Beginner: Reach Up
1. Reach Up
Targets obliques, abs
- Lie faceup on the floor, with legs extended and arms at sides, ankles crossed.
- Keeping your shoulders down and your lower body still, engage your abs and reach your right hand up and across the center of your body.
- Hold for a few seconds, then lower.
- Repeat with left arm. Do 12 reps on each side.
Beginner: Standing Side Crunch
2. Standing Side Crunch
Targets obliques, glutes
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, abs engaged and knees slightly bent.
- Lift your right leg, bending knee 90 degrees and turning thigh out to side.
- Place both hands behind your head and crunch your right elbow to right knee 15 times.
- Switch legs and repeat.
Beginner: Woodchop with Dumbbell
3. Woodchop with Dumbbell
Targets shoulders, abs, obliques, glutes, quads, hamstrings
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in front of your torso with both hands.
- Engage your abs, keep shoulders down, and squat, bringing dumbbell toward right foot.
- Stand up, using your abs and glutes, while lifting dumbbell diagonally across your body to left shoulder.
- Repeat 12 times; switch sides (starting to left) and repeat.
Intermediate: Windshield Wipers
1. Windshield Wipers
- Lie faceup on the floor with arms out to sides, legs extended and abs engaged.
- Place a folded towel between your knees. Bend knees 90 degrees and raise legs so calves are parallel with floor.
- Keep legs together as you lower them to the left side.
- Return to center, then twist to the right.
- Do 12 reps on each side.
Intermediate: Plank with Twist
2. Plank with Twist
Targets back, abs, obliques
- Get into plank position with forearms on the floor, abs engaged, back straight and toes tucked under.
- Twist your entire lower body (from the torso down) to the right, keeping your arms, shoulders, and head still, legs and feet together.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then return to center.
- Repeat, twisting to the left.
- Do 12 times on each side.
Intermediate: Woodchop in Lunge
3. Woodchop in Lunge
Targets shoulders, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings
- Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in front of your torso with both hands.
- Engage your abs, keep feet facing forward, and bend your right knee into a lunge, bringing dumbbell down to your right foot.
- Pull through left hip to rise, and lift dumbbell above your body on the left side.
- Do 12 times; switch sides (lunging to left) and repeat.
Advanced: Side Plank Rotation
1. Side Plank Rotation
Targets obliques, glutes, quads
- Begin in full push-up position (legs extended, abs engaged, wrists under shoulders).
- Slowly rotate body to the right, lifting right arm toward ceiling and bringing right leg behind you.
- Push your hips up high, away from floor, keeping both feet grounded.
- Lower back to push-up position; then rotate to left.
- Do 3 reps on each side.
Advanced: Reverse Crunch with Swivel
2. Reverse Crunch with Swivel
Targets abs, obliques
- Lie faceup on floor with legs extended toward ceiling.
- Engage your abs and lift your hips, keeping legs and heels together.
- Swivel legs to the left, drop a few inches, then raise and swivel back to the center.
- Lower hips, then lift and repeat, swiveling to the right this time.
- Do 20 reps, continuing to alternate sides.
Advanced: Lateral Stretch
3. Lateral Stretch
Targets shoulders, obliques, abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand.
- Lunge to the left, keeping left knee over ankle and right leg straight.
- Bend right elbow, bringing dumbbell to shoulder.
- With back straight and abs engaged, lower torso to left and extend right arm toward ceiling.
- Slowly return to start position.
- Switch sides; repeat. Do 12 reps on each side.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, April 2007.