We were built to move. In today’s busy world it is easy to find yourself wrapped up in so many things that you feel you’ve run out of time for any purposeful exercise. Muscles that aren’t used quickly lose strength, flexibility, and tone. We are left feeling weak, prone to joint pain and injuries, and unmotivated to do anything about it. Many sign up for gym memberships, only to drop out in the first three to six months (according to a 2003 study published in the European Journal of Sports Science) because it’s just too much to add to our already busy lives.
So how can we build a habit of exercise that lasts? For me, it’s keeping it simple. Skip the gym. You don’t need equipment. All you need is your body and a few minutes here and there. Now let’s be honest – you are not going to turn into the next fitness legend without spending hours in the gym. But you will feel strong, healthy, and confident with just a little effort. When time allows and as your body begins to enjoy and crave movement, you may even find yourself making more time for exercise.
Today I’d like to share my favorites: 3 simple moves to tighten and tone all of your major muscle groups (i.e., core, legs, and arms). No equipment or athletic prowess necessary. Just hold each position as long as you can comfortably handle it. Repeat the series as many times as you want. Do them all at once. Do them throughout the day. Do them several times a day. Your choice. Watch this short instructional video as many times as you need to in order to make sure you have the best form possible, but work towards ditching the video and just moving on your own at your own speed.
The three moves I’ve chosen to share today are the basic plank, the static glute bridge, and the push-up.
The basic plank is one of the most deceptively difficult exercises I know of. It will work your entire body, but the focus is on your core muscles. Just hold yourself up on your elbows and toes as long as you can. Keep your elbows directly under your shoulders, your back straight, your abs and glutes engaged, and your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears. Don’t be surprised if your whole body starts shaking – that just means you’re doing a good job!
The static glute bridge is my favorite static move for legs and glutes. Lie on your back and place your heels hip width apart on the edge of a bench/chair that is about knee height. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, lift up and squeeze the glutes and upper thighs to form a straight line from your shoulders on the floor to the top of your knees. Hold as long as you can. Keep your belly button pulled in to the spine to avoid sagging in the middle and overusing back muscles.
The push-up is one of the best upper body exercises and the least likely to result in injury. Push-ups not only work muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, and back, they also require the use of your core muscles, engaging your entire upper body. The basic move is to lie on your stomach, place your hands beside your chest, and curl your toes. Lift up with a straight back until your arms are almost fully extended, bend the arms to lower again almost to the floor, then repeat. Do as many as you can and try for one more tomorrow! Depending on the position of your arms, you can vary the muscles that are most engaged during the exercise. A wider arm spread will work the chest muscles more. Narrowly placed, forward facing hands will work the triceps more. Turning the hands towards the feet will work the biceps more. Mix it up from day to day to keep it interesting! Remember to keep your abs tight and back straight throughout the move.
There you have it. Three simple moves to get you moving a little more each day. What are your favorite moves? Please comment below!
ready for more? join the 30-day jumpstart challenge!
No matter what your fitness level, you can jump into this 30-day challenge and get your health & fitness journey started. Let your body and your knowledge of your time, commitment, and fitness level determine what intensity is best for you. Over 30 days, you will complete 8 basic moves 5 days each week. You’ll start out small, but if you choose to start and progress at suggested levels, you should be able to do the following at the final workout:
- Cardio Warm-Up – 10 minutes
- Push-ups – 45
- Squats – 45
- Bench Dips – 45
- Glute Bridges – 45
- Plank Rows – 90 (45 each side)
- Lunges – 90 (45 each side)
- Basic Plank – 2 minutes
- Side Jackknives – 90 (45 each side)
- Cool-Down Stretch
Read more about the challenge or sign up for updates in the sidebar now ↗ and I’ll send you a discount code to download it for FREE!