Exercise is the key to long term health. Here are 57 exercises I regularly teach at my sessions. If you are new to HIIT, do have a read of my blog on What HIIT is and why it works and whether HIIT is bad for you. There are so many more than these, but these are my favourites. I will continually add to these as time goes by. There are other exercises going beyond these listed here, some invented more recently by myself, or others in the bodyweight exercise community. Whatever the discipline, be it Yoga, Pilates, bodybuilding, and many sports conditioning movements, certain movements stay the same because the body is the same. The movements therefore translate to many different disciplines. You will find a lot of crossover with a lot of these movements. Master these movements and you will find many activities you put yourself through much easier. The art of mastering your body and ensuring it does what you want it for the long term is that you constantly challenge it to do things it is not used to. Consistent and constant challenge and resistance leads to growth. It is good idea to put these exercises together in an exercise programme. Depending on your goals, I as a Personal Trainer can help you to develop an exercise programme which will be reviewed as and when you progress.
This is a great upper body exercises that helps you build a stronger chest, arms, and back. Lie face down on the mat, brace your core by pulling your belly button in and squeezing your butt. Push up with your hands making sure your wrists and shoulders are aligned. Make sure your legs are straight. If you are unable to push-up with your legs straight, do so with your knees on the mat. Breath in as you lower, breathe out and blow outwards as you raise yourself off the mat.
A plank is a great core exercise that will help you get that six pack. Lie face down on the mat. Lift yourself up with your hands, while bracing your core. You brace your core by pulling your belly button in and squeezing your butt. Your wrists and shoulder should be in a straight line so you are not putting too much strain on your shoulders.
This is an excellent lower body exercise that will help you build strong glutes and thighs. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, hip hinge backwards, bending the knees slightly with the arms folding backwards. Hips snap forwards, exploding off your toes and in the air. and jump. Bend your knees while you land for a bit more protection for your knees.
This is a more complex movement which requires a combination of many different positions:
- Two-footed vertical jump
- Plank to hip thrust to plank
- Vertical jump
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Lean forward and get into a plank position. Push up. Push with your hands while doing a hip thrust to get yourself up and back in a squat position. You can do this slower by just getting into a squat position. Do a two footed vertical jump to finish off.
Two-footed forward jump
This is another great lower body exercise. This exercise requires you to stand shoulder width apart, shoulders back and head in a neutral position. Hip hinge backwards with both hands folding backwards, explode hips forwards moving both feet forwards. Jump with two feet to the other side of the mat, bending your knees while you land. Turn around and do the same thing the other way.
This is a foundational movement that will translate to many other movements that you use while exercising or moving daily. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Bend your knees, hinging your hips backward and ensuring your knees are behind your toes throughout the repetition. This will ensure that you are putting the weight in your heels and not your toes. Bring your hips down as low as possible, trying at all times not to lean forward. Keep your chest up and shoulders back throughout each repetition.
This exercise will help you build a strong core. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms bent and touching your temples or on your thighs and lift your torso off the ground. Your feet must be flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt while pulling your belly button to your spine. Push your lower back into your mat. Tuck your chin in your chest. Try not to round your back or neck with the full repetition. Make sure you are lowering down slowly into the mat and not dropping too quickly because this is an essential part of the workout. Do not push yourself off using your hands.
This is similar to the sit-up because it works the same muscles, however this is a lot easier on your lower back. Lie on your back with your face pointed upwards. Put your hands on your temples and lean/ bend forward squeezing your abs really tightly. Squeeze your butt tightly and pull your abs to your spine. Ensure you are pushing your lower back into the ground. Make sure you are lowering down slowly into the mat because this is a crucial part of the ab workout. Do not push yourself up using your hands. Raise your legs off the mat for increased difficulty.
This exercise focuses on your lower abs. Lie on your back and raise and lower your legs off the floor, not bending your knees. Keep your hands on either side of you. Don’t arch your back and squeeze your belly button in and your lower back on the mat. Do not drop your heels quickly to the ground, instead, lower them slowly. You can bend your knees ever more slightly as you get towards the end of your repetitions. Bend your knees or alternate your legs going downwards if you need a lesser challenge. Keep your lower back on the ground as much as possible. If you feel an arch in your lower back, don’t lower your feet past this point.
This is another great core exercise. Lie on your back and raise opposite legs up and down off the floor. Squeeze abs and butt, and keep lower back on the floor. You can move your legs out and in or over each other. keep your lower back on the ground as with the leg raise.
Hop on one foot and then the other foot jumping sideways. Keep your back flat and your core tight at all times. Swing one arm in front of you with each repetition.
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Hinge your hips backwards while bending your knees. Plant your feet firmly on the floor. Squeeze your butt tightly. At the end of your range of motion, explode your hips forward. When you do this, your arms will naturally swing forwards. As with the squat, try to ensure your knees are not travelling beyond your toes. Use a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells to increase the level of difficulty.
Start with your feet shoulder width apart, holding your dumbbells from end to end. Twist the hips, rise up on the toe and raise the dumbells over to the side. Use your core to direct the movement and direct the dumbbell down to the side. Keep your back straight, pivot your feet and brace your core. Switch to the opposite side.
Begin on all fours, and tuck your pelvis under so your back is straight. Lift one leg keeping knee at 90 degrees until foot is parallel with the ceiling. Squeeze your butt and hold for two seconds. Return to the starting position and switch legs. To do the double legged donkey kick, kick with both legs, lifting both feet off the ground.
This is and an advanced push up. Get in a plank position, with your feet hip width apart and your hands shoulder width apart. Push your hips up as high as possible so that you resemble an upside down V, and push yourself as far back as you possibly can. Keep your back flat with your arms and knees straight and unlocked. You should try to be on your toes. As you lower your hips, you should keep your legs straight, but allow your arms to bend as you push forward so that your face and then chest nearly grazes the floor like a dive bomber. You will be looking at the ceiling in the end position. Curve your back and extend your arms without locking out. Your face should be looking forward. Hold for a count and then reverse direction, pushing your hips up and your back in an inverted V. pushing up and leaning from back to front. Rotate down and push back so you are back into the start position. Try to keep your legs straight at all times, and keep your chest out throughout the workout.
Stand with shoulder width feet together and hands by your side. Jump with the feet coming apart and hands come over your head in an arching motion. The next jump brings the feet back together and your arms back to the side. Every thing comes out and goes in together. Engage your glutes so your knees don’t cave in. Engage your core throughout the workout. Make sure your knees are flexed throughout the workout
Get in a plank position with your feet together and your hands shoulder width apart. Bring the feet apart from each other and together. Repeat the foot motion going in and out. You are hopping out and in with your feet. Try to land lightly on your toes and brace your core throughout the workout. Keep your but tight. Keep your body solid throughout.
Go into a squat position, pulsing upward and downward. Going up and down but not fully extending or going deep into a squat. It is a small movement in and out of the squat.
You must first master a full squat before attempting this. Squat with one leg lifting the leg not being used off the floor and slightly in front. As you lower yourself to the floor, push your hips back and bend your knees, keeping your shoulders back and your chest out. At your lowest point, your leg should be bent and both will look just like a pistol. Keep the leg not being flexed and arms at all times as this will help as a counter balance.
Pike push up
Place hands and feet on the ground so you are in an inverted v position. Make sure your hands and feet are at equal distance from each other. Bend or flex your arms and drop your head between the arms ensure your back is flat, your belly is pulled in and your glutes are engaged. You should be looking through your legs. Make sure your shoulder blades are touching one another. Your arms and legs should be fully extended. Your heels should be pushing to the ground as much as you can.
Put one foot in front of the other and bend both. Both your front and back leg should be at ninety degrees and the rear knee should be as close to the floor as possible. As you lower, ensure that as much as possible your front knee should be behind your toe. Keep your torso upright, the shoulders back and the chest out. Engage your core.
Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest. Extend one leg out and then the opposite leg out. Keep your hands on your temples, reaching one elbow to the opposite knee and then the other way. Make sure your chin is tucked into your chest, you are squeezing your butt and crunching your abs really tightly.
Stand with feet a lot wider than shoulder width apart, double shoulder width apart or more. Extend one leg to the side while moving your weight to the other leg, by swinging your hips to one side. Hinge your hips backwards as you bend. Try to get your trunk or torso as upright as physically possible. Go down as low as you possibly can.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place one leg behind the other and out to the side and bend both legs, the rear knee nearly touching the floor.
Lie face down with your legs straight. Bend your elbows or place your hands underneath you. Elbows or hands should be directly underneath your shoulders. Your hips should be off the ground and you should brace your core by pulling your belly button in and squeezing your butt tightly.
Exactly the same as a low plank, only you are on the palms of your hands rather than your elbows. Ensure your fingers are pointed forwards and not to the side, and your shoulder, elbow and wrists are all aligned.
Plank side taps
In a low plank position, tap your hips on the ground on either side.
Stand with your hands by your side and your feet shoulder width apart. Raise your knees to your hips in a marching style. Place your hands at hip height as a guide for where your legs need to go.
On all fours, move forward on your toes try not to raise or lower your hips with each movement and merely move your legs to and away from your chest. Do not raise your hips through the movement and keep your back flat throughout the exercise. Move your opposite foot and your opposite leg to move forward.
On all fours with your hands behind you and your face forwards, move forwards. Make sure your fingers are pointing sideways and your hips are up as high as possible. Arms should be shoulder width apart as you are moving forwards and keeping your arms straight.
On all fours and your legs at 90 degrees with your toes on the ground and your heels at a right angle, kick your leg through from one side of your body to the other opening your body to the ceiling as you kick through.
In a plank position, with your belly button in, and squeezing your butt really tight, bring your knees to your chest, raising your feet off the ground.
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Bend you knee and kick your legs backwards, with your legs going as far back to touch your butt as possible.
Lie on your back and raise your arms and legs off the ground, raising up your shoulders. An easier variation would be to keep your arms to your side or keep your knees to your chest. Your lower back should be kept on the ground as much as possible. If you are getting posterior pelvic tilt, you need to regress. There should be no room between your lower back and the floor
Get yourself in a hollow body hold position, bring your hands to your legs, keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible.
Start with your front on the floor. Get in a push-up position and move your hands and feet off the floor. Start with your arms behind you and then in a v position with fingers pointing forwards and finally end with arms and legs off the floor.
Squat and jump, bending your legs with each landing. Hinge your hips backwards as you squat, making sure your knees are behind your toes.
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Raise your hands up and lift your knees to your chest while lowering your hands. Squeeze your core at the same time. Alternate this exercise to get the knee to the elbow for your obliques.
Move your feet back and forth and side to side as fast as possible while staying in the same position.
This exercise works your shoulder and your core, mobilises your hips and shoulders and stretches your hamstrings.
Start out on your feet with your legs shoulder width apart. Hinge from your hips, walk out with your hands, keeping your legs straight and reach forward on the floor until your hands are directly under your shoulders in a push up position, keeping your core tight and maintaining a straight line. Walk your hands back to your toes, keeping your hands straight. Avoid rounding that back
Stand with your legs shoulder width apart raise your leg in front of your with your leg straight as high as you can and then drive your heel to the floor.
Front and side kicks
Kick in front of you and kick to the side
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Your hands need to be on either side of your body with your chin tucked into your chest. Squeeze your butt while raising your hips as high as you possible can.
This is similar to a short bridge only your hands are straight, lifting yourself off the ground. Your wrists are to be directly under your shoulders. Your legs are to be straight. Raise your hops off the floor ensuring your heels are on the ground throughout the exercise.
In a short bride position, walk your feet out slowly and step by step.
Lie face down with arms by your ears and legs at shoulder width. Raise your hands and feet off the ground and hold this position for a short period of time.
Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet planted on the floor. Lie on your back. Sit up slowly, stopping at a midway point between lying back and sitting up. This should be about a 45 degree angle. Move your hands together like you have an oar in your hand and are rowing a boat.
Lie on your back with your face facing upward. Keep your arms to the side. Put your arms by your ears and raise your legs off the ground with your heels off the ground. Move your legs up and down like you are fluttering them. Make sure your lower back maintains full contact to the ground.
Go down in a squat position. At the top of your squat in a standing position, jump lifting both feet off the ground.
In a plank position, move both legs in and beside your left hand. Back to centre and then to the other side.
Thread the needle
Get yourself in a side plank position. Push your hips up, reach your free hand towards the sky, reach under you with your free hand, bending or twisting your torso towards the ground. Move your hands through to the other side, and then return back to your start position.
Get in the standard push up position. Lift one knee toward the elbow as you come down in the lower position of the push up. As you return back up, brink the leg back to the starting push-up position. Do not drag the foot across the floor, and keep your pelvis tucked under and your butt really tight.
Side jack knife
Bring your knee down to your elbow and your elbow up to your knee meeting halfway. Keep one arm out for stabilisation
side plank dip
Bring hips up from ground from a side plank
Drop feet down to one side raising up before they touch the ground. Keep your arms on either side of you.
Stand with feet together and arms at either side. Jump and move both legs to the side while raising your hands above your head. Make sure arms touch at the top. Bring your feet together while lowering your arms back to the start position. Engage your butt and core with repetition while ensuring your knees are pushed out with each repetition.
Stand with feet together and arms at either side of you. Move one foot out to the side while simultaneously raising both arms above your head. Make sure your hands touch at the top. Lower the hands while bringing the legs together.
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Hinge your hips backwards while bending your knees slightly. Keep your shoulders back and your chest out. Move from side to side keeping your toes pointed forwards. Keep your feet under you at all times.
58. Russian Twists
Get in a seated position with your knees raised and your feet planted on the floor. Lean back slightly. Twist from side to side moving both hands to one side and the other side of the body
59. Bent over rows
Stand with the weight (dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell directly in front of you). Lean forward with knees behind toes. Try to keep your back as straight as possible. Pull the weight directly into your waist, using your thighs to guide you. Your elbows should go behind your back and past your torso.
60. Squat to Knees
In a squat position, bring one knee down, and then the other knee down. Once both knees are down, the last knee that goes down must go up. Get back into that squat position, and repeat
61. Forward Lunges
Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Put one foot in front of the other, bending the knees so one touches the ground. Keep the knees behind the toes.