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Deadlifts are another keystone exercise that you really should master. They’re also the exercise in which you’ll likely lift the most weight, so they’re fun!
- Place a barbell in front of you, and stand behind it with your shins touching the bar, with your feet hip width apart. Keep facing directly in front of you for the entire movement.
- Lower yourself down, grabbing the bar just wider than your feet. Either have your palms facing backwards, or have one forwards and one backwards. This reverse grip helps prevent the bar from rolling, which may be an issue as you lift heavier weights.
- Whilst holding the bar, squeeze your shoulder blade together and tighten your core. It is essential that you keep your spine in a straight, neutral position. Do not bend it when performing a deadlift. The deadlift is quite a straightforward movement, the difficulty comes in because you can easily injure your lower back if you’re not careful.
- Squeeze your legs and power up through your heels. Raise the barbell against your shins, keeping it close to your centre.
- As the bar raises to the level of your knees, move them back to continue lifting the bar up to your thighs. Squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement, but not leaning backwards (this is bar form).
- Slowly lower the bar back down again, pushing your knees forwards as the bar passes lower than them. This is one rep.
Sumo Bodyweight Jump Squats
To accompany the close squat, the sumo squat variation helps you hit the insides of your legs more.
- Stand with your feet wide enough so that they point outwards at a 45 degree angle. Make sure your spine is in a straight, neutral position. Make sure your weight is through your heels.
- Squeeze your leg and core muscles as you lower your body downwards, use your hands for balance if needed. Lower yourself until your butt is an inch or two off the ground. Hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Explosively squeeze your leg and core muscles to raise yourself up into a jump. Landing softly before slowly moving into your second squat. This is one rep.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The split squat is a great exercise that you’ll feel all day.
- Place the ball of one foot on a stable, elevated platform behind you. Put your weight mainly on your front leg that is in front of the platform. When you perform the squat your knee should be directly over your foot at your lowest point. This determines for far in front of the platform your foot should be.
- Bend the knee of your front leg and lower yourself down into a single leg squat. Keep your core tight. Lower yourself until your knee is directly above your foot and your other knee is an inch or two above the floor. Hold for 2-3 seconds.
- Squeeze your glutes, raising yourself back up to the starting position. This is one rep.
- Repeat for the other leg.
One Leg Cable Kickback
The cable kickback similar to a glute raise, but allows you to finely control the resistance.
- Adjust the cable machine so that it is on the bottom peg. Attach the ankle cuff to it and wrap the cuff around your ankle.
- Place your other leg forward towards the machine, you may want to press your toes against it. Have a slight bend in this leg.
- Place your arms against the pillar for stability.
- Straighten your other leg and slowly move it back. If you feel this in your lower back, you’re lifting your leg too high. Squeeze your glutes at the top for 2-3 seconds.
- Slowly lower your leg back down. This is one rep.
- Repeat on the other side.
Dumbbell Step Ups
Step ups are a great easy way to strengthen your quads and glutes.
- 1. Find an elevated platform, bench or chair. Place one foot on the platform, making sure it is secure and firmly placed flat. Hold a dumbbell in each hand for added resistance.
- 2. Squeeze your quads in the raised leg to lift your body up and onto the platform.
- 3. Slowly release and lower yourself back down. This is one rep.
- 4. Repeat for the other leg.
- Start with your feet hip width apart, place your hands on your hips. Keep your back straight and your shoulder blades pulled together.
- Send one leg out to your side, squatting down on it whilst providing support with your stationary leg and hands. Hold for 2-3 seconds.
- Push back off your bent leg, returning to a standing position. This is one rep.
- Repeat on the other side.
Swimmers are a great way to work your whole body whilst giving your lower back a workout.
- Lie on your stomach and squeeze your glutes as hard as you can, raising both legs off the ground.
- Reach forwards with your arms, keeping your palms facing downwards a few inches above the ground.
- Lift your alternate arm and leg up into the air, squeezing all of the muscles from your shoulders down to your glutes. This is one rep.
- Repeat with the other arm rapidly.
On Side Hip Raises
This is a great way to use your bodyweight to really work your obliques.
- From side plank position, making sure your elbow is directly underneath your shoulder, lower your body until your hips touch the ground. You can have your feet scissored (as shown) or on top of each other.
- Tense your obliques (side abs) to raise your body back up to a proper side plank position, with your neck and spine in a neutral position.
An essential move to grow big glutes!
- Lie flat on your back with your arms at your side.
- Bend your knees and place your heels on the floor.
- Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders are all aligned. Hold for 2-3 seconds at the top.
- Slowly release back down until your hips are on the floor. This is one rep.
The ab bike is a great movement to hit all of your ab muscles with one exercise.
- Lay flat on your back, with your feet extended in front of you.
- Bend your elbows, placing your hands at the side of your head (you can rest them behind your head, never pull on your neck)!
- Bend your knees at a 90 degree angle with your hips.
- Cycle between bringing your opposite elbow and knee to each other, whilst extending your other leg outwards as shown. Your legs should circle around like they would if you were riding a bike.
- Make sure to twist your torso, tensing your abs as you make a cycling movement.
- Each time you’ve completed a cycle of each side, that is one rep.