The Final Countdown: Fitness Extra

Instruction
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Raised-heel squat

Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart, and rest your heels on a board or weight plates just high enough to simulate the heel of your ski boot. Hold a weight bar across your back or a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and lower yourself as if you were going to sit in a chair. As you drop, bend forward a slight 10 degrees at the hips and push your glutes back, keeping your weight on your heels. Drop as far as feels comfortable (as you get stronger, you should be able to drop deeper, until your hamstrings are nearly parallel to the ground). Don't go too far forward with your knees (they should stay behind your toes), and don't bend at the waist. Slowly return to the starting position.

Push-up

Facing the floor, place your hands on the ground, a little wider than shoulder-width. and support yourself with your toes. Keep your body straight (you should be able to draw a straight line from your head to your heels), lower it until your chin is two to three inches off the ground and then push up to the starting position. Keep your abs tight, and exhale with each push-up. If that's too challenging at first, support yourself with your knees instead of your toes.

Exercise ball crunch

Lie on your back on an exercise ball, with your hips toward the front of the ball. Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows pointing out the sides. Tighten your abs, and use them to pull your head, shoulders and upper-back up and forward. Your lower back should stay pressed to the ball. Your hands should support your head, without pulling it forward (keeping your elbows straight out to the sides will help you avoid pulling on your neck). Pause, then slowly lower yourself to the starting position.

Scissors jump

Do a forward lunge (see below), except hold your arms as if you were running. From the lunge position, jump upward explosively, switching legs in midair so that when you land, your left foot is forward, your right foot is back, your right arm is forward and you're again dropped into a lunge position. Continue jumping and switching legs for the recommended number of repetitions.

Stiff-legged dead lift

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Using an overhand grip, hold a weight bar in front of you with your arms fully extended downward. Bend forward slowly at the hips as far as you can stretch, while keeping your back straight. Then return to the starting position.

Chair dip

Sit in a sturdy chair, and place your palms on the seat, one on each side of you with your knuckles facing forward. Supporting yourself with your hands, walk your feet out in front of you about two feet. Your glutes should come off the chair just enough to brush the front of the seat. Then bend your elbows (keep them in tight behind you) and drop your glutes straight down, almost to the floor. Use your arms to push yourself up until your glutes are again even with the seat of the chair.

Russian twist

Lie on your back and lift your legs straight up in the air with a slight bend in the knees. Place your arms flat on the floor straight out from your sides. Keeping your abs tight, ease your legs down to the right as far as you can while keeping your lower back flat on the floor. Use your abs to pull your legs back to the starting position. Then lower your legs to the left.

Forward lunge

Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, your abs and glutes contracted, and your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward with your right foot. Keep your right foot flat and bend your right knee, keeping it directly above the ankle. Smoothly drop your left knee, until it almost touches the ground. Use both legs to push back to the starting position. Complete the recommended number of reps, and then switch legs.

Seated row

Sit upright at a cle row machine, with your soles against the foot platforms and your knees slightly bent. Lean forward and grip the handle with both hands, being careful not to round your back. Smoothly pull the handle toward you, bending your elbows straight out to your sides as you pull. As the handle nears your body, lean back slightly, pulling the handle farther. Slowly return to the starting position.

Home version:

Sit on the floor with your back upright and your legs out in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Hold either end of a towel and place the middle around the sole of one foot. Pull the towel toward you, bending your elbows straight out to your sides, bending your knee and pushing against the towel with your foot as hard as you can for resistance. Return to the starting position, still pushing against the towel with your foot.

Back extension

Lie facedown, bend your elbows, and place your hands so your fingertips just brush your ears. Keeping your hips on the ground and your eyes downward, use your back muscles to raise your torso upward as far as you can without straining. Lower to the starting position.

Lateral hop (double- and single-leg)

On a soft surface such as grass or carpet, hop sideways over a distance of about 18 inches (use masking tape to mark the distance). Absorb the landing by bending your knees; then immediately explode upward again, using your quads and glutes, and hop sideways back to your starting point. Each sideways hop is one repetition, so over and back would be two jumps. For a single-leg hop, take off and land on only your right leg. Do the suggested number of jumps, and then switch to the left leg.

Wall sit

Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet out in front of you, a step or two away from the wall. Slide your back down the wall, bending at the knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground. To avoid pain or stress on your knees, align them directly above your ankles. Keeping your back flat against the wall and your abs contracted, hold the position for the recommended length of time.

Scissors crunch

Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Raise your legs directly above your hips, maintaining a slight bend in your knees throughout the exercise. Tighten your abs, and use them to raise your torso upward (your lower back should remain flat on the ground). As you lift, move your left leg toward your head and move your right leg away from your head almost to the ground. Simultaneously twist your torso slightly, pulling your right shoulder toward your left leg. Then switch legs and arms, pulling your right leg toward your head and your left shoulder toward your right leg, and moving your left leg toward the ground. Keep your legs and shoulders off the ground throughout the exercise.

Cross extension
Kneel on all fours. Extend your left arm straight in front of you and your right leg straight behind you, keeping your back flat and your head in a neutral position. Return to the starting position, then switch arms and legs.

Walking lunge
Do a forward lunge with your right foot (see above), but instead of returning to the starting position, take a large step forward with your left foot, dropping into another lunge. Continue "walking forward for the recommended number of repetitions.

Shoulder rotation
Stand upright, holding a light (one- to five-pound) dumbbell in each hand. Position your forearms parallel to the floor and the dumbbells perpendicular to the ground. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and your upper arms still, rotate your forearms outward as far as you can without arching your back. Return to the starting position.

Plank (Double- and single-leg)
Begin on your knees in a modified push-up position, resting on your forearms instead of your hands. Angle your forearms so that your hands are clasped lightly in front of you, and align your elbows under your shoulders. Tighten your abs and lift your knees off the floor until your body is in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. For a single-leg plank, lift one leg a few inches off the floor so that you're supported by the opposite leg. Hold for the recommended length of time.

Good morning
Hold a weight bar across your upper back. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the exercise. Keep your back and neck straight and your abs and glutes tight. Bend forward at your hips (not your waist) until your upper body is nearly parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position.

Bent-knee pull
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lower both knees to the left as close to the floor as you can while keeping both shoulders on the ground. Also keep the sides of both feet in contact with the ground (picture rolling your ankles for a ski turn). Tighten your abs and use them (not your hips or legs) to pull your knees back to the center position. Repeat, lowering your knees to the right.

Quick feet
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your elbows bent and your hands slightly out in front of you. Bend your knees and drop into a quarter-squat position, with your back flat and your torso angled slightly forward at the hips. Keep your torso and hands still and run in place with small steps as quickly as you can.

Diagonal lunge
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your abs and glutes contracted. Hold a weight bar across your upper back or a dumbbell in each hand (let them dangle at your sides). With your left leg, step forward at a 45-degree angle. Keep your left foot flat and bend your left knee, keeping it directly above the ankle. Smoothly drop your right knee, until it almost touches the ground. Then use both legs to push up to the starting position.

Medicine ball front raise and twist
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Hold a light medicine ball in front of you with both hands. Keeping your abs tight, your eyes straight ahead and your shoulders down, lift your arms straight up and forward as if reaching for the wall in front of you. Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor. Then, keeping your lower body and arms still, twist your torso to the left as far as you can. Return to the center, and smoothly lower your arms to the starting position. Repeat, twisting your torso to the right.

Medicine ball crunch
Lie on your back the floor or an exercise ball. If you use a ball, your hips should be toward the front of the ball. Your lower back should stay pressed to the ground or ball. Hold a medicine ball on your chest, just below your collarbone. Tighten your abs, and use them to pull your head, shoulders and upper-back up and forward. Keeping your abs contracted, lower yourself to the starting position.

Step-up
Stand facing a sturdy step or bench that comes to your mid-shin. Contract your abs, and place your hands on your hips. Step up with your right foot; then bring your left foot up and lightly tap it on the step, keeping your weight on your right leg. Step back first with your left foot, and then with your right until you're in the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. As you improve, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and let your arms hang at your sides. Variation: Stand with the step to your side, and step up sideways.

Squat thrust push-up
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat to the floor and place your hands on the ground, in front and outside of your feet. Then thrust your feet behind you so that you're in a push-up position. Keeping your back flat and your abs contracted, do a push-up (use your arms to lower your chest toward the floor and raise it again). After you raise your chest, keep your hands on the ground and hop forward, bringing your feet toward your hands. Repeat from that point (dows under your shoulders. Tighten your abs and lift your knees off the floor until your body is in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. For a single-leg plank, lift one leg a few inches off the floor so that you're supported by the opposite leg. Hold for the recommended length of time.

Good morning
Hold a weight bar across your upper back. Keep your knees slightly bent throughout the exercise. Keep your back and neck straight and your abs and glutes tight. Bend forward at your hips (not your waist) until your upper body is nearly parallel to the ground. Return to the starting position.

Bent-knee pull
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lower both knees to the left as close to the floor as you can while keeping both shoulders on the ground. Also keep the sides of both feet in contact with the ground (picture rolling your ankles for a ski turn). Tighten your abs and use them (not your hips or legs) to pull your knees back to the center position. Repeat, lowering your knees to the right.

Quick feet
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your elbows bent and your hands slightly out in front of you. Bend your knees and drop into a quarter-squat position, with your back flat and your torso angled slightly forward at the hips. Keep your torso and hands still and run in place with small steps as quickly as you can.

Diagonal lunge
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your abs and glutes contracted. Hold a weight bar across your upper back or a dumbbell in each hand (let them dangle at your sides). With your left leg, step forward at a 45-degree angle. Keep your left foot flat and bend your left knee, keeping it directly above the ankle. Smoothly drop your right knee, until it almost touches the ground. Then use both legs to push up to the starting position.

Medicine ball front raise and twist
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. Hold a light medicine ball in front of you with both hands. Keeping your abs tight, your eyes straight ahead and your shoulders down, lift your arms straight up and forward as if reaching for the wall in front of you. Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor. Then, keeping your lower body and arms still, twist your torso to the left as far as you can. Return to the center, and smoothly lower your arms to the starting position. Repeat, twisting your torso to the right.

Medicine ball crunch
Lie on your back the floor or an exercise ball. If you use a ball, your hips should be toward the front of the ball. Your lower back should stay pressed to the ground or ball. Hold a medicine ball on your chest, just below your collarbone. Tighten your abs, and use them to pull your head, shoulders and upper-back up and forward. Keeping your abs contracted, lower yourself to the starting position.

Step-up
Stand facing a sturdy step or bench that comes to your mid-shin. Contract your abs, and place your hands on your hips. Step up with your right foot; then bring your left foot up and lightly tap it on the step, keeping your weight on your right leg. Step back first with your left foot, and then with your right until you're in the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. As you improve, hold a dumbbell in each hand, and let your arms hang at your sides. Variation: Stand with the step to your side, and step up sideways.

Squat thrust push-up
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat to the floor and place your hands on the ground, in front and outside of your feet. Then thrust your feet behind you so that you're in a push-up position. Keeping your back flat and your abs contracted, do a push-up (use your arms to lower your chest toward the floor and raise it again). After you raise your chest, keep your hands on the ground and hop forward, bringing your feet toward your hands. Repeat from that point (don't stand up until you've completed the set).

Superman
Lie facedown with your arms outstretched above your head at about a 10 o'clock and two o'clock position. Lift your arms and legs a few inches off the ground. Hold for one second, looking at the floor to avoid straining your neck. Lower slowly.

Power lift
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with a weight bar on the ground in front of you. Tighten your abs and squat, dropping your glutes back and keeping your weight on your heels (don't let your knees go in front of your toes). Keeping your elbows in between your knees and your back flat (not rounded), grab the weight bar with an underhand grip. Use your legs to pull yourself up to the starting position, then use your arms to curl the bar up to your chest, keeping your elbows near your sides, your abs tight and your shoulders back (not rounded).

Reverse crunch
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift both legs straight up in the air, maintaining a slight bend at your knees. Tighten your abs, and use them to raise your hips straight up off the ground. Hold for one second, then slowly lower to the starting position.

Exercise ball reverse back extension
Place an exercise ball under your stomach and hips, and place your hands on the floor in front of you for balance. Slowly lift your legs until your body is in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Hold for one second, and slowly lower your legs to the starting position.

Lat pull-down
Adjust the seat of a cable lat machine so that your feet are flat on the floor and your quads are parallel to the ground. Your hands should be far enough apart that when you pull the bar down, your upper arms form a 90-degree angle to your forearms. Sitting upright, and keeping your shoulders down and your elbows straight out to the side, pull the bar down to the front (not behind your neck), by pulling your shoulder blades down and together, using your lats. (As you pull down, lean back slightly to avoid bonking your nose.) When your upper arms are parallel to the ground, hold, then slowly release-without letting your shoulders ride up.

V-sit
Sit on the ground with your upper body upright and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abs and slowly lean back, while lifting your left leg in the air and straightening it. Stop when both your torso and your leg are at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Make sure you have your balance, then lift and straighten your right leg until it's parallel to your left. You can use your arms to stabilize yourself, but once you have your balance, lift them up until they are parallel to your legs. Hold for the suggested amount of time.

Two-footed bound
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Use both feet to bound forward, swinging your arms forward as you jump and bending your knees and dropping your glutes back as you land. Repeat immediately.

Single-leg lateral hop
Do a lateral hop (see above) but take off and land on only your right leg. Do the suggested number of jumps, and then switch to the left leg.

Single-leg diagonal bound
Standing on your right leg, jump forward and to the left, landing on your left foot and bending at the knee to absorb the impact. Spring up immediately, jumping forward and to the right, landing on your right foot.

Lateral box jump (double- and single-leg)
Jump sideways onto a stable six- to 12-inch box. Bend your knees and explode upward as you jump. Land on the box with both feet, bending your knees, keeping your hands in front of you and dropping your glutes back as you land. Jump down to the other side of the box; then jump back up. Continue jumping back and forth for the suggested length of time. For a single-leg jump, stand on your right leg, jump sideways onto the box, and land on your left leg. Touch your right leg to the top of the box, and then jump down to the opposite side of the box onto your left leg. Continue jumping back and forth for the suggested length of time.

Exercise ball back extension
Lie prone on an exercise ball with your legs extended straight behind you and your toes resting on the ground for balance. The ball should be supporting your hips. Extend your arms down toward the floor on either side of the ball, with your palms facing the ball and your fingertips near the floor. Tighten your abs and lift your chest, while extending both arms straight out to your sides and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for one second, and slowly return to the starting position.

Slalom jump
Standing on both feet, jump forward and to the right, angling your body to the left as you would during a ski turn. Jump again immediately, moving forward and to the left, while angling your body to the right. Hold your arms and hands as if you were holding ski poles.

Medicine ball back extension
Lie facedown on the floor, and hold a medicine ball out in front of your head with both hands. Keeping your arms steady and your face downward, lift your chest several inches off the ground. Lower to just above the starting position.

Mogul squat jump
Stand with your upper body facing straight ahead and your toes and knees turned facing 10 o'clock. Drop into about a half-squat position. Then jump up, keeping your upper body facing forward, but twisting your lower body so that you land with your knees and toes facing 2 o'clock. Jump again immediately, twisting your body in mid-air back to the starting position. For an added challenge, hold a medicine ball between your legs with both hands.t stand up until you've completed the set).

Superman
Lie facedown with your arms outstretched above your head at about a 10 o'clock and two o'clock position. Lift your arms and legs a few inches off the ground. Hold for one second, looking at the floor to avoid straining your neck. Lower slowly.

Power lift
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with a weight bar on the ground in front of you. Tighten your abs and squat, dropping your glutes back and keeping your weight on your heels (don't let your knees go in front of your toes). Keeping your elbows in between your knees and your back flat (not rounded), grab the weight bar with an underhand grip. Use your legs to pull yourself up to the starting position, then use your arms to curl the bar up to your chest, keeping your elbows near your sides, your abs tight and your shoulders back (not rounded).

Reverse crunch
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Lift both legs straight up in the air, maintaining a slight bend at your knees. Tighten your abs, and use them to raise your hips straight up off the ground. Hold for one second, then slowly lower to the starting position.

Exercise ball reverse back extension
Place an exercise ball under your stomach and hips, and place your hands on the floor in front of you for balance. Slowly lift your legs until your body is in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Hold for one second, and slowly lower your legs to the starting position.

Lat pull-down
Adjust the seat of a cable lat machine so that your feet are flat on the floor and your quads are parallel to the ground. Your hands should be far enough apart that when you pull the bar down, your upper arms form a 90-degree angle to your forearms. Sitting upright, and keeping your shoulders down and your elbows straight out to the side, pull the bar down to the front (not behind your neck), by pulling your shoulder blades down and together, using your lats. (As you pull down, lean back slightly to avoid bonking your nose.) When your upper arms are parallel to the ground, hold, then slowly release-without letting your shoulders ride up.

V-sit
Sit on the ground with your upper body upright and your knees bent with your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your abs and slowly lean back, while lifting your left leg in the air and straightening it. Stop when both your torso and your leg are at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Make sure you have your balance, then lift and straighten your right leg until it's parallel to your left. You can use your arms to stabilize yourself, but once you have your balance, lift them up until they are parallel to your legs. Hold for the suggested amount of time.

Two-footed bound
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Use both feet to bound forward, swinging your arms forward as you jump and bending your knees and dropping your glutes back as you land. Repeat immediately.

Single-leg lateral hop
Do a lateral hop (see above) but take off and land on only your right leg. Do the suggested number of jumps, and then switch to the left leg.

Single-leg diagonal bound
Standing on your right leg, jump forward and to the left, landing on your left foot and bending at the knee to absorb the impact. Spring up immediately, jumping forward and to the right, landing on your right foot.

Lateral box jump (double- and single-leg)
Jump sideways onto a stable six- to 12-inch box. Bend your knees and explode upward as you jump. Land on the box with both feet, bending your knees, keeping your hands in front of you and dropping your glutes back as you land. Jump down to the other side of the box; then jump back up. Continue jumping back and forth for the suggested length of time. For a single-leg jump, stand on your right leg, jump sideways onto the box, and land on your left leg. Touch your right leg to the top of the box, and then jump down to the opposite side of the box onto your left leg. Continue jumping back and forth for the suggested length of time.

Exercise ball back extension
Lie prone on an exercise ball with your legs extended straight behind you and your toes resting on the ground for balance. The ball should be supporting your hips. Extend your arms down toward the floor on either side of the ball, with your palms facing the ball and your fingertips near the floor. Tighten your abs and lift your chest, while extending both arms straight out to your sides and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for one second, and slowly return to the starting position.

Slalom jump
Standing on both feet, jump forward and to the right, angling your body to the left as you would during a ski turn. Jump again immediately, moving forward and to the left, while angling your body to the right. Hold your arms and hands as if you were holding ski poles.

Medicine ball back extension
Lie facedown on the floor, and hold a medicine ball out in front of your head with both hands. Keeping your arms steady and your face downward, lift your chest several inches off the ground. Lower to just above the starting position.

Mogul squat jump
Stand with your upper body facing straight ahead and your toes and knees turned facing 10 o'clock. Drop into about a half-squat position. Then jump up, keeping your upper body facing forward, but twisting your lower body so that you land with your knees and toes facing 2 o'clock. Jump again immediately, twisting your body in mid-air back to the starting position. For an added challenge, hold a medicine ball between your legs with both hands. top of the box, and then jump down to the opposite side of the box onto your left leg. Continue jumping back and forth for the suggested length of time.

Exercise ball back extension
Lie prone on an exercise ball with your legs extended straight behind you and your toes resting on the ground for balance. The ball should be supporting your hips. Extend your arms down toward the floor on either side of the ball, with your palms facing the ball and your fingertips near the floor. Tighten your abs and lift your chest, while extending both arms straight out to your sides and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for one second, and slowly return to the starting position.

Slalom jump
Standing on both feet, jump forward and to the right, angling your body to the left as you would during a ski turn. Jump again immediately, moving forward and to the left, while angling your body to the right. Hold your arms and hands as if you were holding ski poles.

Medicine ball back extension
Lie facedown on the floor, and hold a medicine ball out in front of your head with both hands. Keeping your arms steady and your face downward, lift your chest several inches off the ground. Lower to just above the starting position.

Mogul squat jump
Stand with your upper body facing straight ahead and your toes and knees turned facing 10 o'clock. Drop into about a half-squat position. Then jump up, keeping your upper body facing forward, but twisting your lower body so that you land with your knees and toes facing 2 o'clock. Jump again immediately, twisting your body in mid-air back to the starting position. For an added challenge, hold a medicine ball between your legs with both hands.

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