Why it works: This exercise isolates the muscle. Use the two variations on hand position to strengthen the entire upper arm.
How to do it: 1. Sit in a chair with your legs open wide. Hold a five- to eight-pound dumbbell in your right hand, resting your elbow on your right inner thigh, with your forearm hanging down.
2. Bend your elbow and bring your hand up toward your shoulder for a count of two. Be sure to keep your elbow against your thigh. Lower your hand to the start position for two; repeat eight times.
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The Concentration Curl: Variations
1. Begin in the same position as for the basic Concentration Curl. Then turn your wrist in so your palm faces you. Lift for two counts and lower for two. Repeat eight times.
2. Now rotate your wrist outward as far as you can, as shown; lift and lower eight times. Switch sides to complete all three exercises with your left arm.
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Best Move for Your Triceps: The Chair Dip
Why it works: The triceps hold up your entire body weight and move through a full range of motion.
How to do it: 1. Sit in a chair, holding on to the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing forward. Slide your bottom off the seat and hold yourself up with arms straight, keeping your body close to the chair.
2. Slowly lower your body for two counts as you bend your elbows (they should point directly behind you, not out to the sides); straighten your arms for a count of two. Make sure your arms (not your feet) are supporting your weight throughout the motion. Repeat 12 times. On the last rep, hold at the bottom for eight counts, then pulse up and down slightly eight times before straightening your arms.
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Best Move for Your Chest and Upper Back: The Modified Push-up
Why it works: The basic stance, coupled with changing hand positions, targets all the muscles in the area.
How to do it: 1. Start with arms straight, knees on the ground, back in a plank position, and palms placed slightly closer than shoulder-width apart. Keep your abdominals tight and your neck relaxed.
2. Bend your elbows and lower your torso toward the ground for a count of two, keeping your elbows close to your body (they should point behind you, not out to the sides). Straighten to the starting position for two counts. Do eight reps.
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The Modified Push-up: Variations
1. Place your hands a bit farther than shoulder-width apart and do eight reps.
2. Position your hands even wider apart, as shown, and do eight reps (elbows point to the sides in this version).
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Best Move for Your Legs: The Squat and Side Lift
Why it works: This engages the entire lower body―including gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, and outer thighs.
How to do it: 1. Start from a standing position, with feet together. Hold 8- to 10-pound dumbbells at your sides (or keep your hands on your hips). Take a step to the right with your right foot, so your feet are shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees for a count of two, lowering your rear end as if you’re going to sit in a chair.
2. Straighten your legs and slowly lift your right leg to the side for a count of two. Hold your abs in for balance. Lower your right leg as you bend both legs into a squat. Repeat 12 times, alternating the leg you lift to the side. On the last rep, hold at the bottom for eight counts, then pulse eight times.
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Best Move for Your Abdominals: The Super-Crunch
Why it works: Keeping your legs in the air challenges your entire core.
How to do it: 1. Lie on the floor with knees bent, legs in air, hands behind head, and elbows out.
2. Contract your abs and lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor for two counts; lower for two. Repeat eight times. On the last rep, hold for eight counts, then pulse up for eight counts before lowering your upper body.
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The Super-Crunch: Variations
1. Keep your legs in the air and lift your hips only off the floor for two counts, bringing knees toward chest; return to the starting position for two counts. Do eight reps, holding the last one for eight counts, then pulsing up for eight counts before lowering to the start position.
2. Next, lift both upper and lower body, as shown, for two counts, then lower for two; do eight reps. Hold the last rep for eight counts, then pulse eight times.
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Best Move for Your Bottom: The One-Legged Squat
Why it works: As you lower your body, your weight is focused on the standing leg’s gluteal muscle.
How to do it: 1. Stand on your right leg, with your left leg bent; hold the back of a chair for balance. Keep your head and chest lifted.
2. Slowly lower your body for two counts, bending at the hip and right knee as if you’re sitting in a chair (be sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes). Straighten the standing leg to a count of two, pressing up from your heel; repeat 12 times. On the final rep, hold in the lowered position for eight counts, then pulse eight times. Switch sides so you’re standing on your left leg with the right leg bent and repeat the entire set.