Warmup: 5 Minutes
Take five full minutes to prep your body to work out. Get your blood flowing, pump your heart rate up a bit, and prep your muscles by mixing and matching these suggested moves. Do what feels good to your body — just keep moving. A solid warmup can prevent injury and decrease that annoying soreness that comes a day or two after working out.
- Marching, running, skipping in place or around your house
- Jumping jacks or cross jacks
- Arm circles, big and small
- Walking or running stairs
- Jumping rope
- Side shuffle
- A little free-style dancing — crank the music and groove
Circuit One: Squat
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, feet parallel or toes pointed out slightly. Hold your hands out in front of you for balance, as shown. Shift your pelvis back, bend your knees, and lower your hips as if you were sitting into a chair. You’re aiming to bring your thighs parallel to the floor, but don’t let your knees go beyond your toes. Your weight should be in your heels.
- Press your heels into the floor to straighten your legs and return to standing. Squeeze your glutes when you’re standing to complete the exercise.
- This counts as one rep.
This move works the thighs, butt, and core. Many exercises build on the basic squat, so it pays to master your form before adding weights and variations to your workouts.
Circuit One: Bent-Over Row
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand and standing with your feet hip-distance apart, bend at the waist. Keep your back parallel to the floor with a neutral spine — not rounded.
- Extend your arms out in front of you, keeping a slight bend in your knees.
- Engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows back bringing the weights to your torso. Keep your arms close to your torso.
- Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position to complete one rep.
This exercise works the upper back, specifically the muscles between your shoulder blades, which tend to be weak from slouching at computers or hunched reading a smartphone.
Circuit Two: Dying Bug
Reps: 10 reps, alternating sides
- Lie on your back with a neutral spine and your hips and knees at right angles with your palms pressed into your thighs just above your knees.
- Pull your abs to your spine keeping your ribs and pelvis still as you lengthen your right arm and leg away from each other. While you are aiming to have your leg parallel to the floor, only go as low as you can while keeping your lower back from arching.
- Return to the starting position, and repeat on the left side to complete one rep.
Don’t let the silly name fool you, this move is hard but the perfect challenge for a beginner. It’s a stability exercise that trains your abs to work while your arms and legs move. Slow and steady wins the race here; you have to actively engage your abs and monitor your stability. Get your form down and you will be ready for more ab exercises.