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16 Deceptively Simple Body-Sculpting Exercises

There are a lot of fancy exercises and workout tools out there—trust us, we've probably tried them all (at least once!). But when it comes to seeing real results on a regular basis, getting back to the basics can go a long way. That's why we rounded up some of our favorite strength training moves that you can do pretty much anywhere. If you don't already have your own dumbbells, resistance bands, or medicine ball, we guarantee you can find 'em at your local gym. Which means there's pretty much no excuse for not adding these classic exercises to your next sweat sesh. There's a reason they've been around so long—and that's because they work.

Total Time: up to 45 minutes

You will need: Free weights, Medicine ball, Resistance band

1. Inchworm

A.

From standing position, hinge hips and bend knees, lowering palms to ground. Begin inching body forward, walking hands out one at a time without moving feet.

B.

Extend body into a fully outstretched plank position, keeping core engaged and spine neutral. Reverse the movement, returning back to standing position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

6 to 8

2. Stability Ball Reverse Extension

A.

Lie facedown on a stability ball with hands and toes on the floor, hands below shoulders, and lower torso on top of the ball.

B.

Keeping legs pressed together and core engaged, slowly lift legs up until they are parallel with torso. Avoid lifting legs higher than hips, which will cause arching in lower back. Lower legs and return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

12 to 15

3. Sumo Squat Thrust

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes angled out slightly. Keeping core engaged and hands in front of chest, hinge hips and lower into a sumo squat position.

B.

Place hands to ground, jumping or stepping feet back to high plank position. Reverse the movement, jumping or stepping feet back to hands, returning to standing.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

4. Triangle Pushup

A.

Begin in plank position, hands positioned underneath chest with thumbs and forefingers together in a triangle/diamond shape.

B.

Keeping core engaged, slowly bend elbows, allowing them to flare outward only slightly as you lower chest. Avoid sagging your low back or hiking your hips upward during the movement as you lower your chest or chin toward the floor. Press back up to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

5. Low-Impact Speed Skater

A.

From standing position with feet hip-width distance apart, leap out with left foot, crossing right leg back behind left, toes touching the ground, and right hand reaching across body toward left foot.

B.

Repeat to the opposite side, leaping out with right foot as you cross left leg behind and reach left arm across body. Continue alternating sides as quickly as possible.

Sets:

1

Reps:

6 to 8 per side

6. Sprinter Pull

A.

Begin in lunge position with right foot back and left foot forward, left knee bent 90 degrees. Draw right arm forward and left arm back, keeping both elbows bent.

B.

Drive right knee forward while rising up onto toes of left foot, balancing on left leg. At the same time, draw right elbow back and left elbow forward, holding for 2-3 seconds. Do 10-12 reps on right before switching sides and repeating.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

7. Woodchop with Medicine Ball

A.

Begin in a split stance with left foot forward. Hold a medicine ball with both hands, arms extended with ball positioned above left shoulder.

B.

Keeping core engaged and arms extended, draw ball down and across body to right hip. Reverse the movement, returning to starting position and repeat.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

8. Side Plank with Hip Dip

A.

Begin in a side plank position with forearm on mat and elbow below shoulder, keeping neck in neutral alignment.

B.

With control, drop right hip toward mat, hovering a few inches above the floor. Press hips back up to starting side plank position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

6 to 8

9. Stability Ball Knee Tuck

A.

Lie across a stability ball and walk hands out in front until you are in a plank position with the ball positioned beneath shins or ankles.

B.

Engage core and draw knees in toward chest, rolling ball forward as knees tuck under torso and hips lift toward the ceiling. Re-extend legs back out to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

10. Resistance Band Overhead Press

A.

Stand with feet hip-width distance apart atop a resistance band, holding ends of band in each hand just above shoulders, palms facing toward one another. Engage core, hinge hips, and bend knees, lowering to a squat.

B.

Straighten legs, simultaneously extending arms overhead, keeping elbows pointed to 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Reverse the movement to return to starting squat position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

12 to 15

11. Renegade Row with Weights

A.

Begin in a plank position with feet hip-width distance apart, grasping a pair of dumbbells. Keep wrists in neutral position.

B.

With core engaged and hips and shoulders squared to ground, perform a single-arm row with right hand, pulling right dumbbell to waist, pointing elbow straight back. Return dumbbell to floor and repeat on opposite side, keeping hips and shoulders squared as best as possible to minimize rotation in torso during movement.

Sets:

1

Reps:

6 to 8 per side

12. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

A.

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor, approximately hip-width distance apart. Lift left leg up so that leg is extended and thighs are parallel.

B.

Keeping core engaged, lift hips off floor, avoiding arching the back. Hold at the top for 2-3 seconds before lowering down with control to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12 per side

13. Reverse Jack Sumo Squat

A.

Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width distance apart, toes turned out slightly at approximately 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Keeping core engaged, hinge at hips and bend knees, lowering into a sumo squat position with hands in front of chest, palms facing one another.

B.

Jump feet together, rising up on toes as arms sweep overhead until thumbs touch. Reverse the movement, lowering directly into sumo squat position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

14. Skull Crushers

A.

Lie faceup on floor with knees bent and feet flat on ground about 12 inches away from hips. Holding dumbbells, extend arms, keeping wrists aligned above shoulders.

B.

With core engaged, bend elbows slowly, drawing hands and dumbbells beside each ear, keeping elbows close to body throughout the movement. Re-extend arms and return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 15

15. Medicine Ball Mountain Climber

A.

Position a medicine ball directly below chest and place hands on top of ball. Extend legs with toes on floor, assuming plank position. Keeping core engaged, draw right knee into chest.

B.

With control, quickly switch sides, stepping back with right foot while drawing left knee into chest. Continue to alternate sides as quickly as possible.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12

16. Cossack Squat

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart or slightly wider, arms extended down along sides.

B.

Step out to the side with left foot, flexing knee and hip to lower into squat position, keeping right leg fully extended. As you near bottom of squat, transfer weight to heel of right foot, lifting left toes and drawing hands in front of chest. Shift weight, pressing off right foot to return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

10 to 12 per side

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