When you're short on time or when you feel like taking on a bigger challenge, try adding total-body moves to your workout. There's a time and place for leg day or core isolation, but sometimes it feels good to move everything all at once. Plus, that's how you live life anyway! Try these total-body functional exercises next time you put on your sports bra.
1. Reverse Plank Leg Lift: Any time you have to suspend your bodyweight between your hands and feet is a great opportunity for core work! That's why we love and hate planks. Reverse the move. Look up to the ceiling to keep your neck lined up with your back. Add the leg raise when you feel balanced. You'll get the shoulders, glutes, thighs and core with this one!
2. Lunge and Twist with Resistance Band: Legs love lunges! Grab a resistance band and hold it out in front of you, then step forward into your lunge. Twist the torso toward the front leg as you pull the band behind you, opening the chest. Close the stretch and return the foot. You work the glutes and quads in your lunge, the triceps, chest and shoulders with the twist and your core as you stabilize. Learn more about how to use the band or substitute for it here.
3. Crouching Tiger: Drop to the floor for this animal-based move. Start on all fours with your knees hovering above the ground. Your goal is to keep the knees under the hips and a flat back at the same time. By doing this, you're working your quads, core and back, and you haven't even moved yet! When you're ready, lift the right arm up as you twist toward the right and bring the left leg under and through to the other side. See how to do multiple reps here.
4. Side Lunge and Press: Grab any weighted object for resistance and step out into your side lunge. Look down at your knee and make sure it's not going over your toes. The other leg should be straight. The weight stays at chest height while you lunge. Exhale and push out of it, bringing the leg back under the hips, and push the weight over your head at the same time. Take it out to the other side to make those cheeks even! Get more tips on this move here.
5. Mountain Climbers: You know love 'em! Alignment is everything in this move. As those knees drive under your chest, stay firm through the shoulders — no rocking! The hips tend to creep up with this exercise, so lock them down and you'll feel the core turn on. Try to imitate Real Mom Model Amanda Strong's example in the Skinny Minute below (and click here to read more about your form):
6. Burpee Deck Squat Jump: Spice up your burpee with a little rock 'n roll move! Keeping the legs together, bend down and roll onto your back, arms in tight, and push yourself back up again using your hands as little as possible. Once you get to the starting position again, pop out into your high plank and finish the burpee. Get a more detailed breakdown here.
7. Touchdowns: Pick one leg and send it back as you reach to the floor with the same-side hand. Touch the floor (that's why it's called a touchdown!) and immediately drive that back leg up into a knee lift. Use your arms to counterbalance. The quicker you move, the more you'll fire the glutes and rely on the core. Add small hand weights if you want! See how you can incorporate this move into your workout by clicking here.
8. Kneeling Side Plank Clamshell: Shoulders? Check. Obliques? Check. Butt and thighs? Check, check! You can do this move anywhere. The most common mistake is letting the hips move up and down or drop while you work the leg. Go slowly and feel the burn! Check it out here, too.
9. Elevated Knee Tuck Repeaters: Level up your plank game with this lower body crunch action. The trick is to remain as still as you can in the upper body and core while the same leg bends in and out. When you send the leg back, let it hover over the step instead of touching down. Stay square to the floor by keeping equal pressure in both hands. You got this! See more here.