Push-ups: three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions – Start with hands on the floor and legs extended, chest towards the ground. Keeping the body in a straight line lower yourself to the ground bending only at the elbows. My personal preference is to go through a full range of motion so the chest will touch the ground. If a regular push is too challenging drop down to your knees and try there. If the challenge is still too great, try doing the push-ups with your hands on the dresser or on the wall. Push-ups are basically a moving plank so keep your core tight! This exercise will help develop your arms, chest and abs.
Archer push-ups (if you can): two sets of 20 (switching from one side to the next) – This exercise is pretty difficult so it’s ok if you can’t do it just yet. First master regular push-ups before advancing to these. Start the same way as a normal push-up, spread the hands wider and turn them out wards so the fingers are pointing away from the body.
Bend one arm while keeping the opposite arm straight. This is very close to doing a one arm push-up and at the end motion it will look as though you are drawing a bow to fire an arrow – hence the name!
Supermans: three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions – Lay face down on the floor with both arms out straight and both legs straight. Lift all four limbs off the floor elevating the chest and thighs. At the end of this motion the only part of you left on the ground should be your stomach. This exercise will help tighten up pretty much every muscle on the back of your body and improve overall posture and strength.
Tuck-ups or V-ups: three sets of 20 repetitions – Start laying on floor on your back arms at your sides and legs out straight. Lift the chest and legs off the ground simultaneously. This exercise should initially be done with bent knees and the hands on the ground (Tuck-Ups) as you get stronger you can progress to keeping your hands off the ground and eventually to having straight legs and reaching those hands up to the feet. This exercise will work the full length of your abs (predominantly the rectus abdominus – the 6 pack part).
Bicycle crunches: three sets of 30 repetitions – With your hands behind your head and your feet off the ground with the knees bent bring the opposite elbow and knee together pulling from your abdomen. Remember to not pull on your neck as this will cause pain and actually keep you from using your abdominals. This exercise will hit more of the other ab muscles such as the obliques (muscles on the side near the ribs) and transverse abdominals (these keep the waist smaller and provide support to your spine – nature’s weight belt).
Heel drivers: three sets of 20 repetitions – Lay on your back with your hands under your butt and raise your legs off the ground until there is approximately a 90-degree bend at the hip. Now, drive your feet up towards the ceiling using your abdominals to lift your legs.
The arms can be used to assist and will allow for a greater range of motion. Your back should come off the ground so make sure you control yourself on the way back down.
Side planks: three sets of 30 seconds per side – Start on the side of your body with your knees and forearm on the ground. Then straighten your body out. There should be space between you and the ground from your ankles to your armpit. If this is too challenging the knees can be left on the ground or this can be performed with a straight arm.
Now you know what to do and how to do it! It’s ok if you can’t do these all perfectly, that means you are trying.
Fitness is about getting outside of our comfort zone and doing things we never thought we could.
Good luck and have fun!