Exercises for the Whole Body

Featured Article, Fitness
on December 27, 2011

Each of these moves works multiple muscles in the upper body, lower body and core to get you better results in less time. By combining several different muscle groups and working continuously from one move to the next, you'll also help elevate your heart rate to burn more calories and combine toning and cardio into a single, short workout.

MOVE: Alternating Thread and Curl

What it works: entire lower body and biceps.

Holding one dumbbell in your left hand, step forward into a lunge with your left leg, passing the weight under the thigh to the right hand as you push back up to standing and perform a bicep curl with the right arm.

Alternate sides, now stepping forward for a lunge with the right leg, passing the weight under the thigh to the left hand, and curling the weight back up as you stand to complete one set.

Repeat for 6-8 sets.

Note: When lunging, keep your back as tall as possible. Try to avoid leaning forward to pass the weight. Instead, think about lunging deeper to bring the work into your legs more while maintaining good form.


MOVE: Waist-Whittling Windmill: 6-8 reps per side

What it works: the shoulders, abs/core, glutes.

Stand with feet wider than the hips and weight in your left hand. Turn your right foot out so toes point to the side, then push your left hip out in the opposite direction. Hold the weight in front of your left shoulder, palm facing away from your body. Extend the right hand down, touching your thigh.

Keeping your shoulders and hips square to the front—and your legs straight—flex your spine laterally, reaching your right hand down your thigh (toward the floor) as you press the weight overhead and your hip further out to the left. Use your core muscles to pull yourself back up to standing as you lower the weight back down to the shoulder and pull your left hip back toward the midline. Complete 6-8 reps, switch sides.


MOVE: Balancing Reach and Raise

What it works: the entire lower body, shoulders and core while challenging your balance.

Stand tall with legs together and the weight in your right hand. Perform a single leg squat with your left leg (lift your right leg completely off the floor –or—keep just your toes down for balance), and return your right toes to the floor upon standing.

Stand tall and perform a lateral raise with the right arm. Repeat the squat, tap, raise, lower combination for 6-8 reps, switch sides.


MOVE: Bow and Arrow Bridge

What it works: the core, glutes, hamstrings, chest and triceps.

With one weight in each hand, lie down on your back with your feet flat, knees bent and arms straight up in front of the shoulders (palms facing midline). Squeeze through the backside of the body to bridge the hips off the floor, forming a straight line with the body from the knee to the shoulder.

As you lower the bridge down your arms will move as if holding a bow and arrow: one arm will "fly" out to the side (elbow soft) while the other arm bends, bringing the elbow out and the weight toward your chest. Bridge back up and straighten both arms. Lower down and switch the flying/bent arm to complete one set. Repeat for 6-8 sets.


MOVE: Row the Plank

What it works: the core, upper back, biceps and triceps

Come to a modified plank position on your knees, gripping your weights with your palms facing each other. Pull the abs in tight, keep the arms straight, and keep your body in a straight plank position from the shoulders to the knees.

Keeping your hips level and avoiding any rotation with the body, row the right weight up off the floor, keeping the weight close to the side of the body.

Extend at the elbow to straight the arm as if reaching your pinky finger toward the ceiling. Bend the arm again and release the weight straight back down. Alternate sides to complete one set. Repeat for 6-8 sets.

BIO: Moves from SparkPeople: 28-Day Boot Camp DVD with Coach Nichols. Available at Target and Target.com among other retailers on Dec. 27, 2011. Photo credit: Acacia