1. Body Weight Plié Jump Squats
1. Stand with your legs in a wide stance, wider than your shoulder. Turn your thighs and your feet slightly outward, so that your knees and toes face away from each other (like a ballerina). Place your hands by your ears.
2. Bend your knees into a a deep plié squat, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should not protrude past your toes (if they do, then spread your feet apart even wider).Hold this position for a count of 5 seconds. Your weight should be in the heels of your feet.
3. Pushing up through your heels, use all your power to leap up in the air, straightening your knees and pointing your toes while squeezing your glutes and inner thighs as hard as you can. Simultaneously, reach your arms up to the sky.
4. Land back into the plié squat position; hold a deep knee bend for another 5 seconds, then power jump and repeat.
Perform 20 plié jump squats.
Advanced: Try holding an even deeper knee bend, being sure that your stance is wide enough that your bent knees don’t protrude past your toes. Increase the number of jump squats you perform, and/or hold a body bar across the back of your shoulders and lift it up during each jump.
2. Rotating Split Lunge Supersets (on a Step)
1. Step your right foot forward onto a low platform or the bottom step of a staircase. Place your body weight into the heel of your right foot, and balance on the ball of your left foot behind you. Place your hands on your hips.
2. From here, perform a lunge by plunging your left knee down towards the floor (but not touching the floor). Your left knee should remain right below your left hip. Bend your right knee at a 90 degree angle; your right knee should be exactly above your right foot. Then lift back up into the starting position. To perform your first set, perform 10 – 15 static lunges in this position.
3. For your second set, keep your feet in place while rotating your body 180 degrees, so that you are now facing the back of the room. Your right foot should remain on the step, but now becomes the “back leg” of your lunge, so lift up the heel of your right foot and balance on the ball of your right foot. Your left leg now becomes the “front leg” of your lunge. From here, perform a second set of 10 – 15 static lunges.
4. For your third set, switch your feet, placing the ball of your left foot on the step behind you and placing your right foot in front of you. Perform a third set of 10 – 15 static lunges.
5. Keeping your feet in place, rotate 180 degrees so that you facing the front of the room again, with your left foot firmly planted on the step and your right leg behind you, on the ball of your right foot. Perform a fourth set of 10 – 15 static lunges.
Advanced: Hold dumbbells while you perform your lunges, and/or add a bicep curl every time you lunge (see diagram above).
3. Reverse Crunches with Leg Extensions
1. Lie on the floor. Soften your back into the floor. Lift one leg, bent at 90 degrees, and then lift the other leg to meet it. Place your hands behind your ears, neck and head slightly curled off the floor. Contract your abs.
2. Exhale and curl your hips slightly off the floor, squeezing your hips and rib cage closer together by contracting your abs tighter.
3. Place your hips back on the floor and straighten your legs so that they form a 45 degree angle with the floor, maintaining tight abs to hold your legs strong. Don’t allow your lower back to lift off the floor (if you find this is happening, then lift your feet higher towards the ceiling, until your abs get strong enough to keep your back flat during the leg extensions).
4. Then bend your knees and curl your hips slightly off the floor again – Repeat 15 times.
Advanced: Gradually increase the number of reverse crunches you can perform. As your abs strengthen and you can maintain a flat back when you extend your legs, add an arm extension when your legs extend (see diagram above).
4. Side Wall Oblique Twists (on the Ball)
With a stability ball:
1. Place your feet against a wall, and rest your left hip on a stability ball beneath you. Your right hip should be stacked on top of your left hip. Cross your right (top) foot slight forward and bring your left (bottom) foot slight back, for better balance. Place your hands by your ears.
2. Keeping your hips in place, pull your belly button in towards your spine and twist at your waist to bring your left arm pit down towards your right hip. Then twist back to your starting position.
Perform 10 – 15 twists, and then come off the ball and repeat on the other side.
Advanced: Increase the number of twists you perform.
Or, without a stability ball:
1. Lie with your back flat on the floor, facing the ceiling. Twist your lower spine and stack your right hip on top of your left hip; bring your knees together and bend them at a 90 degree angle, so they are both pointing towards the left. Place your hands behind your ears.
2. Pull your belly button towards your spine and twist your left arm pit towards your right hip, curling your upper body gently off the floor (without pulling on your neck). Repeat 15 – 20 times, and then switch sides.
Advanced: Increase the number of twists you perform.
5. Push-Up Rows
1. Get into a plank position, with your abs tight.
2. Bend your elbows to perform a pushup, and then come back into a plank.
3. Transfer your weight into your left hand, and lift your right hand off the floor, bending your right elbow up behind you without allowing your right hip to lift. Then place your right hand back to the ground.
4. Perform another push-up and repeat with your left hand. Continue to alternate, performing 10 – 20 push-up rows.
Advanced: Place dumbbells under your hands and perform your push-ups balancing on the weights. When you row each arm, lift the dumbbell as well (see diagram). Increase the number of push-up rows you can perform.
6. Calf Raises with Leg Extensions (on a Step)
1. Place your the balls of your feet on a low platform or on the bottom step of a staircase. Your heels should be hanging off the back of the step. Hold on to the wall, a banister, or a chair placed nearby for support.
2. Remove your left foot from the step and allow it to hang down just behind you.
3. Lift your right heel up, and simultaneously, squeeze your left glute and lift your left leg up behind you, pointing your left toe. Then lower your right heel and bring your left foot back down.
4. Repeat 10 – 15 times. Then switch legs and repeat on the other side.