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Total Body Circuit Training Exercises

Alternating Split Squat

1. Stand with feet hip width apart. Take left leg and step back approximately 2 feet standing on the ball of back foot.
2. Feet should be positioned at a staggered stance with head and back erect and straight in a neutral position. Place hands on waist.
3. Lower body by bending at right hip and knee until thigh is parallel to floor then immediately explode vertically.
4. Switch feet in the air so that the back foot lands forward and vice versa.
5. Prior to takeoff extend the ankles to their maximum range (full plantar flexion) ensure proper mechanics.

Burpees

1. Start in a standing position and bend your knees and place your hands on the ground.
2. Extend your legs back into a push up position. Bring your knees back in towards chest and stand back up.
3. This should be a continuous motion and be fluid.

Cardio Equipment
If you're lucky enough to own any cardiovascular equipment (treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machine) they make good circuit training exercises. Of course if you perform your routine at the gym you have an even greater range of choice.
Dumbbell Squat and Swings

1. Start position: Holding a dumbbell in each hand start in squatted position with dumbbells between legs.
2. Start movement by standing up and keeping arms straight rotate shoulders and trunk towards the left.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
4. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Double Kettlebell Bent Over Row

Double Kettlebell Bent Over RowPlace two kettlebells between your feet. Bend your knees slightly and then push your butt out as much as possible as you bend over to get in the starting position. Imagine that you are trying to sit in a chair behind you. Arc your back and hold your chest high as you sit back to get into the optimal pulling position (Imagine that you are a Venice Beach bodybuilder if you are having difficulty with this). Grab both kettlebells and pull them to your stomach. Lower the bells back to the floor under control and repeat. Click here for more info on rows.

Double Kettlebell Front Squat

Double Kettlebell Front SquatClean two kettlebells to your shoulders and take a stance that you find comfortable for your body type. As you squat down (not beyond 90 degrees), push your butt out. Looking straight ahead at all times, squat as low as you can and pause at the bottom. Rise back up and repeat. Pull yourself down with your hamstring and breathe in as your lower yourself down to the bottom. Hold your breathe and stand up.

Double Kettlebell Military Press

Double Kettlebell Military PressClean two kettlebells to your shoulders. Breathe in as you clean the bells to the rack position. Hold the kettlebells in tight against your core as if you are a boxer bracing for a punch. Try to touch your elbows to your midsection so that you have a strong foundation to press off of. The shortest distance between two locations is a straight line. Remember that when you do the overhead press. Imagine that the bells are connected and that you are pressing a barbell. Press the bells up and out only as much as necessary to complete the exercise. As the kettlebells pass your head, lean into the bells slightly so that they are locked out behind your head. Take a bench press tip from legendary powerlifting coach Louie Simmons and lower the kettlebells with your lats. Your lats are much stronger muscles than your shoulders and will assist in stabilizing the shoulders for maximum strength. Lowering two kettlebells is your chance to get your lats loaded up for the next press. Click here for more info on presses.

Double Kettlebel Push Press

Double Kettlebell Push PressClean two kettlebells to your shoulders. Squat down a few inches and reverse the motion rapidly. Use the momentum from the legs to drive the kettlebells overhead. Once the kettlebells are locked out, lower the kettlebells to your shoulders and repeat. Stay very tight upon cleaning the kettlebells and when you squat down a few inches to power up the leg drive. However, when you reverse the direction get loose in order to move quickly and then get tight again once the bells are locked out overhead.Click here for more info on push presses.

Fast Feet on Box
Use a sturdy box or aerobic step. Step on and off quickly making sure both feet come into contact with the box. Every 20 or 30 step-ups change your feet so the opposite leg leads.
High Knees
Running on the spot pick your knees up to waist height and pump your arms.
Jumping Jacks

Start with your legs side by side and your arms by your side. In one motion jump and spread your legs out to the side while your arms raise out and up over your head. Land in this position and then return to the starting position and repeat.

Kettlebell Bent Press

Kettlebell Bent PressClean a kettlebell with one arm. Push your hip out in the direction of the cleaned kettlebell. Turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell. While you are sitting back and lowering yourself, contract your lat as hard as possible and move your body away from the kettlebell. Continue to bend to the side until the kettlebell is locked out. The difference between the Bent Press and the Side Press is that there is no press with the Bent Press. You simply hold the bell in position and extend your forearm as you shift your weight away from the kettlebell. Click here for more info on the bent press.

Kettlebell Side Press

Kettlebell Side PressClean a kettlebell with one arm. Push your hip out in the direction of the cleaned kettlebell. Turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell. While you are sitting back and lowering yourself, actively press the kettlebell at the same time. Continue to bend to the side until the kettlebell is locked out. Click here for more info on the side press.

Kettlebell Sots Press

Kettlebell Sots PressClean a kettlebell and go into a full squat. Stay in the bottom position of the front squat and press the kettlebell overhead until it is locked out completely. Lower the kettlebell back to the starting position and repeat. Stay in the bottom position of the squat for the entire duration of the set. Make sure you push your glutes into your calves and contract your midsection for increases stability and power. If you cannot do a full squat, then you cannot do the Sots Press. Click here for more info on the Sots Press.

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up (TGU)

Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up (TGU)Lie on your back and use two hands to position a kettlebell to the lockout position of one arm. Lets use the right side as an example to discuss proper performance. Keep the bell locked out at all times. Bring your right leg in and use your right leg to pivot to the left. Roll onto your left triceps and keep rolling until your hand touches the floor. Use your left hand and right leg to drive forward. As you are driving forward, bring your left leg in and take your right leg forward. Now keep driving forward until you are in the bottom position of a lunge. Take a second to gather yourself and then stand up. To complete the rep, reverse the movement to get back to the starting position. Do a lunge back to the bottom, then place your left hand behind your back until you feel the ground. Bring your legs forward and use your left arm to guide you back to the starting position. Take a second to gather yourself and then proceed to another repetition. Click here for more info on the TGU.

Kettlebell Windmill

Kettlebell WindmillClean and press or snatch a kettlebell overhead with one arm. Keeping the kettlebell that is overhead locked out at all times, push your butt out in the direction of the locked out kettlebell. Turn your feet out at a forty-five degree angle from the arm with the locked out kettlebell. Lower yourself until your non-working hand touches the floor or front foot. Pause for a second and reverse the motion back to the starting position. Click here for more info on the windmill.

One-Arm Kettlebell Bottom Up Clean (Hang Position)

One- Arm Kettlebell Bottom Up CleanHold a kettlebell like a suitcase. Swing it back and then forward and crush grip the handle to hold it in place in the rack position. Keep a loose grip until you reach the rack position and then crush grip the handle and flex your entire body to hold the bell in place. Click here for more info on bottom up cleans.

One-Arm Kettlebell Clean

One-Arm Kettlebell CleanPlace a kettlebell between your feet. As you bend down to grab the kettlebell, push your butt back and keep your eyes looking forward. Swing the kettlebell between your legs as if you are passing a football behind you. Quickly reverse the direction and drive through forcefully with the hips. Bring the kettlebell straight up using body momentum (don’t even think about trying to curl it). Open your hand and get your hand around the handle rather than letting the bell flip over and bang up your wrist. Click here for more info on cleans.

One-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

One-Arm Kettlebell SnatchPlace a kettlebell between your feet. Bend your knees and push your butt back to get in the proper starting position. Look straight ahead and swing the kettlebell back between your legs as if you are passing a football to someone behind you. Immediately reverse the direction and drive through explosively with your hips. Pull the kettlebell towards your body as if you are starting a lawn mower. The trajectory of the kettlebell will resemble a J Curve rather than an arc. As the kettlebell rises to your shoulder open your hand and get your hand around the bell rather than letting the bell flip over and bang up your wrist. Punch through straight overhead to complete the snatch. Click here for more info on snatches.

One-Arm Kettlebell Swing

One_Arm Kettlebell SwingPlace one kettlebell between your feet. Push back with your butt and bend your knees to get into the starting position. Make sure that your back is flat and look straight ahead. Swing the kettlebell between your legs forcefully as if you are passing a football to someone behind you. Quickly reverse the direction and drive though with your hips explosively taking the kettlebell straight out. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat. Switch arms with each set. Remember that the swing is primarily a hamstring exercise and that is where all of the power is generated from. It is not a front raise. Click here for more info on swings.

Ricochets
Stand with your feet together and arms by your sides. Keeping your feet together jump forward a foot or so. Jump back to the starting position. Jump to your left, back to the start, then the right and then behind you. Repeat this sequence by keeping ground contact time minimal and feet together.
Skipping

There are various types of skipping and they make excellent circuit training exercises - two feet off the ground, alternate feet, hop on one leg for 5 then swap and so on.

Squat Jumps

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, trunk flexed forward slightly with back straight in a neutral position.
2. Arms should be in the ready position with elbows flexed at approximately 90.
3. Lower body where thighs are parallel to ground. Explode vertically and drive arms up.
4. Land on both feet and repeat.
5. Prior to takeoff extend the ankles to their maximum range (full plantar flexion) to ensure proper mechanics.

Squat Thrusts
In a push-up position bring both knees in towards your chest and then explode out again so they are fully extended. Repeat in a smooth, rhythmical fashion.
Squat to Presses
Holding a relatively light dumbbell in each hand by your side, squat down until your knees are bent just above 90 degrees. As you extend your legs push the dumbbells overhead and extend your arms fully. Lower the weights as you squat down again.
Treadmills
Similar to squat thrusts only alternate your feet. In the push-up position with legs extended bring one knee into your chest, then quickly switch to bring the other knee into your chest. The action should be a smooth running motion as your arms stay fixed.
Tuck Jumps
Standing on the spot, jump up with both and tuck both knees in towards your chest.

 

Upper Body Circuit Training Exercises

Barbell Dicep Curls

Barbell Bicep CurlsThe barbell bicep curl is a great way to work both heads of the biceps with a heavier weight than we can typically handle with dumbbells. This is a great compliment to dumbbell curls which allow you to work each arm individually.
1. Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs engaged as you hold the weight in front of the thighs.
2. Squeeze the biceps and bend the arms, curling the weight up towards the shoulders.
3. Keep the elbows stationary and only bring the weight as high as you can without moving the elbows. 4. Slowly lower the weight, keeping a slight bend in the elbows at the bottom (e.g., don't lock the joints and try to keep tension on the muscle)
5. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps

Bench Dips

1. Sit upright on the edge of a sturdy bench and place hands hip width apart, palms down, fingers pointing forward and gripping the edge of the bench. Place heels on another bench with legs out straight in front of you.
2. Start position: Slide glutes off bench with elbows slightly bent.
3. Lower body by bending at elbows until elbows are at 90 degree angle. Return to start position

Clean and Press

Clean and PressThe clean & press is an excellent compound exercise for the shoulders with a focus on the rotators as well as the front, middle and rear heads of the deltoids. If you have any problems with your rotators, you might want to skip this exercise to avoid pain or injury. The key to keeping this move safe is to keep the move slow and controlled and work within your strength and flexibility.
1. Begin with light-medium weights in front of thighs, palms in.
2. Bend elbows and raise weights to chest in an upright row.
3. In a smooth movement, flip the weights up and rotate the elbows down so that they point towards the floor.
4. Press the weights overhead without locking the elbow joints.
5. Lower the weights, rotate the hands back down to an upright row and return to starting position.
6. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

Diamond Push-Ups
Same as a regular push-up except place your hands together and make a diamond shape with your thumbs and forefingers.
Kickbacks

KickbacksThe kickback is a common triceps exercise which involves extending the arm while the torso is in a bent position. For this exercise, you can do one arm at a time and use heavier weights or you can extend both arms at the same time, which will involve more lower back stabilization.
1. Hold a medium weight in both hands and bend over until your torso is at a 45-degree angle or parallel to the floor (more advanced). Bend the knees if needed and keep the abs engaged to protect the lower back.
2. Begin the movement by bending the arms and pulling the elbows up to torso level.
3. Holding that position, straighten the arms out behind you, squeezing the triceps muscles.
4. Bend the arms back to starting position and repeat for 10-16 reps.

Tips

  • Do this exercise one arm at a time if you're using heavier weights or need more support for the lower back.
  • Keep the abs engaged and the back flat throughout the movement.
  • At the end of the movement, your arms should extend along the body, palms facing each other.
  • Try not to swing the arms to get the weight up.
Plyometric Push-Ups

Same as a regular push-up except as you extend your arms push up explosively so your hands leave the ground. Then allow your elbows to bend slightly to absorb the shock as you land. Lower and repeat. A variation of this exercise is to quickly clap your hands as they are in the air.

Push-Ups

To make regular push-ups easier (remember you need to sustain them for 30-60 seconds), keep your knees in contact with the ground.

Tricep Extension

Tricep Extension

STEP 1: Stand (with legs slightly bent and feet hip-width apart) or sit on a bench. Raise your arms straight overhead while keeping them close to your ears.

 

STEP 2: Bend your elbows, lowering the weights behind you. Straighten your arms to raise the weights to the starting position.

 

Wide Push-Ups
Same as a regular push-up except spread your hands to wider than shoulder width.

 

Lower Body Circuit Training Exercises

Barbell Squat

Barbell SquatBarbell squats are a more intense version of squats, requiring more work from the largest muscles in the body. Barbell squats are a great addition to a workout, provided you do them correctly. Adding a weight to your shoulders puts much of that load onto your spine as well, so take care when adding weight onto the shoulders. Here's how to do it:
1. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Place the barbell just above the shoulders on the trapezius muscles (i.e., the 'meaty' part of the shoulders). If you feel uncomfortable, you can use a bar pad to protect your back.
3. Bend the knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles OR before you lose the natural arch of your back.
4. Contract the glutes and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso.
5. Slowly stand back up without locking the knees and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
6. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!
Take care when doing this exercise for the first time. Start with a light weight you can easily handle and practice getting your form perfect before moving on to heavier barbells.

Bent-Knee Deadlifts

Bent-Knee DeadliftsThis compound exercise works the lower back, glutes and the hamstrings in one powerful move. Form is key for protecting your back and knees on this move and a certain amount of flexibility is required. To keep this move safe and effective, squat as low as you can, keeping the weight in the heels and the knees behind the toes. If you can't reach the floor to pick up your weights, use no weight until you're able to squat all the way down.
1. Holding medium-heavy weights in front of the thighs, bend the knees and squat down until the thighs are parallel to the floor.
2. Keep the abs contracted and look naturally forward to keep the neck in alignment.
3. Place the weights on the floor and stand back up.
4. Squat down once again and pick up the weights, again keeping the abs in, and stand back up.
5. Continue to squat up and down, putting the weights on the floor and picking them up for 1-3 sets of 10-12 reps.
6. If this feels too difficult, hold the weights throughout the movement rather than releasing them on the floor.

Box Step with Knee Drive

1. Stand behind box and place one foot on top of box, heel close to the closest edge. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Push off the box and explode vertically and drive your other knee up towards your chest.
3. Repeat with other leg.

Dumbbell Exercises

As with the upper body there are dozens of circuit training exercises for the lower body you can do with a simple set of dumbbells. Examples include, squat variations, lunges, calf raises, dead lifts

Forward Lunges

1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
2. Step forward with one foot and bend your knees into a lunged position. Your back knee should come close to touching the ground and your front leg should be bent to about 90 degrees at the knee.
3. Maintain your upright posture throughout the movement. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg.
4. If you have them, hold a light dumbbell in either hand.

One Leg Squat

This is one of the more difficult lower body circuit training exercises - even with just your own bodyweight. Make sure you build gradually up to this one...
1. Stand with feet hip width apart with knees slightly bent and toes pointing forward.
2. Start position: Lift one foot off ground and extend leg forward. Extend arms forward at hip level.
3. Lower body by flexing at the hips and standing leg knee. Upper body can flex forward at the hips slightly (~5) during movement. Be sure to "sit back" so that knees stay over the feet.
4. For balance, hold on to a chair by your side. Once thigh is slightly above parallel return to start position.
5. Remember to keep head and back straight in a neutral position - hyperextension or flexion may cause injury. Keep weight over the middle of foot and heel, not the toes. Keep abdominals tight throughout exercise by drawing stomach in toward spine.

Plie Squat

Plie SquatThe Plie Squat involves a variation on foot placement that helps target your leg muscles in different ways. In a plie squat, for example, you incorporate a bit more inner thigh than in traditional squats. This can be a nice variation to add to your routine if you need a new challenge. Just take care when lowering down and only go as far as your flexibility will allow. Here's how:
1. Begin in a wide stance with toes out at a comfortable angle. Your knees will need to stay alined with your toes, so don't go out too far.
2. To add weight you can hold dumbbells on the upper thighs, a single dumbbell in front or a barbell on the shoulders or behind the head.
3. Bend the knees and lower down into a squat, keeping knees in line with toes, abs contracted and back straight.
4. Only go down as low as you can without compromising your flexibility or your balance.
5. Push back to start without locking the knees.

Single Leg Kickbacks
1. Start in a four point position with your hands and knees on the ground.
2. Proceed to kick your leg back and up until you reach full extension.
3. Squeeze your glute muscle while performing this movement. Repeat with the other leg
Squats

SquatsSquats are one of the best lower body exercises you can do. Why? One reason is that squats are multi-joint exercises which target all the muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs. This version, which requires no weights or equipment (other than a chair) is great for beginners, for anyone with knee problems or for those who are overweight and need a bit more support. It's also great for anyone wanting to add more functionality into their lives because it mimics the movements we do each time we sit down or stand up.
1. Place a chair just behind you and stand in front of it with feet about hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Contract the abs and keep them tight as you bend the knees and slowly squat towards the chair.
3. Keep the knees behind the toes as you sit down on the chair for a few seconds.
4. Contract the glutes and hamstrings to lift up out of the chair and begin extending the legs.
5. Fully extend the legs until you're back to standing position.
6. Repeat this for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
7. To progress, squat down until you're just hovering over the chair, but not sitting all the way down.
8. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!

Squat with One Dumbbell

Squat with One DumbbellOnce you're able to do more than 16 Chair Squats, it's time to progress and add some challenge to your squats. One option is to hold a dumbbell as you squat, which is a great way to add intensity without putting any extra load onto the spine (as in barbell squats below). Here's how to do it:
1. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Hold a medium-heavy dumbbell in front of your body with arms straight and elbows slightly bent.
3. Bend the knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90 degree angles OR before you lose the natural arch of your back.
4. Contract the glutes and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso.
5. Slowly stand back up without locking the knees and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
6. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!

Wall Sits

Wall SitsThe wall sit is a bit different from typical squats since you're holding a static position for a certain period of time, rather than working through an entire range of motion. This is a great exercise you can do anywhere without any equipment to help you build endurance in the lower body. Here's how to do it:
1. Stand in front of a wall (about 2 feet in front of it) and lean against it.
2. Slide down until your knees are at about 90-degree angles and hold, keeping the abs contracted, for 20-60 seconds.
3. Come back to start and repeat, holding the squat at different angles to work the lower body in different ways.
4. To add intensity, hold weights or squeeze a ball between the knees.

 

Core Region Circuit Training Exercises

Bicycle Exercise

Bicycle ExerciseWant to know the most effective ab exercises? The following ab exercises are the results of the American Council on Exercise's study to determine the most effective ab exercises. While ab exercises won't spot reduce fat from the belly, strong abs are important for keeping your body healthy and protecting your spine. For more about flat abs, visit my Abs Page for articles, workouts, FAQs and more.
The Bicycle exercise is the best move to target the rectus abdominis (i.e., the 'six pack') and the obliques (the waist), according to a study done by the American Council on Exercise. To do this exercise correctly:
1. Lie face up on the floor and lace your fingers behind your head.
2. Bring the knees in towards the chest and lift the shoulder blades off the ground without pulling on the neck.
3. Straighten the left leg out while simultaneously turning the upper body to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee.
4. Switch sides, bringing the right elbow towards the left knee.
5. Continue alternating sides in a 'pedaling' motion for 12-16 reps.

Bicycle Kicks

1. Lie on your back with your knees at chest level and your arms flat on the floor.
2. Alternate extending your legs by extending one leg out straight and as you bring it in extend the other leg out.
3. Continue to repeat this process like you are riding a bicycle until the required repetitions are completed.
4. Make sure you keep your back flat during the movement. If you are unable to keep your back flat then reduce the extension of your legs.

Double Crunch

1. Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands behind head. Keep elbows back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Start position: Hands behind head and knees bent at 90 degrees.
3. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominals and raise shoulders off floor or bench. During the crunch, also bring knees towards chest.
4. Return to the start position.

Hip Thrusts

1. Lie on your back with your legs bent 90 degrees at the hip.
2. Slowly lift your hips off the floor and towards the ceiling.
3. Lower your hips to the floor and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.

Kettlebell Renegade Row

Kettlebell Renegade RowGet into the top position of the pushup holding on to two kettlebells that are less than shoulder width apart. Take a shoulder width stance and push one kettlebell into the floor forcefully while you pull the other kettlebell in the working arm. Hold the kettlebell in the working arm in the top position for a second and then lower the kettlebell under control back to the floor. Switch arms after each repetition. Click here for more info on rows.

Knee Tucks

Knee TucksWhen choosing more advanced exercises for your abs, knee tucks are great for targeting balance, stability and, core strength. The arms and torso help stabilize your body as you draw the knees in and, at the end of the movement, give your abs an extra squeeze to intensify the challenge.
1. Get into a pushup position with the ball under the shins/ankles (easier) or the tops of the feet (harder).
2. Make sure the body is straight, back flat and the abs engaged.
3. Roll the ball in, bending the knees towards the chest as you squeeze the abs.
4. Try not to push back with your arms but, instead, keep all the movement in the knees.
5. Don't collapse the back as you roll the knees in.
6. Return to start and repeat for 10-16 reps.

Long Arm Crunch

Long Arm CrunchThis move, ranked 6th in the ACE study, emphasizes the upper part of the abs. To do it right:
1. Lie on a mat and extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears.
2. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor.
3. Keep the arms straight and avoid straining the neck. If you feel neck pain, take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended.
4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps.

Low Bridge with Leg Raise

Low Bridge with Leg RaiseSTEP 1: Lie on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the mat. Put your hands on your sides.
STEP 2: Lift your hips. Keep your feet and hands flat on the mat.
STEP 3: Raise your left leg towards the ceiling.
STEP 4: Still keeping your leg raised, slightly move your hips towards the mat, then return to starting position. Repeat this exercise, this time raising the other leg.

 

Modified Bicycle

Modified BicycleThe bicycle is one of the most effective moves for the abs, including the rectus abdominis and the obliques. The traditional move, however, requires both attention to detail and a very strong back to target the abs without putting strain on the back. This modified version, done with paper plates, is a great way to learn the movement and build strength before moving up to a traditional bicycle exercise.
1. Lie on your back with paper plates under both heels, knees bent. Place the hands behind the head to support the neck.
2. Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor and rotate the left shoulder to the right, elbow in a fixed position.
3. At the same time, slide the left heel out until the knee is slightly bent or straight, concentrating on the right side of the waist.
4. Bring the left heel back and slide the right heel out as you rotate the right shoulder to the left, squeezing the left side of the waist.
5. Keep the elbow back and in a fixed position, focusing on rotating the entire torso.
6. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.

Oblique Crunch

1. Start by placing your left foot over your right knee and place your hands behind your head.
2. Lift your shoulders up off the ground and twist so that your right elbows tries to touch your left knee.
3. Return to the starting position and repeat according to the required repetitions.
4. Repeat with the other side.

Plank on Elbows and Toes

Plank on Elbows and ToesThe plank exercise ranked number 10 in the ACE study and is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as stabilizer muscles. To do it right:
1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.
5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat

Push-UP Superman With Alternating Arms

Starting Position: Start the movement in a plank position. Holding that position raise your right arm and left leg off of the ground. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other arm and leg. Hold each lift for 1-2 seconds.

Rear Leg Lifts

Rear Leg LiftsSTEP 1: Get down on all fours (on a mat or on the floor). To protect your back, rest your forearms on the floor by lowering your elbows.
STEP 2: Raise and lower your left leg but keep it straight behind you; elevate it no higher than your hips level. Bend your left knee, and raise and lower your leg with your foot flexed and the sole pointing to the ceiling. Repeat with the right leg.

Reverse Curl

Reverse CurlSTEP 1: Lie on your back (on the mat or on the floor) and place your hands behind your head. Raise your legs straight up in the air but keep your shoulders and head on the floor at all times. Make sure that your feet don't go further back than your head.
STEP 2: Tighten your lower abdominals and bring your legs and pelvis towards your ribcage. Keep each movement slow and controlled and don't let your legs swing about.

Rotations of the Ball

Rotations of the ballThis advanced move not only works the core, with a focus on the obliques, it also targets balance, stability and flexibility. To keep this move safe, keep the exercise slow and controlled and keep the knees in line with the shins and ankles rather than twisting them to one side or the other.
1. Lie with ball under shoulders, neck and head, hips lifted in a bridge position.
2. Hold a medicine ball or light weight straight up over the chest.
3. Tighten your abs and rotate your torso to the left as far as you can, allowing the hips and legs to move naturally with the motion.
4. Rotate back up and then rotate to the other side.
5. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps (one rep includes both the right and left sides).

Side Bridge with Hip Drops

Side Bridge with Hip DropsThe side bridge is an advanced exercise, particularly if you do the move on the forearm (another option is to balance on the hand). Adding a hip lift really challenges the obliques, making this a great overall core exercise. You can modify by keeping one knee on the floor or by taking the feet wide instead of stacked on top of one another.
1. Lie on your side balanced on the forearm and feet.
2. The hips and feet should be stacked on top of one another.
3. Holding the torso steady, slowly contract your abs and lower the hip toward the floor (you don't have to touch).
4. Avoid sinking into the shoulder.
5. Bring the hip back up and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps on each side

Sit-Ups with a Twist

1. Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands behind head. Keep elbows back and out of sight. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal and raise shoulders off floor or bench. As you come up twist one shoulder towards the opposite knee.
3. Return to start position and repeat with the other shoulder.
4. Remember to keep head and back in a neutral position. Hyperextension or flexion of either may cause injury.

Squat with Dumbbells

Squat with DumbbellsAnother version of the dumbbell squat involves holding two dumbbells. You can either hold them at your sides or just above the shoulders (as shown). Holding dumbbells is just one more way to add intensity to your workouts and build muscles in the glutes, hips and thighs. Here's how to do it:
1. Stand with feet hip- or shoulder-width apart.
2. Hold medium to heavy dumbbells in each hand just outside the thighs or with arms bent above the shoulders.
3. Bend the knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles OR before you lose the natural arch of your back.
4. Contract the glutes and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso.
5. Slowly stand back up without locking the knees and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 repetitions.
6. Always keep the knees in line with the toes!

Supermans

1. Start position: Lie face down on floor with hands down at sides. You may place a rolled towel under forehead to clear face from floor.
2. Raise chest and head off floor keeping feet in contact with floor. To increase resistance, extend arms out in front like superman.
3. Do not raise head past 8-12 inches - excessive hyperextension may cause injury. To vary exercise raise feet while raising trunk.

V-Ups

1. Start position: Lie back onto floor or bench with knees bent and hands extended towards ceiling. Head should be in a neutral position with a space between chin and chest.
2. Leading with the chin and chest towards the ceiling, contract the abdominal and raise shoulders off floor or bench. Also raise legs up towards ceiling and attempt to touch your hands to your feet.
3. Return to start position.