I’m often asked what the BEST exercises are that will deliver the most results in the fastest time possible.
And when I say ‘results’ what I mean are fat loss and muscle toning along with increased fitness and functional movement.
I’m happy to say that most of you that have been reading my blog have probably caught wind of my bias towards traditional cardio.
Just STOP doing cardio. Nuff said.
Cardio gives you the LEAST bang for your buck in terms of results. Cardio opens the door to repetitive use injuries and is boring as all get go. So the likelihood of you staying the fitness course if all you do is cardio is slim anyways, and if you do, you ‘may’ get some results but will wind up looking like a skinnier version of your former fat self – you won’t get the dream body you were hoping for 🙁
So I’ve compiled my fav exercises for you. If I couldn’t do anything else, I’d do these moves and I’d stay fit (or get into amazing condition if I were a beginner) and honestly, I’ll look better naked by including these exercises into my routine.
Just a reminder that there’s no need to throw a ton of money at fitness. You don’t need a gym membership or a treadmill or all kinds of fitness gadgets. All you need is your body weight, a bit of space and some reliable information – which is why you have me 🙂
I’m all about training ‘smarter’ versus training ‘harder’. I mean why spend extra time and energy on anything that won’t yield results? Just take a look below at the TOP TEN exercises that will tighten and tone your body like no ‘cardio’ exercise can to build shapely muscle and get your ‘sexy back’.
These exercises are in no particular order. You should notice that they are what’s called ‘compound movements’ so they work multiple muscles at once. This helps you burn the most fat in the least amount of time when you incorporate them into your workout plan.
Are you ready? Here we go….
The Push Up
The lowly push up isn’t glamorous, but it gets the job done! You’ll strengthen your triceps, tone your upper chest and did you know that sexy arms start with beautifully sculpted shoulders? All hail the push up! It can be done anywhere and modified to any fitness level and also will strengthen your core…talk about quadruple duty!
The Pull Up
If you can do this powerhouse of an exercise you can be assured of a strong and sexy back. Unfortunately, many people are unable to do this movement (at first!), but I have some alternatives for you here so that with a little practice you’ll be able to impress others with your pull up strength and your beautiful back.
In reality, you do this movement every day when you hit the loo or sit in a chair, whether you think you’re capable of squatting or not. It’s a basic functional movement that shapes your entire leg and butt. When your lower body is shapely, your body screams of athleticism and fitness.
You’d be surprised at how challenging even bodyweight squats can be, and for an added challenge, you can add some weight with a barbell or dumb bells. Take a look at how it’s done here:
It’s all about the butt! The lunge will tighten and tone the butt and hamstrings, (which are located on the back of your legs). You can see how to do the lunge properly here:
If you experience any knee pain, you can easily swap out a lunge for the glute bridge to target the butt and hamstrings:
Forget sit ups, crunches and side bends, the plank is where it’s at to strengthen the entire core, including the shy and ‘oh so important’ transverse abdominus. This is the muscle that will help prevent or reduce back pain once it’s engaged. A worthy goal is to be able to do a plank for one minute straight.
The Spider Crawl
This might not look like a waist whittler, but ‘Holy Obliques Batman!’ this will light your core up while also increasing hip mobility. Exercises that do double duty are the bomb.
The Get Up
Everyone wants ‘six pack abs’ but most folks don’t realize that you can achieve a flat and toned tummy while blasting other muscles. Get rid of flying bat wing triceps with this tricep move that will also engage your core like never before!
This one move is the reason you can put your treadmill up for sale. It hits ALL your major muscle groups and also gets your heart pumping. You’ll burn MORE belly fat by incorporating this simple move than doing hours of slow cardio on any cardio machine. Oh, and the beauty of the beautiful burpee is that it can be modified to ANY fitness level.
Here’s a lateral movement that will also get your heart pumping. Moving in a lateral plane is great for developing knee and ankle stability. And if impact is an issue, this move can easily be modified to get maximum calorie burn with minimum jumping or jolting to your joints.
Take a trip down memory lane to grade school and bust out a jump rope. Skipping can be done pretty much anywhere and is a wonderful alternative to running. You’ll be toning your arms and legs while you burn a ton of calories. If you’re frustrated with your lack of skills, you can still benefit from the movement by doing a ‘phantom’ skip where you toss your rope to the side and just pretend to jump rope by going through the motions.
Here are some more great jump rope tips:
Now I could go on and on about simple and effective body weight and resistance moves that will get you to your fitness and fat loss goals faster than ANY cardio or machine would be able to, but I’ll limit myself to just these 10 exercises.
And no need to run up the clock with your workout; you can have an effective fat burning, strength building workout in as little as 15 minutes when using these moves.
If you do these exercises in the right combinations, you’ll have stunning results like Colleen, who says:
I am so impressed with these simple exercises Shawna has provided. I discovered that fitness and taking time for ME matters. I block a little time in my schedule for my workout and nothing gets in the way. Now I am stronger and I can do your exercises without stopping to rest. I also had a goal to do assisted pull ups. Yes! I can now do 7. Bonus: I lost 10 lbs in only 6 weeks!
Need a plan? I’ve got you covered…
My latest program: My Bikini Belly utilizes these exercises (and a few more that require only a small space and your bodyweight) and the follow along videos will help you flatten and tone your belly like you’ve never seen before.