Exercises that require the use of multiple muscle groups are an essential component to an effective workout regime. While isolation exercises are ideal for pinpointing specific muscles, dynamic movements help to create a solid foundation overall.
Changing the backdrop of your workouts, by training outdoors in warmer months, can help to increase your satisfaction with your training program by curbing boredom and stagnation.1. Russian twist punches
Sit with your feet planted and lean slightly backwards as if you were about to do a crunch.
Once you’ve found your balance, twist your upper body to one side while squeezing your oblique muscles. As you twist to the other side, stop midway and punch outward.
Bring the arms back in and tap the opposite side before twisting and punching midway again.
This exercise can be made more challenging by using hand weights for the punches and keeping your feel elevated as you twist. 2. Lateral to curtsy lunge
Stand up straight and swing one leg to your side. The foot you’ve swung away from your body should be planted just outside of your shoulder.
Bend the knee as far as feels comfortable as you lean into your lateral lunge. Be sure your toes are pointed forward.
Return to a neutral upright position and bring the same foot behind the body until it crosses the other leg in a curtsy motion.
You can complete a set on one side before moving to the next side, or alternate legs as you go.3. Cradle reach back
Begin in the same position as you would if you were doing a Russian twist, but extend your legs forward, maintaining only a slight bend at the knees.
Keep your shoulders squared and extend your arms forward along the sides of your legs.
Twist to one side and reach the arm on the side you chose backward before sweeping it in towards the body.
Once the hand you began with is in alignment with your thigh, complete this motion on the other side of the body.
This exercise targets the abdominal wall, obliques, hip flexors, and shoulders.4. Downward dog push-up
Bend over from a standing position, bring your hands to your feet, and walk them forward.
Once stabilized on the balls of your feet, bend your knees as you bring your hips back and create a triangular shape with the ground as your base.
Bend your elbows and keep your head hovering just above the ground before you push back upwards back into downward dog.
This yoga-style push-up strengthens the back, chest, and triceps.5. Squat jump twist
Plant your feet just on the outside of your shoulders. Bring the glutes back and to the ground as you squat.
Practice doing a few bodyweight squats in place before launching vertically on the concentric, or take-off, phase of the squat and twisting 180 degrees in the air.
This movement is meant to keep both your heart rate and the intensity of the workout high. It can also be substituted for traditional vertical squat jumps, or squat to toes.