Top 11 exercises for women
"We are all really busy and don't have a lot of time," says Harper. "I am all for maximizing your results, but in order to do that you need to be efficient and work out properly. These 10 exercises turn your dream body into a reality."
Lying triceps press (tones the back of your arm)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and together, feet apart (pyramid position). Hold 2-pound dumbbells above your head and bring your elbows in line with your eyes. Bend your elbows, lowering the weights to the floor right above your head, then straighten your arms. Do 100 repetitions. Do not move your elbows the entire set.
Harper's tip: When this gets easy use a 3-lb. dumbbell,, but never more weight. To make it harder increase the reps to 125.
Oblique kick (works arms, hips and obliques)
Come onto your left side with your legs stacked at a 90-degree angle. With your left forearm on the ground and your right hand in a fist for support on the ground, lift your body off the ground and kick your right foot out as high as you can, looking straight ahead the entire time. Come back to the starting position and repeat for 25 repetitions. Then switch sides.
Harper's tip: To make this exercise harder, take your right hand off the ground and put it on your waist. Now in the "up" position, the only thing that is touching the ground is your forearm and the side of your left foot.
X abs (targets
Lie on your back and put your hands on your shoulders in an X behind your head, with your legs in butterfly position. Lift your upper body 25 repetitions using your abs. Then hold and lift your lower body 25 repetitions, tapping the sides of your feet back down. Then do both simultaneously. Keep your core engaged the entire time.
Butterfly taps (works abs)
Sit up tall, knees bent and pointing out to the sides, feet on the floor in front of you with soles of your feet together. Place fingertips on the floor between your legs and lean back slightly until you feel your abs engage. Raise your left foot, then lower it and immediately raise your right foot. Continue, alternating your feet for 30 seconds. Then do both feet simultaneously for 30 seconds. Sit up straight and keep abs pulled in throughout movement.
Climber (challenges your entire body)
Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands in front of shoulders, elbows pointing down and palms facing away from you. Raise your right arm overhead as you lift right knee toward chest. Repeat on opposite side. Continue, alternating sides, for 2 minutes.
Tricep cooker (works triceps, legs, and core)
Sit with your knees bent and feet on floor, hands 6 inches behind your hips and your fingers facing towards you. Lift your hips and raise your right leg straight up. Bend only your elbows, lowering your butt toward the floor. Straighten your arms and repeat 25 times, then switch legs. Do 2 sets with each leg.
Harper's tip: To make it easier, keep both feet on the floor.
Concentration lunges (works lower body)
With your hands on your waist, step your left foot forward. Drop your right knee down to the mat. Now check your form: Your front knee should be right over your ankle, and your back knee and shoulder are in alignment with the same hip. Keep this alignment for the entire set. Do 100 lunges, then switch sides.
Harper's tip: Pull your stomach in the entire exercise and stand up ballerina-straight.
Superman twist (targets butt and core)
Lie face-down with legs extended and forehead on hands, fingers interlaced. Raise legs and chest, then rotate torso to the left. Keeping legs raised, rotate to the right and repeat. (If this is too challenging, keep legs on the floor.) Each set tap your elbow on the mat. Do 100 taps.
Donkey kicks (strengthens entire body with emphasis on quads)
Get on all fours with your hands under shoulders and knees under hips. With slightly bent elbows and a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone, lift your knees 1 inch off the ground and bounce them 1 inch up and down 50 repetitions. Once you are good and warm, float your feet off the ground and kick them in the air like a donkey. Do 50 repetitions.
Harper's tip: While you're performing the exercise, think "floating," not pounding back down. Imagine you are jumping on a sheet of glass and don't want to break it.
Stretch: Crisscross reach (stretches back and hamstrings)
Sit up tall with legs extended in front of you, left ankle crossed over right. Extend arms at shoulder height in front of you, left hand on top of right. Bend forward from hips, reaching right hand toward right toes as you lower your chin toward your chest. Focus on pressing your lower back toward your knees. Take five deep inhales, then repeat on the opposite side.
Wrestling circles (works abs, obliques and quads)
Lie on your back and lace your hands behind your head with your thumbs on your neck (as sensors to make sure your neck remains relaxed). While lifting your shoulders up, simultaneously lift your legs and rock using your obliques; twist for 10 repetitions clockwise, then switch directions for 10 repetitions.
Harper's tip: While you're doing this exercise, remember it's for your abs, not your neck. Engage your abs instead of just pulling up with your head. Also, keep your elbows out of your line of vision throughout.
Joel Harper's top 10 celebrity fitness secrets
Harper has more than just great moves to a fab physique. It takes more than just exercise to get and stay in shape. "I have the luxury of training some very successful people and the below insights are a common denominator," he says.
- After every exercise always stretch. It creates long lean muscles.
- There is always something new to learn. Never, ever get bored. If you are, it is your own fault.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep. No excuses. This is crucial to glowing on the inside and out.
- Make sure you eat your daily amount of protein. Average daily protein needs (grams per day) = your body weight (in pounds)/2.2 x 1.5.
- Listen to your inner dialogue. What is going on in your head? Take responsibility for your thoughts. If you don't like them, change them.
- Your body is a choice you make. You are what you eat and how you exercise.
- Water!! Take your body weight and divide it in half: That's how many ounces to drink throughout the day. If you worked out for an hour, add another 10 ounces.
- If you are not hungry, don't eat. Your body is telling you something. I don't have 1 or 2 meals a week, because I listen to my body.
- Don't wear anything that you don't look incredible in. Period. No if ands or it cost $500. Donate it!
- Hang around happy, driven, successful people. You are an average of your top five best friends.
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