10 best exercises for a better body

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Bent-over row

Muscles: Upper back and biceps
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then bend knees and flex forward at the hips. If you have trouble doing this exercise standing up, support your weight by sitting on an incline bench, facing backward. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward, engage the abdominals and extend your upper spine to add support. Hold dumbbells or barbell beneath the shoulders with hands about shoulder-width apart. Flex your elbows and lift both hands toward the sides of your body. Pause, then slowly lower hands to the starting position.

Squats

Muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes facing straight ahead or angled slightly outward. Slowly bend the knees and lower hips towards the floor as if sitting in a chair, keeping your torso straight and abs pulled in tight. Keep your knees behind your toes; make sure everything’s pointing in the same direction. Do not go lower than 90 degrees.

Lunges

Muscles: Glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves
How do to it: Take a big step forward, keeping your spine in a neutral position. Bend knees and lower body into a lunge position, keeping the front knee and back knee at 90 degree angles. Keeping the weight in your heels, slowly push back up to starting position. Never lock your knees at the top and don’t let your knee bend past your toes. Variations include front lunges, back lunges and side lunges.

The Plank

Muscles: Abs, back, arms and legs
How to do it: Lie face down on mat with elbows resting on floor next to chest. Push your body off the floor in a pushup position with body resting on elbows or hands. Contract the abs and keep the body in a straight line from head to toes. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat as many times as you can. For beginners, do this move on your knees and gradually work your way up to balancing on your toes.

Leg raisers

Muscles: Abs, legs
How to do it: You can do these either lying on the floor or do a hanging leg raise. On the floor, keep your lower back in contact with the floor and place hands to sides or under lower back for support. Lift legs upward as far as possible. Lower down to starting position slowly and with control. Make sure back stays flat on floor and abs remain engaged. The exercise is easier if legs are bent, harder if legs are straight. For hanging leg raise, grab an overhead bar and lift legs up. These are considerably more challenging than lying leg raises.

Bicycle

Muscles: Abs, including six-pack ab muscle (rectus abdominis) and the waist (obliques)
How to do it: Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Lace your fingers behind your head. Bring the knees in towards the chest to about a 45-degree angle and lift the shoulder blades off the floor without pulling on the neck. Slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Keep even, relaxed breathing throughout. This was found to be the best ab exercise according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.

Article source: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20110227/XPLORE/110225030/10+best+exercises+

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