Kicking your daily workout into high-gear can be difficult if you don’t know what exercises to include. Even though everyone’s body is different, there are exercises that are great for optimizing any routine and working out several muscles at once! Here’s a list of 10 of my favorite exercises that you should consider for your daily workout:
Walking On the Treadmill On a Steep Incline
For those readers who want to include cardio into their routine, but hate running or are tired of the elliptical, walking on an incline for a half hour is the perfect exercise to keep up heart rate while engaging your leg and glute muscles. Keep the pace at a moderate to fast walk and try turning the incline up to one of the higher settings. To make this cardio exercise more intense, try not holding onto the treadmill as you walk. This helps intensify the work your legs are doing and stimulates your core muscles.
Glute bridges are a great exercise that can be done anywhere! Even if you don’t have time for a full workout or to go to the gym, glute bridges can be done on your bed or on the floor of your room! The exercise is done laying on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart. Slowly lift your hips and pelvis off the floor until they are fully lifted. Make sure to hold your hips in this position while you flex the muscle so that you feel that burn! For the pros out there, try lifting one unbent leg with your hips/pelvis to increase the strain and further work the muscles.
Mountain Climbers are a full-body workout that you definitely feel the next day. This exercise is quick and easy but works muscles in your arms, legs and core, making it an optimal floor workout. Start in push-up position with your hands flat on the mat and one leg at a time, bring your bent knee forward to the front and center of your body. Alternate to the other leg and repeat 20-30 times. This leg movement can be done quickly or more slowly if you’re just learning the exercise. Completing two or three sets of these works out several muscles and is a different, fun exercise!
Full Body Crunches
Full body crunches are a harder but unique way of doing the classic crunch exercise. Full body crunches are an ab workout like sit-ups or crunches that are done sitting on your butt and laying down with your legs and back just above the floor. You slowly bring you knees to your chest, moving both your upper body and lower body together at the same time. You then return to the starting position and repeat. This workout adds in a balance factor that increases abdominal engagement and helps you improve your balance. This exercise is a great way of making basic crunches more interesting.
The rower is often a machine that is overlooked by many and can be intimidating, especially if it is your first time. The rowing machine is a fast calorie burner that uses arm, ab, and leg muscles to go through the motions of rowing. Going through the circuit by pushing with your legs first, then pulling back with your ab muscles and then finally pulling the handlebars to your chest with your arm muscles. These steps are repeated in reverse to go back to the starting position. At first it seems complicated, but after you find your groove, the rowing machine is fun and rhythmic in a way that keeps the workout lively and fast-paced!
Planks are an exercise that get a bad reputation by a lot of people for being hard, but they don’t have to be. Doing a forearm plank takes off some of the pressure on your palms and makes the exercise a little easier. Planks should also be seen as more than just an ab exercise because they also incorporate arms, legs and back muscles. Planking has also been proven to improve posture, balance and reduce overall back pain, which are benefits that go way deeper than just burning fat. Planks are definitely an exercise you should add to your daily routine!
A lot of people squat without weights and tend to not feel any burn or see any improvement, but simply adding a 5 pound (or more) dumbbell to each hand can make a world’s difference. The extra weight makes your leg muscles and glutes work harder because they are not use to holding anything more than your body weight. It is also important to incorporate different types of squats into your workout regimen. Adding a mix of regular, plie, single legged, and jump squats can make a huge difference and can help work out your muscles in several different ways, optimizing strengthening and the results.
Dumbbell Arm Curls
It’s so important to not forget about your arms when going to the gym and dumbbell curls are an easy and self-explanatory way of incorporating arm workouts into your routine. The nice thing about dumbbells is you can choose any weight that best suits your need, whether you want to challenge yourself or just keep it light. Dumbbell curls are a great way to quickly tone your arms!
Leg raises are a popular exercise that engages your abdominal muscles and your upper leg/hip flexor muscles. Start by lying flat on your back with your feet and legs out in front of you. Slowly lift your legs up to be perpendicular to the floor and then lowering them back down to just above the floor, all while keeping your upper body down on the ground. This exercise can be made more difficult by holding your leg just above the floor for a few seconds while continuing into the next leg raise. This hold helps further strengthen core muscles and hips. Leg raises are another exercise that are conveniently able to be done just about anywhere, whether at home or the gym.
You may not always think of stretching or even consider it an exercise, but that’s what most people fail to see: stretching is one of the most important parts of a workout. Stretching increases flexibility, decreases lactic acid build-up in the muscles (which prevents cramping), and is a great way to cool down and release stress from your muscles after an intense gym session. Stretching should be done before and after moderate physical activity and is so important to keep in your daily routine. It keeps your body and muscles healthy and ready so that you’re not too sore or injured when it comes time to hit the gym again!