We know daily exercise is good for optimizing health. But with so many options and limitless information available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with what works. But not to worry. We’ve got your back (and body)!
Check out the 7 exercises you can do for ultimate fitness. Combine them into a routine for a workout that’s simple but powerful and sure to keep you in shape for the rest of your life. After 30 days — although you can also do them just twice a week — you should see improvements in your muscular strength, endurance, and balance.
Plus, notice a difference in how your clothes fit — winning!
One surefire way to attack your fitness regimen effectively? Keep the fuss to a minimum and stick with the basics.
Challenging your balance is an essential part of a well-rounded exercise routine. Lunges do just that, promoting functional movement, while also increasing strength in your legs and glutes.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down at your sides.
- Take a step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee as you do so, stopping when your thigh is parallel to the ground. Ensure that your right knee doesn’t extend past your right foot.
- Push up off your right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. This is one rep.
- Complete 10 reps for 3 sets.
Drop and give me 20! Pushups are one of the most basic yet effective bodyweight moves you can perform because of the number of muscles that are recruited to perform them.
- Start in a plank position. Your core should be tight, shoulders pulled down and back, and your neck neutral.
- Bend your elbows and begin to lower your body down to the floor. When your chest grazes it, extend your elbows and return to the start. Focus on keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement.
- Complete 3 sets of as many reps as possible.
If you can’t quite perform a standard pushup with good form, drop down to a modified stance on your knees — you’ll still reap many of the benefits from this exercise while building strength.
Squats increase lower body and core strength, as well as flexibility in your lower back and hips. Because they engage some of the largest muscles in the body, they also pack a major punch in terms of calories burned.
- Start by standing straight, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your arms at your sides.
- Brace your core and, keeping your chest and chin up, push your hips back and bend your knees as if you’re going to sit in a chair.
- Ensuring your knees don’t bow inward or outward, drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, bringing your arms out in front of you in a comfortable position. Pause for one second, then extend your legs and return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 20 reps.
4. Standing overhead dumbbell presses
Compound exercises, which utilize multiple joints and muscles, are perfect for busy bees as they work several parts of your body at once. A standing overhead press isn’t only one of the best exercises you can do for your shoulders, it also engages your upper back and core.
- Pick a light set of dumbbells — we recommend 10 pounds to start — and start by standing, either with your feet shoulder-width apart or staggered. Move the weights overhead so your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Bracing your core, begin to push up until your arms are fully extended above your head. Keep your head and neck stationary.
- After a brief pause, bend your elbows and lower the weight back down until your tricep is parallel to the floor again.
- Complete 3 sets of 12 reps.
5. Dumbbell rows
Not only will these make your back look killer in that dress, dumbbell rows are another compound exercise that strengthens multiple muscles in your upper body. Choose a moderate-weight dumbbell and ensure that you’re squeezing at the top of the movement.
- Start with a dumbbell in each hand. We recommend no more than 10 pounds for beginners.
- Bend forward at the waist so your back is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Be certain not to arch your back. Let your arms hang straight down. Ensure your neck is in line with your back and your core is engaged.
- Starting with your right arm, bend your elbow and pull the weight straight up toward your chest, making sure to engage your lat, and stopping just below your chest.
- Return to the starting position and repeat with the left arm. This is one rep. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.
6. Single-leg deadlifts
This is another exercise that challenges your balance. Single-leg deadlifts require stability and leg strength. Grab a light to moderate dumbbell to complete this move.
- Begin standing with a dumbbell in your right hand and your knees slightly bent.
- Hinging at the hips, begin to kick your left leg straight back behind you, lowering the dumbbell down toward the ground.
- When you reach a comfortable height with your left leg, slowly return to the starting position in a controlled motion, squeezing your right glute. Ensure that your pelvis stays square to the ground during the movement.
- Repeat 10 to 12 reps before moving the weight to your left hand and repeating the same steps on the left leg.
An exercise we love to hate, burpees are a super effective whole-body move that provides great bang for your buck for cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.
- Start by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms down at your sides.
- With your hands out in front of you, start to squat down. When your hands reach the ground, pop your legs straight back into a pushup position.
- Do a pushup.
- Come back up to the starting pushup position and jump your feet up to your palms by hinging at the waist. Get your feet as close to your hands as you can get, landing them outside your hands if necessary.
- Stand up straight, bringing your arms above your head and jump.
- This is one rep. Complete 3 sets of 10 reps as a beginner.