Standard pushups

What they work: Chest, arms and shoulders

How to start: Get down on your hands and knees, holding your body up with fully extended arms about shoulder-width apart. Kick your legs out into a plank position.

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How to do it:

In a controlled motion, bend your arms to lower your body toward the floor. Keep your body rigid, and don’t allow your back to sag.

Lower yourself until your chin or chest touch the floor.

Raise yourself back up with your arms until fully off the floor.

Diamond pushups

What they work: Chest, with greater emphasis on the triceps

How to start: Get down on your hands and knees. Holding your body up with fully extended arms, move your hands close enough for the forefingers and thumbs on each hand to touch. Kick your legs out into a plank position.

How to do it:

Bend your arms to lower you body towards the floor. Keep your body rigid, and don’t allow your back to sag.

Lower yourself until your chin or chest touch the floor.

Press up through your arms while maintaining a rigid torso. For extra strength, think about pushing the floor away from you. Continue pressing until the arms are fully extended at the elbows.

Tricep dips

What they work: Triceps

How to start: Get a sturdy chair and place your hands on either side of your hips so your palms are resting on the seat and your fingers are hanging over the edge. With your feet together, extend your legs out in front of you.

How to do it:

Move your body off the chair, while leaving your hands in place.

Lower your hips toward the floor until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.

Push back up using your hands rather than your legs, and repeat.

Standard squats

What they work: Abs, hips, calves, shins and thighs

How to start: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your toes turned out slightly.

How to do it:

Hinge at the hips, shifting them back and down while bending your knees simultaneously. Prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes. Keep your core muscles engaged and try to keep your back flat.

Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor.

While keeping the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together.

Sumo squats

What they work: Abs, quadriceps and calves

How to start: Set your feet at about twice shoulder width, with your toes turned out slightly.

How to do it:

Brace your abs, and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.

Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position.

Lunges

What they work: Abs, butt, hips and thighs

How to start: Stand with your feet together. Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine.

How to do it:

Slowly lift one foot off the floor and step forward, landing on the heel first. Shift your body weight onto the lead foot, placing it firmly on the floor.

Continue lowering your body to a comfortable position or until your front thigh becomes parallel with the floor and your shinbone is in a slight forward lean.

Firmly push off with the front leg, activating both your thighs and butt muscles to return to your upright, starting position.

Sit-ups

What they work: Abs

How to start: Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

How to do it:

Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back without arching your low back or causing your ribs to splay out.

Slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat. Your feet, tailbone and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the mat.

Lower your torso back toward the mat slowly and with control. Keep your feet, tailbone and low back in contact with the mat.

Plank

What they work: Abs and back

How to start: Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat or floor with your elbows close to your sides and directly under your shoulders. Lift up on your elbows, keeping your abdominal muscles tight.

How to do it:

Hold yourself up on your elbows for at least 30 seconds.

Do not allow any sagging in your ribcage or low back. Avoid hiking your hips into the air or bending the knees.

SOURCE: American Council on Exercise

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.