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Five Powerful Exercises!

What if I told you that you could get in the best shape of your life even if you didn't have time to exercise, even if you were busy, and even if you didn't know where to start?

I'm talking about developing an enviable physique, whether it means increased endurance and heart function, tight and sexy thighs, butt and legs, or muscular arms.

There are tons of exercises that can give you results, but if you want those results fast, why not focus on the very best exercises - the "secret weapons"? Although these exercises are well-known, you might not have realized their importance or how to incorporate them into your routine - until today.

#1 Squats: The squat is one of the most basic all-round fitness exercises that you can do, and it is one of the best. It works several body parts at once, including your core, quads, hamstrings and calves.

No matter what you do, you should incorporate squats into your routine. If you train for strength, squat using a barbell or holding dumbells in your hands.

#2 Pushups: This exercise is no secret, but not enough people take advantage of it. Many women and even men still have weak, flabby arms and chests. The best way to develop them is by starting to incorporate daily pushups into your routine. They work the chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs (core).

The key with pushups is to incorporate different kinds of pushups into one routine. If you cannot do a standard “man” pushup, start with the “girl” version on your knees. Then work your way toward doing regular pushups.


#1 Wall pushup: Stand facing a wall. The farther your feet are from the wall, the harder it will be. Lean in toward the wall.

#2 Counter Pushup: Pushup leaning from the edge of a counter.

#3 Knee Pushup: the standard “girl” pushup on your knees

#4 Feet Elevated: you've now reached the regular pushup level, congratulations!

Other pushups that rule:

Wide Hands - place hands on the floor at a greater distance apart (past the shoulders). This works even more back muscles.

Close Hands - Place hands on the floor closer to each other (maybe a foot apart or less). Very difficult. Feet Elevated - Place your feet on a chair or other object and push up from the ground.
More difficult. Handstand Pushup - This is my favorite pushup EVER and the ultimate exercise to build strong shoulders. If you're a man, you need to be able to do this one.

Go to a handstand, your feet against the wall, then lower your head to the floor and push up. If you can do a few of those, you're good. To help you succeed in mastering this pushup, you can first use your toes to help you “crawl” the wall, or have a friend hold your feet and help you through it. At first, your goal should be to simply stay in a handstand with your feet facing the wall.

#3 Walking or Running Hills: You want extreme health, a fit body and a healthy heart? Try walking or running up hills. This is one of the best exercises for overall fitness. So go find hills in your area, and dare to walk the hell out of them!

#4 Pullups & Chinups: Many women lack upper body strength. Unfortunately, this can lead to injuries and lack of ability, as many common movements such as lifting a box (or a child!) require strong upper body muscles.

It's wise for all women to strengthen these muscles by working on the two best exercises for them: pushups and pullups. Just because pullups and chinups are hard, it doesn't mean women can't do them! In fact, you *should* be able to lift your own body with your arms. In nature, this sort of movement is very basic and in fact a matter of survival.

And for men, the benefits of pullups and chinups cannot be emphasized enough: you will build a strong back and enviably muscular arms.

For women, I would set a goal to do at least 1 complete pullup and 2 complete chinups, with a future “ultimate” goal to do at least 3 pullups and 5 chinups.

To get started, use the assisted pullup machines at the gym, or follow the following routine:

1. Hang for 30 seconds or as long as possible in the position of having pulled your body up all the way from a bar. You can use a chair to get in that position. When you feel you can't hold yourself any longer, lower gently in a slow and controlled manner. Do this 5 times.

2. Get on a chair and check out what kind of a bend you need in your arms before you can successfully pull yourself up. Then do it five times from there. Improve from there.

3. Hang from a bar and see how far you can pull yourself up 5 times in a row.

Do these three exercises 2-3 times a week and make sure to warm up properly beforehand (by doing some jumping jacks for a few minutes, for example).

For men, a good benchmark for strength would be to be able to do a few series of 5 pullups with 10% of your weight attached to your body (as extra weight).

#5 The Plank: This is a powerful isolation move used in "Pilates and Yoga and it works the abs, back, arms and legs as well as your internal abdominal muscles, which is your core strength!

To do it, lie face down on mat with your elbows resting on the floor next to your chest. Go to a pushup position while resting on your elbows or hands. Then squeeze the abs and keep your body in a straight line. Hold on in there for 30-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. Start by doing the plank on your knees and gradually work your way up.

So there you have it, 5 powerful exercises that *everyone*, man or woman, should include in their routine for functional fitness and strength. Now, get started and tell me about it!

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