Isometric exercises, in which you hold a position perfectly still for a few seconds, trigger a ton of activity in your muscles—a real boon to boosting strength and endurance. (Just think how quickly you feel it in your biceps when carrying a bunch of grocery bags.)
Do these exercises up to three times through as a circuit, medium dumbbells optional. Hold each one for at least 10 seconds, then rest for a moment before moving on to the next exercise.
You can also use them in supersets to compliment their moving-exercise counterparts (i.e., do a set of 10 squats and then move #1, a wall seat; do a set of 10 close-arm pushups and then move #2, low plank, etc.). Or, just sneak one in here and there for a little tone-up throughout the day. (Skip ‘em entirely, though, if you’re pregnant or have high blood pressure—isometric action can elevate BP levels.)
—Amy Roberts, NASM-CPT
Get your thigh muscles firing (and burning). Place your feet about 18 inches from a wall, hip width apart (A). Sit back and down so your back is flat against the wall, and your upper legs are parallel to the ground. Raise your arms, dumbbells in hand, so they’re also parallel to get your front shoulder muscles into the act (B).
Yogis know that this position is tough enough for your core and arm muscles when you’re moving through it, let alone locking it in place. Start in a straight-arm plank, with your hands right under your shoulders. Bend your elbows down and back so they’re just grazing your sides, then stop(A).
To get a high tight butt, pick it up. Sit on the floor, knees bent, and place your hands behind your bottom, fingertips pointing forward (A). Lift your entire core up so that your body is parallel to the floor from your knees to your chest to your head. Clench your glutes to maintain your form (B). (Too much pressure on your shoulders? Rest them on a bench or sofa to prop your body up instead.)
Want strong, sexy shoulders? Grab a pair of dumbbells and fly through this exercise. Stand with feet hip width apart (A), and hinge over at your hips. Open up your arms in a T shape, with slight bend at the elbows. Now keep ‘em there (B).
For celebrity-caliber abs, up the oblique-toning challenge of your usual side plank (A) by raising your top arm and leg, so your body forms a (slightly tilted) star shape (B). (Don’t let those hips dip!) Now do the other side for however long you endured the first one.
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PUBLISHED: NOVEMBER 27, 2013 | BY AMY ROBERTS
Women’s Health Magazine