By Date

January 1, 2012

Intermediate: Core Circles


Targets: Abs, lower back

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, abs engaged.

2. Place palms on thighs, fingers pointed toward each other. Circle torso in clockwise direction — push rib cage toward left hip, then do a half circle to right; continue the circle back to start.

3. Do 15 reps. Switch directions and repeat. Do 3 sets.

January 2, 2012

Calf Raises: 3 Versions 


Targets: Calves

“Parallel: Begin by standing with your feet directly under the hip joint. Your feet should really only be about four to five inches apart. Lift your heels up in a controlled motion, taking two counts to get to the top of the motion. No popping up. And lower down in two counts.

First Position: Stand with your heels together and your toes apart with your feet making a V. Don’t crank at your ankles to make this shape with your feet, but roll your thigh bones away from each other at the hip joint. Raise and lower your heels in this position. This position will work the outer calf a bit more.

Pigeon Toed: Start in a parallel foot position and flare your heels away from one another so you are pigeon-toed. This motion should also happen at the hip joint. This position will work the inner calf more, and is important to do if you overpronate (your feet and ankles tend to collapse your arch).

Do 12 to 15 reps in each foot position. Holding dumbbells will increase the work on your calves; start with five-pound weights and increase the amount as needed. This move challenges your balance too. If you feel wobbly as you raise your heels, put one or both hands on a wall for assistance.”

January 3, 2012

Fighter Pilot


Targets: Shoulders, obliques, back

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees bent, a weight in each hand, arms down. Bend forward slightly at waist; extend arms to sides at shoulder level, palms forward. Rotate torso left. Let arms follow; look at left hand. Return to center; rotate right to finish rep. Do two sets of 10 reps.

January 4, 2012

Standing Adduction


Targets: Glutes

With feet shoulder-width apart, raise your right leg to a 45-degree angle. Cross it in front of your body and point your toe. Hold for four seconds. Repeat on the left side.

January 5, 2012

Wall Squat


Targets: Hamstrings, quads, butt, and low belly muscles

1) Stand with your back and head against a wall. Walk your feet forward about 18 inches, shoulder-width apart. Your arms will be hanging straight from your sides, palms facing into the wall. Keeping your head and back against the wall, slide down until your knees are at about a 90-degree angle or less.

2) Keeping your feet where they are, push your back into the wall to slide up to stand with the legs straight. Pause for a breath, then slide back down to a squat. Pause, then slide up to stand. Do this 15 times, but never squat so deeply that your hips drop below the level of your knees.

Make it harder:
1) Stand with your back and head against a wall. Walk your feet forward about 18 inches, shoulder-width apart. Your arms will be hanging straight from your sides, palms facing into the wall. Keeping your head and back against the wall, slide down until your knees are at about a 90-degree angle or less.

2) Hold this position for 15 seconds.

The challenge:
Repeat the move, holding for 30 seconds. Repeat two more times, resting in between. Later try for 45 seconds, and eventually 60 seconds.

January 6, 2012

Warrior II


Targets: Legs, back, and arms

Standing at the top of your mat, step your right foot back about 4 feet and turn it 90 degrees to the right. Turn your left foot slightly in. Adjust your torso so that it faces to your right, inhale, and raise your arms out, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Exhale, bending your left knee until your thigh is parallel to the mat. Switch sides.

January 7, 2012

Front Leg Lifts


Targets: Abs

Lower legs until they’re 6 inches off the floor, and then bend knees into chest. Extend legs straight out, lowering right leg back near the ground while kicking left leg toward the ceiling. Switch legs and repeat 25 times.

January 8, 2012

Tricep Dips


Targets: Triceps

Sit with knees bent and feet hip-width on floor, hands behind you on either side of hips, fingers forward. Lift hips off floor and shift weight back. Bend and straighten elbows 20 times, leaving feet flat, then come onto heels and repeat.

Staying on heels, walk feet forward (keep weight shifted back) and do 20 more dips.

January 9, 2012

Ultimate Toe Reach


Targets: Abs, hips, and thighs

(A) Lie face-up on floor with arms stretched out to each side at shoulder height, legs straight, feet about hip-width apart.

(B) Lifting shoulder blades off the ground as high as you can, simultaneously raise left arm and right leg off the ground, trying to touch toes. Return to start position and repeat.

Do two sets of 10 reps on each side.

January 10, 2012

Leg Toner


Targets: calves, quads

Stand behind a chair, hands resting on the back. Bend your knees and lift your heels off the ground so that you’re balancing on the balls of your feet. Hold for 30 seconds, then lower heels. Repeat 2 more times.

January 11, 2012

Bicycle Crunches


Targets: Abs

Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and contract your core muscles. With your hands gently holding your head, lift your knees to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly, at first, go through a bicycle pedal motion, alternately touching your elbows to the opposite knees as you twist back and forth. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise.

Complete 1 set of 60 reps.

January 12, 2012

Floor Extensions


Targets: Back

Lie facedown with your legs extended and your hands gently touching the sides of your head, elbows extended to the sides. Keeping your hands in place, slowly lift your head and chest off the floor. Pause at the top, then slowly lower until you’re flat on the floor again.

Repeat 8 to 12 times.

January 13, 2012

Bridge Pose


Targets: Chest, shoulder

Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-distance apart and flat on the floor. Reach down with your fingertips to see if you can feel your heels.  If not, walk your heels a little closer to your body.

Press your weight into your feet to lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Keep your thighs parallel. Bring your arms underneath you and try to clasp your hands together (Don’t worry if you can’t do it at first). Roll your shoulders blades toward each other and hold this pose for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Release and roll slowly back to the floor. Repeat two more times.

January 14, 2012

Plie Squat


Targets: Inner thigh

Step 1: With both hands, grasp a dumbbell and stand with your feet about two shoulder-widths apart. Turn your toes out to the sides, keeping them aligned with your knees.

Step 2:
 Squat down, as if you were about to sit in a chair, through a count of 10 seconds. 

Step 3: Hold for 2 seconds at the maximum tension point. Then, for a count of 10 seconds, push through your heels and return to starting point.

Step 4:
 Repeat three times without resting.

January 15, 2012

Tree Twist


Targets: Hips, butt, calves

Stand on tiptoes, feet together, a couple of feet behind chair, hands on top of chair back.

Keeping back flat, hinge forward slightly from waist and lift bent left knee to hip level in front of you, left foot by right knee.

January 16, 2012

Wall Angels


Targets: Shoulder blades

Start standing with your feet wide and your head and back flat against a wall. Bring your arms out to your sides at shoulder height and bend your elbows 90 degrees, keeping your shoulders, arms, and the backs of your palms lightly touching the wall. Slowly raise your arms overhead, extending arms into a wide ‘V,’ staying in contact with the wall. Bend your elbows and slide arms back to the starting position.

Do two sets of 15 reps.

January 17, 2012

The Bicycle Row


Targets: Arms and butt

Get on all fours and reach your arm towards the wall and then back towards your hip. At the same time, raise the opposite leg, raise it straight up behind you engaging your abs and bring it back down to the floor. Do 12 reps on each side.

January 18, 2012

Crisscross Press


Targets: Chest

A. Hold a 3- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand and lie faceup on bench (or on a mat on the floor) with knees bent, feet flat on bench. With arms out at sides, bend elbows so upper arms are at shoulder level and palms are facing forward.

B. Contract chest and press weights up so that left wrist crosses over right. Lower to start. On next rep, cross right wrist over left. Continue alternating crisscrosses for 8 to 16 reps.

January 19, 2012

Jazz-Style Lunge and Stretch


Targets: Calves and Thighs

Stand in a straddle position with your feet about four feet apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees. Place your hands in front of you on the floor for support; slowly bend your right knee to just short of 90 degrees, keeping your left leg straight. Flex your left foot. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds; repeat on the other side, alternating for 20 repetitions.

January 20, 2012

Backward Lunge


Targets: Glutes

Stand with feet hip-width apart.  Step backward with left leg, keeping heel off floor. Bend both knees until right thigh is parallel to floor and left thigh is perpendicular to it. Pause, then return to starting position.

January 21, 2012

Mountain Climber


Targets: Chest, back, arms, legs, and abs

Start with your hands on the ground in a full push-up position, contracting your belly to support your spine and pelvis. Bring your left knee up to your chest, rounding your upper back slightly, then return to start position. Quickly repeat the same move with your right leg. Pick up pace as you alternate legs. Do three sets of 20

January 22, 2012

Abs Sprawl


Targets: Abs, back, thighs

Sit with back at a 45-degree angle, knees bent, feet 6 inches off ground, holding knees with both hands to start. Hold for two seconds, then release knees, extending legs (in a “v”)  and arms (out to sides) for two seconds. Return to start for 1 rep. Continue for 1 minute.  Think of it as making a snow angel in the air.

January 23, 2012

Cardio Circuit


One minute walking up and down the stairs
One minute strength training (30 seconds push-ups, 30 seconds crunches)
One minute jumping rope
One minute skipping around your house
One minute fast-paced jumping jacks

Repeat this five-minute circuit five more times for a total of six rounds.

January 24, 2012

The Heisman


Targets: Shoulders, arms, abs, butt, thighs

Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent, arms close to body. Hop on left foot, bringing right knee toward chest as you drive left arm forward, right arm back like a sprinter. Quickly hop onto right foot, reversing motion. Continue alternating for 1 minute.

January 25, 2012

Stiletto Squat


Targets: Butt, quads, calves

How to do it: With feet hip-width apart, squat down as if you are sitting in a chair. Lift your heels as high as you can and hold for 10 seconds. Release heels and then stand. That’s one squat. Form check: Stick your booty back farther than you think you should—most women tend to curl their hips under in a squat, which can lead to lower-back and knee injuries. Your bum should not be over your heels..

January 26, 2012

Second-Hand Circles


Targets: Abs

Lie on your back with your legs straight, palms on the floor, edges of the hands tucked under your hips. Press your lower back into the floor and lift both legs straight up to a 90-degree angle, keeping your feet together and toes pointed. Moving slowly to a count of five, make a circle with your legs, rotating them clockwise until they’re straight up again. Repeat in the opposite direction. Do 10 circles total, switching directions each time.

January 27, 2012

Bench or Chair Dip


Targets: Tricpes

Hold on to the edge of a bench, with your legs extended and heels touching the ground. Bend your arms until your triceps are parallel to the ground, then extend to return to the start.

Try: Two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps. (But don’t stop there if it’s too easy!)

Tip: Beginners can bend their knees and bring their feet closer to their body. For a real challenge, try placing your heels on another bench in front of you.

January 28, 2012

Mogul Hop


Targets: Butt

Place a rolled-up towel on the floor to the left of you, and stand on your right foot, knee slightly bent, elbows bent 90 degrees. Keeping your core tight, hop to the left over the towel and land on your left foot. Hop back to return to start. That’s one rep. Continue going back and forth at a quick but controlled pace, doing as many reps as you can in 60 seconds.

January 29, 2012

The Reverse Lunge


Targets: Butt, thighs, calves, hips

Stand on a step stool or the bottom step of a staircase. Take a large step back with your right leg, landing on the ball of your foot; bring both fists near your waist, elbows back. Bend both knees as much as 90 degrees, with your left knee over your left foot. Step back up to the stool. Switch legs.

January 30, 2012

The Hundred


Targets: Arms, core

1) Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor, under your knees.

2) Lift your head, neck and chest up off the floor. Gazing at your knees, or tucking your chin into your chest, lift your arms up, palms facing down. If this is too hard on your neck and shoulders, keep them on the floor.

3) Inhale. Press your palms down rhythmically as you exhale five short breaths, pumping your hands with each breath. Then turn your palms up, and press up rhythmically with five short inhales to complete one set. Aim for 25 breaths.

Make It Harder:
1) Start lying on your back. Bend your legs to form a 90-degree angle so your knees are directly over your hips and your calves are parallel to the floor. Scoop your belly in so your low back is flat on the floor.

2) Exhale as you lift your head, shoulders, and arms off the floor. The gaze is on the knees. Again, if your neck is uncomfortable, keep your head and shoulders on the floor.

3) Inhale. Press your palms down rhythmically as you exhale five short breaths, pumping your hands with each breath. Then turn your palms up, and press up rhythmically with five short inhales to complete one set. Aim for 50 breaths.

Try the Challenge:
1) With the same set-up as above, this time straighten your legs so they’re on a 45-degree diagonal off the floor.

2) Aim for a complete set of 100 breaths and arm-pumps.

For a bigger challenge, loop an exercise band around the tops of your shins to create resistance.

January 31, 2012



Targets: Arms, core

Get down on all fours on a mat or carpeted surface, place your knees on the floor, and lift your feet. Support your upper body by placing your hands directly under your shoulders (your arms should be completely parallel). Got it? Good. Now rotate your elbows so that they’re pointing toward your hips and press your fingers into the mat. And be careful not to let your back “sag”; tighten your core muscles so that your spine isn’t curved one way or the other.

Slowly lower your body toward the mat as you exhale. Keep your arms close to your body and concentrate on controlling your hips so your movements are completely controlled. Remember: Your chest and your hips should move in one line — no flopping down on the mat!

February 1, 2012

Circle Hop Squat


Targets: Legs, arms

Stand with feet wide and turned slightly outward. With chest lifted, lower into a squat and reach arms toward ground. Push into feet to jump up, turning to the left 180 degrees while in the air; at the same time, circle arms up and over from right to left. Land softly in a squat facing the opposite direction, arms back to the ground. Repeat, jumping to the right 180 degrees while circling arms from left to right; alternate for 1 minute.
Make it easier: Instead of jumping, step around.

February 2, 2012

Wings Be Gone


Targets: Arms, legs, core

Sit on floor with knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Lean torso back slightly and place palms on floor directly in line with shoulders. Lift your hips off floor, bend elbows and lower butt toward floor without letting body touch the ground. Push back to start. Repeat for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat.

Take it up a notch: As you lower body, bring one knee into chest, alternating knee each time you dip.

February 3, 2012

Clamshell Bridge


Targets: Hips, thighs, butt

Lie on your back with your knees bent, one pointing towards the ceiling and feet touching (sole of left foot against side of right foot) with hands pointed towards the ceiling. Lift hips into bridge pose, squeeze your buttocks and open your knees pushing through the planted foot. Lower to starting position. Perform 10-15 reps slowly then quickly do another set. Repeat on the other side. Focus on opening your knees, lifting your hips to target the gluteal muscles along with the external rotators of the hips. Try: Two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps. (But don’t stop there if it’s too easy!)

Tip: Beginners can bend their knees and bring their feet closer to their body. For a real challenge, try placing your heels on another bench in front of you.

February 4, 2012

Rib-Cage Reach


Targets: Solar plexus

Stand with feet 2 to 3 feet apart, toes turned slightly out and knees bent. Extend arms to your sides. Keep your shoulders down. Inhale, and then exhale as you reach right with your arm and rib cage. Inhale as you come to center, and then reach left as you exhale. Repeat 16 times (eight on each side).

February 5, 2012

Reverse Fly


Targets: Mid and upper back, shoulders

Hold two cans or bottles of equal weight and stand with your feet staggered, one foot in front of the other, front knee bent slightly. Stand with your back straight, abs engaged and arms extended underneath your shoulders, palms facing each other. Bend forward slightly from the waist. Keeping elbows bent slightly, exhale and slowly pull your arms out to the sides and up to shoulder level as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Inhale and slowly return to the start position to complete 1 repetition.

To protect your back, be sure to engage your abdominal muscles on each move. Pull your navel toward your spine by isolating the lower abs and lifting them up and back as you breathe easily.

February 6, 2012

Single Leg Dip


Targets: Upper body

Start seated with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands just behind your hips, fingertips facing forward. Draw your abs in tight as you lift your hips up off the floor, pressing down through your hands. Lift your right leg and extend it straight up towards the ceiling. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to just above the floor. Quickly press back up. That’s one rep. Complete 10 reps with your right leg lifted, 10 with the left, and then move right into your hovering sit up [2B].

Form tip: Emphasize the press up, not the drop down, on your dips. Try not to sink into your hands, but instead press up pushing with the backs of your arms to help alleviate any stress on the wrists.

February 7, 2012

Diagonal Leg


Targets: Abs, obliques, butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves

Lie face up on floor with knees bent, feet flat, hands on floor by hips.

Lift hips off floor and tuck left foot under right thigh, left knee pointing left.

Keeping hips lifted throughout, bring left knee out to left to untuck foot, then extend leg diagonally up to left.

Return left foot to tuck position. Do 20 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

February 8, 2012

Negative Sit Up


Start by sitting on the floor with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent and pointed toward the ceiling. Fold your arms in front of your chest. This is your starting position.

Slowly roll back and lower yourself to the ground, one vertebra at a time. The toughest part will be the second half of the exercise, when your lower back is already on the ground and you’re rolling the rest of your spine down.

Return to starting position without using your hands.

Complete 3 sets of 15 slow reps.

February 9, 2012

Mid-Back Makeover


Targets: Posture

Extend your arms out and up to about shoulder height, bent at elbows with palms pointing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. You should feel a stretch along your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times. If you feel sharp pain, ease off until you feel only mild tension. If this hurts, hold your arms a bit lower; after doing this exercise a few weeks, gradually raise them.

February 10, 2012

The Flapper


Targets: Upper, middle, and lower back

With your feet together and knees slightly bent, lean forward, bending at the waist until your back is flat and as parallel to the floor as possible. (If you’ve got a bad back, stay up higher.) Keeping your arms straight and your elbows unlocked, bring your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground; pause, then lower them, bringing your hands together. Do 40 times.

February 11, 2012



Targets: Abs

Lie facedown, arms overhead. Inhale and then, exhaling, contract abs and roll over onto back, arms still overhead.

From here, bring knees toward chest and lift shoulders off mat, sweeping arms down to sides. Lower body onto mat, arms overhead again, and flip back onto tummy. Repeat for one minute, alternating direction you flip each time.