Before beginning any exercise program, it is recommended that you understand how to perform each exercise using proper form to avoid muscle imbalances and risk for injury. Refer to the below photos and instructions of most of the exercises used in our videos and programs to ensure safety and results. Remember to breathe out at the hardest part of the exercise rather than holding your breath. For simplicity, only general body area is mentioned for each exercise rather than specific muscle groups.
Before an exercise session you must warm up, to prepare the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems for activity, to prevent injury and increase performance. There are many type of warm up activities and they should be similar to the type of activity you will be doing in your exercise session with lighter intensity and slower speed. Do not stretch before a warm up as cold muscles are prone to injury. A proper warm up is 5 – 10 minutes in length and will prepare all muscle groups for activity.
Body Weight Exercises
Core Exercises: Lower Back and Abdominal Muscles
Lie face up, knees bent and feet flat on mat. Hands behind head or across chest, draw belly button to spine as you lift head and shoulder off mat. Lower back remains on mat. Hold and return. Use your abs to lift and hold. Works upper abs.
Lie face up, knees bent and feet flat on mat and arms out to sides. Keeping torso still, raise bent knees towards chest. Hold and return to start. To increase intensity, lower legs slowly before raising them again. Feet should lightly touch mat between lifts. Works lower abs.
Stand feet shoulder width apart. Alternate raising knees toward outstretched hands. Works Rectus Abdominis (6 pack abs)
Variation: twist from side to side as you raise Knees to work obliques (side muscles).
Side to Side Heel Crunch
Lie face up, knees bent and feet flat on mat. Slightly lift head and shoulders as you move side to side on the mat touching each heel. Use abs to lift torso. Works side muscles.
Standing Side Bend
Stand feet shoulder width apart. Slowly reach hand to outside knee as you bend to one side until you feel resistance and hold. Straighten and bend to opposite side. Works Obliques
Lie face down on mat. Raise up to elbows and toes. Feet shoulder width apart and back straight, keep head up as you draw belly button to spine. Avoid sagging hips. Hold. Works entire core.
Sit on mat with arms behind you & palms on mat. Raise up to heels and straight arms. Draw belly button to spine as you hold the lift with straight back. Avoid sagging hips. Works entire core
Variation: alternate kick legs up and down while in back plank.
Lie on side on mat. Draw belly button to spine as you raise up to elbow & palm, and sides of feet. Hold without sagging hips. Opposite hand faces ceiling and eyes look forward. Works side muscles.
Lying Side Crunch
Lie on side on mat. Arm gently supporting head and neck, raise torso off mat and hold while drawing belly button to spine. Return and repeat. Works side muscles.
Variation: alternate raising torso with legs or raise both and hold.
Lie face up on mat with hands behind head, legs lifted with one straight and one bent toward chest. Draw belly button to spine as you lift head and shoulders twisting torso with elbow towards opposite knee while alternating knees to chest. Works side muscles.
Straight Leg Lift
Lie face up on mat with legs extended and arms at sides. Draw belly button to spine as you lift straight legs to a 90 degree angle while lower back remains on mat. If back lifts off mat, bend knees during the lift until you get stronger. Hold and slowly lower legs to 6 inches from floor and repeat. Works upper and lower abs.
Lie face down on mat with arms and legs extended. Draw belly button to spine as you raise straight arms and legs off floor. Keep head up an eyes forward. Breathe through the hold. Avoid hyperextending legs and arms as too much strain is placed on hips and shoulders. Works abs and back.
Sit on mat with knees bent and feet on mat. Lean back slightly as you twist side to side drawing belly button to spine. Works side muscles
Variation: raise bent knees off mat and hold a medicine ball. Works arms, side muscles and upper abs.
Lie face down on mat and raise to hands and feet shoulder width apart. Draw belly button to spine as you bend right knee to right elbow and left knee to left elbow. Keep gaze forward and avoid sagging hips. Works side muscles and core and arms.
Lie face up on mat with feet extended and arms overhead. Draw belly button to spine as you raise arms and legs together trying to touch hands to feet. Hold and return to start. Works upper and lower abs.
Lie on back with legs extended and arms out to sides for support. Draw belly button to spine as you raise legs to 90 degrees. Slowly lower legs to left, return legs to center and lower to right and then back to center. Works sides and upper and lower abs. If back raises off mat use bent knees throughout the exercise.
Mountain Climber Twists
Start in push-up position. Bring right knee to chest, foot on floor and keep left leg extended. Alternate stepping forward bringing knees between arms as you twist from side to side. Step right knee toward left elbow while twisting torso to right and repeat on left side. Continue alternating until desired # of reps are reached.
Scissor Kick Crunch
Perform the basic crunch and raise straight legs off mat alternating right and left leg lifts while holding raised torso.
Variation: instead of alternating scissor kicks, start with straight legs and bend knees to chest and then out, alternating the in/out movement while holding raised torso . Works upper and lower abs.
Legs, Core & Gluteal Muscles
Lie face up on mat with bent knees and feet flat on mat. Arms at sides, head straight, draw belly button to spine as you raise hips off mat. Keep shoulders and neck on mat and back straight. Hold and return without touching mat and raise again. Use a one legged floor bridge for intensity.
Step – Ups
Facing a 12-16″ step, step up with right foot and then left foot making sure whole foot is on step. Step down with left foot and then right foot. Repeat, stepping up with left foot then right and step down with right foot then left foot. Keep alternating legs for desired reps. Move slowly for resistance or faster for cardio.
Variation: stand sideways so left side is toward step and step up with left foot and then right foot and repeat for desired number of reps. Switch sides so right side is facing step and step up with right foot, then left foot and repeat to desired number of repetitions.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward and arms at chest height. Bend hips down and back as if you are sitting in a chair. Keep back straight and knees behind toes. Go only as far as is comfortable to avoid knee strain. Hold and return to start. As you squat avoid knees collapsing inward. For a more intense move, squat until thighs are parallel to floor. Avoid this exercise if you have knee pain.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward and arms at chest height. Bend hips down and back as if you are sitting in a chair, bending halfway and not into a full squat to avoid knee strain. Hold and return to start. As you squat, avoid knees collapsing inward. As you progress, and if you have no knee issues, proceed to a full squat.
Same as Squat except feet are together. As you lower touch hands behind back and as you raise touch hands in front of body.
Variation: Squat and when you return to start add a side kick. Alternate legs. This is one continuous move
Same as Squat except legs are farther apart. Step out as far as is comfortable and repeat Squat motion.
Variation: Upon rising from Sumo Squat, alternate legs kicking butt. (Rise and left heel kicks but, sumo squat, rise and right heel kicks butt)
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with right leg as you lower both legs keeping a straight back. Keep hands on hips throughout move for balance. Only lower as far as is safely comfortable. Return and switch legs.
Variation: step on a diagonal at 10 and 2 on a clock, or step back for a rear lunge.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and step to the right as far as is comfortable and lower right leg while keeping left leg straight. Drive through left foot as you return to center. Repeat to left side. Keep back straight and eyes forward, and hands on hips for balance. Keep knees behind toes by lowering hips down and back.
Knee Raise Side Lunge
Same as side lunge except add a knee raise. Begin with raising right knee to left elbow and step out into right side lunge and then return and continue until all reps are completed on right side and switch to left side.
Start in sprint position. Keep left foot planted as you bring right knee toward chest and return leg without touching floor and repeat. If balance is difficult, you may touch floor with toes on the return until you increase balance. Alternate arms with legs. Complete reps on right sight and switch to left side.
Same as Squat except after reaching the lowered position, you jump up instead of standing up. Thrust upward with arms toward sky and when you land you are in a squat. Make sure to jump lightly to avoid knee stress. This is an explosive movement.
Round – The – Clock Lunge
Same movement as Lunge except you will be stepping out around the clock. First lunge is forward with right leg at 12, then lunge diagonally at 2 then side lunge at 3, rear lunge at 6, left side lunge at 9, diagonally at 10 and lunge at 12. That is one rep. Repeat sequence starting with left foot and keep alternating for desired # of reps.
Begin in a squat position and stay down as you take three steps forward and 3 steps backward. Repeat for desired # of reps.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Step out to right and swing left leg behind right as you squat (like a curtsy). Step left foot out and swing right leg behind and curtsy lunge. Keep alternating legs for desired reps. For more intensity hop from side to side instead of stepping and swing arms.
Same as Squat except instead of standing you are leaning with back and shoulders against a wall. Lower until knees are parallel to the floor and hold for 30 – 90 seconds.
Warrior III Kickback
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Bend from hips and kick right leg back as you thrust arms out and return leg. Repeat on opposite side and continue alternating right and left legs until desired # of reps.
Chest, Shoulders, Back, Arms & Core Muscles
Lie face down on a mat and rise up to hands and toes both shoulder width apart. Keeping your back straight and shoulders over elbows lower body to within 6 inches of the floor. Raise to start and repeat.
Variation: perform push-up on knees, or against a wall for beginners, or one-legged push-up for advanced.
Military Push Up
Same as Push – Up with hands closer together and elbows at sides. The back of the arm is more engaged when arms are at sides during the move
Variation: Reverse Grip Push – Up – turn hands outward and press chest to ground and return.
Single Arm Row
Using a door frame, begin with feet close to wall with hand on door frame and elbow at right angle. Sit back as if there was a chair until knees are parallel to floor and arm is straight. Using your arm and back, pull yourself to start squeezing shoulder blades at top of move. Complete # or reps on one side before switching to the other side.
Spiderman Push Up
Begin on hands and toes both shoulder width apart. As you press down as in a basic push-up, bring right knee to right elbow. Press back to start and repeat on left side. Press down and bring left knee to left elbow at the same time as lowering to the ground. Return to start and repeat.
Begin in a downward dog (piked) position. Proceed as in a push-up lowering the top of head towards the floor. Press back to start. You should feel this mainly in the shoulders.
Variation: one legged piked press – same move on one leg with the other leg extended upward.
Use a sturdy bench or step and with back to bench and legs extended, grab edge with hands and lower body toward ground. Press back up.
Variation: for beginners keep knees bent and feet on floor.
Lie face down on mat with arms and legs extended. Raise arms and legs and bring elbows to sides and hold for a few seconds and then extend the arms to start position. Repeat for desired # of reps.
Side Plank Push Up
Start in a plank position on hands and toes. Bring feet together as you turn to one side raising opposite hand toward sky and hold the raised side plank position. Return to plank and perform a push-up. Bring feet together as you turn to opposite side and hold the raised side plank and then return to plank and perform a push-up. Alternate sides for desired # of reps.
Start on hands and toes face down on mat with legs and hands shoulder width apart. Lift right arm and left leg and return and then lift left arm and right leg and return. It is easier if you begin lifting the leg just before the arm. Keep alternating until desired # of reps.
Stand feet with shoulder width apart and arms out at chest height. Hinge from hip and reach forward as you raise right leg. Return to start. Complete all reps on right side and then repeat on left side.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hands together chest height or on hips, hinge from the hips until back is flat. Use hips to return to start. Repeat.
Major Muscle Groups In Combination Moves
From a downward dog position lower body to plank while lowering body into a pushup (bent elbows) and then back to downward dog in one fluid motion. Imagine diving and skimming body near floor before coming pressing back up.
Plank to Down Dog
Similar to Dive Bombers without the scooping toward the ground movement. Start in downward dog and move into upward plank (on hands and feet). Push body back and up into downward dog reaching heels as close to ground as possible and repeat.
Boot Camp Crawl
Begin on hands and feet wider than shoulder width apart. Bring right arm to right leg as you crouch low. At the same time move left hand forward and bring left knee to left hand as you remain in crouched position. Return right hand and foot and then left hand and foot. Imagine taking two steps forward and two steps back low to ground.
Sprint In Place
Very simply, run as fast as you can in place while moving arms back and forth.
Stand with left leg in front and right leg behind. Bounce on feet as you punch with your left and right arms. Punch left then right. For the left punch place weight on back foot and turn right hip back, and as you unload into the right punch shift your weight on to front foot and square hips so you are facing forward. Repeat for desired # of reps and switch sides.
Running Butt Kicks
Running in place kick heels to butt. Feet should feel like they are wiping the floor in a backward motion and then lift heels to butt. Alternate kicks for 1-2 minutes.
Run in place while lifting knees towards chest and moving arms back and forth.
Stand with feet together. Jump to feet shoulder width apart as you raise arms over head, hands together. Jump to feet together and arms at side. Repeat for desired # of reps.
Variation: for lower impact step or hop outward and inward as you raise arms up and down.
Stand with feet together and jump side to side in a skiing motion.
Variation: hop side to side for less impact.
From a standing position jump down into a plank by placing hands on mat and kicking feet back. Jump feet back to hands and jump up with hands over head in one smooth motion.
Begin in a standard push-up position. Bring right knee to chest with foot on floor. Alternate jumping between right and left legs as you bring each knee to chest and extend each foot back to floor.
Variation: Beginners avoid the jumping motion and just bring right knee to chest and return to right leg extended with foot on floor and bring left knee to chest and return to left leg extended with foot on floor.
Muay Thai Kicks
Stand with arms extended to one side and above head. Step back to rear lunge and kick knee up to raised arms as you bend elbows and lower arms to meet knee. Return foot to floor and raise arms to opposite side and repeat move. Continue alternating sides until desired # of reps.
This very simple yet powerful exercise begins in a half squat position. Very quickly move feet up and down while remaining in the squat position, simulating a football player scoring a touchdown.