What do you want from your workouts? Probably something that’s short, effective, easy to follow, and fun. Or at least a workout that’s not too boring and hits more than one area of fitness to save you some time.
Here are what I call the ‘fab 4’ effective exercises that work your entire body – lots of ‘bang for your buck’:
What They Bring to the Party: Squats work just about every muscle in the lower body, including the glutes, hips, thighs, and calves. Not only that, it’s a movement we do regularly throughout the day, so using it in your workouts will add some functionality to your training.
How To: Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes facing straight ahead or angled slightly outward. Slowly bend the knees and squat, sending the hips back behind you while keeping your torso straight and abs pulled in tight. Keep your knees behind your toes. Make sure everything’s pointing in the same direction. Squat as low as you can and push into your heels to stand up.
What They Bring to the Party: Press ups, like squats, are compound movements which use almost all the muscles of your body. You’ll work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and abs all while increasing your upper body strength.
How To: Get into a straight arm plank position—hands wider than shoulders and balancing on the toes or, for a modification, on the knees. Your body should be in a straight line from head to knees/heels. Slowly bend your arms and lower your body to the floor, keeping your neck straight and going all the way down until your nose touches the floor, if you can.
And then push back up. Try to avoid locking the elbows at the top of the movements.
What They Bring to the Party: Like squats, lunges work most of the muscles in your legs, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
How to: Stand in a split-stance (one leg forward, one leg back). Bend your knees and lower your body into a lunge position, keeping the front knee and back knee at 90 degree angles. Keeping the weight in your heels, push back up to the starting position. Try to avoid locking your knees at the top, and don’t let your knee bend past your toes.
What It Brings to the Party: The plank is an isolation move used in Pilates and Yoga and works the abs, back, arms, and legs.
How to: Lie face down on the mat with your elbows resting on the floor next to your chest. Push your body off the floor in a press up position with your body resting on your elbows or hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can.
These ‘fab 4’ have the power to change your body, promote weight loss and improve fitness far beyond your expectations – start slowly, build gradually, do them regularly and you will see a return on your investment in time.