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Crunches

Abs

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Beginner

3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Intermediate

4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Advanced

5 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Equipment Needed:

• None

Positioning:

• Lying flat on your back, keep your feet flat on the ground. • Gently place your hands on either side of your head and keep your elbows tucked. Be sure not to lock your fingers together as this may force you to unnecessarily pull on your head.

Completing the exercise:

• Push the small of your back down and into the floor to better target your abdominal muscles and roll your shoulders off the floor. • At the top of the exercise, your shoulders should be about 4 inches off the floor with your lower back still pressed to the ground. When you reach the top, contract your abs and hold the position for a second. • Release the contraction and slowly return to the starting position as you inhale.

Considerations:

• Rather than using momentum to complete the exercise quickly, focus on slow, controlled movements to maximize the impact.

Roman chair leg raises

Abs

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Beginner

3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Intermediate

4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Advanced

5 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Equipment Needed:

• Roman chair

Positioning:

• Standing at the Roman chair, position your back so that it is straight and pressed against the back of the chair. • Place your arms on the arm pads, making sure to keep your elbows directly under your shoulders.

Completing the exercise:

• Slowly raise your legs up until they are parallel to the ground, making sure to keep them as straight as possible. • From the parallel position, slowly begin to lower your legs back down to their starting position. Make sure to lower your legs all the way back down before repeating the motion.

Flat dumbbell bench press

Chest

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Beginner

Set 1: 12-15 repetitions; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12

Intermediate

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12; Set 4: 7-10

Advanced

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12, Set 4: 7-10; Set 5: 7-10

Equipment Needed:

• Dumbbells • Exercise bench

Positioning:

• Lying back on the bench with dumbbells in both hands, bend your arms so the weights are at chest level on either side of your body. • Position your palms facing toward your feet and keep your elbows directly below your wrists.

Completing the exercise:

• Slowly exhale as you push the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended. • Bring the weights together, gently clapping them over the center of your chest. • Breathing in, begin to lower the weights back down to the starting position.

Incline dumbbell bench press

Chest

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Beginner

Set 1: 12-15 repetitions; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 7-10

Intermediate

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 7-10; Set 4: 3-6

Advanced

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 7-10; Set 4: 3-6

Set 5: 3-6

Equipment Needed:

• Dumbbells • Incline exercise bench

Positioning:

• Sitting back on the incline bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other and the weights resting on top of your thighs. • Lift the dumbbells one at a time, so that you’re holding them in front of your chest at about shoulder width apart. For safety, use your thighs to help lift the weights. • Once raised, rotate the weights so that your palms are facing out and away from your body.

Completing the exercise:

• Breathing out, use your chest muscles to push the dumbbells up and toward each other. Stop the movement just before the weights touch, leaving a few inches between them. • At the top of the movement, lock your arms and hold the position for a brief pause. • Breathing in, slowly start lowering the weights back down to the starting position. Lowering the dumbbells should take about twice as long as it did to raise them.

Considerations:

• After completing the exercise, return the dumbbells to a resting position atop your thighs and then place them on the floor. This is the safest way to put down the weights.

Decline dumbbell bench press

Chest

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Beginner

Set 1: 12-15 repetitions; Set 2: 10-12: Set 3: 10-12

Intermediate

Set 1: 12-15: Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12; Set 4: 7-10

Advanced

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12: Set 3: 10-12; Set 4: 7-10

Set 5: 7-10

Equipment Needed:

• Dumbbells • Decline exercise bench

Positioning:

• Sitting on a decline bench, lock your legs in using the pads at the end. • With palms facing together, hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting on the top of your thighs and lie back on the bench. • Once you are fully reclined, bring the weights to chest level, about shoulder width apart. • After reaching this position, rotate the weights so your palms are facing away from you and raise the dumbbells straight up so your arms are fully extended.

Completing the exercise:

• Breathing in, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your side, making sure to maintain control of the weights throughout the motion. • Breathing out, push the weights back upward using your pectoral muscles. • At the top of the movement, lock your arms and contract your chest muscles, holding the position for a few seconds.

Considerations:

• When finished with the exercise, do not simply drop the weights down next to you as this can be dangerous to your rotator cuff and shoulders. Instead, either hand the weights off to a partner or return them to your thighs, sit up and then gently place them on the floor.

Cable push ups

Chest

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Beginner

Set 1: 12-15 repetitions; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12

Intermediate

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12; Set 4: 7-10

Advanced

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12; Set 4: 7-10

Set 5: 7-10

Equipment Needed:

• Dual cable machine

Positioning:

• Taking one handle in each hand, lower your body weight down onto the handles. • Keep your legs together and extended straight back, making sure to keep your core tight and back straight.

Completing the exercise:

• Keeping your arms tucked in close to your body, exhale and begin to lower your body down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. • Breathing in, slowly begin to push your body back upward and into the starting position.

Considerations:

• Compared to regular push-ups, cable push-ups are more difficult because they provide an element of instability.

Flat-lying leg raises

Abs

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Beginner

3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Intermediate

4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Advanced

5 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Equipment Needed:

• Exercise bench (Optional)

Positioning:

• Lie with your back flat and your legs extended straight out. • Place your hands beneath your glutes. {If using a bench, you can grab the sides of the bench for support if you’d prefer.)

Completing the exercise:

• Keeping your legs as straight as possible, exhale and lift your legs until they form a 90-degree angle to the floor. • Hold the position at the top of the exercise, contracting your abdominal muscles. • After a second, breathe in and slowly drop your legs down to their starting position.

Pullovers

Back

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Beginner

Set 1: 12-15 repetitions; Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12

Intermediate

Set 1: 12-15: Set 2: 10-12; Set 3: 10-12: Set 4: 7-10

Advanced

Set 1: 12-15; Set 2: 10-12: Set 3: 10-12: Set 4: 7-10

Set 5: 7-10

Equipment Needed:

• Dumbbell • Exercise bench

Positioning:

• Grab your dumbbell and lie flat on your back on the bench. • Using a diamond grip to hold the weight, position it straight up over your chest with the top of dumbbell resting in the palms of your hands, which should be facing up.

Completing the exercise:

• Breathing in, slowly begin to lower the weight down and over your head. • Stop the motion when you feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders. (The weight should be a bit lower than the top of your head at this point.) • Tightening your abdominal muscles, slowly begin to raise the weight back up and above your chest. (Tightening your core throughout this movement will help provide stability and control.)

Considerations:

• You may want to start with a lighter weight that is easier to control for better stability throughout your shoulders.

Rotating sit-ups

Abs

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Beginner

3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Intermediate

4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Advanced

5 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Equipment Needed:

• Incline workout bench (optional)

Positioning:

•Lying flat on your back, keep your feet flat on the ground (or if using a bench, secure them with the foot pads) and bend your knees. • Place your hands underneath your head, but do not lock your fingers together.

Completing the exercise:

• Pressing your lower back into the ground and tightening your abdominal muscles, begin to lift your shoulders off the ground (or bench) as you breathe out. • As your shoulders rise, twist your upper body as if you were trying to touch your left shoulder to your right knee, but the two should not actually make contact. • Hold the position at the top of the movement for a second. • Breathing in, slowly turn your elbow back away from your knee and lower your upper body back to the starting position. • Repeat the movement on the opposite side, moving your right elbow toward your left knee.

Roman chair knee raises

Abs

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Beginner

3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Intermediate

4 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Advanced

5 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Equipment Needed:

• Roman chair

Positioning:

• Standing at the Roman chair, position your back so that it is straight and pressed against the back of the chair. • Place your arms on the arm pads, keeping your elbows directly under your shoulders.

Completing the exercise:

• Breathing out, remove your feet from the foot rests and slowly raise your legs up with your knees bent until your thighs are parallel with the floor. • Continue to raise your knees until they cross above the parallel line with the floor. • Hold the position at the top of the exercise for a second before slowly lowering your legs back down while breathing in.