Alarm goes off at 5:45. You’re up. You’re showering. You’re waking up your family. You’re walking your dog. You’re making coffee. You’re sipping coffee. You’re WAKING UP your FAMILY. You’re chugging coffee. You’re looking for your keys. You’re feeding your dog. You’re starting the car. You’re IN THE CAR CAUSE IT’S TIME TO LEAVE.
You’re dropping off your family. You’re at work. You’re eating lunch at your desk. You’re in meetings. You’re bringing your computer home. You’re picking up your kids. You’re dropping them off at practice. You’re picking them up from practice. You’re home. You’re walking your dog, and this counts as exercise, right?
I get it. You’re busy. In fact, you may be the absolute #1 busiest. But no, walking around the block does not count as your daily exercise if you want to feel stronger everyday.
Luckily there are five (Yes! Just five!) moves you can do everyday that will make you feel amazing. Best of all, incorporating these strength-building moves into your routine won’t break your time bank.
When I’m not booked for a Barre or Spinning class, I do these five moves every day before I cook dinner. It’s a great way to blow off steam from your day and work up an appetite for the healthful dinner you have planned for the evening.
Strength Enhancing Exercise #1: Jumping Jacks (50 repetitions, One set)
You know how these go: jump and land with your legs spread while simultaneously opening up your arms. Jump again and land with your legs together while simultaneously raising your arms directly above your head and *clap*
Do these as fast as you can. I like to time myself every time I’m warming up with Jumping Jacks just to see how quick I can get all 50 of them done. Jumping Jacks may make you burn a little bit when you first start doing them, but after weeks of this routine everyday you may not feel the effects of 50 reps – even if you’re getting them done in 45 seconds.
Whether you feel the effects of this exercise or not, these are SO IMPORTANT to do before you get into the tougher movements because you’re warming yourself up, which prevents injury, and actually makes the more strenuous strength exercise a little easier.
Strength Enhancing Exercise #2: Squat Shoulder Press (25 reps, Two sets)
Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder length apart, push your butt out, and try to make a right angle with your thigh and your calf. Push yourself up into a standing position, and lift your arms and weights up to the ceiling. Slowly bring the weights down, lock your arms into a right angle to keep those muscles engaged. Repeat.
I mentioned weights in this exercise. You don’t need 50 lb free weights, a bar, or even professional weights to make this exercise effective. When I first started testing the waters of at-home exercise I used two water bottles as my weights. I’ve since invested in two of the cheapest five-pound free weights I could find. Do what keeps you challenged so you can feel stronger after every rep.
Strength Enhancing Exercise #3: Weighted Sit Ups (20 reps, Two sets)
Lay on your exercise matt with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Grip your free weight (or your water bottle) with both hands and, still holding it, rest it on the ground behind your head with your arms bent at the elbow. Sit up, tracing a semicircle with your weight all the way to the ground between your feet. Retrace the semicircle with your weight all the way to the floor behind your head. Repeat.
I like to add the weight to sit ups to make them a little more challenging. If you’re just starting out and find these too challenging, try to do 10 repetitions with the weight and 10 repetitions without for each set. Work yourself up to a full 20 weighted repetitions.
Strength Enhancing Exercise #4: Squat Knee Up (20 repetitions per side, Two sets staggered by 20 Jumping Jack repetitions)
Are you ready to lift your butt? This exercise is absolutely unreal.
Start by dropping down into a squat. When you lift yourself up subsequently lift your right knee up across your body as high as it will go. Drop your leg back down. Repeat on the same side.
I like to do 20 Jumping Jacks in between each set just to loosen and rest my quads while keeping my heart rate up.
Strength Enhancing Exercise #5: Bicycle Crunches (20 reps on each side, Two sets)
Finish up your workout with some serious abdominal work. The bicycle crunch will work to tighten your abdominals, your lower back, and your butt all at once.
Lay on your exercise matt with your legs up in the air – your quads at a right angle from your abs, your calves at a right angle from your quads- and your hands touching your ears with your elbows straight out. Push yourself into a crunch, but instead of going straight forward push your right elbow across to the left side of your body. Lay down, and repeat on the other side.
It’s okay to roll around moaning on your matt between these sets. They’re brutal, but if done right you will see results, and you’ll see results quick.
You can do this!
Make your post-weekday-frenzy me-time worth it by cruising through these five strength-enhancing exercises every day to feel strong, more confident, and proud.
Comment below about your favorite exercises, and how you manage to squeeze them into your busy days.