Think you need sweaty machines at the gym to get fit? Save your money. Your own body weight and gravity can work great results for you
Pull-ups work arm and back muscles, giving you great bang for your buck. Turn palms away to work more back muscles; or have the palms face you to target the biceps. Grasp the chin-up bar and cross your legs to keep the lower body stable. Slowly pull your body up, bending your elbows, until your chin is level with the bar. Pause, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat.
Wide Grip Push-up
A wide grip makes the chest muscles work a little harder. Place your hands outside the shoulders. It's important to engage your core, thigh, and gluteal muscles to get the most out of this or any push-up.
This challenging push-up can kick your shoulder strength up a couple notches. Get into a standard push-up: hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward, elbows slightly bent, and eyes on the floor. Then place feet behind you on a sturdy chair or bench. Keep your body in a straight line, engage the abs, bend your elbows, and lower your chest towards the floor. Push back to starting position.
Jump Train for Power
Pro athletes train with jumping jacks and other explosive moves to increase muscle power. It helps basketball players jump higher and tennis players get to the ball faster. Jump training is also called plyometrics, and it's not for beginners or for those with orthopedic issues. But if you have good strength and balance, it can ramp up your game. Try adding plyometric moves to your workout once or twice a week.
Shift your hips back and down until your heels start to lift off the floor. Pause briefly and explode up, swinging the arms overhead as you straighten your legs. Create a straight line from toes to fingers, with your back flat. Land softly on the mid-foot and sink back into a squat to help absorb the impact. Before adding jump moves, people who are sedentary or injured should check with a doctor.
Try this advanced move on grass or another soft surface. Sink into a lunge position with left leg forward, right leg back, and both knees bent to 90 degrees. Swing your arms behind you for greater power as you explosively jump up, using arms to assist as needed. Keep your back straight, eyes facing forward, and engage the abs. Switch legs in the air and land softly, returning to the lunge position. Rest after each set.
How to Lose the Gut
Dozens of crunches, on their own, are not likely to help you lose the gut. What does work is a full-body exercise routine that builds lean muscle all over. Since muscle burns calories even at rest, having more muscle helps to melt fat all over, including the belly. The best plan is regular cardio (aerobic) exercise, resistance training, and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet.
Split Squat With Biceps Curl
Rest your right foot on a chair well behind you, with your weight on your bent left leg. It's heads up, eyes forward, weights at your side -- and very important -- keep the front knee directly over the ankle. Now, slowly lower your hips by bending the front knee. Push back up and pull the weights up towards shoulders, but don't twist the arms as you lift. Perform all reps and switch legs.
This simple move tones the backs of the arms, a problem zone for many women. Sit on the edge of a step or chair, palms on each side, and knees bent to 90-degrees. Now, scoot your hips forward, off the step, until your hands are supporting your weight. Slowly lower your body, keeping your back very close to the step. Bend the elbows until you upper arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly push back up and repeat.
This isometric move strengthens all the core muscles, helping to tone the mid-section. Lie on your stomach, elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders, palms down. Engage the abs and slowly lift your torso off the floor, maintaining a stiff torso and legs. Avoid sagging at the low back or hiking up your hips. Continue to breathe while holding this position for 15 seconds or more.
Protection for the Low Back
If you have low back pain, warm up by gently stretching your hips before working out. Keep your legs parallel to each other, hands on the bent knee, and let your hips sink forward to the floor, keeping upper body straight. Don't lean forward. Hold for 30 seconds and switch legs.
Advice for Desk Jockeys
Sitting with poor posture for hours a day increases your risk of low back pain. And shoulder pain is rampant among people who keep their heads and torsos jutted forward all day long, peering into a computer. At your desk, set a timer to go off every hour to remind you to check that your ear, shoulder, and hip are aligned. When working out, hip stretches and tubing rows can help counteract the aches and pains of desk work.
How Many Reps Are Right for You?
For strength and power, aim for three sets of six reps. For general muscle growth and toning, try three sets of 6-12 reps. If you're a runner striving for muscle endurance, plan on 2-3 sets of 12 or more reps with 30-second rest periods. Always exercise caution, and if something doesn't feel right, check with a fitness expert. Depending on your health and physical condition, some exercises may not be recommended.