7 Exercises to Change Your Body—and Your Life
How to do them: Stand with feet hip-distance apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the dumbbells up to shoulder level, with your elbows tight to your sides and your palms facing away from your body. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, push both arms up overhead and hold for a count of two. Breathing in, bend your elbows to return to your starting position.
You're doing them wrong if... You find your back arching with strain. You should be feeling your shoulders and arms working, not your back.
How to do them: Take a dumbbell in one hand. Assume a split stance with one leg slightly in front of the other. Keeping your back straight and abs tight, fold over at the hips. Rest your free hand on your back thigh for support, and bend into your front knee. Keeping your arms and elbows tight to your body, breathe out as you draw your elbows straight back toward the ceiling. Hold for two counts. Inhale and lower the weight without twisting your torso.
You're doing them wrong if... Your torso is rotating during the row or if your shoulders are scrunched up by your ears. You should feel your back muscles working.
How to do them: With dumbbells in each hand, lie down on a bench or the floor, with your knees bent and feet firmly grounded. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, with your palms facing away from you, holding the dumbbells level with your chest and directly above the armpits. Breathe in. As you exhale, press your arms overhead until your elbows are straight. Hold for a count of two. Inhale and bend your elbows to return your arms to their starting position.
You're doing them wrong if... Your back is arching. Concentrate on keeping your back in contact with the ground so you feel the move in your shoulders, arms, and chest.
How to do them: Start with your feet together and step out to hip-distance, keeping your core tight. Take a small step out to the side, keeping your toes facing forward, and begin to shift weight into the leg you stepped out with. Your knee should be directly over your second toe. Push your hips back as you bend your knee and lower your thigh toward the ground. Hold for a count of two. Push off your heel to return to your starting position.
You're doing them wrong if... You're taking too big a step to the side. Keep it small enough that your knee stays over your toes. Expect to feel it in the butt, thigh, and calf.
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