Smart and time-efficient training is the premise behind my new DVD “SparkPeople: Total Body Sculpting.” In it, I show you multitasking moves that work two, three, four or more muscles in every move. That gets more toning done in less time—and also helps elevate your heart rate so that your strength workout doubles as a fat-burning cardio session, too.
Here I’m sharing five of my favorite compound exercises from the DVD that you can try at home. Scroll below the infographic pictured here for detailed exercise instructions—and a video clip of me demonstrating one of these moves (and sharing more time-saving workout tips) during my recent appearance on Cincinnati’s FOX 19 morning show.
Perform a light warm-up (such as walking) for 3-5 minutes before exercising. Perform one set of each exercise as listed for a quick 5-minute routine. Repeat the routine for 1-2 additional sets for a longer and more challenging workout, based on time available.
Exercise 1: Squat + Press + Twist
Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight, holding the ends of one dumbbell in each hand, arms down in front of the thighs. Bend the knees and hips to squat and, while keeping both arms straight, “swing” your arms straight up overhead. Straighten legs and lower straight arms back down, lifting right knee up and twisting waist and arms toward the right side of the body. Squat again, lifting arms, then rotating to the opposite side (lifting left leg) to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for one full minute.
Exercise 2: Curtsey + Row + Extension
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hips/toes turned slightly outward (externally rotated), holding one weight in each hand with arms at sides. Step left leg behind right leg, bending both knees into curtsey squat and hinging forward from the hip while bending the elbows to lift the weights toward your chest, palms facing body. (Be sure to keep back straight and flat with abs engaged.) Straighten elbows, lifting weights behind you. Bend elbows again, then return to start position. Alternate sides (step right foot behind) and return to start position to complete one rep. Continue alternating sides for one full minute. (Watch the demonstration of this exercise in the video at the bottom of this post.)
Exercise 3: Lunge + Balance + Figure 8 Arms
Stand with feet hip-with apart, back straight and arms extended straight out in line with the shoulders, palms facing each other. Step left leg behind and lower into a reverse lunge, bending both knees approximately 90 degrees and keeping front knee in line with ankle. Hold lunge position and make a sweeping figure 8 motion with your arms, keeping your gaze centered between the hands as the arms move. (The larger and wider your “8” is, the more you’ll challenge your balance and engage the core.) Return hands to center then press up to standing, lifting left knee up to balance. Repeat figure 8 motion with arms. Continue for 30 seconds on this side, then switch to right leg and repeat for 30 seconds.
Exercise 4: Plié + Press + Pulldown + Side Crunch
Begin in a wide-stance plié squat with feet turned out, legs wider than hips, knees bent, back straight, right hand on a chair or wall for balance, and one weight in your left hand, elbow bent toward waist and palm facing up in line with the shoulder (not pictured). Say in squat position and press the weight in an arc motion overhead while bending the spine laterally to “crunch” the right side of the waist. Stay in squat and pull the weight down, bringing elbow toward your hip and “crunching” on the opposite side to complete one rep. Try to stay in low plié squat position the whole time. Repeat for one full minute.
Exercise 5: Leaning Abs + Chest Fly
Grab one light to medium-weight dumbbell and sit at the very edge of a chair, lifting heels off the floor and squeezing legs tightly together (not pictured). Keep spine straight and abs engaged and slowly hinge from the hips to lean your upper back into the chair back (without rounding the spine). Hold weight in front of chest with both hands, elbows soft and arms slightly rounded. Take the weight in the right hand and “fly” the arms out to the sides, keeping elbows slightly bent and arms at chest level. Return both arms to center and pass weight to left arm to repeat on opposite side. Brace with abdominals to avoid leaning to either side as you hold the weight out. Continue alternating sides for one full minute.