There are a lot of new, challenging exercises out there that can all have their place in an effective training program. When it comes to seeing real results, however, going back to the basics will supercharge your workout, give you a solid strength foundation, and bring you closer to your goals.
For you, I have rounded up 5 of my favourite body sculpting moves that you can do almost anywhere. If you don’t own a pair of dumbbells or sliders, I guarantee your gym will have this equipment. Give the exercises a try, follow along with the videos, be consistent with your fitness and nutrition, and you will see your body become leaner and stronger than ever before.
1 – Body Saw
This exercise is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your torso, also known as your core muscles, in one effective move.
Your core is the foundation of all movement. If you have a weak core you’re going to increase your odds of developing injuries, muscular compensations, and inflexibility. Adding core work into your daily routine is going to help you get stronger and leaner by allowing you to have a greater range of motion, lift more weight, and work harder, without the risk of injury.
TRY IT: Do 2 sets of 6 – 10 reps. Avoid letting your hips sag to the ground by keeping your core tight, in a posterior pelvic tilt. A good cue for this is to think about pulling your hip bones towards your ribs and pressing your lower back towards the ceiling. If you’re doing it right you will feel your stomach start working (and maybe even shaking) right away!
2 – Squat
It is called the king of exercises for a reason. Squats may seem simple, but during this exercise, every muscle is working to either lower you with control, stabilize your torso and upper body, or push you back into a standing position. This classic move activates the largest muscles in your body and works over serval joints, awarding you a higher calorie burn than a single-joint movement, like a bicep curl.
TRY IT: Do 1 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps. Keep your joints happy by keeping your weight back on your heels and your chest up with shoulders pulled back.
3 – Dumbbell Row + Fly Combo
If you want a sculpted back, this is the exercise of your dreams. This combo directly targets the muscles across your upper back as well as indirectly improving your core strength. Being in a bent over position causes the muscles of your lower back to stabilize your upper body by contracting isometrically.
TRY IT: Do 1 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps of the combo. Note that it is okay to feel some work happening in your lower back, but if you begin to feel fatigued within those muscles, immediately stand upright and give your back a short rest. Once you’ve had a short break you can assume the bent over position and complete your reps. Over time you will notice that you can do more reps before needing to take a break, this is a great sign that you are getting stronger!
4 – Step Up
Single leg moves are great because they make the muscles in both legs work equally as hard to lift your body from the ground. When you incorporate single leg moves into your workout you are decreasing your odds of developing side dominance and are making sure that one leg isn’t “picking up the slack” of the other leg. If you do notice one leg is much stronger than the other (ie. you can do more repetitions on one side), start with the weaker side and do as many reps as possible. Then, do that same number of reps on the stronger side. While it may feel easy on the stronger side, it is best to let the weaker side catch up so that you can build a solid foundation and avoid injury.
TRY IT: Do 1 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps per leg. Make it harder by stepping onto a higher surface or using weights. A good cue to remember is to think about lifting your bottom heel off the ground, this should help you avoid any “bouncing” on the back leg.
5 – Med Ball Slams
This total body move is a fantastic way to get your muscles working hard. It’s great for any exercise level because it is only as hard as you choose to make it. If it’s your first time, use a lighter med ball, and take it slow until you feel confident in the movement pattern. Make it more challenging by using a heavier med ball or slamming the ball down with more power.
The second reason why this move should be at the end of all your workouts is its metabolic effect. A total body, power move will raise your heart rate, improve your cardiovascular health, mobilize fat cells, and give your workout a greater total calorie burn. Add this move to your next workout for a metabolic boost that will help your body lean out and let you reach your goals faster.
TRY IT: At the end of your workout, set a timer for 30 seconds and do as many med ball slams as possible in that time, then give yourself a 15 – 20 second break. Repeat this for a total of 3 – 5 sets.
Yours in health,