Break free of your workout rut with these go-to exercises by Jillian Michaels, Good Housekeeping‘s on-call trainer. You just need a mat and some hand weights to start building up muscle and sculpting your core.

Arms: Modified Crescent Low Row

What it works: biceps, legs, abs, and back

1. Hold a 3- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, feet hip-width apart.

2. Step right leg back, maintaining hip-width distance between legs. Keeping back leg straight, bend front knee so thigh is at a 45-degree angle.

3. Hinge forward, back flat, belly button pulled in toward spine.

4. Exhale and, elbows in, with control, pull dumbbells up and back.

5. Inhale and slowly lower dumbbells to start for 30 seconds, then switch legs for one set; do two 30-second sets.

Make it easier: Use lighter weights.

Make it harder: Add weight or bend front knee deeper.

Abs: Table to L-Sit

What it works: arms, abs, butt, and legs

1. Start seated on floor with legs extended, arms resting at sides.

2. Bend knees, keeping feet at on floor. Place hands several inches behind hips, shoulder-width apart, fingers pointed toward toes.

3. Inhale and press into hands and feet, shoulder blades back, as shown. Raise hips until torso is parallel to floor, like a table.

4. Keeping hands in place, lower hips to hover above floor, legs straight. Hold for a beat.

5. Inhale while returning to tabletop position. Do three 30-second sets, resting in between.

Make it easier: Sit at (4) instead of hovering above floor.

Make it harder: Lift feet off floor in (4) so legs are parallel to floor.

Abs: Reverse Crunch

What it works: lower abs

1. Lie faceup with arms at sides, palms flat and facing down.

2. Cross legs and elevate them with knees slightly bent, directly over hips.

3. Relax neck and keep chin off chest with eyes gazing toward the ceiling. Exhale and, drawing belly button toward spine, slowly lift and roll pelvis up and back toward head.

4. Hold for a beat and inhale while slowly lowering hips back to start. Repeat for 30 seconds for one set, then rest. Do three sets.

Make it easier: Place hands just under tailbone to decrease range of motion.

Make it harder: Place hands behind head and lift upper and lower body simultaneously for a double crunch.

Legs: Sumo Squat

What it works: butt, thighs, and core

1. Stand with feet more than shoulder width apart, toes turned outward.

2. Tuck tailbone under and draw belly button in toward spine, hands on hips.

3. Inhale, bend knees and squat, keeping thighs parallel to floor. Hold for a beat.

4. Exhale while returning to start. Repeat for 30 seconds, maintaining form.

Make it easier: Squat less deeply.

Make it harder: Hold a weight in each hand on thighs for added resistance.

Full Body: Long Jump With Crawl Back

What it works: arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs

1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart.

2. Perform long jump: Bend knees and, swinging arms, take off as far forward as you can, landing on both feet (A).

3. Hinge at hips to place both hands on floor.

4. Jump back into plank position, with arms straight under shoulders and abs tight.

5. Walk hands backward toward feet (B), keeping legs as straight as possible and lifting tailbone toward the ceiling. Stand and repeat for 30 seconds. Do three sets.

Abs: Scissor Crunch

What it works: abs and lower back

1. Lie flat on back; place hands under lower back for protection.

2. Slowly raise both legs until they are perpendicular to floor. Pull belly button in toward spine and keep body flat.

3. Crunch upper body until shoulders are off of floor and hold.

4. Slowly scissor legs up and down, bringing them — one at a time — from perpendicular to nearly parallel to floor (as shown).

5. Do for 30 seconds, then rest. Repeat three times.

Make it easier: Lie flat instead of crunching up, and squeeze abs as you raise and lower legs instead.

Make it harder: Place hands behind head with fingers interlaced, keeping a fist’s distance between chin and chest

Arms: Renegade Rows

What it works: back, shoulders, and arms

1. Start in plank, holding weights and with feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Row dumbbell to chest (as shown) and release. Do three reps. Switch hands; repeat.

3. Keep it up for one minute.

Make it easier: Drop knees to modify.

Butt: Chair Pose

What it works: quads, butt, abs, and lower back

1. Stand with feet close together and inhale; raise arms perpendicular to floor, shoulders back.

2. Bend knees as you exhale, hinging forward at hips, abs engaged. Keeping gaze forward, “sit” back, lifting arms alongside ears (as shown).

3. With back straight and toes visible when you glance over your knees, sink more deeply to try to get upper thighs parallel to floor.

4. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, depending on strength, then return to start. Repeat three times.

Make it easier: Sink less deeply into the pose or stand with heels on a rolled-up mat or towel.

Make it harder: Sit even lower and hold pose for 30 seconds.

Full Body: Burpee Push-ups

What it works: arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs

1. Squat and place hands on floor (as shown).

2. Jump feet into plank.

3. Drop chest to ground and perform a push-up.

4. Jump feet forward into squat position.

5. Jump up, reaching hands over head, and repeat sequence for 30 seconds. Rest. Do two more sets.

Make it easier: Step back instead of jumping and do push-up on knees.

Workout with Jillian


Skip the gym — use your smartphone instead! Jillian’s personalized fitness app makes it easy to tone up at home. With a subscription, you’ll have access to over 550 moves with videos and (bonus!) Good Housekeeping readers get a special 10% off.

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