standalone core workout.

RELATED: 7 Ways Exercise Helps Relieve Back Pain

The Core Workout to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Dead Bug

1. Dead Bug

How to: Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs up in the air, knees bent and arms straight. Press your lower back into the floor, and brace your core (a). From here, lower one leg until your heel just about touches the floor while also lowering your opposite arm toward the floor above your head (b). Pause, then squeeze your core to lift them back up to return to start (c). Repeat with the opposite arm and leg (d). Continue alternating for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Side Plank Hold

2. Low Side Plank Hold

How to: Get into a side plank on your forearm and knees so that your shoulder is directly over your elbow and your knees are stacked on top of each other and in line with your shoulders. Brace your core and hold. Don’t let your hips rotate or sag. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform two 20-second holds per side. If that’s too easy, raise up off of your knees (as shown above) so that you’re still balancing on your forearm, but with feet stacked.

RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Segmented Cat-Camel

3. Segmented Cat-Camel

How to: Start on your hands and knees, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips (a). Squeeze your core and glutes and round your back up toward the ceiling, tucking your chin to your chest (b). From here, slowly reverse the arch in your back, starting at your tailbone and ending at your neck. Continue until your entire back is curved toward the floor and you look up toward the ceiling (c). Now reverse the motion, starting at your neck and moving back down toward your tailbone to return to the starting position (d). That’s one rep, which should take a minimum of 15 seconds. Complete 5 reps.

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Bird Dog

4. Bird Dog

How to: Start on the floor, on your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Look toward the floor, just in front of your hands. Brace your core to maintain a flat tabletop position (a). From here, extend one arm and the opposite leg up and away from your body so that they are parallel to the floor (b). Pause for three seconds, then slowly lower to return to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). That’s one rep. Perform two sets of 8-12 reps.

RELATED: Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Pallof Press

5. Pallof Press

How to: Stand in a quarter squat with one side of your body facing a cable station. Hold the cable’s handle with both hands at navel-height (a). From here, press the handle straight out in front of you, making sure your body doesn’t turn to one side (b). Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to start (c). Perform 12-15 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Lying Windshield Wiper

6. Lying Windshield Wipers

How to: Lie face-up on the floor with your arms straight out from your sides. Raise your feet off of the floor so that your knees and hips are bent to 90 degrees, and press your low back into the floor. Brace your core to maintain this position (a). From here, keeping your legs together, slowly lower your legs as far as you can to one side without lifting your shoulders or low back off of the floor (b). Pause, then reverse the movement to return start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). That’s one rep. Perform 8 reps.

Read More
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
8 Yoga Poses to Help Ease Back Pain

The post 6 Core Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65890" align="alignnone" width="620"]6 Core Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain Photo: Twenty20[/caption] When most of us think about exercising with lower back pain, we think about workarounds. As in, “is that squat going to hurt? And what variations can I sub in to prevent a flare-up?” But, according to new research, we should actually be asking, “what can I do to strengthen my core?” After all — while four out of five people will battle back pain at some point in their lives, per the American Chiropractic Association — the 2018 study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center shows that weak core muscles in runners (and, probably, any exerciser) can increase the risk of lower back pain. Meanwhile, 2017 research out of Pakistan shows that performing core stabilization exercises is more effective than traditional physical therapy at reducing lower back pain. Why? Because the deep-lying core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis (which hook in and around the spine) serve to stabilize the body’s entire midsection, explains Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, founder of Movement Vault flexibility and mobility online program. But when one muscle, or group of muscles, is weak, another one is forced to pick up the slack, he says. RELATED: 6 Core Exercises to Make You a Stronger, Faster Runner For example, in The Ohio State study, researchers found that when people’s deep core muscles were weak, running placed excess stress on their more superficial core muscles, as well as the spine. Over time, these compensations can cause wear and tear and painful overuse injuries, Wickham explains. Unfortunately, most of us head into our workouts with pretty weak, inactive core muscles. (Thanks, desk job.) That’s why, to both ease and reduce the risk of mid-workout back pain, Wickham recommends adding core exercises to your pre-workout warm-up. Start with these six core exercises, courtesy of Wickham, performing them back-to-back before any workout or as a standalone core workout. RELATED: 7 Ways Exercise Helps Relieve Back Pain

The Core Workout to Help Relieve Lower Back Pain

Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Dead Bug

1. Dead Bug

How to: Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs up in the air, knees bent and arms straight. Press your lower back into the floor, and brace your core (a). From here, lower one leg until your heel just about touches the floor while also lowering your opposite arm toward the floor above your head (b). Pause, then squeeze your core to lift them back up to return to start (c). Repeat with the opposite arm and leg (d). Continue alternating for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Side Plank Hold

2. Low Side Plank Hold

How to: Get into a side plank on your forearm and knees so that your shoulder is directly over your elbow and your knees are stacked on top of each other and in line with your shoulders. Brace your core and hold. Don’t let your hips rotate or sag. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform two 20-second holds per side. If that’s too easy, raise up off of your knees (as shown above) so that you’re still balancing on your forearm, but with feet stacked. RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Segmented Cat-Camel

3. Segmented Cat-Camel

How to: Start on your hands and knees, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips (a). Squeeze your core and glutes and round your back up toward the ceiling, tucking your chin to your chest (b). From here, slowly reverse the arch in your back, starting at your tailbone and ending at your neck. Continue until your entire back is curved toward the floor and you look up toward the ceiling (c). Now reverse the motion, starting at your neck and moving back down toward your tailbone to return to the starting position (d). That’s one rep, which should take a minimum of 15 seconds. Complete 5 reps. Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Bird Dog

4. Bird Dog

How to: Start on the floor, on your hands and knees with wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Look toward the floor, just in front of your hands. Brace your core to maintain a flat tabletop position (a). From here, extend one arm and the opposite leg up and away from your body so that they are parallel to the floor (b). Pause for three seconds, then slowly lower to return to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). That’s one rep. Perform two sets of 8-12 reps. RELATED: Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Pallof Press

5. Pallof Press

How to: Stand in a quarter squat with one side of your body facing a cable station. Hold the cable’s handle with both hands at navel-height (a). From here, press the handle straight out in front of you, making sure your body doesn’t turn to one side (b). Pause, then slowly reverse the movement to return to start (c). Perform 12-15 reps, then repeat on the opposite side. Core Exercises for Lower Back Pain: Lying Windshield Wiper

6. Lying Windshield Wipers

How to: Lie face-up on the floor with your arms straight out from your sides. Raise your feet off of the floor so that your knees and hips are bent to 90 degrees, and press your low back into the floor. Brace your core to maintain this position (a). From here, keeping your legs together, slowly lower your legs as far as you can to one side without lifting your shoulders or low back off of the floor (b). Pause, then reverse the movement to return start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). That’s one rep. Perform 8 reps. Read More 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners 8 Yoga Poses to Help Ease Back Pain

The post 6 Core Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/common-trainer-cues-decoded/ Tue, 20 Feb 2018 12:15:23 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65841

[caption id="attachment_65843" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

Square your hips. Tuck your tailbone. Zip your navel to your spine. Listening to your trainer is much like playing a game of “Simon Says.” But if you’re new to exercise or trying a workout for the first time, it’s not uncommon to get tangled up in a trainer’s cues.

Pete McCall, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, says, “Trainer cues are meant merely to create awareness to movement. They’re there to help people be more mindful of what they’re doing.” With that said, if you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask your trainer to clarify or explain. After all, these prompts are intended to help you get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. Read on to learn the most common trainer cues and how to decode them.

RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

What Your Trainer Really Means When They Say…

1. Tuck your tailbone.

Trainer translation: OK, so you can’t literally tuck away your tailbone. But this common barre phrase is meant to help you bring awareness to the midline of your body, McCall says. Tucking your tailbone means engaging your abs and scooping your hips so that they’re tilted slightly forward. This helps to straighten your spine. “When your spine is rounded or rotates the wrong way, it could be a potential risk of injury,” McCall says.

2. Lead with the hips.

Trainer translation: When squatting, you may have heard the cue to “avoid letting your knees go over your toes” or to “lead with the hips.” McCall explains, “What your trainer really means is that your hips should move before your knees when you perform a squat.” A strong squat starts with a hip hinge and shooting your butt back and down to activate your glutes. “Whether you squat or lunge, your glutes should be doing more of the work,” McCall says.

3. Feel a two-way stretch.

Trainer translation: Another common yoga and barre phrase, this cue simply means to lengthen, says Krystal Dwyer, Daily Burn 365 trainer and FlyBarre instructor. “Lengthen out of the top of your head and tailbone, or in some cases, out of your toes,” Dwyer says. “I want people to feel their entire body stretching and lengthening while they’re moving.”

4. Brace your core.

Trainer translation: Whether you’re performing a push-up or a plank, this cue is all about contracting your abs. “A more effective cue is to grip the floor with both hands. This gives you more stability in your shoulders and turns your abs on,” McCall says. McCall tells his clients to imagine their older brother punching their stomach. “You want to keep your entire core tight,” he says.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5. Pull your belly button towards the spine.

Trainer translation: This is impossible, obviously, but the point of this cue is to activate your transverse abdominis (TVA), the deepest layer of your abdominals. From a Pilates 100 to an ab roll-up, these waist-cinching moves are best known for engaging your TVA. “By activating your transverse abs, you’re firing up all four layers around your lumbar spine,” McCall says. “This helps keep your back stable and supports your hips and pelvis,” he adds.

6. Pinch your shoulder blades.

Trainer translation: Put some back into it! Imagine that there’s a ball between your shoulders on your upper back, and you don’t want that ball to drop. From renegade rows to reverse flies, scapular retraction will allow for better posture, muscle activation and injury prevention. “Pulling should come from the elbows. Pinching your shoulders keeps them out of the way so your arms can move safely,” McCall says.

RELATED: Get Sculpted Shoulders with These 5 Exercises

7. Draw your chin back.

Trainer translation: It’s all about alignment. Whether you’re doing a plank or a push-up, you want to make sure your entire body from the top of your head to your tailbone is aligned. “When we press our chin forward, we’re creating a lot of tension in our neck and upper back,” Dwyer says.

8. Pull up on the pedals.

Trainer translation: If you’re sprinting during spin class, McCall says it’s actually more effective to think about pulling up on pedals as opposed to pushing them down. Also, he adds, “Imagine wiping your shoe on a mat. This takes advantage of the natural motion of your foot muscles, so you move more efficiently and with more control.” Whether you’re sitting in a neutral on the bike or climbing in third position, this cue is also a good reminder to engage your glutes and hamstrings to pull the pedals away — and not just your quads.

RELATED: 7 SoulCycle Secrets for Proper Form on a Spin Bike

9. Open your heart.

Trainer translation: Your trainer isn’t trying to get deep into your psyche here. It simply means to keep your chest lifted and open. “Think of having a diamond necklace on and your showing it off,” Dwyer says. Hunching your back over a desk during the day makes your chest less open and more prone to shoulder injury while lifting. “Press your shoulder blades down into your back pocket and keep your chin lifted and back,” she says.

Read More:
Push Through Any Workout with These Trainer Mantras
The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard
Just Not Feeling It Today? 33 Sources of Workout Motivation

The post The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_65843" align="alignnone" width="620"]The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded Photo: Twenty20[/caption] Square your hips. Tuck your tailbone. Zip your navel to your spine. Listening to your trainer is much like playing a game of “Simon Says.” But if you’re new to exercise or trying a workout for the first time, it’s not uncommon to get tangled up in a trainer’s cues. Pete McCall, CSCS, ACE-certified personal trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, says, “Trainer cues are meant merely to create awareness to movement. They’re there to help people be more mindful of what they’re doing.” With that said, if you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask your trainer to clarify or explain. After all, these prompts are intended to help you get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. Read on to learn the most common trainer cues and how to decode them. RELATED: The 15 Most Underrated Exercises, According to Trainers

What Your Trainer Really Means When They Say…

1. Tuck your tailbone.

Trainer translation: OK, so you can’t literally tuck away your tailbone. But this common barre phrase is meant to help you bring awareness to the midline of your body, McCall says. Tucking your tailbone means engaging your abs and scooping your hips so that they’re tilted slightly forward. This helps to straighten your spine. “When your spine is rounded or rotates the wrong way, it could be a potential risk of injury,” McCall says.

2. Lead with the hips.

Trainer translation: When squatting, you may have heard the cue to “avoid letting your knees go over your toes” or to “lead with the hips.” McCall explains, “What your trainer really means is that your hips should move before your knees when you perform a squat.” A strong squat starts with a hip hinge and shooting your butt back and down to activate your glutes. “Whether you squat or lunge, your glutes should be doing more of the work,” McCall says.

3. Feel a two-way stretch.

Trainer translation: Another common yoga and barre phrase, this cue simply means to lengthen, says Krystal Dwyer, Daily Burn 365 trainer and FlyBarre instructor. “Lengthen out of the top of your head and tailbone, or in some cases, out of your toes,” Dwyer says. “I want people to feel their entire body stretching and lengthening while they’re moving.”

4. Brace your core.

Trainer translation: Whether you’re performing a push-up or a plank, this cue is all about contracting your abs. “A more effective cue is to grip the floor with both hands. This gives you more stability in your shoulders and turns your abs on,” McCall says. McCall tells his clients to imagine their older brother punching their stomach. “You want to keep your entire core tight,” he says. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5. Pull your belly button towards the spine.

Trainer translation: This is impossible, obviously, but the point of this cue is to activate your transverse abdominis (TVA), the deepest layer of your abdominals. From a Pilates 100 to an ab roll-up, these waist-cinching moves are best known for engaging your TVA. “By activating your transverse abs, you’re firing up all four layers around your lumbar spine,” McCall says. “This helps keep your back stable and supports your hips and pelvis,” he adds.

6. Pinch your shoulder blades.

Trainer translation: Put some back into it! Imagine that there’s a ball between your shoulders on your upper back, and you don’t want that ball to drop. From renegade rows to reverse flies, scapular retraction will allow for better posture, muscle activation and injury prevention. “Pulling should come from the elbows. Pinching your shoulders keeps them out of the way so your arms can move safely,” McCall says. RELATED: Get Sculpted Shoulders with These 5 Exercises

7. Draw your chin back.

Trainer translation: It’s all about alignment. Whether you’re doing a plank or a push-up, you want to make sure your entire body from the top of your head to your tailbone is aligned. “When we press our chin forward, we’re creating a lot of tension in our neck and upper back,” Dwyer says.

8. Pull up on the pedals.

Trainer translation: If you’re sprinting during spin class, McCall says it’s actually more effective to think about pulling up on pedals as opposed to pushing them down. Also, he adds, “Imagine wiping your shoe on a mat. This takes advantage of the natural motion of your foot muscles, so you move more efficiently and with more control.” Whether you’re sitting in a neutral on the bike or climbing in third position, this cue is also a good reminder to engage your glutes and hamstrings to pull the pedals away — and not just your quads. RELATED: 7 SoulCycle Secrets for Proper Form on a Spin Bike

9. Open your heart.

Trainer translation: Your trainer isn’t trying to get deep into your psyche here. It simply means to keep your chest lifted and open. “Think of having a diamond necklace on and your showing it off,” Dwyer says. Hunching your back over a desk during the day makes your chest less open and more prone to shoulder injury while lifting. “Press your shoulder blades down into your back pocket and keep your chin lifted and back,” she says. Read More: Push Through Any Workout with These Trainer Mantras The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard Just Not Feeling It Today? 33 Sources of Workout Motivation

The post The 9 Most Common Trainer Cues, Decoded appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-total-body/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/stability-ball-exercises-total-body/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 13:15:47 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=60891

[caption id="attachment_65774" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

If you equate stability balls with core work only, you’re selling them (and your fitness results) short.

Adding stability ball exercises to your workout is a great, simple way to increase the difficulty of your favorite moves. Using just this tool, you can challenge both your upper and lower body in new, creative ways, explains trainer Tara Romeo, CSCS, CES, director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York. (If you don’t already have one at home, we like the URBNFit Ball.)

RELATED: 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

Plus, no matter the exercise, performing a move with an exercise ball will force you to work double-time as you fight to keep your core stable. “Due to the ball's soft surface, your body has to constantly compensate for the continuous changes in balance throughout the exercise,” Romeo explains. “This strengthens the deep-lying stabilizing muscles in your core.”

To get you in on the total-body action, Romeo shares five challenging stability ball exercises you need to try. Add them into your existing exercise routine or perform each move for 10 reps and three sets for a workout that will leave your entire body shaking.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5 Stability Ball Exercises You’re Not Doing (But Should!)

Stability Ball Exercises: Elevated Split Squat

1. Stability-Ball-Elevated Split Squat

Take your squats to the next level with this advanced bodyweight move. It hammers your quads, glutes, and hamstrings while honing your total-body balance and core stability.

How to: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place the top of one foot on a stability ball directly behind your body (a). Keeping your weight in the heel of your front foot, bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor. Allow the ball to roll onto your back shin (b). Pause, then push through your front heel to stand up, rolling the top of your foot back onto the ball (c). Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

Stability Ball Exercises: Hamstring Curl

2. Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl

Ditch the gym’s bulky hamstring curl machine and opt for this at-home variation. It works your hammies and glutes in a big way — without taking the rest of your lower-body stabilizers out of the muscle-building equation.

How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Place both ankles on top of a stability ball hip-width apart (a). With your back flat, core braced and arms at your side, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips up off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the ball (b). From here, press your heels into the ball and bend your knees to pull the ball toward your butt (c). Pause, then straighten your knees to drive the ball back out, keeping your hips elevated as you do so (d). Repeat for reps, keeping hips elevated between reps.

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Stability Ball Exercises: Lat Pull-Over

3. Lat Pull-Over on a Stability Ball

Despite the name, this simple yet effective exercise not only works your lats, but also your pecs and shoulders. And of course, it fires up your core. Just grab a dumbbell to get it done right.

How to: With your feet flat on the floor and placed shoulder-width apart, position your upper back on a stability ball (a). Lift your hips so you reach a table-top position, knees bent to 90 degrees and back completely flat. Hold the top of a dumbbell with both hands above your chest, allowing a slight bend in your elbows (b). From here, keeping your back flat, core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weight behind your head (c). Pause, then drive the weight back up to start (d). Repeat.

Stability Ball Exercises: Y-Ups

4. Stability-Ball Y-Ups

This one is a lot harder than it looks, as you train the lower traps. You also hit the often-underworked rhomboids and rear delts for improved posture and upper-body stability. Start without weights before moving onto 5- or 10-pound dumbbells.

How to: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball, with your feet on the floor, spread shoulder-width apart for balance (a). Extend your arms straight out in front of you and rotate your hands so your thumbs point up toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears (b). From here, pinch your shoulder blades together like you are pinching an orange to slowly raise your arms up as far as you can without letting your torso move (c). Pause, then slowly lower back to start and repeat (c).

RELATED: 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

Stability Ball Exercises: Dead Bug

5. Dead Bug

We’d be remiss not to include one core-specific exercise. After all, exercise balls have a reputation for a reason. And while equipment-free dead bugs train both the six-pack-looking abs and deep-lying core muscles like crazy, adding in a yoga ball is a great way to turn up the burn.

How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor with your arms and legs extended straight up toward the ceiling, bracing a stability ball between your arms and legs. Tilt your pelvis to press your low back into the floor, and brace your core to maintain this back position throughout the entire exercise (a). Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor as low as you can while keeping a flat-back position and keeping the ball in place (b). Pause, then squeeze your abs to raise your arm and leg back to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). Continue alternating.

Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

The post 5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65774" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Stability Ball Exercises That Work More Than Your Abs Photo: Twenty20[/caption] If you equate stability balls with core work only, you’re selling them (and your fitness results) short. Adding stability ball exercises to your workout is a great, simple way to increase the difficulty of your favorite moves. Using just this tool, you can challenge both your upper and lower body in new, creative ways, explains trainer Tara Romeo, CSCS, CES, director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York. (If you don’t already have one at home, we like the URBNFit Ball.) RELATED: 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core Plus, no matter the exercise, performing a move with an exercise ball will force you to work double-time as you fight to keep your core stable. “Due to the ball's soft surface, your body has to constantly compensate for the continuous changes in balance throughout the exercise,” Romeo explains. “This strengthens the deep-lying stabilizing muscles in your core.” To get you in on the total-body action, Romeo shares five challenging stability ball exercises you need to try. Add them into your existing exercise routine or perform each move for 10 reps and three sets for a workout that will leave your entire body shaking. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

5 Stability Ball Exercises You’re Not Doing (But Should!)

Stability Ball Exercises: Elevated Split Squat

1. Stability-Ball-Elevated Split Squat

Take your squats to the next level with this advanced bodyweight move. It hammers your quads, glutes, and hamstrings while honing your total-body balance and core stability. How to: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Place the top of one foot on a stability ball directly behind your body (a). Keeping your weight in the heel of your front foot, bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor. Allow the ball to roll onto your back shin (b). Pause, then push through your front heel to stand up, rolling the top of your foot back onto the ball (c). Repeat for reps, then switch sides. Stability Ball Exercises: Hamstring Curl

2. Stability-Ball Hamstring Curl

Ditch the gym’s bulky hamstring curl machine and opt for this at-home variation. It works your hammies and glutes in a big way — without taking the rest of your lower-body stabilizers out of the muscle-building equation. How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor. Place both ankles on top of a stability ball hip-width apart (a). With your back flat, core braced and arms at your side, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips up off the ground so that your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Your feet should be flat on the ball (b). From here, press your heels into the ball and bend your knees to pull the ball toward your butt (c). Pause, then straighten your knees to drive the ball back out, keeping your hips elevated as you do so (d). Repeat for reps, keeping hips elevated between reps. RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine Stability Ball Exercises: Lat Pull-Over

3. Lat Pull-Over on a Stability Ball

Despite the name, this simple yet effective exercise not only works your lats, but also your pecs and shoulders. And of course, it fires up your core. Just grab a dumbbell to get it done right. How to: With your feet flat on the floor and placed shoulder-width apart, position your upper back on a stability ball (a). Lift your hips so you reach a table-top position, knees bent to 90 degrees and back completely flat. Hold the top of a dumbbell with both hands above your chest, allowing a slight bend in your elbows (b). From here, keeping your back flat, core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, slowly lower the weight behind your head (c). Pause, then drive the weight back up to start (d). Repeat. Stability Ball Exercises: Y-Ups

4. Stability-Ball Y-Ups

This one is a lot harder than it looks, as you train the lower traps. You also hit the often-underworked rhomboids and rear delts for improved posture and upper-body stability. Start without weights before moving onto 5- or 10-pound dumbbells. How to: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball, with your feet on the floor, spread shoulder-width apart for balance (a). Extend your arms straight out in front of you and rotate your hands so your thumbs point up toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears (b). From here, pinch your shoulder blades together like you are pinching an orange to slowly raise your arms up as far as you can without letting your torso move (c). Pause, then slowly lower back to start and repeat (c). RELATED: 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life Stability Ball Exercises: Dead Bug

5. Dead Bug

We’d be remiss not to include one core-specific exercise. After all, exercise balls have a reputation for a reason. And while equipment-free dead bugs train both the six-pack-looking abs and deep-lying core muscles like crazy, adding in a yoga ball is a great way to turn up the burn. How to: Lie flat on your back on the floor with your arms and legs extended straight up toward the ceiling, bracing a stability ball between your arms and legs. Tilt your pelvis to press your low back into the floor, and brace your core to maintain this back position throughout the entire exercise (a). Lower one arm and the opposite leg toward the floor as low as you can while keeping a flat-back position and keeping the ball in place (b). Pause, then squeeze your abs to raise your arm and leg back to start (c). Repeat on the opposite side (d). Continue alternating. Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018.  Read More Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

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Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/bodyweight-workouts-burn-fat/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/bodyweight-workouts-burn-fat/#comments Thu, 15 Feb 2018 16:15:15 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=43282 Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts

[caption id="attachment_65734" align="alignnone" width="620"]Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption]

If you think your gym’s exercise machines don’t look too different than the characters from the latest Transformers movie, you’re not alone. All those levers and cables and pins can have you running for the exit. But before you flip the script in the name of gymtimidation, remember that there's one piece of equipment that's consistently better than the rest: Your own body.

That's right, your very own physique is the best and most versatile piece of fitness equipment you can use. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Dewar of J2Fit, by performing bodyweight exercises and movements, you'll not only improve your balance and conditioning, you'll also start building muscle. And the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat your body will naturally burn.

RELATED: 5 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running

What’s more, Dewar stresses the importance of the body awareness and stability that comes from bodyweight training. “Without the ability to control your body in space, you can set yourself up for injury."

Got 10 minutes to get a jump on your fitness? We thought so. That’s why we’ve put together three 10-minute bodyweight workouts fit for any experience level. Choose one today, another tomorrow, and you’ve got an easy way to get your sweat on anytime, anywhere.

Try These 3 Bodyweight Exercises

Perform these routines as a standalone workout, or add them to the end of your regular weight training or cardio workout as a "finisher." Find certain moves too challenging? Each circuit can be easily modified to suit your needs (or spatial limitations). And while Dewar recommends resting 60 seconds between each round, take as much (or as little) time as you need. Now clear a spot in your living room, or claim a corner of your park or gym — it’s go time!

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up

[caption id="attachment_65735" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Squat Jumps

How to: Start by standing straight up with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you, drop into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest up (a). Press through your heels and extend your arms down to explode off the ground, jumping as high as you can (b). Land as softly as you can with your knees bent. Reset your body as fast as possible and repeat (c).
Beginner alternative: Not up for jumping? Dewar recommends bodyweight speed squats. “Jump squats and other power and speed-focused movements are amazing for developing new fast twitch muscle fibers,” he says. By upping the speed you’ll also be maximizing your calorie and fat burn, which translates to weight loss.

Side Lunges

How to: Stand straight up with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips or at your sides. With your abs tight, and hips pointing forward, take a big step to your right and bend your right knee 90 degrees (a). Driving through your right heel, return to the starting position (b). Next, do the same with your left leg (c).
Beginner alternative: Lie down on your side to work the glutes and thighs with side leg raises. With both legs straight and the glutes and abs engaged, lift the top leg one to two feet off the ground, hold, and return to starting position.

Rotational Push-Ups

How to: Start in perfect push-up position. Hands should be about shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line, from your heels to the top of your head (a). Perform a push-up (b). Then while keeping your feet in place, twist your torso to the right and lift your right arm straight above your body so your left and right arm are in a perfect line (c). Return to starting position. Repeat and alternate your left and right sides (d).
Beginner alternative: If you haven’t mastered the basic push-up, try these beginner-friendly variations first. Go at your own pace — you’ll be working the same muscle groups and feeling the burn!

RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast

[caption id="attachment_65736" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Keeping your butt down and your whole body as flat as possible, bringing your right knee in towards your chest, then your left knee. Repeat at a rapid pace (b). If you’re feeling this in your abs and shoulders you’re doing it right!
Beginner alternative: If the leg action has you gassed, simply hold the top of a push-up (aka a high plank). You’ll fire up your abdominals, not to mention your shoulders, glutes and legs! Alternating mountain climbers, in particular, help target your obliques and allow muscles to take over your love handles.

RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Begin on all fours with your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders (a). While keeping a flat back, reach your right arm out while pushing your left leg back. Think of flexing your left glute and your right shoulder as you fully extend (b). Hold that position for a second before using your core to pull your leg and arm back into your body so that your right elbow comes close to your left knee (c). Complete 10 reps and then switch sides (d). Check out this video demo!
Beginner alternative: Lie on your back for dead bugs. (See #4 here.) As you raise your right hand to meet your left foot, engage your abs while resisting arching your back. 

Burpees

How to: Everybody's favorite exercise… burpees. Start in a standing position (a). Squat down and put your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart (b). Keeping your hands there, jump your feet back so you are in the push-up position (c). Next jump your feet back towards your hands (d). Reset your body into the squat position and jump straight up. Once you land, repeat (e).
Beginner alternative: If you need to take things down a notch, step back into the push-up position, one foot at a time, and eliminate the jump once you step back up to standing. A common HIIT finisher, these calorie-torching exercises are one of the best ways to help burn fat and build muscle long after you've worked out.

RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Bodyweight Workout 10-Minute HIIT Circuit

[caption id="attachment_65738" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Reverse Lunges

How to: Time to hit the legs! Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width apart (a). With your hands on your hips take one step back with your right leg and drop into a lunge. Your left leg should make a 90-degree angle at the knee (b). From the lunge position stand back up straight and repeat with the left leg (c).
Beginner alternative: Place a chair next to you for support as you perform the same move as detailed above. Lower as far as you can go and return to standing.

RELATED: 4 Lower Body Moves You Can Do in Front of the TV

Single-Leg Glute Bridges

How to: Lie on your back, arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot flat on the ground, close to your butt. Your right leg should be straight and off the ground (a). Pushing through your left heel, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your upper body to your knee. You should feel your hamstrings and glutes doing most of the work (b). Hold the top position for a full second and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps then switch legs (c).
Beginner alternative: Need a little more grounding? Try a two-leg glute bridge, with both feet planted firmly for support. As in the above progression, you'll strengthen your core, glutes and hamstrings, all in one efficient, no-equipment move.

Side Plank Leg Raises

How to: Lie on your side and prop yourself up onto your left forearm, with the side of your left foot on the ground, right foot stacked on top of it. Your body should be in a straight line (a). Raise your right arm straight up towards the sky (see video demo here) (b). Next, lift your right leg up and hold for a second. Return to the starting side plank position and repeat (c).
Beginner alternative: Take it down a notch with a simple side plank with the top hand placed on your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and slowly work your way up to raising the top hand overhead.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Made it through all three workouts? These bodyweight circuits are simple (but not easy!) way to help you build strength and burn fat — and lose weight. Feel yourself progressing? Try this 20-minute MetCon workout on for size.

Originally posted September 2015. Updated February 2018. 

Read More
HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

The post Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts

[caption id="attachment_65734" align="alignnone" width="620"]Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Pond5[/caption] If you think your gym’s exercise machines don’t look too different than the characters from the latest Transformers movie, you’re not alone. All those levers and cables and pins can have you running for the exit. But before you flip the script in the name of gymtimidation, remember that there's one piece of equipment that's consistently better than the rest: Your own body. That's right, your very own physique is the best and most versatile piece of fitness equipment you can use. According to Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Dewar of J2Fit, by performing bodyweight exercises and movements, you'll not only improve your balance and conditioning, you'll also start building muscle. And the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat your body will naturally burn. RELATED: 5 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don't Involve Running What’s more, Dewar stresses the importance of the body awareness and stability that comes from bodyweight training. “Without the ability to control your body in space, you can set yourself up for injury." Got 10 minutes to get a jump on your fitness? We thought so. That’s why we’ve put together three 10-minute bodyweight workouts fit for any experience level. Choose one today, another tomorrow, and you’ve got an easy way to get your sweat on anytime, anywhere.

Try These 3 Bodyweight Exercises

Perform these routines as a standalone workout, or add them to the end of your regular weight training or cardio workout as a "finisher." Find certain moves too challenging? Each circuit can be easily modified to suit your needs (or spatial limitations). And while Dewar recommends resting 60 seconds between each round, take as much (or as little) time as you need. Now clear a spot in your living room, or claim a corner of your park or gym — it’s go time! RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up

[caption id="attachment_65735" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Tone Up Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Squat Jumps

How to: Start by standing straight up with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Keeping your arms straight out in front of you, drop into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your chest up (a). Press through your heels and extend your arms down to explode off the ground, jumping as high as you can (b). Land as softly as you can with your knees bent. Reset your body as fast as possible and repeat (c). Beginner alternative: Not up for jumping? Dewar recommends bodyweight speed squats. “Jump squats and other power and speed-focused movements are amazing for developing new fast twitch muscle fibers,” he says. By upping the speed you’ll also be maximizing your calorie and fat burn, which translates to weight loss.

Side Lunges

How to: Stand straight up with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips or at your sides. With your abs tight, and hips pointing forward, take a big step to your right and bend your right knee 90 degrees (a). Driving through your right heel, return to the starting position (b). Next, do the same with your left leg (c). Beginner alternative: Lie down on your side to work the glutes and thighs with side leg raises. With both legs straight and the glutes and abs engaged, lift the top leg one to two feet off the ground, hold, and return to starting position.

Rotational Push-Ups

How to: Start in perfect push-up position. Hands should be about shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your shoulders. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line, from your heels to the top of your head (a). Perform a push-up (b). Then while keeping your feet in place, twist your torso to the right and lift your right arm straight above your body so your left and right arm are in a perfect line (c). Return to starting position. Repeat and alternate your left and right sides (d). Beginner alternative: If you haven’t mastered the basic push-up, try these beginner-friendly variations first. Go at your own pace — you’ll be working the same muscle groups and feeling the burn! RELATED: 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast

[caption id="attachment_65736" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bodyweight Workout: 10-Minute Cardio Blast Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a push-up position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders (a). Keeping your butt down and your whole body as flat as possible, bringing your right knee in towards your chest, then your left knee. Repeat at a rapid pace (b). If you’re feeling this in your abs and shoulders you’re doing it right! Beginner alternative: If the leg action has you gassed, simply hold the top of a push-up (aka a high plank). You’ll fire up your abdominals, not to mention your shoulders, glutes and legs! Alternating mountain climbers, in particular, help target your obliques and allow muscles to take over your love handles. RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Begin on all fours with your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders (a). While keeping a flat back, reach your right arm out while pushing your left leg back. Think of flexing your left glute and your right shoulder as you fully extend (b). Hold that position for a second before using your core to pull your leg and arm back into your body so that your right elbow comes close to your left knee (c). Complete 10 reps and then switch sides (d). Check out this video demo! Beginner alternative: Lie on your back for dead bugs. (See #4 here.) As you raise your right hand to meet your left foot, engage your abs while resisting arching your back. 

Burpees

How to: Everybody's favorite exercise… burpees. Start in a standing position (a). Squat down and put your hands on the floor, about shoulder-width apart (b). Keeping your hands there, jump your feet back so you are in the push-up position (c). Next jump your feet back towards your hands (d). Reset your body into the squat position and jump straight up. Once you land, repeat (e). Beginner alternative: If you need to take things down a notch, step back into the push-up position, one foot at a time, and eliminate the jump once you step back up to standing. A common HIIT finisher, these calorie-torching exercises are one of the best ways to help burn fat and build muscle long after you've worked out. RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Bodyweight Workout 10-Minute HIIT Circuit

[caption id="attachment_65738" align="alignnone" width="620"]Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Reverse Lunges

How to: Time to hit the legs! Start in a standing position with your feet about hip-width apart (a). With your hands on your hips take one step back with your right leg and drop into a lunge. Your left leg should make a 90-degree angle at the knee (b). From the lunge position stand back up straight and repeat with the left leg (c). Beginner alternative: Place a chair next to you for support as you perform the same move as detailed above. Lower as far as you can go and return to standing. RELATED: 4 Lower Body Moves You Can Do in Front of the TV

Single-Leg Glute Bridges

How to: Lie on your back, arms at your sides with your palms facing up. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot flat on the ground, close to your butt. Your right leg should be straight and off the ground (a). Pushing through your left heel, lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from your upper body to your knee. You should feel your hamstrings and glutes doing most of the work (b). Hold the top position for a full second and return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 reps then switch legs (c). Beginner alternative: Need a little more grounding? Try a two-leg glute bridge, with both feet planted firmly for support. As in the above progression, you'll strengthen your core, glutes and hamstrings, all in one efficient, no-equipment move.

Side Plank Leg Raises

How to: Lie on your side and prop yourself up onto your left forearm, with the side of your left foot on the ground, right foot stacked on top of it. Your body should be in a straight line (a). Raise your right arm straight up towards the sky (see video demo here) (b). Next, lift your right leg up and hold for a second. Return to the starting side plank position and repeat (c). Beginner alternative: Take it down a notch with a simple side plank with the top hand placed on your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and slowly work your way up to raising the top hand overhead. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout Made it through all three workouts? These bodyweight circuits are simple (but not easy!) way to help you build strength and burn fat — and lose weight. Feel yourself progressing? Try this 20-minute MetCon workout on for size. Originally posted September 2015. Updated February 2018.  Read More HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

The post Got 10 Minutes? 3 Fat-Blasting Bodyweight Workouts appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/core-workout-strength-exercises/ Wed, 14 Feb 2018 12:15:39 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65687 9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65699" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

At the core of every movement is just that: your core. And while lots of times “core” and “abs” become synonymous, it’s not 100% correct to use them interchangeably. Your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and obliques do comprise your midsection, but those aren’t the only muscles involved. Your back, hips and glutes also provide that stable base you need for stepping forward and backward, jumping side-to-side or turning all about. So to get a serious core workout you need to work them all.

“Core strength and stability not only enhances physical and athletic performance, but also helps maintain and correct posture and form, and prevent injury,” says Andia Winslow, a Daily Burn Audio Workouts trainer. “Those who have an awareness of their core and ability to engage it properly also have enhanced proprioception — or a sense of the positions of their extremities, without actually seeing them.”

Just picture elite athlete’s movement, Winslow explains, and how rhythmic and easy they travel through space, often in several planes of motion at the same time. They can thank strong trunk muscles for that. “Core should be a focus in every workout,” Winslow says. “Workouts won’t be as effective without proper core engagement.”

That’s not to say crunches need a permanent place in your sweat sessions. You can easily sneak in added core challenges during other common exercises. “When folks elect to add difficulty to workouts, they often increase weight, repetition or duration. Another — and often more effective — way to increase the intensity is by altering stance, ground contact, and/or dynamic variance equipment [think: sand or water],” Winslow says. Shifting your weight, testing your balance, or focusing on sticking a landing, all engage your middle more.

Learn how to get a solid core workout in every strength session with these sneaky midsection-scorching strategies from Winslow.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Strength Tips: How to Work Your Core in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65700" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Add Weight Overhead Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Add weight overhead. 

Whether you’re doing squats or lunges, Winslow suggests pushing or holding a weight overhead — or even just keeping your arms straight up — to activate your abs and shoulders. These muscle groups have to work harder to keep your spine in a neutral position so you don’t over-arch, straining your low back. Translation: Put your hands in the air like you really care (about your core workout).

2. Hold your step-ups and pull-ups.

Stepping up onto a bench, chair or box requires you to use one leg, driving off your heel to reach the top. While balancing on one limb already works your core to keep you upright, Winslow explains that pausing at the top (with knee raised) will incorporate your midsection more. When you stand up, simply hold for a two- to five-second count, then go back down.

Same strategy holds (literally!) for chin-ups and pull-ups. By pausing with your chin at the bar, your core fires to keep you steady and in one solid line. Leg or arm day turned core workout.

RELATED: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout

[caption id="attachment_65701" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Stick a Single-Leg Box Jump Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

3. Stick a single-leg landing on box jumps.

To crank up the core work in a box jump, start by bringing the hop height down. Then, keep the explosive leap to one leg and really stick the landing. (Hold it at the top for one to three seconds before standing up and stepping off.) One full-body exercise at its finest.

4. Do a single-arm dumbbell press or fly.

Make your arm and ab routine go hand-in-hand. Moving one arm at a time in exercises like a dumbbell press or fly, drives your midsection to work against the rotation to keep your hips square and your back straight. This will work whether you’re standing or lying on your back. Lift your hips into a bridge and you target your glutes, too. So many muscles; so much less time.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

[caption id="attachment_65702" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Go for a Twist Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Go for a twist. 

We tend to rotate in multiple directions all day, from turning to give a fellow studio mate a high five to twisting around to chat with a co-worker. But to keep that movement safe, your core needs enough strength to prop you upright and protect the spine. Enter: rotational exercises to build stability. Try twisting your torso at the top of a step-up or the bottom of a front or side lunge, so your body learns to better handle those turns you take throughout the day.

6. Throw punches during wall sits.

Turn a static wall sit into a full-body exercise by getting your arms involved. Simply extend your arms out in front of you to turn on your abs and arms. Or throw some ‘bows to up the cardio element, too.

RELATED: 6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout

[caption id="attachment_65703" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Lift a Limb in Plank Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Lift a limb in planks.

It’s no secret that planks target your entire core. But pick up an arm, leg, or better yet both — and bam — a bigger burn. That’s because removing one base of support causes your abs, back muscles and legs to work harder to keep you in one straight line, Winslow says. This same principle holds true for push-ups, too. Pick one foot off the ground as you go and your middle will light up. Even tougher…a single-arm push-up.

8. Stand on one foot during arm exercises.

So you want to strengthen your shoulders or build your biceps? Well, you might as well get your core workout in as well. As you do shoulder presses, bicep curls or triceps extensions, stand on one leg. Not only will your abs and back work to keep you upright with a straight spine, the glutes in your standing leg will also go into overdrive to maintain stability. More muscles engaged equals more calories burned.

RELATED: This Is How to Get Toned Arms

9. Grab a sandbag.

Use any equipment that brings a varying dynamic (aka without a solid surface) and it forces you to get extra sweaty as you try to keep steady. For instance, as the sand in a sandbag moves around while you push, pull or throw it, the stability challenge skyrockets. The same goes for BOSU or stability balls.

Read More
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

The post 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65699" align="alignnone" width="620"]9 Ways to Get a Core Workout in Every Workout Photo: Twenty20[/caption] At the core of every movement is just that: your core. And while lots of times “core” and “abs” become synonymous, it’s not 100% correct to use them interchangeably. Your rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and obliques do comprise your midsection, but those aren’t the only muscles involved. Your back, hips and glutes also provide that stable base you need for stepping forward and backward, jumping side-to-side or turning all about. So to get a serious core workout you need to work them all. “Core strength and stability not only enhances physical and athletic performance, but also helps maintain and correct posture and form, and prevent injury,” says Andia Winslow, a Daily Burn Audio Workouts trainer. “Those who have an awareness of their core and ability to engage it properly also have enhanced proprioception — or a sense of the positions of their extremities, without actually seeing them.” Just picture elite athlete’s movement, Winslow explains, and how rhythmic and easy they travel through space, often in several planes of motion at the same time. They can thank strong trunk muscles for that. “Core should be a focus in every workout,” Winslow says. “Workouts won’t be as effective without proper core engagement.” That’s not to say crunches need a permanent place in your sweat sessions. You can easily sneak in added core challenges during other common exercises. “When folks elect to add difficulty to workouts, they often increase weight, repetition or duration. Another — and often more effective — way to increase the intensity is by altering stance, ground contact, and/or dynamic variance equipment [think: sand or water],” Winslow says. Shifting your weight, testing your balance, or focusing on sticking a landing, all engage your middle more. Learn how to get a solid core workout in every strength session with these sneaky midsection-scorching strategies from Winslow. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Strength Tips: How to Work Your Core in Every Workout

[caption id="attachment_65700" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Add Weight Overhead Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

1. Add weight overhead. 

Whether you’re doing squats or lunges, Winslow suggests pushing or holding a weight overhead — or even just keeping your arms straight up — to activate your abs and shoulders. These muscle groups have to work harder to keep your spine in a neutral position so you don’t over-arch, straining your low back. Translation: Put your hands in the air like you really care (about your core workout).

2. Hold your step-ups and pull-ups.

Stepping up onto a bench, chair or box requires you to use one leg, driving off your heel to reach the top. While balancing on one limb already works your core to keep you upright, Winslow explains that pausing at the top (with knee raised) will incorporate your midsection more. When you stand up, simply hold for a two- to five-second count, then go back down. Same strategy holds (literally!) for chin-ups and pull-ups. By pausing with your chin at the bar, your core fires to keep you steady and in one solid line. Leg or arm day turned core workout. RELATED: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout [caption id="attachment_65701" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Stick a Single-Leg Box Jump Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

3. Stick a single-leg landing on box jumps.

To crank up the core work in a box jump, start by bringing the hop height down. Then, keep the explosive leap to one leg and really stick the landing. (Hold it at the top for one to three seconds before standing up and stepping off.) One full-body exercise at its finest.

4. Do a single-arm dumbbell press or fly.

Make your arm and ab routine go hand-in-hand. Moving one arm at a time in exercises like a dumbbell press or fly, drives your midsection to work against the rotation to keep your hips square and your back straight. This will work whether you’re standing or lying on your back. Lift your hips into a bridge and you target your glutes, too. So many muscles; so much less time. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout [caption id="attachment_65702" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Go for a Twist Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Go for a twist. 

We tend to rotate in multiple directions all day, from turning to give a fellow studio mate a high five to twisting around to chat with a co-worker. But to keep that movement safe, your core needs enough strength to prop you upright and protect the spine. Enter: rotational exercises to build stability. Try twisting your torso at the top of a step-up or the bottom of a front or side lunge, so your body learns to better handle those turns you take throughout the day.

6. Throw punches during wall sits.

Turn a static wall sit into a full-body exercise by getting your arms involved. Simply extend your arms out in front of you to turn on your abs and arms. Or throw some ‘bows to up the cardio element, too. RELATED: 6 Plyometric Exercises for a No-Running Cardio Workout [caption id="attachment_65703" align="alignnone" width="620"]Core Workout Challenges: Lift a Limb in Plank Photo: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Lift a limb in planks.

It’s no secret that planks target your entire core. But pick up an arm, leg, or better yet both — and bam — a bigger burn. That’s because removing one base of support causes your abs, back muscles and legs to work harder to keep you in one straight line, Winslow says. This same principle holds true for push-ups, too. Pick one foot off the ground as you go and your middle will light up. Even tougher…a single-arm push-up.

8. Stand on one foot during arm exercises.

So you want to strengthen your shoulders or build your biceps? Well, you might as well get your core workout in as well. As you do shoulder presses, bicep curls or triceps extensions, stand on one leg. Not only will your abs and back work to keep you upright with a straight spine, the glutes in your standing leg will also go into overdrive to maintain stability. More muscles engaged equals more calories burned. RELATED: This Is How to Get Toned Arms

9. Grab a sandbag.

Use any equipment that brings a varying dynamic (aka without a solid surface) and it forces you to get extra sweaty as you try to keep steady. For instance, as the sand in a sandbag moves around while you push, pull or throw it, the stability challenge skyrockets. The same goes for BOSU or stability balls. Read More Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners 5 Stability Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong Core

The post 9 Ways to Torch Your Core in Every Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/plank-exercises-for-abs/ Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:15:17 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65626

[caption id="attachment_65692" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Plank Exercises for Hardcore Abs Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]

Planking in strange places might have been a social media fad of the mid 2000s, but doing plank exercises for abs as a means of strengthening your core? That’s here to stay. The trend did have one thing right — in order to perfect the plank, you need full-body engagement to create stiff-as-a-board stability. But to really work your entire body (no, it’s not just an ab exercise!) and blast more calories, you need to add a little movement to your planks. Goodbye plateau; hello all-over strength!

Before you take on new variations, make sure you can master holding a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels, with shoulders over elbows (or wrists if you're in a high plank), says Prince Brathwaite, a Daily Burn 365 trainer and founder of Trooper Fitness. “If you’re unable to keep your hips in line with your head and feet, then you should regress,” he says. Placing your knees on the ground is a good place to start. And if you can stop that straight line from breaking for one full minute, it’s time to switch it up.

Here, Brathwaite offers five ways to progress your plank exercises so you keep challenging your core — without results fading as quick as a fad.

RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Plank Exercises That Go Beyond the Basic

When holding a solid straight-body plank for 60 seconds feels as easy as lying on the couch, it’s time put your body to the movement test. Follow this line-up of five plank exercises from Brathwaite to keep it progressing — meaning your muscles will trample plateaus. As soon as one exercise feels easy, work on mastering the next.

[caption id="attachment_65680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Plank Exercises Progression: Step Out Plank GIFs: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Step Out Plank

Step one: Add some movement to that isometric hold. By lifting a leg, you’re forced to work harder to keep your trunk and hips steady, counteracting the movement in your lower half.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Tap your right foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it right back (b). Tap your left foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it back (c). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 3 Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP

Plank Exercises Progression: Arm Raise Plank

2. Arm Raise Plank 

Time to balance on three limps. Once again, your core has to fire to keep your body still as you pick up one arm, then the other.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Keeping your hips squared to the ground and lower half stable, lift your right arm straight up to shoulder height. Then lower it back down (b). Lift your left arm straight up to shoulder height, then place it back down (c). Continue switching arms.

Plank Exercises Progression: Arm and Leg Raise Plank

3. Arm and Leg Raise Plank

The anti-rotation test just took an even more difficult turn. “Naturally, your hips will want to twist to find the path of least resistance,” says Brathwaite. “Your job: Maintain parallel hips and minimal movement in your midsection.” Challenge, accepted.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Lift your left arm and right leg straight up to shoulder and hip height. Pause for a second, then lower them back to the starting position (b). Next, lift your right arm and left leg straight up to shoulder and hip height, pause, then place them back down (c). Continue alternating.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

Plank Exercises Progression: Star Plank

4. Star Plank

As they say, one simple change can lead to big benefits — and a serious burn. Just by stepping your hands out an inch or two in front of your shoulders, you’ll really torch your core as you fight to stay stable.

How to: Start in a high push-up plank position (a). Step one hand a few inches in front of your shoulder, then the other hand — and hold it there. Your body should remain in one straight line, with full-body muscle engagement (b). Work on holding this position for 60 seconds without breaking form.

Plank Exercises Progression: High Low Star Plank

5. High Low Star Plank

Meet the star plank, but with extra star (err, sweat) power. Walking your hands forward and backward means even more muscles work (hello, shoulders and back) and you slash more calories.

How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Press up onto one hand as you step it out a few inches in front of your shoulder, then do the same on the other (b). Next, step one hand back and go back down onto your forearm, so your elbow is under your shoulder. Then repeat with the other arm (c). Continue stepping your hands forward and backward, going from forearm plank to star plank, and keeping your body in one straight line.

Read More
Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners
Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

The post 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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[caption id="attachment_65692" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Plank Exercises for Hardcore Abs Photos: Daily Burn[/caption] Planking in strange places might have been a social media fad of the mid 2000s, but doing plank exercises for abs as a means of strengthening your core? That’s here to stay. The trend did have one thing right — in order to perfect the plank, you need full-body engagement to create stiff-as-a-board stability. But to really work your entire body (no, it’s not just an ab exercise!) and blast more calories, you need to add a little movement to your planks. Goodbye plateau; hello all-over strength! Before you take on new variations, make sure you can master holding a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels, with shoulders over elbows (or wrists if you're in a high plank), says Prince Brathwaite, a Daily Burn 365 trainer and founder of Trooper Fitness. “If you’re unable to keep your hips in line with your head and feet, then you should regress,” he says. Placing your knees on the ground is a good place to start. And if you can stop that straight line from breaking for one full minute, it’s time to switch it up. Here, Brathwaite offers five ways to progress your plank exercises so you keep challenging your core — without results fading as quick as a fad. RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout

Plank Exercises That Go Beyond the Basic

When holding a solid straight-body plank for 60 seconds feels as easy as lying on the couch, it’s time put your body to the movement test. Follow this line-up of five plank exercises from Brathwaite to keep it progressing — meaning your muscles will trample plateaus. As soon as one exercise feels easy, work on mastering the next. [caption id="attachment_65680" align="alignnone" width="620"]Plank Exercises Progression: Step Out Plank GIFs: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Step Out Plank

Step one: Add some movement to that isometric hold. By lifting a leg, you’re forced to work harder to keep your trunk and hips steady, counteracting the movement in your lower half. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Tap your right foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it right back (b). Tap your left foot out to the side, a little wider than hip-width, then step it back (c). Continue alternating. RELATED: 3 Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP Plank Exercises Progression: Arm Raise Plank

2. Arm Raise Plank 

Time to balance on three limps. Once again, your core has to fire to keep your body still as you pick up one arm, then the other. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Keeping your hips squared to the ground and lower half stable, lift your right arm straight up to shoulder height. Then lower it back down (b). Lift your left arm straight up to shoulder height, then place it back down (c). Continue switching arms. Plank Exercises Progression: Arm and Leg Raise Plank

3. Arm and Leg Raise Plank

The anti-rotation test just took an even more difficult turn. “Naturally, your hips will want to twist to find the path of least resistance,” says Brathwaite. “Your job: Maintain parallel hips and minimal movement in your midsection.” Challenge, accepted. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Lift your left arm and right leg straight up to shoulder and hip height. Pause for a second, then lower them back to the starting position (b). Next, lift your right arm and left leg straight up to shoulder and hip height, pause, then place them back down (c). Continue alternating. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core Plank Exercises Progression: Star Plank

4. Star Plank

As they say, one simple change can lead to big benefits — and a serious burn. Just by stepping your hands out an inch or two in front of your shoulders, you’ll really torch your core as you fight to stay stable. How to: Start in a high push-up plank position (a). Step one hand a few inches in front of your shoulder, then the other hand — and hold it there. Your body should remain in one straight line, with full-body muscle engagement (b). Work on holding this position for 60 seconds without breaking form. Plank Exercises Progression: High Low Star Plank

5. High Low Star Plank

Meet the star plank, but with extra star (err, sweat) power. Walking your hands forward and backward means even more muscles work (hello, shoulders and back) and you slash more calories. How to: Start in a forearm plank position (a). Press up onto one hand as you step it out a few inches in front of your shoulder, then do the same on the other (b). Next, step one hand back and go back down onto your forearm, so your elbow is under your shoulder. Then repeat with the other arm (c). Continue stepping your hands forward and backward, going from forearm plank to star plank, and keeping your body in one straight line. Read More Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

The post 5 Plank Variations to Get Hardcore Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/home-workouts-trainers/ Mon, 12 Feb 2018 12:15:41 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65629 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know

[caption id="attachment_65636" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

You’re traveling. You had a bad day at work. You’re beyond busy. It’s snowing outside. While these might sound like perfectly good reasons to take a rest day, leave it to trainers to find a way to push through. And deep down, you know you’ll be missing out on those health-boosting, feel-good vibes, too.

Their foolproof solution: working out right at home. And we found 15 trainers who’ll show you just how easy — and fun — it is to do it. From 20-minute HIIT workouts to 10-minute ab circuits, here are some of the best home workout ideas from the top fitness pros.

RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

The 15 Best Home Workouts from Top Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdF1fcTl5qF/?taken-by=kaisafit

1. Kaisa Keranen

Certified trainer and movement coach
No dumbbells? No problem. Here, the Seattle-based sports performance coach shows us how to take your at-home workout to boiling temps with, yup, a cooking pot. From single-leg deadlifts to pistol squats to Russian twists, you’ll fire up your glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Hey, they don’t say six-packs are made in the kitchen for no reason. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdIVIzFhlUs/?taken-by=alexsilverfagan

2. Alex Silver-Fagan

Trainer and author of Get Strong for Women: Lift Heavy, Train Hard, See Results
Silver-Fagan might be best known for her gritty barbell workouts, but in this at-home flow, we see a softer side to the certified yogi. On your recovery days, get your om on and stretch things out with warrior III, eagle and dancer.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRn--tkANKD/?taken-by=adamrosante

3. Adam Rosante

Trainer and founder of the People’s Bootcamp
Cold temps keeping your workouts indoors? It’s no excuse to take a snow day, according to Rosante. Complete with burpees, froggers and spiderman planks, consider this your winter bodyweight burner.

RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2X9rHBBoF/?taken-by=kirastokesfit

4. Kira Stokes

Celebrity trainer and creator of the Stoked Method
Want to squeeze in a workout while your slow cooker works its magic? “Your kitchen can transform into a gym,” Stokes says. Using the edge of a counter as a “barre,” Stokes shows Fuller House star Candace Bure how to do knee pulses and tricep push-ups. For bicep curls and shoulder presses, get creative and hold onto something heavy, like bottles of wine (no sips between sets, please!).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYindLqA7DF/?taken-by=harleypasternak

5. Harley Pasternak

Celebrity trainer
No ab muscle goes untouched in this total-ab circuit. From your obliques (spider planks) to your low abs (pike planks), follow Pasternak’s lead to ignite every inch of your core.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcFZImglDjq/?taken-by=bjgaddour

6. BJ Gaddour

Founder of TheDailyBJ.com and Bodyweight Burners trainer
Gaddour loves to maximize time and space at home with compound exercises. In this dumbbell workout, Gaddour combines step-ups with squats and bent-over rows with bicep curls and shoulder presses. Now, what to do with all that extra time on your hands?

RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYeKqvoBcFb/?taken-by=seangarner

7. Sean Garner

Functional strength coach
Resistance bands may look pretty basic, but they’re one of the most powerful pieces of exercise equipment. Garner gets his kids in on band action with front raises, glute bridges and overhead presses. Just beware of the slingshot effect...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaJ6zT7g1yn/?taken-by=anjagarcia

8. Anja Garcia

Daily Burn Undefeated trainer
Beach weather might feel like a lifetime ago, but Garcia’s bikini workout reminds us of good things to come! Get summer strong with this LA-based trainer’s decline push-ups, sumo squat jumps, hollow holds and more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BcSo3K7nT3G/?taken-by=thebodycoach

9. Joe Wicks 

Personal trainer and founder of The Body Coach
The #Leanin15 trainer is best known for his quick and healthy dishes, but this ab circuit will have you cookin’ a six pack. Oblique crunches and side plank reach-throughs will keep your sides in check, while the ab roll-up will tighten your deep abdominis.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbTK9f2hlJc/?taken-by=eshannz

10. Erika Shannon

Daily Burn 365 trainer
If you’re new to kickboxing, Shannon’s at-home workout is sure to get you hooked. The Power Cardio trainer begins this routine with jab-cross combos to work her arms, and then introduces squat crosses to strengthen her glutes. For an extra cardio push, she adds in jumping jacks and kicks between sets.

RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQyMUgRAyFh/?taken-by=melissawoodhealth

11. Melissa Wood

Yoga and Pilates certified trainer
If you follow Woods on Instagram, you know that the yogi is all about mat work. But in this creative “treadmill” workout, Woods uses the cardio machine to do booty-shaping leg lifts and classic barre moves instead. Don’t have a treadmill at home? Use the back of a chair or the edge of your kitchen counter to help prop you up.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbuHEU9AkAa/?taken-by=peterkrauswi

12. Peter Kraus & Bec Donlan

Founder of Peter Kraus Fitness Bootcamps; Booty Bands trainer at Project by Equinox
Bachelorette alum Kraus pairs up with Aussie fitness star Donlan to tag team this booty band workout you can do at home. From squat touchdowns to reverse lunges to deadlifts, you’ll work your entire lower body and posterior. But no resistance band workout is complete without a core finisher. Standing side crunches help sculpt your obliques and target love handles.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdKwPWDH8tf/?taken-by=jess.glazer

13. Jess Glazer

Lead trainer at NYSC RedZone and founder of FITtrips
You don’t have to be at the gym to HIIT it hard — your hotel room will do! In this metabolism-boosting workout, Glazer shows us how to do explosive box jumps, plank to pikes and split squats — without leaving the couch.

RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKg-nNnykJ/?taken-by=melissaparisfitness

14. Melissa Paris

Founder of BYOBFit
A baby bump isn’t stopping Paris from whipping her core into shape. The kettlebell is one of the most challenging pieces of fitness equipment because its center is loaded. Her kettlebell workout takes you through alternating swings and strict presses, so you recruit your glutes as well as your ab muscles for stability and strength.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYonHSxnUqU/?taken-by=greggcook

15. Gregg Cook

Daily Burn 365 trainer
Cook knows how to double down on time with his daughter: partner push-ups. Except his partner in crime gets coaching duties while dad does all the work! Ten reps later is a tired, but fit papa — and one amused child.

Read More
15 Genius Meal Prep Ideas from Top Trainers
How Trainers Stay on Top of Their Self-Care
8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What to Do Instead)

The post 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know

[caption id="attachment_65636" align="alignnone" width="620"]15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know Photo: Twenty20[/caption] You’re traveling. You had a bad day at work. You’re beyond busy. It’s snowing outside. While these might sound like perfectly good reasons to take a rest day, leave it to trainers to find a way to push through. And deep down, you know you’ll be missing out on those health-boosting, feel-good vibes, too. Their foolproof solution: working out right at home. And we found 15 trainers who’ll show you just how easy — and fun — it is to do it. From 20-minute HIIT workouts to 10-minute ab circuits, here are some of the best home workout ideas from the top fitness pros. RELATED: 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine

The 15 Best Home Workouts from Top Trainers

https://www.instagram.com/p/BdF1fcTl5qF/?taken-by=kaisafit

1. Kaisa Keranen

Certified trainer and movement coach No dumbbells? No problem. Here, the Seattle-based sports performance coach shows us how to take your at-home workout to boiling temps with, yup, a cooking pot. From single-leg deadlifts to pistol squats to Russian twists, you’ll fire up your glutes, core, shoulders and arms. Hey, they don’t say six-packs are made in the kitchen for no reason.  https://www.instagram.com/p/BdIVIzFhlUs/?taken-by=alexsilverfagan

2. Alex Silver-Fagan

Trainer and author of Get Strong for Women: Lift Heavy, Train Hard, See Results Silver-Fagan might be best known for her gritty barbell workouts, but in this at-home flow, we see a softer side to the certified yogi. On your recovery days, get your om on and stretch things out with warrior III, eagle and dancer. https://www.instagram.com/p/BRn--tkANKD/?taken-by=adamrosante

3. Adam Rosante

Trainer and founder of the People’s Bootcamp Cold temps keeping your workouts indoors? It’s no excuse to take a snow day, according to Rosante. Complete with burpees, froggers and spiderman planks, consider this your winter bodyweight burner. RELATED: The 25 Craziest Workout Excuses Trainers Have Ever Heard https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb2X9rHBBoF/?taken-by=kirastokesfit

4. Kira Stokes

Celebrity trainer and creator of the Stoked Method Want to squeeze in a workout while your slow cooker works its magic? “Your kitchen can transform into a gym,” Stokes says. Using the edge of a counter as a “barre,” Stokes shows Fuller House star Candace Bure how to do knee pulses and tricep push-ups. For bicep curls and shoulder presses, get creative and hold onto something heavy, like bottles of wine (no sips between sets, please!). https://www.instagram.com/p/BYindLqA7DF/?taken-by=harleypasternak

5. Harley Pasternak

Celebrity trainer No ab muscle goes untouched in this total-ab circuit. From your obliques (spider planks) to your low abs (pike planks), follow Pasternak’s lead to ignite every inch of your core. https://www.instagram.com/p/BcFZImglDjq/?taken-by=bjgaddour

6. BJ Gaddour

Founder of TheDailyBJ.com and Bodyweight Burners trainer Gaddour loves to maximize time and space at home with compound exercises. In this dumbbell workout, Gaddour combines step-ups with squats and bent-over rows with bicep curls and shoulder presses. Now, what to do with all that extra time on your hands? RELATED: The 20 Worst People at the Gym, According to Trainers https://www.instagram.com/p/BYeKqvoBcFb/?taken-by=seangarner

7. Sean Garner

Functional strength coach Resistance bands may look pretty basic, but they’re one of the most powerful pieces of exercise equipment. Garner gets his kids in on band action with front raises, glute bridges and overhead presses. Just beware of the slingshot effect... https://www.instagram.com/p/BaJ6zT7g1yn/?taken-by=anjagarcia

8. Anja Garcia

Daily Burn Undefeated trainer Beach weather might feel like a lifetime ago, but Garcia’s bikini workout reminds us of good things to come! Get summer strong with this LA-based trainer’s decline push-ups, sumo squat jumps, hollow holds and more. https://www.instagram.com/p/BcSo3K7nT3G/?taken-by=thebodycoach

9. Joe Wicks 

Personal trainer and founder of The Body Coach The #Leanin15 trainer is best known for his quick and healthy dishes, but this ab circuit will have you cookin’ a six pack. Oblique crunches and side plank reach-throughs will keep your sides in check, while the ab roll-up will tighten your deep abdominis. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbTK9f2hlJc/?taken-by=eshannz

10. Erika Shannon

Daily Burn 365 trainer If you’re new to kickboxing, Shannon’s at-home workout is sure to get you hooked. The Power Cardio trainer begins this routine with jab-cross combos to work her arms, and then introduces squat crosses to strengthen her glutes. For an extra cardio push, she adds in jumping jacks and kicks between sets. RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know https://www.instagram.com/p/BQyMUgRAyFh/?taken-by=melissawoodhealth

11. Melissa Wood

Yoga and Pilates certified trainer If you follow Woods on Instagram, you know that the yogi is all about mat work. But in this creative “treadmill” workout, Woods uses the cardio machine to do booty-shaping leg lifts and classic barre moves instead. Don’t have a treadmill at home? Use the back of a chair or the edge of your kitchen counter to help prop you up. https://www.instagram.com/p/BbuHEU9AkAa/?taken-by=peterkrauswi

12. Peter Kraus & Bec Donlan

Founder of Peter Kraus Fitness Bootcamps; Booty Bands trainer at Project by Equinox Bachelorette alum Kraus pairs up with Aussie fitness star Donlan to tag team this booty band workout you can do at home. From squat touchdowns to reverse lunges to deadlifts, you’ll work your entire lower body and posterior. But no resistance band workout is complete without a core finisher. Standing side crunches help sculpt your obliques and target love handles. https://www.instagram.com/p/BdKwPWDH8tf/?taken-by=jess.glazer

13. Jess Glazer

Lead trainer at NYSC RedZone and founder of FITtrips You don’t have to be at the gym to HIIT it hard — your hotel room will do! In this metabolism-boosting workout, Glazer shows us how to do explosive box jumps, plank to pikes and split squats — without leaving the couch. RELATED: 17 Secret Morning Habits of the Fittest People We Know https://www.instagram.com/p/BbKg-nNnykJ/?taken-by=melissaparisfitness

14. Melissa Paris

Founder of BYOBFit A baby bump isn’t stopping Paris from whipping her core into shape. The kettlebell is one of the most challenging pieces of fitness equipment because its center is loaded. Her kettlebell workout takes you through alternating swings and strict presses, so you recruit your glutes as well as your ab muscles for stability and strength. https://www.instagram.com/p/BYonHSxnUqU/?taken-by=greggcook

15. Gregg Cook

Daily Burn 365 trainer Cook knows how to double down on time with his daughter: partner push-ups. Except his partner in crime gets coaching duties while dad does all the work! Ten reps later is a tired, but fit papa — and one amused child. Read More 15 Genius Meal Prep Ideas from Top Trainers How Trainers Stay on Top of Their Self-Care 8 Exercises Trainers Never Do (And What to Do Instead)

The post 15 Home Workouts from the Fittest Trainers We Know appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/hiit-workouts-beginner-tips/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/hiit-workouts-beginner-tips/#respond Thu, 08 Feb 2018 16:15:28 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=58052 25 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever

[caption id="attachment_65611" align="alignnone" width="620"]27 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Think of high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT workouts) — where you alternate short bursts of intense exercise and active recovery time — as the workout gift that keeps on giving. First, it’s designed to burn more calories and fat in less time, giving you that excuse-squashing way to squeeze in a sweat. Then, it revs up your heart rate and alters metabolic pathways so much so that you keep torching calories even after you stop moving. So it’s basically the go-to for anyone looking to get fit, strong and slim without dedicating hours to doing so. (Can anyone say no to that?)

The catch: You have to learn how to do it (and recognize whether you're pushing hard enough), give it your all and switch up your approach every now and then. To get you doing just that, we rounded up top resources for making your HIIT workout super effective, fun — and speedy. So whether you're a beginner exerciser or more advanced athlete, you'll HIIT it big with these tips.

RELATED: 50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT)?

[caption id="attachment_65605" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: What is High-Intensity Interval Training? Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Before jumping into your first round of intervals, you’ll want a base of knowledge. After all knowing why exactly you’re busting your butt through those crazy-hard intervals will help motivate you to keep pushing forward. Here, some expert insight on the benefits of high-intensity interval training, plus how to make each routine work for you.

HIIT: What It Is and Why It Works

No Time? How Much HIIT You Need to Reap Benefits

7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time

EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss?

Daily Burn’s Inferno HR: Heart Rate Training, Evolved

Meditation Meets HIIT in New Mindful Fitness Approach

7 HIIT Mistakes You're Probably Making

Bodyweight HIIT Workouts: Anytime, Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_65607" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

One of the awesome benefits of interval training is that you can do it anywhere. These killer bodyweight workouts will rev up your metabolism, whether you’re at the gym, in your hotel or on the beach. No equipment necessary! And beginners, keep in mind they're still totally doable for you.

10-Minute Indoor and Outdoor HIIT Workouts

3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach

HIIT It Hard with BJ Gaddour’s Bodyweight Burners

5 HIIT Exercises to Boost Your VO2 Max

3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP

3 Plyometric Moves That Turn Up the Burn

5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Cardio Workouts: HIIT and Run

[caption id="attachment_65608" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Cardio HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Beat cardio machine boredom and put some pep to your step with these interval-inspired cardio-centric workouts. You’ll push it on the treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, air bike and even with the help of a jump rope.

20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout to Get Fit, Fast

The 30-Minute HIIT Jump Rope Workout

Air Bike: The HIIT Workout That’ll Leave You Breathless

3 Elliptical HIIT Workouts That Won’t Bore You to Death

3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength

20-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout to Crush Calories

HIIT Strength Workouts: More Fit Every Day

[caption id="attachment_65609" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Strength HIIT Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

These short but effective workouts combine weights and cardio bursts, so you get the best of both workout worlds. You’ll finish feeling breathless but oh so strong, thanks to a med ball, yoga-inspired routines and more.

Design Your Own HIIT Workout with This Perfect Formula

The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout

10-Minute Yoga HIIT Workout

HIIT Exercises to Get You Ready for Ski Season

Game On! The Sweet 16 HIIT Workout

5 Stretches You Should Never Skip Post-HIIT

Originally published April 2017. Updated February 2018. 

The post HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
25 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever

[caption id="attachment_65611" align="alignnone" width="620"]27 Beginner HIIT Workouts and Tips to Get in Your Best Shape Ever Photo: Pond5[/caption] Think of high-intensity interval training (aka HIIT workouts) — where you alternate short bursts of intense exercise and active recovery time — as the workout gift that keeps on giving. First, it’s designed to burn more calories and fat in less time, giving you that excuse-squashing way to squeeze in a sweat. Then, it revs up your heart rate and alters metabolic pathways so much so that you keep torching calories even after you stop moving. So it’s basically the go-to for anyone looking to get fit, strong and slim without dedicating hours to doing so. (Can anyone say no to that?) The catch: You have to learn how to do it (and recognize whether you're pushing hard enough), give it your all and switch up your approach every now and then. To get you doing just that, we rounded up top resources for making your HIIT workout super effective, fun — and speedy. So whether you're a beginner exerciser or more advanced athlete, you'll HIIT it big with these tips. RELATED: 50 Running Resources for Speed, Strength and Nutrition

What Is High-Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT)?

[caption id="attachment_65605" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: What is High-Intensity Interval Training? Photo: Pond5[/caption] Before jumping into your first round of intervals, you’ll want a base of knowledge. After all knowing why exactly you’re busting your butt through those crazy-hard intervals will help motivate you to keep pushing forward. Here, some expert insight on the benefits of high-intensity interval training, plus how to make each routine work for you. HIIT: What It Is and Why It Works No Time? How Much HIIT You Need to Reap Benefits 7 Ways to Get Fit in Half the Time EPOC: The Secret to Faster Fat Loss? Daily Burn’s Inferno HR: Heart Rate Training, Evolved Meditation Meets HIIT in New Mindful Fitness Approach 7 HIIT Mistakes You're Probably Making

Bodyweight HIIT Workouts: Anytime, Anywhere

[caption id="attachment_65607" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Bodyweight Workouts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] One of the awesome benefits of interval training is that you can do it anywhere. These killer bodyweight workouts will rev up your metabolism, whether you’re at the gym, in your hotel or on the beach. No equipment necessary! And beginners, keep in mind they're still totally doable for you. 10-Minute Indoor and Outdoor HIIT Workouts 3 HIIT Workouts to Take to the Beach HIIT It Hard with BJ Gaddour’s Bodyweight Burners 5 HIIT Exercises to Boost Your VO2 Max 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners Plyometric Planks You Need to Try ASAP 3 Plyometric Moves That Turn Up the Burn 5 Exercises for the Perfect Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Cardio Workouts: HIIT and Run

[caption id="attachment_65608" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Cardio HIIT Photo: Pond5[/caption] Beat cardio machine boredom and put some pep to your step with these interval-inspired cardio-centric workouts. You’ll push it on the treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine, air bike and even with the help of a jump rope. 20-Minute HIIT Treadmill Workout to Get Fit, Fast The 30-Minute HIIT Jump Rope Workout Air Bike: The HIIT Workout That’ll Leave You Breathless 3 Elliptical HIIT Workouts That Won’t Bore You to Death 3 Rowing Machine Workouts for Cardio and Strength 20-Minute Treadmill HIIT Workout to Crush Calories

HIIT Strength Workouts: More Fit Every Day

[caption id="attachment_65609" align="alignnone" width="620"]HIIT Workouts: Strength HIIT Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] These short but effective workouts combine weights and cardio bursts, so you get the best of both workout worlds. You’ll finish feeling breathless but oh so strong, thanks to a med ball, yoga-inspired routines and more. Design Your Own HIIT Workout with This Perfect Formula The 15-Minute Medicine Ball HIIT Workout 10-Minute Yoga HIIT Workout HIIT Exercises to Get You Ready for Ski Season Game On! The Sweet 16 HIIT Workout 5 Stretches You Should Never Skip Post-HIIT Originally published April 2017. Updated February 2018. 

The post HIIT It Hard with These 27 Beginner Workouts and Tips appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-love-handles/ Tue, 06 Feb 2018 12:15:17 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65392

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

When it comes to getting rid of love handles, you’ll want to skip the waist training trend. More often than not, whittling your middle comes down to better nutrition paired with ab exercises that target the obliques.

CeCe Marizu, Daily Burn 365 trainer, says, “It’s important to build up both your internal and external obliques because they create a force that builds strength to allow muscle to take over the fatty areas everyone calls their love handles.”

Sculpting your oblique muscles will not only give you a more defined midsection, it will also help stabilize your core and support your back. “Your external obliques will help your trunk rotate, while your internal obliques also help with rotation but on a deeper level,” Marizu explains. Here’s the perfect workout to keep your sides in check and build total-core strength.

RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

7 Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles

What’s best about the oblique exercises below is that they target more than just your love handles. They strengthen your entire posterior chain, too. “Dynamic exercises, like spiderman push-ups and side planks with a reach through, help with your love handles by building muscle. A lot of times we can be neglectful of our side bodies,” Marizu says.

Perform each move for 30 seconds and then take a 30-second break for as many rounds as possible. Marizu recommends doing these exercises three to five days a week. “You don't have to work long, but work smart,” Marizu says. That means putting a big emphasis on your diet. “Do your core work and show your love handles some love by eating right,” she says.

[caption id="attachment_65394" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Reach Through GIF: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Side Planks with Reach Through

How to: Lie on your right side and place your right hand firmly on the ground. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into a side plank. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line (a). Extend your left arm towards the ceiling and then lower your arm in front of you and bring it under your right hip (b). Bring your left arm back above your head (c).

[caption id="attachment_65395" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Spiderman Crunch GIF: Chris Ryan / Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

2. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Get into push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands (a). Lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower your body into a push-up. Be sure your hips don’t drop and your back doesn’t arch (b). Return your right foot back to the starting position as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat on the left side.

[caption id="attachment_65396" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: The Saw GIF: Daily Burn Pilates[/caption]

3. The Saw

How to: Sit up on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Spread them as wide as the mat (a). Form a “T” with your arms out to the sides and twist toward your right side, stretching your left hand towards your right foot. Pulse three times (b). Untwist yourself and return to center (c). Repeat on the left side. (For more Pilates ab exercises like this one, head here.)

RELATED: The Ab Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should!)

[caption id="attachment_65398" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Crab Reach GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

4. Crab Reach

How to: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you and your right hand firmly on the ground behind you. Keep your left arm bent by your side (a). Lift your butt off the floor while extending your left arm behind you, reaching for your right side as you come into a reverse tabletop (b). Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side (c).

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

5. Mountain Climbers Twist

How to: Place a plyo box in front of you and get into high plank position with both palms firmly on top of the box (a). With a flat back and abs engaged, lift your right foot and bring your right knee to your left elbow. Return to the starting position (b). Then, lift your left foot and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, and continue alternating sides (c).

[caption id="attachment_65399" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Knee Drive GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

6. Side Plank with Knee Drive

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line. Keep your left hand on your left hip (a). Engaging your core, drive your right knee up to your chest and repeat before switching to the other side (b). 

RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

[caption id="attachment_65400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Giant Clam GIF: Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

7. Giant Clam

How to: Place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU ball (a). Raise your body up into a side plank with your left leg straight out to the side, and your right leg behind you, bent at 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up overhead and keep your hips lifted (b). Bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your left leg straight (c).

Read More
5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout
5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The post 7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption] When it comes to getting rid of love handles, you’ll want to skip the waist training trend. More often than not, whittling your middle comes down to better nutrition paired with ab exercises that target the obliques. CeCe Marizu, Daily Burn 365 trainer, says, “It’s important to build up both your internal and external obliques because they create a force that builds strength to allow muscle to take over the fatty areas everyone calls their love handles.” Sculpting your oblique muscles will not only give you a more defined midsection, it will also help stabilize your core and support your back. “Your external obliques will help your trunk rotate, while your internal obliques also help with rotation but on a deeper level,” Marizu explains. Here’s the perfect workout to keep your sides in check and build total-core strength. RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core

7 Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles

What’s best about the oblique exercises below is that they target more than just your love handles. They strengthen your entire posterior chain, too. “Dynamic exercises, like spiderman push-ups and side planks with a reach through, help with your love handles by building muscle. A lot of times we can be neglectful of our side bodies,” Marizu says. Perform each move for 30 seconds and then take a 30-second break for as many rounds as possible. Marizu recommends doing these exercises three to five days a week. “You don't have to work long, but work smart,” Marizu says. That means putting a big emphasis on your diet. “Do your core work and show your love handles some love by eating right,” she says. [caption id="attachment_65394" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Reach Through GIF: Daily Burn[/caption]

1. Side Planks with Reach Through

How to: Lie on your right side and place your right hand firmly on the ground. Engaging your core, prop yourself up into a side plank. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line (a). Extend your left arm towards the ceiling and then lower your arm in front of you and bring it under your right hip (b). Bring your left arm back above your head (c). [caption id="attachment_65395" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Spiderman Crunch GIF: Chris Ryan / Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

2. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Get into push-up position with your shoulders directly over your hands (a). Lift your right foot a few inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower your body into a push-up. Be sure your hips don’t drop and your back doesn’t arch (b). Return your right foot back to the starting position as you push yourself back up (c). Repeat on the left side. [caption id="attachment_65396" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: The Saw GIF: Daily Burn Pilates[/caption]

3. The Saw

How to: Sit up on a mat with your legs extended in front of you. Spread them as wide as the mat (a). Form a “T” with your arms out to the sides and twist toward your right side, stretching your left hand towards your right foot. Pulse three times (b). Untwist yourself and return to center (c). Repeat on the left side. (For more Pilates ab exercises like this one, head here.) RELATED: The Ab Moves You Aren’t Doing (But Should!) [caption id="attachment_65398" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Crab Reach GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

4. Crab Reach

How to: Sit with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground in front of you and your right hand firmly on the ground behind you. Keep your left arm bent by your side (a). Lift your butt off the floor while extending your left arm behind you, reaching for your right side as you come into a reverse tabletop (b). Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side (c). [caption id="attachment_65402" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

5. Mountain Climbers Twist

How to: Place a plyo box in front of you and get into high plank position with both palms firmly on top of the box (a). With a flat back and abs engaged, lift your right foot and bring your right knee to your left elbow. Return to the starting position (b). Then, lift your left foot and bring your left knee to your right elbow. Return to the starting position, and continue alternating sides (c). [caption id="attachment_65399" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Side Plank with Knee Drive GIF: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn[/caption]

6. Side Plank with Knee Drive

How to: Lie on your right side and prop yourself up onto your right forearm. Stack your left foot over your right, so your body is in a straight line. Keep your left hand on your left hip (a). Engaging your core, drive your right knee up to your chest and repeat before switching to the other side (b).  RELATED: 5 Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs [caption id="attachment_65400" align="alignnone" width="620"]Ab Exercises to Target Your Love Handles: Giant Clam GIF: Life by Daily Burn[/caption]

7. Giant Clam

How to: Place your left forearm in the center of the BOSU ball (a). Raise your body up into a side plank with your left leg straight out to the side, and your right leg behind you, bent at 45 degrees. Raise your right arm up overhead and keep your hips lifted (b). Bring your right hand and left foot together, keeping your left leg straight (c). Read More 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Abs Workout 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The post 7 Oblique Exercises to Target Your Love Handles appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/squat-challenge-exercises/ Mon, 05 Feb 2018 12:15:34 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=65409 Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise

[caption id="attachment_65468" align="alignnone" width="620"]Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]

You can tell a lot about someone from how they perform a squat — more specifically, their body’s strength and weaknesses. The typically two-legged exercise requires learning how to efficiently use your glutes (not just your quads!), and properly activate and engage your core. You’ll also need enough hip and ankle mobility to drop it low — without leaning forward or lifting your heels. But it’s an especially functional move, considering how many times we sit down and stand up throughout the day. That’s why you’ll often see a squat challenge weaved into trainers’ workouts.

“The squat is a great lower body exercise that also incorporates your core musculature,” says Prince Brathwaite, a trainer on Daily Burn 365 and owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “Squats also burn lots of calories due to the fact that you engage several large muscle groups during the movement.” The exercise requires effort from your glutes, quads and hamstrings — aka the body’s biggest muscles, which produce that extra calorie burn.

Hold off on doing hundreds of basic bodyweight squats, though. The standard squat can get repetitive with a capital P for plateau. But try a new squat challenge more often and you’ll call on new muscles groups (not to mention brain waves!). “Our bodies are great at adapting to the stimulus we put on it. Eventually [a squat] will not have the same affect it did the first time you performed it — but we can keep the body guessing by changing up the way we do the exercise,” says Brathwaite.

From testing your core stability to getting your arms involved, these 21 squat variations provide the creativity and extra push you need to reach your goals as you drop it low.

RELATED: How Low Should You Squat? (And How to Improve It)

Step Up Your Squat Challenge with 21 Creative Variations

Don’t forget proper squat form as you crush these creative takes. Weight should stay in your heels as you lower your hips down and back toward the floor. Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders down as you go. Then, inhale as you lower and exhale to stand for quality ab engagement. Ready, set, squat!

Squat Challenge: Box Squat Exercise

1. Box Squat

Master your squat form with this variation. Find a low chair, box or bench to lower your seat onto, then drive off your feet to stand back up.

Squat Challenge: Overhead Squat Exercise

2. Overhead Squat

Put your hands in the air if you want to fire up your core even more. You’ll target your abs and back muscles by simply lifting your arms by your ears, as you lower your hips and butt toward the floor.

Squat Challenge: Goblet Squat Exercise

3. Goblet Squat

There’s nothing like adding a little — or a lot — of weight to an exercise and seeing how much harder your muscles must work. Hold a heavy dumbbell at your chest to make your quads, glutes and hamstrings go into overdrive, while your upper body stabilizes the weight, too.

RELATED: How Strong Is Your Squat? Try This Trainer-Backed Test

Squat Challenge: Wide Stance Squat Exercise

4. Wide Stance Squat

Stepping your feet a little wider than hip-distance will allow you to get lower into your squat. Glutes and inner thighs, engaged!

Squat Challenge: Narrow Stance Squat Exercise

5. Narrow Stance Squat

Step your feet closer than hip-distance and you narrow your base of support, meaning your core works harder. Your thighs will also feel the burn.

Squat Challenge: Partial Squat Exercise

6. Partial Squat

Taking your squat from full to half range of motion will really get your lower body muscles humming. Research shows sprinkling in the partial variation can increase strength and muscle gains.

RELATED: 4 Moves for a Better Back Squat

Squat Challenge: Pulse Squat Exercise

7. Pulse Squat

Time to grind. Pulsing it low in a squat will fatigue your muscle fibers — fast. Smaller range of motion; greater muscle endurance gains.

Squat Challenge: Squat with Calf Raise Exercise

8. Squat with Calf Raise 

When you come up from the bottom of your squat, lift your heels to feel your lower legs (aka your calves) fire. Shaking means you’re doing it right.

Squat Challenge: Staggered Squat Exercise

9. Staggered Squat

Elevate the squat challenge for this off-balance exercise. Popping one toe puts most of the work on a single leg, meaning that leg has to work harder to move you down and up.

RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength

Squat Challenge: Pistol Squat to Box Exercise

10. Pistol Squat to Box

Go next-level on that staggered squat. This time, you’ll keep one leg totally lifted as you sit down on a box, chair or bench and stand back up. It’s a move that requires serious stability in your standing leg.

Squat Challenge: Squat to Knee Raise Exercise

11. Squat to Knee Raise

When you stand up from a squat, you’ll use your hip flexors and abs to lift your knee toward your chest. Try to bring your leg higher and move faster each time you come back to this variation to keep the squat challenge going.

Squat Challenge: Lunge to Squat Exercise

12. Lunge to Squat

Two main movement patterns in one, this exercise gets every part of your lower half firing. Stay low in your squat (so legs muscles remain engaged) as you step back into a lunge, alternating sides.

RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs

Squat Challenge: Knee Get-Up Squat Exercise

13. Knee Get-Up Squat

Standing up off the floor gets easier the more we work on it. And this move hones in on just that. Again, keep your booty low to the ground to force your legs to work the entire time.

Squat Challenge: Split Squat to Lateral Raise Exercise

14. Split Squat to Lateral Raise

Time to lift some dumbbells and incorporate your arms. With one leg forward and one leg back, bend down so your knees hit 90 degrees, which targets your lower half. Meanwhile, you’ll raise your arms straight out to the sides to strengthen your shoulders.

Squat Challenge: Sumo Squat to Curl Exercise

15. Sumo Squat with Curls

Prepare to flex that bicep! Taking it to a sumo squat targets your inner thighs more, while adding a curl as you stand involves your arms. A full-body exercise at its finest.

RELATED: 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout

Squat Challenge: Squat with Front Raise Exercise

16. Squat with Front Raise

You know you’ll feel this in your shoulders, but the secret scorcher is in your midsection. Use your core to keep your spine neutral, and remember to keep your shoulders down away from your ears for less tension in your neck.

Squat Challenge: Squat Thrust Exercise

17. Squat Thrust

Another move featuring two dumbbells, this one requires the power of your lower body to drive the weights overhead. You should feel this one in your core, as well as your legs, shoulders and even triceps.

Squat Challenge: Squat Jump Exercise

18. Squat Jump

This power player is a surefire way to rev your heart rate and get your fast-twitch muscle fibers involved for more speed and strength. Remember to land softly back down after each explosive jump up from your squat.

RELATED: 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running

Squat Challenge: Smurf Jack Squat Exercise

19. Smurf Jack Squat

A fun take on a typical jumping jack, this full-body exercise comes with a side of cardio. Keep your butt down, chest up and move as quick as you can to torch more calories.

Squat Challenge: 180 Surfer Squat Exercise

20. 180 Surfer Squat

Add a twist while you pretend you’re hanging ten! Drop low, then explode up as you do a 180 degree turn and land with your feet staggered — just like you’d stand on a surfboard. If you’ve ever caught some waves, you know how much core stability this move requires.

Squat Challenge: Good Morning Squat Exercise

21. Good Morning Squat

An important move to master: the hip hinge. It calls for pushing your hips back and lowering your chest toward the ground with a flat back, abs engaged, weight in heels and just a slight bend in your knees. We promise you’ll feel this down the entire back of your body.

Read More
50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes
Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core
HIIT It Hard with These 25 Workouts and Tips

The post 21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise

[caption id="attachment_65468" align="alignnone" width="620"]Squat Challenge: 20 Exercises to Switch Up the Exercise Photos: Daily Burn[/caption]
You can tell a lot about someone from how they perform a squat — more specifically, their body’s strength and weaknesses. The typically two-legged exercise requires learning how to efficiently use your glutes (not just your quads!), and properly activate and engage your core. You’ll also need enough hip and ankle mobility to drop it low — without leaning forward or lifting your heels. But it’s an especially functional move, considering how many times we sit down and stand up throughout the day. That’s why you’ll often see a squat challenge weaved into trainers’ workouts. “The squat is a great lower body exercise that also incorporates your core musculature,” says Prince Brathwaite, a trainer on Daily Burn 365 and owner of Trooper Fitness in New York City. “Squats also burn lots of calories due to the fact that you engage several large muscle groups during the movement.” The exercise requires effort from your glutes, quads and hamstrings — aka the body’s biggest muscles, which produce that extra calorie burn. Hold off on doing hundreds of basic bodyweight squats, though. The standard squat can get repetitive with a capital P for plateau. But try a new squat challenge more often and you’ll call on new muscles groups (not to mention brain waves!). “Our bodies are great at adapting to the stimulus we put on it. Eventually [a squat] will not have the same affect it did the first time you performed it — but we can keep the body guessing by changing up the way we do the exercise,” says Brathwaite. From testing your core stability to getting your arms involved, these 21 squat variations provide the creativity and extra push you need to reach your goals as you drop it low. RELATED: How Low Should You Squat? (And How to Improve It)

Step Up Your Squat Challenge with 21 Creative Variations

Don’t forget proper squat form as you crush these creative takes. Weight should stay in your heels as you lower your hips down and back toward the floor. Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders down as you go. Then, inhale as you lower and exhale to stand for quality ab engagement. Ready, set, squat! Squat Challenge: Box Squat Exercise

1. Box Squat

Master your squat form with this variation. Find a low chair, box or bench to lower your seat onto, then drive off your feet to stand back up. Squat Challenge: Overhead Squat Exercise

2. Overhead Squat

Put your hands in the air if you want to fire up your core even more. You’ll target your abs and back muscles by simply lifting your arms by your ears, as you lower your hips and butt toward the floor. Squat Challenge: Goblet Squat Exercise

3. Goblet Squat

There’s nothing like adding a little — or a lot — of weight to an exercise and seeing how much harder your muscles must work. Hold a heavy dumbbell at your chest to make your quads, glutes and hamstrings go into overdrive, while your upper body stabilizes the weight, too. RELATED: How Strong Is Your Squat? Try This Trainer-Backed Test Squat Challenge: Wide Stance Squat Exercise

4. Wide Stance Squat

Stepping your feet a little wider than hip-distance will allow you to get lower into your squat. Glutes and inner thighs, engaged! Squat Challenge: Narrow Stance Squat Exercise

5. Narrow Stance Squat

Step your feet closer than hip-distance and you narrow your base of support, meaning your core works harder. Your thighs will also feel the burn. Squat Challenge: Partial Squat Exercise

6. Partial Squat

Taking your squat from full to half range of motion will really get your lower body muscles humming. Research shows sprinkling in the partial variation can increase strength and muscle gains. RELATED: 4 Moves for a Better Back Squat Squat Challenge: Pulse Squat Exercise

7. Pulse Squat

Time to grind. Pulsing it low in a squat will fatigue your muscle fibers — fast. Smaller range of motion; greater muscle endurance gains. Squat Challenge: Squat with Calf Raise Exercise

8. Squat with Calf Raise 

When you come up from the bottom of your squat, lift your heels to feel your lower legs (aka your calves) fire. Shaking means you’re doing it right. Squat Challenge: Staggered Squat Exercise

9. Staggered Squat

Elevate the squat challenge for this off-balance exercise. Popping one toe puts most of the work on a single leg, meaning that leg has to work harder to move you down and up. RELATED: 6 Squat Variations for Total-Body Strength Squat Challenge: Pistol Squat to Box Exercise

10. Pistol Squat to Box

Go next-level on that staggered squat. This time, you’ll keep one leg totally lifted as you sit down on a box, chair or bench and stand back up. It’s a move that requires serious stability in your standing leg. Squat Challenge: Squat to Knee Raise Exercise

11. Squat to Knee Raise

When you stand up from a squat, you’ll use your hip flexors and abs to lift your knee toward your chest. Try to bring your leg higher and move faster each time you come back to this variation to keep the squat challenge going. Squat Challenge: Lunge to Squat Exercise

12. Lunge to Squat

Two main movement patterns in one, this exercise gets every part of your lower half firing. Stay low in your squat (so legs muscles remain engaged) as you step back into a lunge, alternating sides. RELATED: 3 Workout Moves for Seriously Toned Thighs Squat Challenge: Knee Get-Up Squat Exercise

13. Knee Get-Up Squat

Standing up off the floor gets easier the more we work on it. And this move hones in on just that. Again, keep your booty low to the ground to force your legs to work the entire time. Squat Challenge: Split Squat to Lateral Raise Exercise

14. Split Squat to Lateral Raise

Time to lift some dumbbells and incorporate your arms. With one leg forward and one leg back, bend down so your knees hit 90 degrees, which targets your lower half. Meanwhile, you’ll raise your arms straight out to the sides to strengthen your shoulders. Squat Challenge: Sumo Squat to Curl Exercise

15. Sumo Squat with Curls

Prepare to flex that bicep! Taking it to a sumo squat targets your inner thighs more, while adding a curl as you stand involves your arms. A full-body exercise at its finest. RELATED: 5 Easy Arm Exercises for an Awesome 30-Minute Workout Squat Challenge: Squat with Front Raise Exercise

16. Squat with Front Raise

You know you’ll feel this in your shoulders, but the secret scorcher is in your midsection. Use your core to keep your spine neutral, and remember to keep your shoulders down away from your ears for less tension in your neck. Squat Challenge: Squat Thrust Exercise

17. Squat Thrust

Another move featuring two dumbbells, this one requires the power of your lower body to drive the weights overhead. You should feel this one in your core, as well as your legs, shoulders and even triceps.

Squat Challenge: Squat Jump Exercise

18. Squat Jump

This power player is a surefire way to rev your heart rate and get your fast-twitch muscle fibers involved for more speed and strength. Remember to land softly back down after each explosive jump up from your squat. RELATED: 6 Killer Cardio Workouts That Don’t Involve Running Squat Challenge: Smurf Jack Squat Exercise

19. Smurf Jack Squat

A fun take on a typical jumping jack, this full-body exercise comes with a side of cardio. Keep your butt down, chest up and move as quick as you can to torch more calories. Squat Challenge: 180 Surfer Squat Exercise

20. 180 Surfer Squat

Add a twist while you pretend you’re hanging ten! Drop low, then explode up as you do a 180 degree turn and land with your feet staggered — just like you’d stand on a surfboard. If you’ve ever caught some waves, you know how much core stability this move requires. Squat Challenge: Good Morning Squat Exercise

21. Good Morning Squat

An important move to master: the hip hinge. It calls for pushing your hips back and lowering your chest toward the ground with a flat back, abs engaged, weight in heels and just a slight bend in your knees. We promise you’ll feel this down the entire back of your body. Read More 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core HIIT It Hard with These 25 Workouts and Tips

The post 21 Squat Variations So You Never Get Bored appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-ab-exercises-strong-core/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/lower-ab-exercises-strong-core/#respond Sat, 03 Feb 2018 13:00:33 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=54470 7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

If there’s one major muscle group we don’t mind firing up during almost every workout, it’s our abs. And for good reason: Aesthetics aside, a strong midsection leads to proper body alignment, better balance and it can help alleviate lower back pain.

When it comes to targeting the bottom half of your trunk more specifically, there’s just one catch. Those “lower abs” people often refer to are known as the rectus abdominis, which run along your entire midsection (and help give that coveted flatter belly or six-pack look). So while you’ll be working the lower portion of your stomach, you’ll also be getting the upper half involved. That’s not a bad thing, though — you’re targeting your abdominals from every angle to really carve out some definition.

Tone up — from bottom to top and front to back — with these seven lower ab exercises. Then go ahead and consider yourself hardcore!

RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

7 Lower Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Perform these seven moves in a row, with little to no the rest time in between, for a full midsection-centric workout. At the end of the circuit, take a 90-second break, then repeat two more times.

[caption id="attachment_65333" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bear Crawls Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Bear Crawls

How to: Start on all-fours, then lift your knees a few inches off the floor (a). Keeping your knees elevated, move your right hand and left foot one step forward (b). Then move your left hand and right foot one step forward (c). Keep walking forward or if you have limited space, step backward with opposite hands and feet (d). Repeat for 10 reps.
Pro tip: This move works your entire core, but to really target the deep transverse abdominis (which cinch your waist), make sure you draw your navel in and maintain a neutral spine.

[caption id="attachment_65334" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Straight Leg Lifts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

2. Straight Leg Lifts

How to: Lie on your back with your hands underneath your butt or low back, whichever is more comfortable and will keep you from arching your back. Your legs should stay straight and your low back should remain against the floor throughout the entire exercise (a). Lift your feet toward the ceiling so your legs are perpendicular to the floor (b). Lower your feet back down, just a few inches off the floor (c). Continue to lift and lower for 10 reps.
Pro tip: Start with your head, neck and shoulders resting on the ground and when you’re ready to kick your ab workout into high gear, raise your shoulders and head off the floor.

RELATED: 7 TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65335" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bicycles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

3. Bicycles

How to: Lie on your back, with your feet a few inches off the floor, toes pointed, and your head and shoulder blades lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest, as you lift your left shoulder blade higher off the ground and toward your knee (b). Straighten your right leg and lower your left shoulder, as you rotate and bring your left knee inward and your right shoulder up and toward your knee (c). Continue switching sides to complete 20 reps total (10 each side).
Pro tip: Make sure to lift and rotate your shoulders — not just your neck and head — to really fire up your obliques during this exercise. Keep a neutral pelvis, too.

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Mountain Climbers Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

4. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, body in a straight line from head to toe and hands shoulder-width apart (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest (b). Return it back to the floor and immediately bring your left knee to your chest (c). Continue switching legs to complete 10 reps on each side.
Pro tip: The faster you move (without wrecking your form), the more calories you burn, so get stepping to turn your workout into a seriously sweaty one!

RELATED: 5 Killer Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs

[caption id="attachment_65337" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Dead Bug Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Dead Bug

How to: Lie on your back. Lift your legs and bend your knees 90 degrees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Lift arms straight above you (a). Lower your left arm toward the floor behind you (elbow straight), as you lower your right foot to just above the floor (knee bent) (b). Return to start (c). Lower your right arm toward the floor behind you and your left foot to just above the floor (d). Return to start and continue alternating, so you do 10 reps on each side.
Pro tip: As for most of the moves on this list, focus on drawing your belly button toward the floor so you maintain a neutral pelvis and keep your low back in contact with the floor. This will help you best target more muscles.

[caption id="attachment_65338" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Modified V-Up Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

6. Modified V-Ups

How to: Sit down on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Lean your upper body backward, so it’s about 45 degrees from the floor (a). Bring your knees into your chest, shins parallel to the floor and arms straight in front of you (b). Extend your legs straight out so your feet reach just a few inches off the floor (c). Bring your knees back into your chest and repeat for 10 reps.
Pro tip: Intensify this exercise by keeping your knees straight as you lift your legs and as you lower them, slowly drop your upper body back toward the floor as well. You’ll complete a full V sit-up with this approach that targets your entire stomach.

RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core

[caption id="attachment_65339" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Forearm Side Plank Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Forearm Side Plank

How to: From your side, place your forearm on the ground, elbow in line with shoulder and other hand on your hip (a). Stagger your feet and lift your hips up so your body is in a straight diagonal line (b). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Pro tip: Planks are one of the best exercises to work the deep inner muscles of your abdominal wall, helping to keep your trunk stable. Want to make your plank even more challenging? Try one of these five variations.

For more creative exercises that work major muscle groups, sign up for Daily Burn 365. You'll get a new workout every day. 

Originally published December 2016. Updated January 2018. 

Read More
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs
Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

The post Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core

[caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]7 Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption] If there’s one major muscle group we don’t mind firing up during almost every workout, it’s our abs. And for good reason: Aesthetics aside, a strong midsection leads to proper body alignment, better balance and it can help alleviate lower back pain. When it comes to targeting the bottom half of your trunk more specifically, there’s just one catch. Those “lower abs” people often refer to are known as the rectus abdominis, which run along your entire midsection (and help give that coveted flatter belly or six-pack look). So while you’ll be working the lower portion of your stomach, you’ll also be getting the upper half involved. That’s not a bad thing, though — you’re targeting your abdominals from every angle to really carve out some definition. Tone up — from bottom to top and front to back — with these seven lower ab exercises. Then go ahead and consider yourself hardcore! RELATED: The Truth About How to Lose Belly Fat

7 Lower Ab Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Perform these seven moves in a row, with little to no the rest time in between, for a full midsection-centric workout. At the end of the circuit, take a 90-second break, then repeat two more times. [caption id="attachment_65333" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bear Crawls Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

1. Bear Crawls

How to: Start on all-fours, then lift your knees a few inches off the floor (a). Keeping your knees elevated, move your right hand and left foot one step forward (b). Then move your left hand and right foot one step forward (c). Keep walking forward or if you have limited space, step backward with opposite hands and feet (d). Repeat for 10 reps. Pro tip: This move works your entire core, but to really target the deep transverse abdominis (which cinch your waist), make sure you draw your navel in and maintain a neutral spine. [caption id="attachment_65334" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Straight Leg Lifts Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

2. Straight Leg Lifts

How to: Lie on your back with your hands underneath your butt or low back, whichever is more comfortable and will keep you from arching your back. Your legs should stay straight and your low back should remain against the floor throughout the entire exercise (a). Lift your feet toward the ceiling so your legs are perpendicular to the floor (b). Lower your feet back down, just a few inches off the floor (c). Continue to lift and lower for 10 reps. Pro tip: Start with your head, neck and shoulders resting on the ground and when you’re ready to kick your ab workout into high gear, raise your shoulders and head off the floor. RELATED: 7 TRX Exercises to Work Your Abs [caption id="attachment_65335" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Bicycles Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

3. Bicycles

How to: Lie on your back, with your feet a few inches off the floor, toes pointed, and your head and shoulder blades lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head, elbows wide (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest, as you lift your left shoulder blade higher off the ground and toward your knee (b). Straighten your right leg and lower your left shoulder, as you rotate and bring your left knee inward and your right shoulder up and toward your knee (c). Continue switching sides to complete 20 reps total (10 each side). Pro tip: Make sure to lift and rotate your shoulders — not just your neck and head — to really fire up your obliques during this exercise. Keep a neutral pelvis, too. [caption id="attachment_65336" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Mountain Climbers Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

4. Mountain Climbers

How to: Start in a high plank position, body in a straight line from head to toe and hands shoulder-width apart (a). Bring your right knee in toward your chest (b). Return it back to the floor and immediately bring your left knee to your chest (c). Continue switching legs to complete 10 reps on each side. Pro tip: The faster you move (without wrecking your form), the more calories you burn, so get stepping to turn your workout into a seriously sweaty one! RELATED: 5 Killer Mountain Climbers for Seriously Sculpted Abs [caption id="attachment_65337" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Dead Bug Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

5. Dead Bug

How to: Lie on your back. Lift your legs and bend your knees 90 degrees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Lift arms straight above you (a). Lower your left arm toward the floor behind you (elbow straight), as you lower your right foot to just above the floor (knee bent) (b). Return to start (c). Lower your right arm toward the floor behind you and your left foot to just above the floor (d). Return to start and continue alternating, so you do 10 reps on each side. Pro tip: As for most of the moves on this list, focus on drawing your belly button toward the floor so you maintain a neutral pelvis and keep your low back in contact with the floor. This will help you best target more muscles. [caption id="attachment_65338" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Modified V-Up Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

6. Modified V-Ups

How to: Sit down on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Lean your upper body backward, so it’s about 45 degrees from the floor (a). Bring your knees into your chest, shins parallel to the floor and arms straight in front of you (b). Extend your legs straight out so your feet reach just a few inches off the floor (c). Bring your knees back into your chest and repeat for 10 reps. Pro tip: Intensify this exercise by keeping your knees straight as you lift your legs and as you lower them, slowly drop your upper body back toward the floor as well. You’ll complete a full V sit-up with this approach that targets your entire stomach. RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core [caption id="attachment_65339" align="alignnone" width="620"]Lower Ab Exercises: Forearm Side Plank Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

7. Forearm Side Plank

How to: From your side, place your forearm on the ground, elbow in line with shoulder and other hand on your hip (a). Stagger your feet and lift your hips up so your body is in a straight diagonal line (b). Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides. Pro tip: Planks are one of the best exercises to work the deep inner muscles of your abdominal wall, helping to keep your trunk stable. Want to make your plank even more challenging? Try one of these five variations. For more creative exercises that work major muscle groups, sign up for Daily Burn 365. You'll get a new workout every day.  Originally published December 2016. Updated January 2018.  Read More 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Hate Crunches? 6 Better Core Exercises for Beginners

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10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/upper-body-exercises-pull-ups/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/upper-body-exercises-pull-ups/#respond Thu, 01 Feb 2018 13:15:24 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=61035

[caption id="attachment_65455" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up Photo: Twenty20[/caption]

The pull-up is the original badass move. Sure, there are plenty of ways to show off just how strong you are, but the pull-up is unmatched. It demands back, shoulder, arm strength, not to mention a strong core, too. But if you finally want to learn how to nail one (or 10), you might be intimidated by the challenge. And we’re not going to lie to you: It takes work.

“You’re moving your whole bodyweight on your hands, which is something you typically don’t do. It’s like learning to walk,” says Mark Ribeiro, a certified personal trainer at the Fhitting Room in New York City. (You might know him from his turn on American Ninja Warrior.)

RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps)

Rather than training pull-ups solo, we tapped Ribeiro to show us how to successfully advance to the real deal by working all the necessary upper-body muscles. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do one clean (meaning your don’t use your knees to swing up) unassisted pull-up right away, Ribeiro says. It can take a few months, especially for someone who doesn’t do bodyweight exercises.

But the payoff is bragging rights. To help you get there, here are 10 best exercises from Ribeiro that’ll boost your workouts from the ground up.

RELATED: 8 Arm Exercises You Haven’t Done Before

Upper Body Strength Training Plan for Perfect Pull-ups

You can perform all 10 of the following exercises in a single strength training session. Or, mix and match the moves, like the hollow and hanging hold on one day, and the bent-over row and hinged row the next day. Ribeiro recommends men and women devote at least two days a week, eventually progressing to three days. For each exercise, perform two to three sets AMRAP style, until your form starts to break.

[caption id="attachment_61058" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hollow Hold Photos: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

1. Hollow Hold

This is where you practice the proper pull-up position, so you engage both your core and back and don’t make the mistake of pushing your hips forward when hanging.

How to: Lie your back on the floor with your arms extended by your ears (a). Lift your legs off the ground and your arms overhead simultaneously to hold a hollow position (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hanging Hold

2. Hanging Hold

This pose helps you practice the bottom of the movement, as well as build grip strength. This eccentric phase of the pull-up is all about lowering down with control.

How to: Dead hang (relax shoulders and lats) from a bar (a). Pull your shoulders down and squeeze your lats into a reverse shrug (b).

[caption id="attachment_61061" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bent-Over Row GIFs: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

3. Bent-Over Row

Here, you’ll engage your lats and biceps to give you a full range of motion on the pull.

How to: Lunge your left foot forward, and your right foot behind you (a). Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your left elbow resting on your knee (b). Pull the weight up to your chest, bending your elbow to 90 degrees (b). Maintain a tight core throughout the movement to stay stable (c).

RELATED: Your 10-Minute Total-Body Dumbbell Workout

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hinged Row

4. Hinged Row

Similar to a bent-over row, this move requires you to use two hands simultaneously, which is more accurate to a pull-up.

How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over slightly with your knees slightly bent and your back straight (a). Pull dumbbells into your chest and slowly release them back down (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Deep Low Row

5. Deep Low Row

With this move, your bodyweight provides the resistance. You’ll learn how to engage your back while pulling. This will also improve grip strength to hold onto the bar throughout the exercise. Ribeiro uses TRX straps here, but if you can’t get a hold of a pair for your strength workouts, use a bar on a squat rack.

How to: Hold two TRX handles with your palms facing in (or holding a bar with both hands). Lean back and walk feet forward so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor (a). Engage your core to stabilize your spine, and pull your chest into your hands (b).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bridged Row

6. Bridged Row

Engaging your biceps and lats, this is the next step up to getting accustomed to using your full bodyweight. Again, if needed, use a squat rack bar. Be sure to keep your back straight as you pull your body towards your hands for best results.

How to: Position a block or step in front of the TRX straps. Sit down under the handles and grab them. Walk your feet onto the block — you should be hovering horizontally over the floor (a). With arms in front of your chest, pull your body up to your hands (b).

RELATED: 5 Total-Body Moves to Take Your TRX Training Up a Notch

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Lat Pull Down

7. Lat Pull Down

Similar to the motion of a pull-up, this move engages your back. Keep your core tight as you pull the bands down to ensure you aren’t arching your back.

How to: Loop a resistance band around a bar overhead. Grip each side with one hand and sit on the floor. (a). Pull your hands down toward your chest and release the band slowly to extend your hands up overhead (b). Do a high number of reps (more than 15) to work your full range of motion (c).

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Assisted Pull-Up

8. Assisted Pull-Up

You’re almost there! Loop a band around an overhead bar like in the lat pull down or use a pull-up machine.

How to: Holding onto the bar in that hollow position you practiced earlier, pull yourself up to bring your chin to the bar (a). Keep your legs together and engage your core to prevent arching your back (b). Think quality over quantity here — performing sets of 10 reps.

RELATED: 5 Badass Resistance Band Exercises for Total-Body Strength

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Negatives

9. Negatives

This move focuses on the bottom portion of a pull-up and engages your back using your full bodyweight. If you can’t hold it at the top yet, that’s OK! (Upper-body strength can take some time to build.) It simply means you need more practice with the other exercises in this routine.

How to: Use a box to help you get up to an overhead bar. Start at the top with your chin to the bar (a). Hold for second and then lower down with control (b). Yes, these are meant to be tough — so aim for sets of three to five reps.

Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Push Press

10. Push Press Negative

This move will help strengthen your back without having to do a pull motion.

How to: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and bring them up to your shoulders (a). Bend your knees and lift the weights over your head (b). Slowly lower yourself towards the ground (c). Perform sets of three to five reps. Again, remember quality over quantity is best here (as with all your workout routines!).

Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018. 

Read More:
6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout
8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before
5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout

The post 10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>

[caption id="attachment_65455" align="alignnone" width="620"]10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up Photo: Twenty20[/caption] The pull-up is the original badass move. Sure, there are plenty of ways to show off just how strong you are, but the pull-up is unmatched. It demands back, shoulder, arm strength, not to mention a strong core, too. But if you finally want to learn how to nail one (or 10), you might be intimidated by the challenge. And we’re not going to lie to you: It takes work. “You’re moving your whole bodyweight on your hands, which is something you typically don’t do. It’s like learning to walk,” says Mark Ribeiro, a certified personal trainer at the Fhitting Room in New York City. (You might know him from his turn on American Ninja Warrior.) RELATED: How to Do a Pull-Up (Or Add More Reps) Rather than training pull-ups solo, we tapped Ribeiro to show us how to successfully advance to the real deal by working all the necessary upper-body muscles. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t do one clean (meaning your don’t use your knees to swing up) unassisted pull-up right away, Ribeiro says. It can take a few months, especially for someone who doesn’t do bodyweight exercises. But the payoff is bragging rights. To help you get there, here are 10 best exercises from Ribeiro that’ll boost your workouts from the ground up. RELATED: 8 Arm Exercises You Haven’t Done Before

Upper Body Strength Training Plan for Perfect Pull-ups

You can perform all 10 of the following exercises in a single strength training session. Or, mix and match the moves, like the hollow and hanging hold on one day, and the bent-over row and hinged row the next day. Ribeiro recommends men and women devote at least two days a week, eventually progressing to three days. For each exercise, perform two to three sets AMRAP style, until your form starts to break. [caption id="attachment_61058" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hollow Hold Photos: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

1. Hollow Hold

This is where you practice the proper pull-up position, so you engage both your core and back and don’t make the mistake of pushing your hips forward when hanging. How to: Lie your back on the floor with your arms extended by your ears (a). Lift your legs off the ground and your arms overhead simultaneously to hold a hollow position (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hanging Hold

2. Hanging Hold

This pose helps you practice the bottom of the movement, as well as build grip strength. This eccentric phase of the pull-up is all about lowering down with control. How to: Dead hang (relax shoulders and lats) from a bar (a). Pull your shoulders down and squeeze your lats into a reverse shrug (b). [caption id="attachment_61061" align="alignnone" width="620"]Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bent-Over Row GIFs: Courtesy of the Fhitting Room[/caption]

3. Bent-Over Row

Here, you’ll engage your lats and biceps to give you a full range of motion on the pull. How to: Lunge your left foot forward, and your right foot behind you (a). Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your left elbow resting on your knee (b). Pull the weight up to your chest, bending your elbow to 90 degrees (b). Maintain a tight core throughout the movement to stay stable (c). RELATED: Your 10-Minute Total-Body Dumbbell Workout Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Hinged Row

4. Hinged Row

Similar to a bent-over row, this move requires you to use two hands simultaneously, which is more accurate to a pull-up. How to: Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Bend over slightly with your knees slightly bent and your back straight (a). Pull dumbbells into your chest and slowly release them back down (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Deep Low Row

5. Deep Low Row

With this move, your bodyweight provides the resistance. You’ll learn how to engage your back while pulling. This will also improve grip strength to hold onto the bar throughout the exercise. Ribeiro uses TRX straps here, but if you can’t get a hold of a pair for your strength workouts, use a bar on a squat rack. How to: Hold two TRX handles with your palms facing in (or holding a bar with both hands). Lean back and walk feet forward so that your body is at a 45-degree angle with the floor (a). Engage your core to stabilize your spine, and pull your chest into your hands (b). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Bridged Row

6. Bridged Row

Engaging your biceps and lats, this is the next step up to getting accustomed to using your full bodyweight. Again, if needed, use a squat rack bar. Be sure to keep your back straight as you pull your body towards your hands for best results. How to: Position a block or step in front of the TRX straps. Sit down under the handles and grab them. Walk your feet onto the block — you should be hovering horizontally over the floor (a). With arms in front of your chest, pull your body up to your hands (b). RELATED: 5 Total-Body Moves to Take Your TRX Training Up a Notch Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Lat Pull Down

7. Lat Pull Down

Similar to the motion of a pull-up, this move engages your back. Keep your core tight as you pull the bands down to ensure you aren’t arching your back. How to: Loop a resistance band around a bar overhead. Grip each side with one hand and sit on the floor. (a). Pull your hands down toward your chest and release the band slowly to extend your hands up overhead (b). Do a high number of reps (more than 15) to work your full range of motion (c). Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Assisted Pull-Up

8. Assisted Pull-Up

You’re almost there! Loop a band around an overhead bar like in the lat pull down or use a pull-up machine. How to: Holding onto the bar in that hollow position you practiced earlier, pull yourself up to bring your chin to the bar (a). Keep your legs together and engage your core to prevent arching your back (b). Think quality over quantity here — performing sets of 10 reps. RELATED: 5 Badass Resistance Band Exercises for Total-Body Strength Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Negatives

9. Negatives

This move focuses on the bottom portion of a pull-up and engages your back using your full bodyweight. If you can’t hold it at the top yet, that’s OK! (Upper-body strength can take some time to build.) It simply means you need more practice with the other exercises in this routine. How to: Use a box to help you get up to an overhead bar. Start at the top with your chin to the bar (a). Hold for second and then lower down with control (b). Yes, these are meant to be tough — so aim for sets of three to five reps. Moves to Master a Pull-Up: Push Press

10. Push Press Negative

This move will help strengthen your back without having to do a pull motion. How to: Grab a dumbbell in each hand and bring them up to your shoulders (a). Bend your knees and lift the weights over your head (b). Slowly lower yourself towards the ground (c). Perform sets of three to five reps. Again, remember quality over quantity is best here (as with all your workout routines!). Originally published August 2017. Updated February 2018.  Read More: 6 Exercises for the Ultimate Back and Chest Workout 8 Arm Exercises You Haven't Done Before 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout

The post 10 Upper-Body Exercises to Master the Perfect Pull-Up appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-ab-workout/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/oblique-exercises-ab-workout/#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 16:30:58 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=41795 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65258" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Chances are the center of your midsection gets a little more love than the rest. Both men and women are guilty of skipping oblique exercises to focus on what’s front and center: your rectus abdominal muscles, aka the “six-pack.” However, exercising your obliques (located on either side of the abdomen between your hip flexors and your lats), will translate to a sleeker midsection — not to mention a stronger, more stabilized core. So if tighter abs are on your wish list, it’s time to address the obliques.

“Sports that involve any sort of twisting or balance control call on your obliques for strength and stability,” says Matthew Wert, M.D, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. These key stabilizing muscles are also directly tied to your powerhouse. "They help athletes balance and are recruited in many sport-specific movements that allow the extremities to connect your power through your core,” adds Wert.

Think of your core as a tall building and your obliques as the strong, concrete pillars holding it up. Weak obliques equal a weak core foundation. By increasing oblique and abdominal strength, you will keep your “building” from falling down. You’ll also become more explosive (without putting on unwanted added muscle bulk), Wert says, and address mobility issues, too. Game on!

RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The Best Oblique Exercises for a Hard Core Workout

Oblique Exercises: Bird Dog Crunches

1. Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Start on all fours, placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position (a). Engage your core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg drives straight back from your hip, keeping both parallel to the floor throughout the “reach” portion of this movement (b). Squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position and hold for second before starting the second rep (c). Repeat this movement for 10 reps without setting your right arm or left leg on the ground. Then switch to the left arm/right leg combo. Complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner modification: Reach with only your arm at first. Then as you become more comfortable, reach with just your leg before you graduate to the full movement.

Oblique Exercises: Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

2. Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

How to: Lie down on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position. Reach your left arm straight up, directly over your shoulder (b). Next, lift your left leg straight up about 6-12 inches, while keeping your foot flexed directly forward. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, keeping your core rigid while working on “lengthening” your body throughout the entire movement (c). Repeat the same sequence on your left side. Complete 3-4 sets on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Try a simple side plank exercise with the top hand placed on your hip. Then work on raising your arm directly above your head. Finally, try and hold your top leg at full extension for a second. Continue to work in this format until you can extend your leg for 10-15 seconds on each side.

RELATED: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core for Summer

Oblique Exercises: Spiderman Crunches

3. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Assume a push-up position, palms planted firmly on the ground. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles (a). Lift your right leg a couple inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower into a push-up (b). Return your right leg back to the ground as you push yourself back up. Repeat on the left side (c). Alternate legs for 3-4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Start in the push-up position and alternate lifting your feet up off the ground a few inches with a straight leg and hold each rep for a few seconds. As you make progress, start to bend your knee slightly and bring it towards your elbow.

Oblique Exercises: Side Plank Swipers

4. Side Plank Swipers

How to: Start by lying on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow; engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position; stretch your left arm out past your head so it is in line with your body (b). Keeping your left arm straight, swipe it directly over your body towards your left hip and squeeze your left side as hard as you can while holding for a  second. Your right hip will drop slightly during this contraction phase, but try to keep the hips stacked over one another and off the ground (c). Reach back to the original starting position and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your left side (d). Do 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between each set.

Beginner Alternative: Work on a simple side plank hold while contracting the hips towards the floor and back up in a “side crunch.” It's best to try and keep the hips elevated off the floor the whole time then work on the arm extension portion by itself before combining the two into a full contraction.

RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate

Oblique Exercises: Single Leg Toe Touches

5. Single-Leg Toe Touches

How to: Lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head (a). Lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend. Try to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement (b). Tuck your chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a second (c). Return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground. Repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your right leg and left arm (d). Complete 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner Alternative: Work from the same position on your back, but bend your knee at a 90-degree angle halfway towards your chest. Touch your elbow to the opposite knee. As you become more familiar with this movement, try to progress to the full range of motion by straightening your leg a little more with each workout until your foot is directly over your hip.

Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018.

For the best no-equipment workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days.

Read More
5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs
50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

The post 5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs

[caption id="attachment_65258" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 Oblique Exercises to Sculpt Your Abs Photo: Pond5[/caption] Chances are the center of your midsection gets a little more love than the rest. Both men and women are guilty of skipping oblique exercises to focus on what’s front and center: your rectus abdominal muscles, aka the “six-pack.” However, exercising your obliques (located on either side of the abdomen between your hip flexors and your lats), will translate to a sleeker midsection — not to mention a stronger, more stabilized core. So if tighter abs are on your wish list, it’s time to address the obliques. “Sports that involve any sort of twisting or balance control call on your obliques for strength and stability,” says Matthew Wert, M.D, an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. These key stabilizing muscles are also directly tied to your powerhouse. "They help athletes balance and are recruited in many sport-specific movements that allow the extremities to connect your power through your core,” adds Wert. Think of your core as a tall building and your obliques as the strong, concrete pillars holding it up. Weak obliques equal a weak core foundation. By increasing oblique and abdominal strength, you will keep your “building” from falling down. You’ll also become more explosive (without putting on unwanted added muscle bulk), Wert says, and address mobility issues, too. Game on! RELATED: 7 No-Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

The Best Oblique Exercises for a Hard Core Workout

Oblique Exercises: Bird Dog Crunches

1. Bird Dog Crunches

How to: Start on all fours, placing your hands flat on the ground directly beneath your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips with a flat back position (a). Engage your core and drive your right arm straight out from your shoulder, while your left leg drives straight back from your hip, keeping both parallel to the floor throughout the “reach” portion of this movement (b). Squeeze your right arm and left leg back to the original starting position and hold for second before starting the second rep (c). Repeat this movement for 10 reps without setting your right arm or left leg on the ground. Then switch to the left arm/right leg combo. Complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner modification: Reach with only your arm at first. Then as you become more comfortable, reach with just your leg before you graduate to the full movement. Oblique Exercises: Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

2. Single-Leg Side Plank with Leg Raise

How to: Lie down on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow and engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position. Reach your left arm straight up, directly over your shoulder (b). Next, lift your left leg straight up about 6-12 inches, while keeping your foot flexed directly forward. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds, keeping your core rigid while working on “lengthening” your body throughout the entire movement (c). Repeat the same sequence on your left side. Complete 3-4 sets on each side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Try a simple side plank exercise with the top hand placed on your hip. Then work on raising your arm directly above your head. Finally, try and hold your top leg at full extension for a second. Continue to work in this format until you can extend your leg for 10-15 seconds on each side. RELATED: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core for Summer Oblique Exercises: Spiderman Crunches

3. Spiderman Crunch

How to: Assume a push-up position, palms planted firmly on the ground. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels by engaging your core muscles (a). Lift your right leg a couple inches off the ground and bring your right knee towards your right elbow as you lower into a push-up (b). Return your right leg back to the ground as you push yourself back up. Repeat on the left side (c). Alternate legs for 3-4 sets of 10 reps with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Start in the push-up position and alternate lifting your feet up off the ground a few inches with a straight leg and hold each rep for a few seconds. As you make progress, start to bend your knee slightly and bring it towards your elbow. Oblique Exercises: Side Plank Swipers

4. Side Plank Swipers

How to: Start by lying on your right side, stacking your feet, knees, hips and shoulders over one another in a straight line (a). Prop yourself up on your right elbow; engage your right oblique and hip flexor to maintain this rigid position; stretch your left arm out past your head so it is in line with your body (b). Keeping your left arm straight, swipe it directly over your body towards your left hip and squeeze your left side as hard as you can while holding for a  second. Your right hip will drop slightly during this contraction phase, but try to keep the hips stacked over one another and off the ground (c). Reach back to the original starting position and repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your left side (d). Do 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between each set. Beginner Alternative: Work on a simple side plank hold while contracting the hips towards the floor and back up in a “side crunch.” It's best to try and keep the hips elevated off the floor the whole time then work on the arm extension portion by itself before combining the two into a full contraction. RELATED: 7 Kick-Butt Burpee Variations You’ll Love to Hate Oblique Exercises: Single Leg Toe Touches

5. Single-Leg Toe Touches

How to: Lie down on your back with your legs flat against the floor and arms extended above your head (a). Lift your left leg up with your foot directly over your hip and a slight knee bend. Try to keep your left leg engaged in this position for the entire movement (b). Tuck your chin towards your chest, reach your right arm towards your left foot by contracting your core and hold for a second (c). Return to the original starting position while keeping your foot and hand elevated off the ground. Repeat for 4 additional reps before switching to your right leg and left arm (d). Complete 3-4 sets of 5 reps per side with 30 seconds rest between sets. Beginner Alternative: Work from the same position on your back, but bend your knee at a 90-degree angle halfway towards your chest. Touch your elbow to the opposite knee. As you become more familiar with this movement, try to progress to the full range of motion by straightening your leg a little more with each workout until your foot is directly over your hip. Originally published July 2015. Updated January 2018. For the best no-equipment workouts you can do at home, head to DailyBurn.com to try it free for 30 days. Read More 5 Pilates Exercises to Strengthen Your Deep Abs 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

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50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/50-butt-exercises-strong-glutes/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/50-butt-exercises-strong-glutes/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:15:56 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=59531 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

[caption id="attachment_59591" align="alignnone" width="620"]50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

Coveting a better behind isn’t just about aesthetics. A strong and sculpted butt is the secret to improving speed, power and overall sports performance, while also decreasing your risk of injury. After all, your glutes (made up of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.

So how do you build a stronger backside? Squats are a good place to start. But if you really want to get your booty rock solid, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights, resistance bands, stability balls and even foam rollers into your glute workout. Here are 50 butt exercises that will help you think outside of the box when it comes to squats, lunges, glute bridges, leg lifts and more.

Butt Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts and More

Squat Low

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out.

[caption id="attachment_59175" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat to Press Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

1. Dumbbell Squat to Press

The beauty of compound exercise really shines through with this squat thruster. Using power from your glutes and lower body, you’ll press the dumbbells up overhead in one continuous movement.

Butt Exercises: Bulgarian Squat Exercise

2. Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

Want to amp up your split squat? Try balancing on a slam ball. Engaging your core will help keep your foot from rolling off the ball and move with control. Consider it a must-do if you want a workout that offers core strengthening and a butt lift.

Butt Exercises: Squat Press Exercise

3. Landmine Squat Press

Riding the line between free weights and fixed machines, the landmine is a great way to practice proper form with the squat. Feet should be hip-distance apart and the weight in your heels. Holding onto the landmine with both hands will help keep your chest upright while squatting.

Butt Exercises: Back Squat Exercise

4. Back Squat

Want to nail a badass move with the barbell? The back squat is a good start. Here, you want to sit your body straight down, weight in your heels, while keeping your chest and back upright. Check out more tips on how to nail this move here.

Butt Exercises: Lateral Pistol Squat Exercise

5. Lateral Pistol Squats on Rower

Aside from getting in a killer cardio workout, the rower can work your booty in surprising ways. This lateral pistol squat not only ignites your glutes, but also your inner thighs and quads.

[caption id="attachment_57238" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Sumo Squat Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

6. Sumo Squat

This barre-inspired bodyweight squat gives you the benefits of isometric exercise without putting pressure on your joints. You’ll not only get your glutes in gear, but your hamstrings and inner thighs, too.

[caption id="attachment_58999" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat Jump Tap Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

7. Squat Jump Tap

If you want to train like LeBron (or, ahem, Steph Curry), you’ll get a taste with this basketball-inspired move. As you jump up from the squat position, bring your legs together and pencil your arms up with the ball in your hands. It's one of the best exercises for increasing power.

8. Tricep Extension Squat

You’ll give your triceps some TLC in this squat with extension. As you squat down, swing your arms slightly behind your hips. And then as you stand up straight, extend your arms overhead. Feel free to use a pair of dumbbells to add some weight.

Butt Exercises: Pencil Squat Exercise

9. Pencil Squat

If you’re someone who gets confused about know what to do with your arms in a squat, this move is for you. Reaching your hands up will help you focus on height, while getting your heart rate up, too.

Butt Exercises: Side-to-Side BOSU Squat Exercise

10. Side to Side Squats with Bosu Ball

Testing your agility and coordination, these side-to-side squats will force you to get lower and move more precisely as you tap each foot on the BOSU ball. It's a sneaky way to add in some core work, too.

[caption id="attachment_53508" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Deep Squat with Heel Raise Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

11. Deep Squat with Heel Raise

Reminiscent of chair pose in yoga, the heel raise will get your calves and quads burning, as well as your back and shoulders. If you want to make it more challenging, alternate heel raises.

[caption id="attachment_22163" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Front Squat Exercise Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Front Squat

Unlike a back squat where you place the barbell across your shoulders and lats, the barbell goes across your collarbone and in front of your body. This will force you to recruit more muscles in your core to maintain proper form.

[caption id="attachment_55643" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Diagonal Squat Thrust Exercise GIF: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

13. Diagonal Squat Thrust

A variation of the burpee, you’ll jump your feet forward from plank position to a diagonal squat with your hips squared to the front.

Next Up: Lunges

The post 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes

[caption id="attachment_59591" align="alignnone" width="620"]50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

Coveting a better behind isn’t just about aesthetics. A strong and sculpted butt is the secret to improving speed, power and overall sports performance, while also decreasing your risk of injury. After all, your glutes (made up of the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus) are the largest and strongest muscles in your body.

So how do you build a stronger backside? Squats are a good place to start. But if you really want to get your booty rock solid, it’s a good idea to incorporate weights, resistance bands, stability balls and even foam rollers into your glute workout. Here are 50 butt exercises that will help you think outside of the box when it comes to squats, lunges, glute bridges, leg lifts and more.

Butt Exercises: Squats, Lunges, Glute Bridges, Leg Lifts and More

Squat Low

Whether you love or hate ‘em, squats are one of the best butt exercises for strengthening your backside. Experts say that if you want to run faster, jump higher and lift heavier, squatting low is the way to go. They might look easy, but prepare to work when you add a barbell, slam ball or heel raise to the mix. These squat variations not only add some power to your jumps and kicks, but they also help improve your knee stability and range of motion. So how low can you go? Try these exercises to find out. [caption id="attachment_59175" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat to Press Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

1. Dumbbell Squat to Press

The beauty of compound exercise really shines through with this squat thruster. Using power from your glutes and lower body, you’ll press the dumbbells up overhead in one continuous movement. Butt Exercises: Bulgarian Squat Exercise

2. Bulgarian Squat with Slam Ball

Want to amp up your split squat? Try balancing on a slam ball. Engaging your core will help keep your foot from rolling off the ball and move with control. Consider it a must-do if you want a workout that offers core strengthening and a butt lift. Butt Exercises: Squat Press Exercise

3. Landmine Squat Press

Riding the line between free weights and fixed machines, the landmine is a great way to practice proper form with the squat. Feet should be hip-distance apart and the weight in your heels. Holding onto the landmine with both hands will help keep your chest upright while squatting.

Butt Exercises: Back Squat Exercise

4. Back Squat

Want to nail a badass move with the barbell? The back squat is a good start. Here, you want to sit your body straight down, weight in your heels, while keeping your chest and back upright. Check out more tips on how to nail this move here.

Butt Exercises: Lateral Pistol Squat Exercise

5. Lateral Pistol Squats on Rower

Aside from getting in a killer cardio workout, the rower can work your booty in surprising ways. This lateral pistol squat not only ignites your glutes, but also your inner thighs and quads. [caption id="attachment_57238" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Sumo Squat Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Barre Harmony[/caption]

6. Sumo Squat

This barre-inspired bodyweight squat gives you the benefits of isometric exercise without putting pressure on your joints. You’ll not only get your glutes in gear, but your hamstrings and inner thighs, too. [caption id="attachment_58999" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Squat Jump Tap Exercise GIF: Daily Burn Power Cardio[/caption]

7. Squat Jump Tap

If you want to train like LeBron (or, ahem, Steph Curry), you’ll get a taste with this basketball-inspired move. As you jump up from the squat position, bring your legs together and pencil your arms up with the ball in your hands. It's one of the best exercises for increasing power.

8. Tricep Extension Squat

You’ll give your triceps some TLC in this squat with extension. As you squat down, swing your arms slightly behind your hips. And then as you stand up straight, extend your arms overhead. Feel free to use a pair of dumbbells to add some weight. Butt Exercises: Pencil Squat Exercise

9. Pencil Squat

If you’re someone who gets confused about know what to do with your arms in a squat, this move is for you. Reaching your hands up will help you focus on height, while getting your heart rate up, too. Butt Exercises: Side-to-Side BOSU Squat Exercise

10. Side to Side Squats with Bosu Ball

Testing your agility and coordination, these side-to-side squats will force you to get lower and move more precisely as you tap each foot on the BOSU ball. It's a sneaky way to add in some core work, too. [caption id="attachment_53508" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Deep Squat with Heel Raise Exercise Photo: Ryan Kelly / Daily Burn 365[/caption]

11. Deep Squat with Heel Raise

Reminiscent of chair pose in yoga, the heel raise will get your calves and quads burning, as well as your back and shoulders. If you want to make it more challenging, alternate heel raises. [caption id="attachment_22163" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Front Squat Exercise Photo: Pond5[/caption]

12. Front Squat

Unlike a back squat where you place the barbell across your shoulders and lats, the barbell goes across your collarbone and in front of your body. This will force you to recruit more muscles in your core to maintain proper form. [caption id="attachment_55643" align="alignnone" width="620"]Butt Exercises: Diagonal Squat Thrust Exercise GIF: Daily Burn 365[/caption]

13. Diagonal Squat Thrust

A variation of the burpee, you’ll jump your feet forward from plank position to a diagonal squat with your hips squared to the front.

Next Up: Lunges

The post 50 Butt Exercises to Sculpt Stronger Glutes appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

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The Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/olympics-bodyweight-workout-infographic/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/olympics-bodyweight-workout-infographic/#comments Mon, 22 Jan 2018 13:00:11 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=24377 Olympic Workout

[caption id="attachment_65087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout Illustration: Tantika Tivorat[/caption]

Not headed to PyeongChang this year? We've got 10 ways you can still get in on the action! This Olympic-inspired bodyweight workout features exercises borrowed from the top winter sports on display. Because who can watch the Olympic Games and not be inspired to move?

This 15-minute bodyweight workout will alternate between training your core, legs, back and arms — all from your living room floor. No dumbbells, snowboards or slopes required! So clear off some space in front of the TV and get ready to channel your inner Olympian. After all, 2022 is just around the corner…

RELATED: 20 Questions with Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy

15-Minute Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout

15-Minute Olympic Bodyweight Workout

The Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Perform each of the following bodyweight exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Continue the circuit all the way through, then repeat a second time. Feeling ready for the world stage? Reduce your rest to 10 seconds (or skip it completely!) for an even greater challenge.

1. Skaters

Bound side to side like (you guessed it) a speed skater to get your heart rate up, while working your glutes, quads and calves. Be sure to keep your hips back and your chest tall, and land with control.

2. Mountain Climbers

These belly fat-torching ab exercises demand stability from your shoulders and core, while providing plyometric benefits from the quick knee drives. Just remember to maintain proper plank form with your shoulders directly over your wrists throughout the entire movement.

3. Jump Squats

It's time to rev up your glute engines! Recruit the muscles in your glutes, quads and core to avoid collapsing your knees and ankles inward.

4. Plank

Hate crunches? The plank is the ultimate core exercise. The isometric hold challenges you to use every inch of your abdominals, from your rectus abdominis to your obliques, to stay stabilized.

5. Lateral Jumps

Take your standard jump squat side to side to improve your hip mobility and flexibility, while firing up your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and core muscles, too.

6. High Knees

You know the drill! Get those legs up to waist-height, and crank up the intensity, while still landing softly on the balls of your feet.

7. Rotation Jumps

How do snowboarders and skiers land their jumps exactly? It's this heart-pumping move. Drive from your heels, jump off the ground to complete a 180-twist, and then drop back down to a squat.

8. Tricep Dips

If beasting push-ups is your goal, then you better work those triceps! These dips also give some TLC to your upper back and core. Bend your knees if you need to modify.

9. Pistol Squats

You bet you'll see this move in every figure skater's routine. This seriously impressive exercise is a true test of bodyweight strength. To help you balance, hang onto a band or chair and focus on driving through the heel.

10. Yoga Push-Ups

Also known as a chaturanga push-up, you'll keep your elbows anchored closer to your body as you lower yourself to the floor. (Hello, triceps and core!) Your upper body should shift slightly forward as you descend. And your arms should form a 90-degree angle as you lower down from plank position.

To watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, tune into NBC starting Friday, February 9 for the Opening Ceremonies.

Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018.

Read More
5 Easy Exercises for a 30-Minute Arm Workout
50 Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

The post The Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout appeared first on Life by Daily Burn.

]]>
Olympic Workout

[caption id="attachment_65087" align="alignnone" width="620"]Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout Illustration: Tantika Tivorat[/caption] Not headed to PyeongChang this year? We've got 10 ways you can still get in on the action! This Olympic-inspired bodyweight workout features exercises borrowed from the top winter sports on display. Because who can watch the Olympic Games and not be inspired to move? This 15-minute bodyweight workout will alternate between training your core, legs, back and arms — all from your living room floor. No dumbbells, snowboards or slopes required! So clear off some space in front of the TV and get ready to channel your inner Olympian. After all, 2022 is just around the corner… RELATED: 20 Questions with Olympic Skier Gus Kenworthy

15-Minute Olympic-Inspired Bodyweight Workout

15-Minute Olympic Bodyweight Workout

The Basic Bodyweight Exercises

Perform each of the following bodyweight exercises for 30 seconds, followed by a 15-second rest. Continue the circuit all the way through, then repeat a second time. Feeling ready for the world stage? Reduce your rest to 10 seconds (or skip it completely!) for an even greater challenge.

1. Skaters

Bound side to side like (you guessed it) a speed skater to get your heart rate up, while working your glutes, quads and calves. Be sure to keep your hips back and your chest tall, and land with control.

2. Mountain Climbers

These belly fat-torching ab exercises demand stability from your shoulders and core, while providing plyometric benefits from the quick knee drives. Just remember to maintain proper plank form with your shoulders directly over your wrists throughout the entire movement.

3. Jump Squats

It's time to rev up your glute engines! Recruit the muscles in your glutes, quads and core to avoid collapsing your knees and ankles inward.

4. Plank

Hate crunches? The plank is the ultimate core exercise. The isometric hold challenges you to use every inch of your abdominals, from your rectus abdominis to your obliques, to stay stabilized.

5. Lateral Jumps

Take your standard jump squat side to side to improve your hip mobility and flexibility, while firing up your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and core muscles, too.

6. High Knees

You know the drill! Get those legs up to waist-height, and crank up the intensity, while still landing softly on the balls of your feet.

7. Rotation Jumps

How do snowboarders and skiers land their jumps exactly? It's this heart-pumping move. Drive from your heels, jump off the ground to complete a 180-twist, and then drop back down to a squat.

8. Tricep Dips

If beasting push-ups is your goal, then you better work those triceps! These dips also give some TLC to your upper back and core. Bend your knees if you need to modify.

9. Pistol Squats

You bet you'll see this move in every figure skater's routine. This seriously impressive exercise is a true test of bodyweight strength. To help you balance, hang onto a band or chair and focus on driving through the heel.

10. Yoga Push-Ups

Also known as a chaturanga push-up, you'll keep your elbows anchored closer to your body as you lower yourself to the floor. (Hello, triceps and core!) Your upper body should shift slightly forward as you descend. And your arms should form a 90-degree angle as you lower down from plank position. To watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, tune into NBC starting Friday, February 9 for the Opening Ceremonies. Originally published February 2014. Updated January 2018. Read More 5 Easy Exercises for a 30-Minute Arm Workout 50 Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core 3 Quick HIIT Workouts for Beginners

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5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/no-equipment-back-exercises/ https://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/no-equipment-back-exercises/#comments Sun, 21 Jan 2018 16:15:51 +0000 http://dailyburn.com/life/?p=39887 5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

[caption id="attachment_50398" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 No-Equipment Back Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption]

Hunching over laptops and smartphones for hours on end does your back no favors. In fact, it’s one of the biggest — and most important — muscle groups we’re guilty of ignoring in our workouts. And the issue isn’t just aesthetics (though a toned back can help you look better in that suit or strapless dress). “Back strengthening exercises are crucial to maintaining functional movement and preventing back injuries for all populations,” says Matthew Wert, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital.

Your back is used in nearly every movement you perform throughout the day, from bending over to tie your shoes, to carrying your backpack or purse. However, the back (particularly the lower back) is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body for all age groups, according to Wert. “Workplace exercises and back health maintenance are crucial. Because although a desk job may seem relatively easy on the body, maintaining a sitting position for long periods of time strains the back and places pressure on our discs,” says Wert.

RELATED: 5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now

Your job: Make your posterior a priority, Wert says. In addition to getting up and moving around at least once every 60 minutes, get back to basics with a few strengthening bodyweight moves and stretches. The five back exercises below are best for targeting the lats, rhomboids and lumbar muscles in your lower back. You'll also get a good workout for those spinal erector muscles that surround, stabilize and support the spine. The best part? No heavy weights or workout equipment are needed!

The 5 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises

Back Exercises: Reverse Snow Angel

1. Reverse Snow Angels

How to: Position yourself facedown on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down. Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapulae together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back (a). Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head (b). Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders. Then return to the original starting position.

RELATED: 7 No Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs

Back Exercises: Dolphin Kick Back Exercise

2. Dolphin Kick

How to: Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench. Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support (a). Straighten out your legs while raising them up while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your lower back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement (b). Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging nearly every muscle in your body. Then drop the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Move the hips slightly further up the bench so the trunk is better supported.

Back Exercises: Superman Back Exercise

3. Superman

How to: Lie facedown with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze. Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you (a). Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground (b). Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body to “fly” like the man of steel (c). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Perform an “Aquaman” by raising and lowering the opposite arm and leg simultaneously in the same fashion as the “Superman.” Hold for 5 seconds, and shoot for 3 sets of 10 reps with a 1-minute rest.

RELATED: The Body-Sculpting TRX Abs Workout

Back Exercises: Hip Hinge Back Exercise

4. Hip Hinge (aka Good Mornings)

How to: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground. Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position (a). Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips (b). Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position and repeating (c). Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Perform seated good mornings instead. Sit in a chair with your shoulders over your hips, legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Plant your feet firmly underneath your knees, hands on your hips. Engage your core and slightly pull your shoulders back, then proceed to bend forward to a 45-degree angle before coming back to the starting position.

RELATED: The Beginner's Guide to Pistol Squats

Back Exercises: Nose and Toes Against the Wall

5. Nose and Toes Against the Wall

How to: Up for a real challenge? Even experienced gym rats should proceed with caution. For this advanced move, you’ll start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall (a). Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral (b). Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands toward the wall. The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position (c). Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner (d). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

Beginner modification: Stand with your back against a wall with feet spread apart wide. Bend your knees and place your hands firmly on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten out your legs to just a “soft knee” and begin to walk your hands in towards your feet, head in neutral alignment with your spine. Actively push your glutes to the ceiling as your core and back remain rigid and your shoulders open up. You may notice a good stretch, too. Who says you can’t get strong and mobile at the same time?

Originally posted May 2015. Updated January 2018.

Read More
275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine
How to Fix Text Neck and Improve Your Posture
8 Ways to Amp Up Your Bodyweight Workout

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5 No-Equipment Back Exercises You Need in Your Life

[caption id="attachment_50398" align="alignnone" width="620"]5 No-Equipment Back Exercises Photo: Pond5[/caption] Hunching over laptops and smartphones for hours on end does your back no favors. In fact, it’s one of the biggest — and most important — muscle groups we’re guilty of ignoring in our workouts. And the issue isn’t just aesthetics (though a toned back can help you look better in that suit or strapless dress). “Back strengthening exercises are crucial to maintaining functional movement and preventing back injuries for all populations,” says Matthew Wert, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at New York Methodist Hospital. Your back is used in nearly every movement you perform throughout the day, from bending over to tie your shoes, to carrying your backpack or purse. However, the back (particularly the lower back) is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body for all age groups, according to Wert. “Workplace exercises and back health maintenance are crucial. Because although a desk job may seem relatively easy on the body, maintaining a sitting position for long periods of time strains the back and places pressure on our discs,” says Wert. RELATED: 5 Standing Desk Stretches to Relieve Stress Now Your job: Make your posterior a priority, Wert says. In addition to getting up and moving around at least once every 60 minutes, get back to basics with a few strengthening bodyweight moves and stretches. The five back exercises below are best for targeting the lats, rhomboids and lumbar muscles in your lower back. You'll also get a good workout for those spinal erector muscles that surround, stabilize and support the spine. The best part? No heavy weights or workout equipment are needed!

The 5 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises

Back Exercises: Reverse Snow Angel

1. Reverse Snow Angels

How to: Position yourself facedown on the ground with arms at your sides and palms facing down. Peel your shoulders and hands a few inches off the ground by pinching your scapulae together and engaging your lats and rhomboids in your mid-back (a). Keeping your head facing down, in a slow, controlled motion, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head (b). Then, bring your arms back to the starting position. The key here is keeping the arms straight and elbows locked through the entire movement to engage your lats and shoulders (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. Beginner modification: Move the arms only halfway so that they are even with your shoulders. Then return to the original starting position. RELATED: 7 No Crunch Exercises for Six-Pack Abs Back Exercises: Dolphin Kick Back Exercise

2. Dolphin Kick

How to: Position yourself face down on a bench so that the crease of your hip is at the end of the bench. Your feet should be resting on the ground with your hands firmly engaged on the underside of the bench for support (a). Straighten out your legs while raising them up while engaging your abdominals, glutes, hips and spinal erectors in your lower back. Your toes should be pointed away from your body and above your head at the top of the movement (b). Hold this static position for 5 seconds by firmly engaging nearly every muscle in your body. Then drop the feet slightly below the bench and contracting again for 4 additional reps (c). Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. Beginner modification: Move the hips slightly further up the bench so the trunk is better supported. Back Exercises: Superman Back Exercise

3. Superman

How to: Lie facedown with your chin on the ground and eyes at a neutral gaze. Your ankles should be touching with toes pointed under you (a). Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders so your palms are resting flat on the floor. Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull yourself a few inches off the ground (b). Your arms and legs should remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height at the top of the static hold position. Hold this position while fully engaging your body to “fly” like the man of steel (c). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets. Beginner modification: Perform an “Aquaman” by raising and lowering the opposite arm and leg simultaneously in the same fashion as the “Superman.” Hold for 5 seconds, and shoot for 3 sets of 10 reps with a 1-minute rest. RELATED: The Body-Sculpting TRX Abs Workout Back Exercises: Hip Hinge Back Exercise

4. Hip Hinge (aka Good Mornings)

How to: Stand up straight with your hands on your hips. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips and firmly planted on the ground. Start the movement by engaging your core, pushing your ribs down and pulling your shoulders slightly back with a neutral neck position (a). Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while keeping your shoulders in line with your hips (b). Keep your back, glutes and hamstrings engaged throughout the exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel, or just above parallel to the floor, before bringing yourself back up to the starting position and repeating (c). Note: A common error to this exercise is rounding the back, resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. Form is crucial to this exercise and should be replicated perfectly on each rep to avoid injury and get the most out of the exercise. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-15 reps, with a 30-60 second rest between sets. Beginner modification: Perform seated good mornings instead. Sit in a chair with your shoulders over your hips, legs bent at a 45-degree angle. Plant your feet firmly underneath your knees, hands on your hips. Engage your core and slightly pull your shoulders back, then proceed to bend forward to a 45-degree angle before coming back to the starting position. RELATED: The Beginner's Guide to Pistol Squats Back Exercises: Nose and Toes Against the Wall

5. Nose and Toes Against the Wall

How to: Up for a real challenge? Even experienced gym rats should proceed with caution. For this advanced move, you’ll start in a push-up position with your feet against the wall (a). Next, walk your feet up the wall while keeping your core tight, hips flexed and spine neutral (b). Place your palms firmly on the ground just outside shoulder width as you begin to inch your hands toward the wall. The top of the position will be reached when just your nose and toes touch the wall with firm hand placement on the floor and rigid core for a “hollow body” position (c). Upon completion, safely come down by walking your hands away from the wall and bringing your feet down in a controlled manner (d). Repeat for 3 reps with a 15-30 second static hold, and 30-60 seconds rest between sets. Beginner modification: Stand with your back against a wall with feet spread apart wide. Bend your knees and place your hands firmly on the floor, slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten out your legs to just a “soft knee” and begin to walk your hands in towards your feet, head in neutral alignment with your spine. Actively push your glutes to the ceiling as your core and back remain rigid and your shoulders open up. You may notice a good stretch, too. Who says you can’t get strong and mobile at the same time? Originally posted May 2015. Updated January 2018. Read More 275 Bodyweight Exercises to Shake Up Your Workout Routine How to Fix Text Neck and Improve Your Posture 8 Ways to Amp Up Your Bodyweight Workout

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