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Fitness for Everyone: 50 Exercises for Every Type of Body

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No matter who you are, you can perform every exercise in this book.

You want to get into shape but feel limited by your weight, age, or ability. You want to exercise but think everything seems too difficult. You want to develop a fitness routine but don't want to be forced into something. You want simple, flexible, and effective.
You know that exercise can benefit you physically and mentally, including lowering stress, increasing energy, and, yes, burning fat. But you also know that if you're not exercising consistently, you're not giving yourself the best chance to bring your body into balance.
Fitness for Everyone can help you with these goals and many more. This book offers these features:

• 50 exercises that have modifications for every body type
• 10 fitness routines for specific physical and mental benefits
• Expert fitness advice on how to incorporate fitness into your everyday life

If you thought you couldn't do a pushup or a jumping jack or a burpee, Fitness for Everyone has the right modification for you to allow you to do these exercises and dozens others. And you'll soon start saying "Yes, I can do every exercise in this book!"
Year:
2021
Publisher:
DK Publishing
Language:
english
Pages:
256
ISBN 10:
1615648992
ISBN 13:
9781615648993
ISBN:
2020941363
File:
EPUB, 172.52 MB
Download (epub, 172.52 MB)
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CONTENTS

How to use this ebook

Foreword

Yes, you can exercise!

Author feature: Louise Green

Chapter 1: Fitness Basics

Making fitness accessible—for everyone

Making fitness “core” in your life

Creating consistency & confidence

Breathing techniques

What you need to exercise

How to use this book / Meet the models

Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core

T-Raise

Chest Press

Squat to Shoulder Press

Split Stance Front Raise

Push-Up

Biceps Curl Crossover

Lat Pulldown

Triangle Push-Up

Pullover

Triceps Dip

Model feature: Simi Athwal

Wood Chop

V-Sit Oblique Rotation

Upright Pull

Bent-Over Row

Superhero (Lower Back Extension)

Upright Plank

Leg Drop

Dead Bug

Biceps Curl

Side Plank

Model feature: Thea Hill

Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio

Squat

Hip Thrust

Reverse Lunge

Wall Sit

Donkey Kick

Fast Feet

Deadlift

Lateral Leg Raise

Jab & Cross

Model feature: Jordan Herdman

Single-Leg Calf Raise

Squat Kick

Speed Skating

High Knees

Glute & Leg Extension

Burpee

Jumping Jack

Mountain Climber

Model feature: Faedragh Carpenter

Chapter 4: Stretch & Balance

Upper Back Stretch

Chest & Pectoral Stretch

Glute Medius Stretch

Oblique & Lat Stretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

Calf Stretch

Model feature: Taz Visram

Hamstring Stretch

Shoulder Stretch

Quad Stretch

Single-Leg Weight Pass

Single-Leg Arm Rotation

Airplane

Pendulum

Model feature: Rob Gosse

Chapter 5: Combinations, Intervals & Complexes

Interval Training

Multi-Action

Full-Body Complexes

Stretch & Balance Complexes

Upper Body / Lower Body / Core

About the Author / Acknowledgments

Copyright





How to use this eBook


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< Contents



FOREWORD

I remember the first time I stepped into a gym. It was back in 2012, right after my doctor called me fat and told me I was going to die.

Fueled by anger and defiance, I walked into the gym for the first time since I had graduated from my undergrad program in 2009. It was embarrassing and awkward. I didn’t know how to use the equipment. I felt like I was in everyone’s way. On top of that, I wasn’t thin, white, or wealthy. It felt like standing under a spotlight right when I wanted to disappear.

That first day, I didn’t even work out. I just moved from machine to machine and watched other people get their sweat on. I left feeling ashamed and defeated, thinking there’s no way I can do any of this stuff.

I went home and tried to search the web for exercises specifically for people in larger bodies. The results shocked me. All I found were people who didn’t look like me demonstrating exercises I knew I couldn’t do. I hired a trainer, but they didn’t know how to work with a plus-sized client. I decided it was time to teach myself: I fired the trainer and I started reading everything I could find.

The journey was long and difficult. More than once, I felt like a lab rat in a maze as I tested exercise theories and modifications on myself. It paid off. I slowly started to find fitness and confidence, which led me to trying other physical activities. That’s how I discovered my true passion: running. I’ve run eight marathons since then, including the four I finished in 2019. I covered every single mile with the full power of my 300-plus-pound body.

I’m living, breathing, running proof that fitness isn’t one-size-fits-all. It doesn’t look like what the media, magazines, and influencers portray it to be. The truth is, “fit and healthy” looks different on everybody. Fitness belongs to all of us. It’s our birthright—that’s the beauty of it.

Standing in that gym on Day One of my personal fitness journey, I’d have given anything for a book like Fitness for Everyone and a trainer like Louise Green. She’s a masterful trainer and has an intuitive understanding of what folks’ bodies are capable of.

This book couldn’t have come from anyone but her—and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The health and fitness industry is beginning to shift, but work like this is a much-needed antidote for the diversity and inclusion it’s still missing.

Each exercise Louise details here has variations for people of all shapes, sizes, body types, and abilities. It gives us all the equal opportunity to receive the benefits of getting our bodies moving, even if we don’t look like someone on the cover of a magazine. (Let’s be real here: Who actually does?)

I can’t express what it means to me—and the culture as a whole—that Fitness for Everyone depicts representations of what human beings who exercise actually look like. Thumbing through, you’ll surely see someone you can identify with. Whether you’ve been working out for years or you’re just getting started, you’ll find something new, challenging, and exciting.

The best part is that Louise’s teachings don’t require you to change who you are or to wait for when your body is thinner, fitter, or more stronger to get going. That’s a damn gift.

Learning to personalize and modify my fitness routine all those years ago helped me make peace with my body and changed my life. I became more physically fluent. I got stronger mentally and physically.

Fitness for Everyone can help you learn these things and come into your own athletic abilities too. This book will empower you, inspire you, challenge you, and change you. All you have to do is turn the page and start your next chapter.

MARTINUS EVANS

(Instagram: @300poundsandrunning)





< Contents



YES, YOU CAN EXERCISE!

As a young girl, I was very active. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s. As kids, most of our free time was spent in the great outdoors using our imagination and channeling it to physical play. In addition to free-play physical activity, I also participated in organized sports. I played on the school teams for basketball, volleyball, and track and field, and on weekends, I played in a soccer league.

Even at a young age, I loved how exercise made me feel: invigorated and alive. It was a place I could lose myself for an hour or two and push myself to my limits. What I know now is that I loved the endorphins and the chemical change in my brain when I exerted my body. Now I see that exercise, even at that young age, made me a happier, more confident kid and fostered a strong foundation for mental and physical health into my teen and adult years.

Through my 20s, I lived through a period of extreme diet culture. As many young women do, I got caught up in the idealistic beauty standards presented in our media message and I wasn’t accepting of my body. I used exercise as a tool to achieve my thinness goals and it started to taint my joy for movement.

On yet another quest to lose weight, I decided I’d give running a try. I figured that if all the runners on the front of magazines were lean, I could be too. On the first night of my new running clinic, I was terrified but was completely taken aback to learn that my new run leader was a plus-size woman. She was the first plus-size athletic representation I’d ever seen.

Her name was Chris and I trained with her for more than 12 weeks to the 5K finish line. She trained me like an athlete, never once mentioning my body size or the limitations I thought I had. Chris profoundly changed my life. I ran that 5K race, then many 10K races, then half-marathons, then transitioned into triathlons. I cycled long-distance events. I stopped dieting and started believing in myself at the size I was and started living my athletic dreams in the body I had. I eventually left my career to pursue fitness full-time to show others that no matter what they think their limitations are, they can still enjoy the power of physical movement.

Maybe your struggle isn’t weight, but whatever it is, accepting and adapting to how your body moves is absolutely possible. Meeting Chris made me realize that if one person can impact me so greatly with the power of her representation, then what would the world be like if fitness magazines and health and wellness bookshelves accurately represented the population at large? What if people of all ages, abilities, sizes, and ethnicities were included? What would the impact be if representation was commonplace and normative bodies became all bodies?

I believe representation is the gateway to accessibility and, ultimately, global health and wellness. This book is dedicated to the people who long to see themselves in fitness and who long to be inspired and motivated by a likeness of themselves. Representation shows us what’s possible.

I hope this book shows you that fitness is possible in your life.

LOUISE GREEN

(Instagram: @louisegreen_bigfitgirl)





< Contents



LOUISE GREEN

I’m a person who tenaciously goes after my goals and dreams. I want to live fully and I never want stereotypes to define who I am and how I should live. I care about people deeply. I have the skill to genuinely empathize with each person I meet and take time to see life through their lens. On a personal level, the benefits to exercise have profoundly changed my life from a physical, mental, and spiritual position. Fitness has fostered better body confidence and leadership and has allowed me to expand my mind to believing that almost anything is possible. I believe that everyone should have access to these benefits.

For more than 15 years, I’ve worked diligently to listen, observe, and adapt fitness for my clients—many of whom have felt unrepresented and sidelined by our fitness culture. Together, we’ve found ways to make things work and created options for them to adapt the same mindset and fortitude to achieve their goals. Diversity and inclusion of people of all walks of life are essential to the betterment of humankind. Everyone deserves to be seen and considered so we can all enjoy the benefits of health and wellness.

Fitness has changed who I am. I’m a more confident, body-positive, adventurous, and less fearful person than I was before. I’ve trained for some pretty rigorous goals, and fitness has taught me that if I show up and engage in the process with a positive mindset, I’ll succeed. Not everyone’s body is the same and we all have different capabilities, but we all have goals we can take higher—no matter our size, age, or ability. I became consistently active in my late 20s and I’ve always been someone who has enjoyed a variety of movement: running, triathlons, boot camps, Olympic lifting, and boxing. I’ve also learned that we all have different ways in which we’re motivated. Some like to go hardcore; some prefer a gentler approach. Some people like to track all their fitness analytics, some seek fitness adventure, and some like the same routine. It’s important to honor your fitness personality and how you’re motivated because knowing this is the key to longevity.

It’s important to understand that everyone is different, with different needs, cultures, and abilities. It’s vital to step out of yourself and try to see life through someone else’s eyes. Seek to understand their struggle and try to strategize with their life circumstances. Often, people tend to advise from their own perspective. It’s important to understand that your version of health might not be the client’s version of health and your workout will be inappropriate for them. Remember to observe, listen, and adapt because at the end of the day, most people just want to be seen and heard and know that their voice and their health matter.





< Contents





CHAPTER 1

FITNESS BASICS

< Contents



Making Fitness Accessible—For Everyone

Making Fitness “Core” In Your Life

Creating Consistency & Confidence

Breathing Techniques

What You Need To Exercise

How To Use This Book / Meet The Models





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



MAKING FITNESS ACCESSIBLE— FOR EVERYONE

Fitness is for every body. People sometimes feel excluded from fitness culture because they don’t see someone like themselves. Representation removes barriers and invites everyone to join. This book will show you how fitness can benefit your daily life—no matter your shape, size, age, or ability.

Boost self-assurance.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t exercise is because it can look intimidating. But there’s more than one way to perform an exercise and still gain similar benefits. The variations and modifications in this book will help you slowly build confidence and strength. Starting slowly not only cultivates body trust but is also the safest method to increase strength without injury at a rate that’s doable for your body and your mind. When and if you’re ready, you can move to a different variation or modification or even try the main exercise.

Improve mental health.

Exercise can elevate your mood and help you manage mild to moderate depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise releases endorphins that flood your brain with chemicals that make you feel good. Exertion can help you feel like a new person. Things that bothered you before working out might no longer be major concerns. Making exercise accessible to all people means equity in access to wellness for the body but also the mind.

Develop body confidence.

When you feel strong in your body, you often have higher body confidence. The more you rely on your body, the more you trust it—and with trust comes higher confidence. This is the case for all bodies of all abilities. If you stop believing in your body, you lose confidence. Strength training and overall physical conditioning are important because with growing confidence, we’re more inclined to try new things and set new goals. Body confidence is the forward momentum to physical achievements because you can trust you’re capable.

Increase strength, balance & endurance.

Physical fitness is important at any age but particularly as you grow older. Optimal fitness supports lasting independence and allows you to say yes to life without worrying your body will fail you. Daily movement creates better mobility and strength training builds muscle mass and bone density. Plus, there are all the physiological benefits exercise can bring, such as managing blood pressure as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Daily exercise also aids in better sleep, balance, and overall endurance to manage life with more vigor and ease.

Enhance the quality of life—now & always.

It’s sometimes difficult to imagine the importance of quality of life and the “golden years” when you’re young, but exercise can lay the foundation for aging well. Exercise can even slow down the aging process. People who have a lifelong history with exercise show less decline in muscle and bone density loss as opposed to those who didn’t exercise. Regular exercisers also often have elevated immunity. The benefits of fitness are really endless, but living independently with a great quality of life for as long as you can is a great motivator to move regularly.



“When everyone is included, everyone wins.”

—JESSE JACKSON





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



MAKING FITNESS “CORE” IN YOUR LIFE

If you’re new to fitness and wondering how this book can help you, there are some things you might want to know before starting: why you’re doing something, what the benefits are, and how to be effective. You’ll also want to know how to set goals and take safety precautions. What follows are the different components of fitness and their methodology.

Build muscular strength.

Muscular strength is all about creating strength within the muscles by increasing demand on the fibers. You can achieve this strength by performing exercises with your body weight, resistance bands, weight machines, and dumbbells. Putting demands on your muscles breaks down muscle fibers. Then your body builds muscular strength when your body repairs this breakdown. In time, increasing loads with lower reps will develop muscular strength. With this book, you can work on the strength routines, and over time, you can increase the weights to achieve improved muscular strength.

Increase muscular endurance.

Muscular endurance is the ability to put your muscles under demand for longer periods. Muscular endurance comes with longer training periods and specifically with weight training that involves higher reps and lighter weights. This conditions the muscle fibers to work under demand and helps you endure longer workouts. Muscular endurance is also achieved in long-distance training, such as cycling and running. With this book, you can achieve muscular endurance by performing the longer workouts, and when the time is right, you can stack workouts at the back of the book.

Develop cardiovascular endurance.

Cardiovascular endurance relies on how efficiently your heart, capillaries, and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your lungs. The more practiced you are in cardio fitness, the more efficiently this system runs—and you can thus perform cardio exercise for longer periods. At first, you might feel out of breath, but over time, the more you push this system with each workout, the more you can do cardio fitness with ease. With this book, you can improve cardiovascular endurance by choosing the longer interval workouts.

Improve flexibility.

Flexibility is an important part of fitness because without it, your muscles can shorten, and over time, this can cause biomechanic challenges and occasionally injury. Working on flexibility will improve your range of motion and make movements easier. With this book, you can improve your flexibility by performing the stretch and balance routines.

Seek medical approval.

If you’ve been away from fitness for a long time or things have changed in your health, it’s a good idea to let your doctor know about your new fitness plan. Getting approval from a doctor will set you up for the best safety and, of course, the best success.

Start slowly & lightly.

Many people like to go back to what they were once able to do and start there, but our bodies evolve over time and we must respect where we are today. Starting slowly and lightly is responsible fitness, and once that feels good, you can slowly increase your weights and elevate your intensity.

Have proper footwear.

Make sure you have good footwear that’s designed for exercise. You can open yourself up to injury if you don’t protect your feet with shoes that work for movement. Talk to your salesperson about athletic training shoes, cross-trainers, or gym shoes.

understand your rate of perceived exertion.

This is a tool for trainers to understand how hard their clients are working, but if you’re exercising alone, this is a great way to gauge your own intensity.

1: Very light activity: anything other than sleeping or watching TV

2 to 3: Light activity: feels like you can maintain for hours; easy to breathe and hold a conversation

4 to 6: Moderate exercise: breathing heavily; can hold a short conversation; still somewhat comfortable but becoming noticeably more challenging

7 to 8: Vigorous activity: borderline uncomfortable; can speak a sentence

9: Very hard activity: very difficult to maintain exercise intensity; can barely breathe; can speak only a few words

10: Max effort activity: feels almost impossible to keep going; completely out of breath; unable to talk; can’t maintain for more than a very short time

For this book, the 4 to 6 range is a great goal to work toward. You might find yourself in the 7 to 8 range if you’re performing the interval workouts with cardio bursts, but moving beyond this can be unsafe. Knowing where you are and how you’re supposed to feel is the ideal way to self-regulate your exercise routine.





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



CREATING CONSISTENCY & CONFIDENCE

Regular fitness requires planning, intention, and daily motivation. Exercising often cultivates energy, and when you establish at-home routines, you eliminate some of the obstacles. Plus, with the key tips discussed here, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Start slowly.

Being patient and listening to your body are essential to longevity in fitness. It doesn’t matter what you could do 5 years ago or 20 pounds ago. All that matters is now. Many people do too much too fast and end up injuring themselves. Smart fitness means going slowly, feeling successful with every workout, and then incrementally moving up to bigger challenges. Starting slowly also builds body trust and confidence as well as helps you prevent potential injury.

Set a goal.

Setting goals is a great way to not only develop a fitness routine but also to maintain that routine. Write weekly and monthly goals where you can see them every day. Having a plan—and working on that plan—creates confidence in the process. One great way to establish goals is to use the SMART method:

Specific: I want to work out at least three times a week by performing two interval workouts and one stretching session.

Measurable: Through these workouts, I want to increase my weights 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Attainable: I need to set a goal that’s doable. Yes, I can work out 7 days a week, but this isn’t attainable or sustainable over time.

Realistic: My goal must be realistic and something I can sustain over time given all my other responsibilities in life.

Timely: I’m going to do this for 30 days and then reassess my goals.



Make schedules.

If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. This is never more true than with exercise. If you’re waiting for the right moment or a free moment, life takes over and you never end up exercising. You must intentionally make time to look after your health and wellness. Once a week, get out the calendar and make appointments with yourself to move. If something important comes up, this appointment is rescheduled, not cancelled. Honor your health and make time to move, move, move.

Create the space.

Making exercise easy and accessible to attain will lead to longevity in your commitment. If you have a space created just for your movement and some basic equipment, then you’re setting yourself up for success. Make this space a place you want to be, add some motivational posters, and get a speaker for listening to music. Make this space your own because this area will play a significant role in your motivation.

Do what you love.

Some exercises are difficult and not the most fun, but a difference exists between enduring a difficult movement for a minute or two and doing a movement you really dislike. If you don’t like something, you’re likely to give up easily. When you first start a fitness routine, the conditioning phase can present quite a challenge—mentally and physically. Give a certain workout a chance for a week or two before you decide whether you like it. Find workouts you enjoy because they’re the gateway to consistency and sustainability.





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



BREATHING TECHNIQUES

When it comes to exercise, effective breathing can result in efficient performance. The more you move, the more oxygen you need. But it’s not just how much you move. You also need to consider the type of physical movement you’re performing and which breathing style best supports that.

Weight lifting

When weight lifting, inhale at the moment of least resistance and exhale at the moment of most exertion. For example, when performing a shoulder press, exhale when you raise the weights toward the ceiling. Then inhale as you lower the weights to your shoulders. Over time, as you lift heavier weights, exhale with more force.

Cardiovascular

There are some different schools of thought on cardio breathing. I recommend my clients to nose breathe to a certain point, then to mouth breathe when things get more intense. Deep breathing, no matter where it’s coming from, will help oxygenate the muscles and carry you through the workout longer. For example, when running in place, for every two to four strides, you should breathe in and out. When you first start running in place, inhale and exhale through your nose with every two movements. When you increase the intensity, inhale and exhale through your mouth with every two movements. (Even though this book includes a wide variety of cardio moves, try to maintain a full breath for every two symmetrical or near-symmetrical movements.)

Stretching

Breathing properly while stretching can greatly enhance your flexibility. Inhale slowly through your nose as you |go into a stretch, expanding your belly. Exhale slowly through your nose or mouth as you release the stretch. Inhaling as you find your way into the stretch and exhaling as you’re deepening into the stretch make the stretch more intense but also more effective. For example, with a side bend, with your arms raised toward the ceiling, inhale as you bend your torso to your left and reach as far as you can with your right hand. Exhale as you hold this position and deepen into the stretch by leaning in an inch or two more.

Isometric & balance

Many people hold their breath during isometric (static) and balance exercises. But keeping a steady flow of oxygen into the body makes an exercise more effective. For example, as you find your way into a plank and hold that position, breathe in deeply into the belly and breathe out steadily. This helps you maintain balance while ensuring you continue to get needed oxygen to the muscles that are helping you stay in the plank.





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



WHAT YOU NEED TO EXERCISE

You can perform every exercise in this book just about anywhere and with minimal equipment. Here are some items you might need to do the main exercises in this book as well as the variations.

Yoga mat

Because there are a lot of exercises performed on the floor, you might want to have a mat underneath you. Look for ones that will accommodate your height, can prevent slipping, and have ample cushioning.

Chair

Chairs can help with issues of limited mobility or flexibility. Find one that’s sturdy and feels comfortable.

resistance band

Buy a resistance band that’s at least 10 feet long and has comfortable handles. It should be made from high-quality rubber or have a ruffle cloth cover.

Clothes

You should wear clothes that allow you to move freely and without constriction. What matters most is that you feel comfortable no matter what you wear.

Wall

You can find a wall anywhere. They offer accessibility, stabilization, and resistance—and they can even aid in relaxation. Use one with plenty of nearby floor space.

bolster

You might find you feel more comfortable performing some exercises and variations with a bolster under your legs or other body parts. Find one that feels comfortable when you hug it to your chest.

weights

Start with small handheld weights. In time, when these don’t provide the resistance you desire, you can move up to heavier weights.

Stability Ball

Finding the best stability ball is as easy as actually sitting on one before you buy it, but also check the weight capacity. You’ll want to make sure you feel comfortable and stable while using one.





< Chapter 1: Fitness Basics < Contents



HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This book has four main components:





MEET THE MODELS


LOUISE

READ HER STORY ON LOUISE GREEN.



SIMI

READ HER STORY ON SIMI ATHWAL.



THEA

READ HER STORY ON THEA HILL.



JORDAN

READ HIS STORY ON JORDAN HERDMAN.



FAEDRAGH

READ HER STORY ON FAEDRAGH CARPENTER.



TAZ

READ HIS STORY ON TAZ VISRAM.



ROB

READ HIS STORY ON ROB GOSSE.





< Contents





CHAPTER 2

UPPER BODY & CORE

< Contents



T-Raise

Chest Press

Squat to Shoulder Press

Split Stance Front Raise

Push-Up

Biceps Curl Crossover

Lat Pulldown

Triangle Push-Up

Pullover

Triceps Dip

Model feature: Simi Athwal

Wood Chop

V-Sit Oblique Rotation

Upright Pull

Bent-Over Row

Superhero (Lower Back Extension)

Upright Plank

Leg Drop

Dead Bug

Biceps Curl

Side Plank

Model feature: Thea Hill





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



T-RAISE

Strong shoulders are essential for functional everyday living, including lifting, pulling, and throwing. This is a great exercise for using two of the three heads in the deltoids that are critical for these movements: the medial and anterior.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your shoulders.



2 Step your right foot forward until your feet are about 1 to 2 feet apart.



3 Extend your arms toward your sides until aligned with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



// T-RAISE //

VARIATIONS

These modifications offer better stability to allow you to gradually work up to the split stance.



STANDING

1. Stand with your back flat against a wall and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Extend your arms toward your sides until aligned with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED (NO WEIGHTS)

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor under your knees.

2. Extend your arms toward your sides until aligned with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR

1. Lie on your back on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Extend your arms to your sides until aligned with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



CHEST PRESS

Many everyday movements—maintaining posture, pushing, and embracing—involve the pectoral muscles. Plus, they’re critical for different actions in fitness and sports. This chest press is great for building strength in your upper body.



1 Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides. (You can also place a bolster under your calves for more support.)



2 Extend your arms to your sides and bend your elbows to form 90-degree angles with your arms.



3 Extend your arms toward the ceiling. Pause, then lower your arms to again form 90-degree angles with your arms. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



// CHEST PRESS //

VARIATIONS

These modifications offer variety and options without having to get on the floor or use a bench.



WITH A WALL (NO WEIGHTS)

1. Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet shoulder width apart. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Step your feet about 1 foot away from the wall. (Stay closer to the wall if the exercise starts to feel too challenging.)

3. Extend your arms to your sides and bend your arms to form 90-degree angles with your arms.

4. Extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your arms to again form 90-degree angles with your arms. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of a seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lean backward until your upper back and shoulders are supported by the back of the chair.

3. Extend your arms toward the ceiling until aligned with your lower legs. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



ON A STABILITY BALL

1. Sit on a stability ball and place your feet flat on the floor and under your knees. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Walk your feet forward until the ball is between your upper back and shoulders.

3. Extend your arms toward the ceiling until aligned with your lower legs. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



SQUAT TO SHOULDER PRESS

With multi-joint movements that incorporate different muscles, this exercise offers a full-body experience. These motions take some coordination, but as you get stronger, you can use the momentum of your legs to push through to the press.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your shoulders.



2 Put your weight into your heels and bend your knees to slowly lower your body into a squat.



3 Begin to return to standing and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Pause, then lower the weights to your shoulders. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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// SQUAT TO SHOULDER PRESS //

VARIATIONS

Using the floor or a chair for assistance gives you a variety of options with less load to slowly build muscle.



SQUATTING TO STANDING (NO WEIGHTS)

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows and form 45-degree angles with your arms.

2. Bend your knees to slowly lower your body into a squat to form a 45-degree angle with your legs.

3. Begin to return to standing and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Pause, then repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



SEATED TO STANDING

1. Stand facing away from the seat of a chair with your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Bend your elbows to form 45-degree angles with your arms. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Put your weight in your heels and bend your knees to slowly lower your body toward the chair.

3. Begin to return to standing and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Pause, then repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR & WITH A WALL

1. Lie on your back on the floor and place the bottom of your feet flat against a wall. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your shoulders.

2. Press your feet into the wall and extend your arms over your head until your arms are straight. Pause, then lower the weights to your shoulders. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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SPLIT STANCE FRONT RAISE

Moving your arms away from your body creates further instability, but forming a split stance with your legs calls on your core to activate for stability. This is technically a shoulder exercise, but you’ll work different muscles with each movement.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Step your right foot forward and place your foot flat on the floor, exaggerating your natural stride by about 2 feet, to form a triangle with your body.



3 Extend your arms forward until aligned with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 6 times. Repeat these steps with your left foot stepped forward.





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// SPLIT STANCE FRONT RAISE //

VARIATIONS

Doing a split stance puts the body off-center, but using a chair or a wall can help you ease into the form.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand with your left side facing the back of a chair and your feet shoulder width apart. Place your left hand on the back of the chair for stability. Hold a weight in your right hand and relax your right arm at your side.

2. Step your right foot backward, exaggerating your natural stride by about 2 feet.

3. Extend your right arm forward until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your arm to your side. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right side facing the back of the chair and a weight in your left hand.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair. Extend your right leg backward. Extend your left leg forward and place your left foot flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your arms to your sides. Repeat this step 6 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended backward and your right foot flat on the floor.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Step your left foot forward and extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your arms. Repeat this step 6 times. Repeat these steps with your right foot stepped forward.





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PUSH-UP

Push-ups are challenging because you’re lifting your entire body weight with the mechanics of your arms and chest. Focus on your form and movements to not only get the most benefits from push-ups but to also prevent injuries.



1 Lie on your stomach on the floor. Place your hands and the tops of your toes flat on the floor. (You can also use a bolster to elevate your legs.) Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and bend your elbows.



2 Push through your hands and lift your body off the floor until your arms are straight, then pause.



3 Bend your elbows to slowly lower your body to as close to the floor as possible. Pause, then repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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// PUSH - UP //

VARIATIONS

These push-up modifications allow for a more gradual approach to pushing your body weight away from a surface.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Place your hands flat against the wall and step your feet backward until your arms are fully extended.

3. Bend your elbows to slowly lean your body into the wall until your nose almost touches the wall. Hold this position for 1 second.

4. Push through your hands and lift your body off the wall until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Place the back of a chair against a wall. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the seat of the chair and keep your arms straight. Extend your legs backward.

2. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your body as far as you can toward the seat of the chair. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Push through your hands and lift your body off the seat of the chair until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR

1. Place your hands and knees flat on the floor. Elevate your lower legs off the floor and cross your ankles.

2. Slowly bend your elbows to form a 90-degree angle with your arms and lower your body as far as you can. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Push through your hands and lift your body off the floor until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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BICEPS CURL CROSSOVER

Who doesn’t love strong arms? This exercise is a great way to build bicep strength. Plus, strong biceps make everyday movements like lifting, carrying, and pulling easier. You’ll be amazed at how easily you can develop your arms with this curl.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Bend your right elbow and reach the weight across your body and toward your left side.



3 Bring the weight across your body toward your right shoulder, mimicking a windshield wiper. Pause, then repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left arm.





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// BICEPS CURL CROSSOVER //

VARIATIONS

These variations offer ways to progress and regress the exercise: a squat for more challenge and seated for less challenge.



SQUATTING WITH ONE WEIGHT

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in your right hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your right elbow and lift the weight toward your right shoulder.

3. Bend your knees and lower your body until your legs form a 45-degree angle. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with the weight in your left hand.



SEATED

In step 1, sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in your right hand and relax your arms at your sides. Continue with the remaining steps.



DEEPER SQUAT

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in your right hand and relax your right arm at your side. Place your left hand on your left hip.

2. Bend your right elbow and reach the weight across your body toward your left side.

3. Bend your knees and lower your body until your legs form a 90-degree angle. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with the weight in your left hand.





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LAT PULLDOWN

Lat exercises can really help with strengthening the torso. When the trunk of your body is strong, you can hold a better posture. When your posture is sound, you tend to have fewer issues with biomechanics and overall body ailments. Strong lats for the win!



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold one weight in your hands and rest the weight in front of your pelvis.



2 Extend your arms toward the ceiling and slightly bend your elbows.



3 Slowly lower your arms until the weights align with your shoulders. Pause, then extend your arms toward the ceiling. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// LAT PULLDOWN //

VARIATIONS

These modifications are great if balance or standing is an issue. The one with the resistance band offers variety to your workout.



SEATED

In step 1, sit on a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Continue with the remaining steps.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your back flat against a wall. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Extend your arms toward the ceiling and slightly bend your elbows.

3. Slowly lower your arms to form 90-degree angles with your arms until the weights align with your ears. Pause, then extend your arms toward the ceiling. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



WITH A RESISTANCE BAND

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a resistance band taut across your chest with your hands.

2. Raise your arms until your hands align with your shoulders. Slightly bend your elbows.

3. Slowly pull the band toward the sides of your shoulders. Pause, then lower the band to your chest. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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TRIANGLE PUSH-UP

By placing your hands in the form of a triangle, you can perform a push-up in a more narrow position than a regular push-up. This kind of push-up targets your chest but also activates your triceps, helping build strength in these muscles.



1 Lie on your stomach on the floor. Place your hands and the balls of your feet flat on the floor. Form a triangle under your chest with your index fingers and thumbs.



2 Push through your hands and lift your body off the floor until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second.



3 Bend your elbows to slowly lower your body to as close to the floor as possible. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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// TRIANGLE PUSH-UP //

VARIATIONS

Performing this exercise on your knees or on elevated surfaces can help you build strength gradually and then progress.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand facing 1 foot away from a wall. Bend your elbows and place your hands flat on the wall at nose level. Form a triangle with your index fingers and thumbs.

2. Press through your hands and push your body away from the wall until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Bend your elbows to slowly lean your body as far as you can into the wall. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



KNEES ON THE FLOOR

1. Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows. Form a triangle with your index fingers and thumbs.

2. Push through your hands and lift your body off the floor until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your body as far as you can. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Place the back of a chair against a wall. Place your hands on the seat of the chair to form a triangle with your index fingers and thumbs. Extend your legs backward at a comfortable angle.

2. Push through your hands and lift your body off the chair until your arms are straight. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Bend your elbows to slowly lower your body as far as you can toward the chair. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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PULLOVER

This exercise isolates your latissimus dorsi (lats), which are the large muscles that run down the sides of your back under your armpits. Strengthening these muscles can help you with lifting, rotating your arms, and pulling objects toward you.



1 Lie on your back on the floor. Bend your knees at 45-degree angles and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold one weight in your hands and extend your arms toward the ceiling.



2 Slowly extend your arms over your head and lower the weight as close to the floor as possible. Pause, then extend your arms toward the ceiling. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// PULLOVER //

VARIATIONS

If you find it challenging to get down on the floor, try one of these modifications to do this exercise in another way.



STANDING

1. Stand with your feet slightly apart. Hold one weight in your hands and extend your arms forward until aligned with your shoulders.

2. Extend your arms toward the ceiling until the weight is over your head. Pause, then extend your arms forward. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold one weight in your hands and extend your arms toward the ceiling.

2. Lean backward until your upper back and shoulders are supported by the back of the chair. Slowly lower the weight behind your head. Pause, then extend your arms toward the ceiling. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



ON A STABILITY BALL

1. Lie on your back on a stability ball and position your mid- to upper back as the anchor on the ball. Place your feet flat on the floor under your knees. Hold one weight in your hands and extend your arms toward the ceiling. (You can place your feet or toes against a wall for more stability.)

2. Raise your hips until they align with your torso. Extend your arms over your head and slowly lower the weight behind your head. Pause, then extend your arms toward the ceiling. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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TRICEPS DIP

The triceps dip is a challenging but muscle-isolating exercise. It’s challenging because the mechanics of the movements essentially put all your body weight in a smaller muscle group at the back of your arms while you dip.



1 Place the back of a chair against a wall. Stand facing away from the seat of the chair and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Bend your knees and lower yourself toward the seat of the chair. Place your hands on the sides of the chair and step your feet slightly forward.



3 Bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the floor. Pause for 1 second, then straighten your arms. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// TRICEPS DIP //

VARIATIONS

Try these seated, wall, and feet-stacking modifications to help you work toward the main exercise.



SEATED

In step 2, bend your knees until your feet are below your knees. Continue with the remaining step.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your back flat against a wall and place your hands flat against the wall just above your hips.

2. Step about 1 to 2 feet away from the wall and slightly bend your knees. Keep your elbows bent.

3. Push through your hands to lift your body off the wall until your arms are straight, then pause.

4. Bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the wall, then pause. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand facing away from the seat of a chair placed against a wall and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your knees and lower yourself toward the floor.

3. Bend your elbows at 45-degree angles and place your hands on the sides of the chair. Extend your legs forward and place your right foot on top of your left foot (heel to toe). Pause, then straighten your arms. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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SIMI ATHWAL

I’m compassionate, hardworking, shy, and reserved at times, but I have a disciplined and goal-oriented attitude toward life. I have a competitive spirit in me that brings me great joy when I meet and surpass a challenge.

Ever since my parents and I emigrated from India to North America, being physically active has always been a part of my upbringing. From competing nationally in table tennis events as a child, push-up and chin-up contests, playing tennis and squash, running in local and international races and marathons, and, most recently, playing senior ladies doubles in tennis, I never sit still for long. Staying active and eating well really hit home for me when I lost my mom to cancer at such an early age as well as several close friends.

I credit my weight training during my teenage years with giving me the physical confidence and mental determination to overcome any challenges I faced as I entered adulthood. And to this day, I rely on my work with weights to keep me strong and grounded in body and mind.

I loved long-distance running for the stability it provided to my mind as I battled through a difficult marriage breakup. Cross-training with yoga and weight training has kept me injury-free all these years, and at 58 years old, I recently suffered my first major injury while playing in a local tennis tournament. Although I completely tore my ACL and partially tore my MCL, I was back on the tennis court in 8 weeks. My recovery surprised my doctor and physiotherapist and was highly likely a result of my overall fitness level.

I raised my three boys—now also very active young adults—to keep moving and have fun in team sports like soccer, hockey, and, of course, tennis. I’ve prided myself in being a good role model for them and making fitness a key factor in maintaining joy and purpose in life. Needless to say, they’re as competitive as me. Because I’ve recently retired after 10 years from a desk job in administration, I’m looking forward to combining my passion for playing tennis with travel and having some more fun!





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WOOD CHOP

These actions use the oblique plane of movement, which involves rotation and diagonal motions. Plus, this exercise uses all the planes of motion to keep the body tuned in to a variety of movements, helping keep the brain alert.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold one weight in your hands and rest the weight in front of your pelvis.



2 Bend your knees to slowly lower your hips backward into a squat. Rotate your torso to your right and reach the weight toward the outside of your right leg.



3 Begin to return to standing. Turn your right heel toward your right side and reach the weight toward your left shoulder. Pause, then return the weight to your right leg. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



4 Bend your knees to slowly lower your hips backward into a squat. Rotate your torso to your left and reach the weight toward the outside of your left leg.



5 Begin to return to standing. Turn your left heel toward your left side and reach the weight toward your right shoulder. Pause, then return the weight to your left leg. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// WOOD CHOP //

VARIATIONS

If squatting isn’t for you, try the standing version without weights or use a chair or a stability ball.



STANDING (NO WEIGHT)

In step 1, hold your empty hands at your pelvis. Continue with the remaining steps.



ON A STABILITY BALL

1. Sit on a stability ball and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold one weight in your hands and relax your arms at your right hip.

2. Raise the weight from your right hip across your body to your left shoulder. Pause, then lower the weight to your right hip. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times and lower the weight to your left hip after the last rep.

3. Raise the weight from your left hip across your body to your right shoulder. Pause, then lower the weight to your left hip. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold one weight in your hands and relax your arms at your right hip.

2. Raise the weight from your right hip across your body to your left shoulder. Pause, then lower the weight to your right hip. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times and lower the weight to your left hip after the last rep.

3. Raise the weight from your left hip across your body to your right shoulder. Pause, then lower the weight to your left hip. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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V-SIT OBLIQUE ROTATION

Oblique rotations target your middle abdominals and obliques—the muscles at the sides of your abs. When you recline, you work these muscles. More depth to your incline makes the demand more intense. Plus, when you rotate, you work your obliques.



1 Sit on the floor and place a weight on the right side of your body. Place a bolster under your knees. Rest your hands at the center of your chest.



2 Grab the weight with your hands and extend your arms forward from your chest. Lean your torso back until you feel your core activated.



3 Rotate your upper body to your right side and lower the weight to your right hip. Hold this position for 1 second.



4 Rotate your upper body to your left side and lower the weight to your left hip. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times per side.





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// V-SIT OBLIQUE ROTATION //

VARIATIONS

You can do this exercise standing or you can challenge yourself more on the floor with either your feet anchored or unanchored.



STANDING

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hold one weight in your hands in front of your chest.

2. Rotate your torso and arms to your left until the weight reaches your left shoulder. Hold this position for 1 second.

3. Rotate your torso and arms to your right side until the weight reaches your right shoulder. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times per side.



FEET ON THE FLOOR

In step 1, bend your knees and press your heels into the floor rather than use a bolster. Continue with the remaining steps.



FEET ELEVATED

1. Sit on the floor and place a weight on the right side of your body. Lift your feet off the floor and bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle with your legs.

2. Grab the weight with your hands and extend your arms forward. Lean your torso backward to form a 45-degree angle with your body.

3. Rotate your torso and arms to your right side until the weight reaches your right hip. Hold this position for 1 second.

4. Rotate your torso and arms to your left side until the weight reaches your left hip. Hold this position for 1 second. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times per side.





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UPRIGHT PULL

This shoulder exercise focuses on your anterior and medial deltoids (the front and middle shoulder heads). Strengthening your deltoids can help you prevent shoulder injuries. Thus, for shoulder health, perform these upright pulls with lighter weights.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your thighs.



2 Lift your arms until the weights align with your shoulders. Pause, then lower your arms to your thighs. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// UPRIGHT PULL //

VARIATIONS

Try the seated option if you have trouble standing or try the split stance or shoulder roll to add more challenge.



SEATED

In step 1, sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your thighs. Continue with the remaining step.



WITH LESS INTENSITY

In step 2, as the weights reach your shoulders, round your shoulders up and back. Continue with the remainder of the step.



WITH A SPLIT STANCE

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Step your right foot forward, exaggerating your natural stride by about 2 feet, to form a triangle with your body.

3. Lift your arms until the weights align with your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights to your hips. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left foot stepped forward.





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BENT-OVER ROW

This exercise isolates and works your upper back muscles, specifically the rhomboids, lats, and trapezius. For this to be most effective, you need to bend your body to at least a 45-degree angle to keep this as a back exercise.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Bend at your waist to form a 45-degree angle with your body. Allow the weights to extend to your shins.



3 Bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your chest until your elbows align with your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// BENT-OVER ROW //

VARIATIONS

These variations offer ways to make this exercise more challenging through balance or easier with chair options.



SINGLE-LEG ROW

In step 3, extend your right leg backward to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your hips until your elbows align with your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights toward the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended backward.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand 1 to 2 feet behind a chair facing away from you. Hold a weight in your right hand and relax your right arm at your side. Place your left hand on the back of the chair.

2. Bend at your waist to form a 45-degree angle with your body.

3. Bend your right elbow and lift the weight toward the right side of your chest. Pause, then lower the weight to your side. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with a weight in your left hand and your right hand on the back of the chair.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend at your waist to form a 45-degree angle with your body.

3. Bend your elbows and lift the weights toward your hips. Pause, then lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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SUPERHERO (LOWER BACK EXTENSION)

Low back pain is often the result of weakness in your lower back. So why would you want to do a lower back extension? Because gently performing these steps can help you slowly build strength in your lower back and reduce discomfort.



1 Lie on your stomach on the floor. Extend your arms forward and extend your legs backward.



2 Raise your arms, lower legs, and chest off the floor. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then lower your body to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// SUPERHERO (LOWER BACK EXTENSION) //

VARIATIONS

Use a chair to stay off the floor or use a stability ball to intensify core activation. Try the tabletop modification for a little variety.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Face the seat of a chair toward a wall. Stand behind the chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your right hand on the back of the chair and relax your left arm at your side.

2. Bend at your waist to form a 45-degree angle with your body. Extend your left arm toward the wall until parallel with the floor and extend your right leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then lower your left arm to your side and your right leg to the floor.

3. Extend your right arm toward the wall until parallel with the floor and extend your left leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then lower your right arm to your side and your left leg to the floor. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR

1. Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor.

2. Slowly extend your right arm forward and extend your left leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then lower your right arm and left leg to the floor.

3. Slowly extend your left arm forward and extend your right leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then lower your left arm and right leg to the floor. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.



ON A STABILITY BALL

1. Lie on your stomach on a stability ball. Place your hands flat on the floor or on the ball to stabilize your body. Extend your legs backward.

2. Slowly extend your left arm forward and extend your right leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then return your left arm and right leg to their starting positions.

3. Slowly extend your right arm forward and extend your left leg backward. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then return your right arm and left leg to their starting positions. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





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UPRIGHT PLANK

Upright planks use the strength of your body to elevate and hold your body weight. This forces the core to engage and stabilize the body. This plank is a good place to start for a highly effective exercise for building core strength.



1 Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. (You can also place a bolster under your feet for more support.)



2 Extend your legs backward. Lift your body from your toes and hands to form a 45-degree angle with your body.



3 Lift your right hand off the floor and tap your left shoulder for 1 to 2 seconds. Return your right hand to the floor.



4 Lift your left hand off the floor and tap your right shoulder for 1 to 2 seconds. Return your left hand to the floor. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.





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// UPRIGHT PLANK //

VARIATIONS

Planking often needs to be done gradually. These options let you ease into a plank with elevated surfaces but without taps.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand facing a wall and place your hands flat against the wall. Walk your feet backward to form a 45-degree angle with your body.

2. Press into your hands and straighten your arms. Hold this position for 30 seconds.



WITH A CHAIR

In step 1, place the back of a chair against a wall. Place your hands on the seat of the chair. After step 2, hold the plank position for 30 seconds instead of tapping.



ON THE FLOOR

After step 2, hold the plank position for 30 seconds instead of tapping.





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LEG DROP

Performing an effective core exercise can engage your lower and middle abs (transverse and rectus abdominis). Leg drops typically have slow movements that isolate these abs, helping prevent back injuries as well as strengthening your posture.



1 Lie on your back on the floor and lift your legs to form a 90-degree angle with your body. Relax your arms at your sides.



2 Lower your right leg almost to the floor. Pause, then return your right leg to its starting position. Lower your left leg almost to the floor. Pause, then return your left leg to its starting position. Repeat this step 12 times.





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// LEG DROP //

VARIATIONS

Use a chair to make this exercise more accessible or you can increase the challenge with weights or lateral drops.



SEATED

1. Sit on a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Slightly recline backward and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your left leg until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor.

3. Lift your right leg until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.



WITH WEIGHTS

1. Lie on your back on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and rest the weights on your chest.

2. Raise your right leg off the floor and extend your left arm over your head. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor and your left hand to your chest.

3. Raise your left leg off the floor and extend your right arm over your head. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor and your right hand to your chest. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 12 times.



LATERAL MOVEMENT

1. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees to bring your legs toward your chest. Extend your arms to your sides and place your hands flat on the floor.

2. Slowly lower your legs toward your right side. Pause, then return your legs to center.

3. Slowly lower your legs toward your left side. Pause, then return your legs to center. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.





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DEAD BUG

This is an excellent exercise for working your lower abdominals (transverse abdominals). Because these abs stabilize your pelvis and lower back when you move, strengthening this area is fundamental to your posture and sound movement mechanics.



1 Lie on your back on the floor and extend your arms toward the ceiling. Lift your legs and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle with your legs.



2 Press your lower back into the floor and extend your right arm over your head and extend your left leg forward. Pause, then return your right arm and left leg to their starting positions.



3 Press your lower back into the floor and extend your left arm over your head and extend your right leg forward. Pause, then return your left arm and right leg to their starting positions. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.





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// DEAD BUG //

VARIATIONS

Everyone can be a dead bug with one of these options, including performing the exercise while sitting or standing.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your back and heels flat against a wall. Relax your arms at your sides and against the wall.

2. Bend your left knee to slowly lift your left foot off the floor to form a 90-degree angle with your left leg. Extend your right arm forward until parallel with the floor. Pause, then return your left leg and right arm to the wall.

3. Bend your right knee to slowly lift your right foot off the floor to form a 90-degree angle with your right leg. Extend your left arm until parallel with the floor. Pause, then return your right leg and left arm to the wall. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.



LEG ON THE FLOOR

1. Lie on your back on the floor and relax your arms at your sides. Bend your knees and lift your legs off the floor to form a 90-degree angle with your legs.

2. Extend your left arm over your head and lower your right leg until flat on the floor. Pause, then return your left arm to your left side and return your right leg to a 90-degree angle.

3. Extend your right arm over your head and lower your left leg until flat on the floor. Pause, then return your right arm to your right side and return your left leg to a 90-degree angle. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your right leg and your left arm until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor and your left arm to your side.

3. Lift your left leg and right arm until parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor and your right arm to your side. Repeat these last two steps 12 times.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



BICEPS CURL

Biceps are an easy muscle to isolate with this exercise. This specific curl is a great way to build strength in your arms, helping you lift and carry with more ease for functional living. Plus, who doesn’t love the look of strong biceps?



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Bend your knees to slowly lower your body and lift the weights toward your shoulders. Pause, then return to standing and lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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// BICEPS CURL //

VARIATIONS

These variations make this exercise less difficult by removing the multi-joint movement and adding some seated options.



WITH A STABILITY BALL

1. Sit on a stability ball and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift the weights toward your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift the weights toward your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



STANDING STRAIGHT

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Raise the weights to toward your shoulders. Pause, then lower the weights to your sides. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





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SIDE PLANK

This exercise works the obliques in your core but also recruits your shoulders while you try to stabilize your body. Planking requires a good amount of balance because you’re using just your feet and elbow to keep your body lifted.



1 Lie on your left side on the floor and place your left forearm flat on the floor below your left shoulder.



2 Lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from head to toe. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then lower your body to the floor. Repeat these steps on your right side.





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// SIDE PLANK //

VARIATIONS

These modifications make this a more accessible exercise by easing the pressure on your ankles and elbows.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your left side facing a wall. Bend your left elbow to form a 90-degree angle with your arm and place your left forearm against the wall at shoulder level.

2. Step 1 to 2 feet away from the wall and anchor your body with your forearm and feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat these steps with your right side facing the wall.



LOWER BODY ON THE FLOOR

In step 2, keep your lower body on the floor as you lift your hips until your body forms a straight line from head to hips. Continue with the remainder of the step.



STAGGERED FEET

In step 1, place your right foot in front of your left foot (heel to toe). In step 2, extend your right arm toward the ceiling while lifting your hips. Continue with the remainder of the step.





< Chapter 2: Upper Body & Core < Contents



THEA HILL

I’m a mom to three young boys, a wife, a high school math teacher, an amputee, and an athlete. I’ve been an amputee since birth, but growing up, I wasn’t particularly athletic. I learned to swim, bike, and ski, but I didn’t participate in any organized team sports. It wasn’t until university, where I started gaining a bit of weight, that I started to focus more on my health and exercise goals. I started by working out at the gym, but I was motivated to begin running after seeing how much my aunt, uncle, and cousins loved it. I didn’t love it, but I stuck with it because it produced results and made me feel so good afterward!

At first, it was difficult because I was running on the same prosthetic leg I wore for everyday use. The ankle wasn’t meant for the jarring motion of running and would keep breaking. So each time it broke, I’d have to wait until my leg was fixed until I could run again. After a while, I had a leg made purely for recreational purposes (this is the one I’m wearing in the book!), and then later, once I decided to try long-distance running, I asked for a leg that had a flex foot. With this leg, I’ve run countless 5K and 10K races as well as two half-marathons. At the same time I was discovering running, I also began playing para ice hockey. I had previously never considered myself to be part of the disabled community, but this sport has allowed me to meet so many differently abled people and has opened me up to friendships I’d have otherwise never had.

While playing para ice hockey, I realized the importance of weight training in addition to cardiovascular activities. It’s necessary to have a strong core and arms, and of course, after having my children, my core was also something I wanted to strengthen. (It’s a work in progress!) Exercises such as the ones in this book are perfect for someone just starting out as well as someone experienced at the gym. For example, mountain climber is an exercise I’m just not able to do in its original form, but modified with a chair or a wall—suddenly, I can actually do it! Push-ups are probably my favorite exercise. They’re perfect for strengthening my arm muscles, but they’re also such a great complete body exercise.

At this point in my life, exercise is one of my biggest priorities. For me, it’s not about numbers on a scale or losing weight. It’s about feeling strong. I love to start my day with a workout or a run. At my school, we have a group of teachers that meets before work to work out together. It’s been a great way to make friends with colleagues I wouldn’t have otherwise been close to and it’s a place to push ourselves and try new things. Exercising helps me be a better mom because it allows me to carve out time for me and, in turn, become more patient with my children. I love being a good example for my kids and I can’t wait for the day when they want to go on a run with me, although because I’m a pretty slow runner, they’ll probably be miles ahead of me!





< Contents





CHAPTER 3

LOWER BODY & CARDIO

< Contents



Squat

Hip Thrust

Reverse Lunge

Wall Sit

Donkey Kick

Fast Feet

Deadlift

Lateral Leg Raise

Jab & Cross

Model feature: Jordan Herdman

Single-Leg Calf Raise

Squat Kick

Speed Skating

High Knees

Glute & Leg Extension

Burpee

Jumping Jack

Mountain Climber

Model feature: Faedragh Carpenter





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



SQUAT

Squats are one of the most popular exercises and they’re a mainstay in most fitness programs because of their effectiveness. They’re a great way to work the front and back of your legs by targeting the quadriceps and glutes.



1 Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Clasp your hands in front of your chest.



2 Bend your knees to slowly lower your hips backward to form a 90-degree angle with your legs. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// SQUAT //

VARIATIONS

Use a chair, ball, or wall to help you slowly train the body to require no assistance as you work up to the classic squat.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand facing away from the seat of a chair. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Clasp your hands in front of your chest.

2. Slowly lower your hips toward the seat of the chair until the back of your legs just touch the chair. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand facing about 1 foot away from a wall and clasp your hands in front of your chest.

2. Slowly lower your hips backward until they touch the wall. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



WITH A STABILITY BALL

1. Stand facing away from a wall with your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Place a stability ball against the wall and at your lower back. Clasp your hands in front of your chest.

2. Bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Allow the stability ball to slowly roll from your lower back to your upper back. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



HIP THRUST

Your glutes develop power in the backside of your body for walking and running. Hip thrusts can help develop the glute muscles in your buttocks. This exercise is a great alternative to a squat if you have problematic knees.



1 Sit on a stability ball and place your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on your legs.



2 Walk your feet forward until the stability ball reaches your upper back and shoulders. Lift your hips until they align with your torso.



3 Lower your hips to form a 45-degree angle with your legs.



4 Drive your hips up until your legs align with your torso. Pause, then repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// HIP THRUST //

VARIATIONS

Perform this exercise against a wall or add variety by performing the thrusts on the floor.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your upper back flat against a wall. Walk your feet forward 2 steps. (Change the intensity of this exercise by standing closer or farther away from the wall.) Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Slowly lower your hips backward until your buttocks touch the wall.

3. Push your hips away from the wall. Pause, then return your hips to the wall. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR—BOTH LEGS

1. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees to place your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Push through your hands and feet to raise your hips off the floor. Pause, then return your hips to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



ON THE FLOOR—SINGLE LEG

1. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your hips off the floor and extend your left leg toward the ceiling until aligned with your right thigh.

3. Lower your hips to the floor and keep your left leg extended. Pause, then lift your hips. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right leg extended.





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REVERSE LUNGE

If you’re looking for an introduction to lunges, a reverse lunge tends to be a little more forgiving to your knees and balance than the standard lunge. Stepping backward in this exercise stabilizes the body with less tension than the forward lunge.



1 Stand with your feet together and rest your hands on your hips.



2 Step your right foot backward about 2 feet. Place the ball of your foot flat on the floor and keep your heel elevated.



3 Bend your right knee to slowly lower your body to form a 90-degree angle with your legs. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg stepped backward.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// REVERSE LUNGE //

VARIATIONS

These modifications offer a shallow version, a chair option to build balance, and a weighted variation for more challenge.



WITH A SPLIT STANCE

In step 2, slightly bend your right knee and step your right foot backward to place the ball of your right foot flat on the floor. Continue with the remaining step.



WITH A CHAIR

In step 1, stand on the right side of a chair with your feet together. Place your left hand on the back of the chair and rest your right hand on your right hip. Continue with the remaining steps.



WITH ONE WEIGHT

1. Stand with your feet together. Hold one weight in your hands and rest the weight on your chest.

2. Step your right foot backward about 1 foot. Place the ball of your right foot flat on the floor.

3. Bend your right knee to slowly lower your body about 5 inches. Extend your arms forward. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left foot stepped backward.





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WALL SIT

This isometric exercise—meaning no body movement—requires some mental fortitude. Sitting against a wall can build muscular endurance, not specifically muscular strength, challenging your glutes, hamstrings, and quads while you maintain your position.



1 Stand facing 1 foot away from a wall and place your back flat against the wall. Hold one weight in your hands and rest the weight in front of your pelvis.



2 Bend your knees to slowly lower your body to form a 90-degree angle with your legs.



3 Extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// WALL SIT //

VARIATIONS

Try the shallow version or use a chair or a stability ball to take some pressure off your knees.



WITH A STABILITY BALL

1. Stand facing away from a wall and place a stability ball between your lower back and the wall.

2. Bend your knees and lower your body to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Allow the stability ball to roll toward your upper back. Hold this position for 15 seconds.



SHALLOW SIT

1. Stand facing 1 foot away from a wall and place your back flat against the wall. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Slightly bend your knees to slowly lower your body to form a 45-degree angle with your legs.

3. Extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand facing away from the seat of a chair and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your knees to slowly lower your body until your buttocks slightly touch the seat of the chair.

3. Extend your arms forward until parallel with the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds. (Hover 1 to 2 inches off the seat. You can sit if needed, but return to the hovering position until the time ends.)





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DONKEY KICK

These movements isolate your hamstrings and they’re easier on your body than other hamstring exercises. This is an excellent alternative to strengthen the back of your legs and your glutes, helping you maintain sound posture and prevent back injuries.



1 Place your hands, knees, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor.



2 Lift your right knee and right foot off the floor to slowly extend your right leg toward the ceiling. Pause, then lower your right knee to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// DONKEY KICK //

VARIATIONS

Donkeys do kick from all angles! But you can perform this exercise by using a chair or a wall or rotating your hip for variety.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands flat on the wall.

2. Extend your left leg backward to form a 45-degree angle with your left leg. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right leg extended backward.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand 2 feet behind the back of a chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the back of the chair.

2. Bend at your waist to form a 45-degree angle with your body and extend your right leg backward. Pause, then lower your right leg until your knees align. (Keeping your leg off the floor will help you maintain your momentum.) Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended backward.



WITH LATERAL MOVEMENTS

In step 2, extend your right leg toward your right side. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended to your left side.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



FAST FEET

You can add this cardio move to any exercise routine for a bit of punch to your heart rate. Although this is primarily for cardio, you’ll work your calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Depending on the tempo of your feet, this can be advanced or beginner.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Push down through the balls of your feet and quickly run in place. Move your arms up and down in tandem with the momentum of your legs. Perform this step for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// FAST FEET //

VARIATIONS

With these modifications, you can slow down the tempo or change your stance or you can do this exercise while seated.



SLOWER MOVEMENTS

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Slowly lift your left leg and lift your left arm in tandem with your left leg. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor and your left arm to your side.

3. Slowly lift your right leg and lift your right arm in tandem with your right leg. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor and your right arm to your side. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.



CHANGING YOUR STANCE

In step 2, with every 5 foot movements, alternate between widening and narrowing your running stance.



SEATED

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your right elbow and lift your right hand to align with your shoulders. (You can also lift your right knee toward your chest.) Pause, then lower your right arm to your side.

3. Bend your left elbow and lift your left hand to align with your shoulders. (You can also lift your left knee toward your chest.) Pause, then lower your left arm to your side. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



DEADLIFT

If you’re looking to build more strength into your backside for better posture and lifting power, this is a great way to start. This exercise strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and lower and upper back muscles, relying heavily on core strength.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Slowly bend at your waist and lower the weights to your knees.



3 Bend your knees to lower your body into a squat. Lower your arms until the weights reach your shins. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// DEADLIFT //

VARIATIONS

This exercise can take some practice. These options offer ways to stay in form with a wall, staggered legs, or no weights.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your back flat against a wall and your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Slowly bend at your waist to form a 90-degree angle with your body. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



WITHOUT WEIGHTS

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and cross your arms in front of your chest.

2. Slowly bend at your waist to form a 90-degree angle with your body. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



WITH A SPLIT STANCE

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Step your left foot forward about 1 foot and place your left foot flat on the floor.

3. Slowly bend at your waist and slowly bend your right knee to form a 45-degree angle with your right leg. Lower the weights toward your shins. Pause, then slowly return to standing. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right foot stepped forward and your left knee bent.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



LATERAL LEG RAISE

This exercise targets the abductor and glute medius muscles, which stabilize your legs when walking or standing. Adding a squat at a quick tempo allows you to also enjoy the benefits of cardio. (For less cardio, slow down the tempo.)



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and clasp your hands in front of your chest.



2 Bend your knees to form a 45-degree angle with your legs and push your hips backward to lower into a squat.



3 Start to return to standing and extend your right leg away from your right side to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended away from your left side.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// LATERAL LEG RAISE //

VARIATIONS

While there are many ways to raise your leg, these modifications offer ways to perform the exercise if you have any knee issues.



STANDING

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and rest your hands on your hips.

2. Extend your right leg away from your right side to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended away from your left side.



ON THE FLOOR

1. Lie on the floor on your left side. Bend your left elbow and place your left arm under your head. (Find a comfortable spot for your head.)

2. Lift your right leg as high as you can. Pause, then lower your right leg. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps on your right side with your left leg lifted.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand behind a chair facing away from you with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the back of the chair.

2. Extend your right leg toward your right side to form a 45-degree angle with your legs. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg extended to your left side.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



JAB & CROSS

Boxing moves are quick cardio blasts that can raise your heart rate and add speed to create high-intensity interval training workouts or to just build your cardiovascular system. Go faster for more intensity or go slowly to moderate your heart rate.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Step your left foot forward and bend your elbows to lift the weights toward your chin.



3 Quickly extend your left arm forward in a striking motion. Return your left hand to your chin and take two steps to your right.



4 Quickly extend your right arm forward in a striking motion. Return your right hand to your chin and take two steps to your left. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// JAB & CROSS //

VARIATIONS

With these variations, you can manage and control your intensity by either sitting, kneeling, or standing in one position.



SEATED

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your elbows to lift the weights toward your chin.

3. Quickly extend your left arm across your body in a striking motion. Return your left hand to your chin. (You can also step your left leg forward when striking.)

4. Quickly extend your right arm across your body in a striking motion. (You can also step your right leg forward when striking.) Return your right hand to your chin. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.



STAYING STATIONARY

In steps 3 and 4, keep your feet stationary rather than taking steps with each punch.



ON YOUR KNEES

1. Place your knees flat on the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and rest your hands in front of your chin.

2. Quickly extend your left arm forward in a striking motion. Return your left hand to your chin.

3. Quickly extend your right arm forward in a striking motion. Return your right hand to your chin. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



JORDAN HERDMAN

My fitness journey started at a very young age. I can remember my father taking my twin brother and me through football drills as early as 3 years old. As a kid, I didn’t completely understand what I was doing—I was just having fun—but little did I know I was building a foundation that would help me later in my life.

The first time I put on shoulder pads and a helmet, I was 10. I remember getting my first tackle, hitting the ball carrier with all my strength and tackling him to the ground, and feeling the joy and excitement. It was at that moment I fell in love with the game and knew I was going to be a pro football player when I got older.

However, as I continued playing through high school and college, I realized how many obstacles I had to overcome to reach my dream. Less than 1% of football players make it to the professional level, and keep in mind, I was never the biggest, the strongest, or even the fastest player. The odds were definitely against me. Because of this, football taught me many life lessons: how to be resilient and that you’re going to get knocked down—just like a tackle in football—but you can’t give up. You must will yourself back up, knock the dust off, and get ready for the next play.

I was even told many times I could never be a pro football player because I was too small or too slow. However, I learned that the same people who said those things didn’t measure my heart and how hard I worked. So I didn’t worry about the negative comments but instead believed in myself and put in the effort and stayed persistent. Now that I’ve been a pro football player in the Canadian Football League since 2017, I can say: “Don’t ever give up or let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dream—no matter how hard it might seem.”

When I’m not playing football, I speak with at-risk youth about what I’ve learned, such as making good choices, setting goals, and staying active through playing sports. I’m also a personal trainer in my spare time for my business “The Kings of Hustle,” which helps young football players reach their football aspirations—just like I did.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



SINGLE-LEG CALF RAISE

Because your calves hold up most of your weight, they deserve some attention. This exercise helps develop the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles—critical for walking, running, and jumping because they pull the heels up for forward movement.



1 Stand with your left foot flat on the floor and bend your right knee to form a 90-degree angle with your right leg. Relax your arms at your sides.



2 Lift your left heel off the floor and push up from the ball of your left foot to elevate your body. Pause, then lower your left heel to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right foot flat on the floor and your left leg bent.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// SINGLE-LEG CALF RAISE //

VARIATIONS

One great way to modify this exercise is to make it a double calf raise because this helps with balance.



BOTH HEELS LIFTED

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your heels off the floor and push up from the balls of your feet to elevate your body. Pause, then lower your heels to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SQUATTING & WITH BOTH HEELS LIFTED

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Clasp your hands in front of your chest.

2. Bend your knees and lift your heels off the floor. Push up from the balls of your feet to elevate your body. Pause, then lower your heels to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.



SEATED

1. Sit in a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on the sides of the seat of the chair.

2. Lift your heels off the floor and balance your legs on the balls of your feet. Pause, then lower your heels to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



SQUAT KICK

Kicking motions offer a simple way to work your leg muscles, especially your quadriceps and hip flexors. But kicks can also elevate your heart rate while offering a cardio jolt to any workout. Plus, they add fun and variety to any routine.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Bend your knees to slowly lower your body to form a 90-degree angle with your legs. Clasp your hands in front of your chest.



3 As you begin to stand up, kick your right leg forward until your right leg is parallel with the floor. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor. Repeat these last two steps 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your left leg.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// SQUAT KICK //

VARIATIONS

Modify this exercise to make it more accessible by removing the squat or using a chair for assistance.



WITH LATERAL KICKS

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Step your left leg backward until your legs are about 2 feet apart.

3. Extend your right leg forward and lift your right leg as high as you can. Rotate your right hip and right leg toward your right side. Lower your right leg to the floor, then return to facing forward. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right leg backward and your left leg extended and lifted.



WITH A CHAIR

1. Stand on the right side of a chair. Place your left hand on the back of the chair and relax your right arm at your side.

2. Bend your right knee and lift your right leg to hip height. Kick your right foot straight out. Pause, then lower your leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps on the left side of the chair with your left knee and left foot.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Lift your left leg until aligned with your left hip. Kick your left foot straight out. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor. Repeat this step 8 to 10 times. Repeat these steps with your right leg.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



SPEED SKATING

Incorporating this exercise into your fitness routine adds cardio, stamina, and endurance. Skating movements also build strength in your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Plus, they offer a good sweat while working through them.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Take a big diagonal stride to your right with your right leg and reach your left arm across your body to match your stride. Slide your left leg behind your right leg and bend your knees to slightly lower into a lunge position.



3 Take a big diagonal stride to your left with your left leg and reach your right arm across your body to match your stride. Slide your right leg behind your left leg and bend your knees to slightly lower into a lunge position. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds, picking up speed to increase the intensity.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// SPEED SKATING //

VARIATIONS

These modifications remove the speed and complexity. The options are slower, seated, or without a diagonal pattern.



WITH KNEE TOUCHES

In step 2, touch your right knee or shin with your left hand. In step 3, touch your left knee or shin with your right hand.



WITH LESS INTENSITY

In steps 2 and 3, perform the movements with little to no bend, a slower tempo, and less impact.



SEATED

1. Sit on the edge of the seat of a chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Relax your arms at your sides.

2. Reach your right arm across your body and extend your left arm backward. (You can also cross your right leg in front of your left leg.)

3. Reach your left arm across your body and extend your right arm backward. (You can also cross your left leg in front of your right leg.) Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds, picking up speed to increase the intensity.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



HIGH KNEES

Performing this exercise will definitely elevate your heart rate and add some coordination-building moves to your routine. These movements will improve your cardiovascular system while primarily engaging your core and quadriceps simultaneously.



1 Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.



2 Extend your right leg backward and place the ball of your right foot flat on the floor. Extend your arms until parallel with the floor.



3 Lift your right knee to form a 90-degree angle with your right leg. Lower your arms to touch your right knee with your hands. Pause, then lower your right leg to the floor and extend your arms forward.



4 Lift your left knee to form a 90-degree angle with your left leg. Lower your arms to touch your left knee with your hands. Pause, then lower your left leg to the floor and extend your arms forward. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.





< Chapter 3: Lower Body & Cardio < Contents



// HIGH KNEES //

VARIATIONS

You can perform this exercise slowly, seated, or with wall support for balance while still elevating your heart rate.



WITH A WALL

1. Stand with your back and heels against a wall. Place your hands flat on the wall and about 1 foot away from your body.

2. Bend your left knee and slowly lift your left knee to form a 90-degree angle with your left leg. Hold this position for 1 second, then return your left leg to the wall.

3. Bend your right knee and slowly lift your right knee to form a 90-degree angle with your right leg. Hold this position for 1 second, then return your right leg to the wall. Repeat these last two steps for 30 seconds.



MODIFIED MARCHING

1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and relax your arms at your sides.

2. Bend your left knee to slowly lift your left leg to form a 90-degree angle with your left leg. Extend your right arm forward in tandem with your