Now that the Olympics have ended and you are no longer sitting glued to your TV staring enviously upon some of the most chiseled bodies and talented athletes in the world, it’s time for you to step up and sculpt your body into fighting shape.
So, what exercises get top athletes in shape? Check out these moves that you can perform at home, in the park or at the gym:
- Single-leg squats. These are tough, but effective. This exercise will work your thighs, butt, hips and core. And, what’s so great about this exercise is that you really build strength in each leg, rather than one leg doing a majority of the work, as often happens in a traditional squat. There are several different ways you can perform this exercise, depending on the equipment you have available and your abilities. Below is a demonstration of one of the most common ways to perform the exercise without any additional equipment for beginners.
- Reverse lunge with bicep curl. Exercises that require you to work your upper and your lower body simultaneously are truly functional and intensely beneficial. This exercise works your thighs, butt and biceps. You will need a resistance band or free weight to perform this exercise. The picture below uses a resistance band, remember to step back with one leg and lower yourself into the lunge position with your weight in your heels. Keep your core tight and don’t arch your back.
- Rotating mountain climbers.If you want to seriously sweat during your workout – try these out. Mountain climbers alone are a great activity for torching some calories whole building muscle. This exercise will work your arms, shoulders, chest and abs, as well as improve your range of motion in your hips. Just be sure to keep your form in check – keep your hips low and your shoulder blades flat – don’t round your back.
- Back extension with band pull.This exercise feels really good – like a nice stretch that also works your butt and back. You will need resistance tubing to perform this exercise.
- Loosely wrap tubing around each hand and lie face down on a mat with legs straight, shoelaces against the floor and arms extended overhead, hands shoulder width apart, elbows slightly bent.
- Without raising your shoulders toward your ears, pull the tubing sideways until your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width apart. At the same time, slowly lift your shoulders and feet off the floor, activating the muscles in your low back and butt. Look down at floor, not forward.
- Return to starting position and complete 8 to 12 reps.
- Floor wipers. Floor wipers are an advanced exercise that should only be attempted if you have a strong midsection and no history of back problems.
- Single-leg raises. You might think these look easy, but rest assured, you will work your core, butt and hamstrings with this exercise. To decrease the difficulty, push-off the floor, as you advanced, you may use equipment, like a BOSU or Swiss ball as shown.
Don’t forget to add some cardiovascular training in with these exercises to create a well-rounded program.