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10 Exercises You Love to Hate
You can crunch and crunch for hours, but to get the full flat-belly benefits of your ab work, opt for a plank. Activate your core muscles and work your arms, shoulders, and butt with this version upgraded with a jumping jack–inspired twist.
Targets shoulders, back, chest, triceps, abs, and butt
- Start in forearm plank position on ground, balancing on forearms and toes.
- Lift left arm and place left palm on ground directly beneath shoulder, straightening arm; repeat with right arm until you are in full plank position.
- Reverse motion back to forearm plank and repeat, this time pressing up with right arm, then left.
- While in full plank, jump feet out wide, then back together twice to complete 1 rep. MAKE IT EASIER: Stay in forearm plank and simply do the jacks.
- Do 8 to 12 reps.
Celebs swear by this total body cincher, and for good reason. There's nothing that hits every muscle fiber quite like a burpee. Pound this one out with a few jabs before you drop, push-up, and pop right back up for another rep.
Targets back, shoulders, chest, biceps, triceps, abs, butt, and legs
- Start with left foot staggered in front of right, and fists in front of chest.
- Do 4 punches, alternating hands, then crouch down and place palms on floor in front of feet.
- Jump feet back into plank position, then do a push-up. MAKE IT EASIER: Skip the push-up.
- Jump feet forward toward hands and stand up, returning to staggered stance (try to switch foot position for second half of reps). Repeat.
- Do 20 reps.
True, squats are great by themselves, but this squat and curl combo is double trouble (uh, benefits). Use a weight bench or chair to get the proper elevation and form for your squat.
Targets biceps, core, butt, and legs
- Stand about 3 feet in front of a chair (with your back facing the seat), holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward; rest top of right foot on seat behind you.
- Bend left knee about 90 degrees while curling weights to shoulders.
- Return to start.
- Do 8 to 10 reps; switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.
This calorie crusher is sure to shake up your slim-down. Use a resistance band to add some mojo to a mountain climber, tightening your core and sculpting your shoulders with each leg raise. Break a sweat (not your form) by pushing yourself to beat the number of reps you can do in one minute.
Targets abs, obliques, butt, and hamstrings
- Loop center of band around a stable post like a couch leg. Start on floor in plank position facing away from post, feet placed in handles like stirrups.
- Alternately bring right and left knee in toward chest, not allowing toes of bent leg to touch floor.
- Repeat for 1 minute and rest 20 seconds. Do 3 sets.
Oh. My. Ouch. This move hurts so good, especially because you'll notice a firmer, stronger stomach, stat. Focusing on tiny pulses means you won't miss a muscle, from your middle to your obliques and those tricky-to-trim lower abs.
Targets rectus and transversus abdominis
- Sit on a folded towel on floor with shoulder blades against a wall and knees bent, feet flat; make sure back is rounded. Place hands on floor near hips, fingertips pressed into floor.
- Squeeze abs and lift feet off floor, bring knees toward chest, then straighten legs so toes point toward ceiling. Do 10 pulses: Bring legs 1 inch closer to wall, then move them back 1 inch. MAKE IT EASIER: Keep left foot on floor and bring extended right leg toward you by grasping right calf with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds; switch legs and repeat.
- Do 3 sets.
Consider lunges the special sauce to reshaping your rear in no time at all. Switch up a static lunge by making it more dynamic, hitting the front, back, and each side for a lean lower body.
Targets butt, quads, inner thighs, and hamstrings
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of chest. Lunge forward with left leg (knees bent 90 degrees); return to start.
- Lunge left leg out to left, toes facing forward, and bend left knee 90 degrees. Return to start.
- Lunge backward with left leg to complete 1 rep. Repeat sequence with right leg.
- Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps, alternating sides.
Pump up a PE classic to melt flab and tone all over. You'll shape your shoulders as you walk, plus lengthen and strengthen all over with each leg lift.
Targets back, shoulders, arms, abs, and butt
- Sit on floor with hands behind hips and knees bent, feet flat. Lift hips into tabletop position (torso is parallel to floor) so that ankles are aligned under knees and wrists are aligned under shoulders, fingers pointing forward or slightly out to sides.
- Walk forward 4 steps, then stop and extend right leg up as you reach left hand toward right toes. Switch sides and repeat, then continue walking forward another 4 steps.
- Continue for 30 seconds to a minute, then reverse the direction to return to start.
Trainer's Tip: Look slightly forward or up as you walk, whichever is most comfortable for your neck.
This move will improve your balance while zapping mega calories. Wrapping a resistance band behind your back gives you an extra oomph to firm and burn just a bit more. (Think of it as your strong yet silent trainer, who's not letting you skimp on your sets.)
Targets chest, arms, and abs
- Kneel on floor a few feet behind inverted Bosu, wrapping band around your upper back and gripping ends in each hand (wrap band around fists to pick up slack).
- Place hands shoulder-width apart on top of Bosu and get into full up position, legs extended behind you.
- Bend elbows to lower chest, then push up to complete 1 rep.
- Continue for 20 seconds (10 to 15 reps).
Boost your backside without bulking up in the process. Using a stability ball for this move give you a greater range of motion, so you can hit your shoulders, back, and hips all at once.
- With your back to a wall, lie face down on ball with hips on its center; place soles of feet against wall, legs extended and toes on floor for support, then drape upper body over ball so arms reach toward floor.
- Lift torso off ball, extending arms overhead until body forms a straight line from hands to feet. Lower.
- Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
How high can you fly? Use a rolled-up towel or jump rope as your center obstacle, then squat and explode, kicking your heels as they meet in the middle. Practice AMRAP for one minute and your Toto, err tush, will be feeling the burn.
Targets butt, legs, inner thighs, and outer thighs
- Place a coiled garden hose (or a rolled-up towel) on ground and straddle it, hands on hips.
- Lower into a squat, then jump as high as you can and tap heels together in midair. MAKE IT EASIER: Jump without tapping heels together or do move without hose.
- Land with knees soft in start position.
- Repeat for 1 minute.