5 Empowering Exercises That Will Keep You Moving All Week Long

Photo: Tamara Muth-King

Starting the week off with a workout can helps set the right mind frame to really take on my goals and face the day’s challenges with a positive attitude. Whether you’re a mom, full-time student, or work a 9-to-5 job, making time to workout can help help you relieve stress, feel empowered, and move throughout your day with bit more ease.

One of the easiest ways to reap the benefits of working out is to start exercising with more regularity—consistency is so key to improving your fitness level and feeling stronger). Sometimes, it’s the early morning—before the to-do lists, errands—that allows for the time and space to get the heart pumping and muscles working—to clear the mind, release and stretch it out to make the most of your day.

Here are five strength and flexibility moves you can do at home to discover how stronger can feel better.

Lunge With Spinal Twist

What is it: A great way to warm up the body is with a dynamic stretch like this lunge with a twist.

Benefit: Stretches the hips, quads and back.

Steps: Start standing with feet hips width apart. Step left foot forward and lower until your front thigh is perpendicular to the ground and your right leg is straight behind you. Bend over and touch the floor with your right hand and twist your body to the left as you reach for the ceiling with your arm. Hold briefly then return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Repeat 8 times total.

The Reverse Lunge

What is it: The reverse lunge is like a basic lunge but involves stepping one leg back instead of forward.

Benefit: Like a forward lunge, the reverse lunge strengthens the whole leg—quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves—but getting the form right is easier and because of that it is easier on the knees than the forward lunge.

Steps: Start standing with hands holding dumbbells at your sides. This is

your starting position. Step right foot back and lower the right knee until it almost touches the floor. Pause and push through the heel of your left foot to return to starting position while breathing out. Repeat for 8-12 reps and switch legs.

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Hammer Curl to Overhead Press

What is it: A basic biceps curl meets and a classic shoulder move to work two key upper body muscle groups.

Benefit: When done with heavy enough weights, this move increases strength in the biceps and deltoids and even works the core.

Steps: Hold dumbbells at sides with palms facing toward the body. Slowly curl weights to shoulder level, bending elbows and keeping elbows close to the body. Next, lift dumbbells overhead until arms are fully extended. Pause and lower dumbbells slowly back to shoulder height and then to sides to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat for 8-12 reps total.

Burpee with Push Up

What is it: A total body move, performing the burpee slowly helps isolate the core and adding a push up increases the difficulty level and works the chest.

Benefit: Works core, chest and legs, elevates heart rate for cardiovascular conditioning.

Steps: Start standing with feet together. Place hands flat on floor, keeping hips lifted to activate core. Pause briefly then jump feet back into plank position. Do a push up. Pause again in plank before jumping legs back in toward hands. Keep hips elevated. Jump, reaching hands in the air. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 12.

The Reverse Lunge

What is it: The reverse lunge is like a basic lunge but involves stepping one leg back instead of forward.

Benefit: Like a forward lunge, the reverse lunge strengthens the whole leg—quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves—but getting the form right is easier and because of that it is easier on the knees than the forward lunge.

Steps: Start standing with hands holding dumbbells at your sides. Step right foot back and lower the right knee until it almost touches the floor. Pause and push through the heel of your left foot to return to starting position while breathing out. Repeat for 8-12 reps and switch legs.

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Goblet Squat

What is it: A squat holding a heavy dumbbell at your chest.

Benefit: Works glutes, legs and core and is easier to execute with good form than other squat variations.

Steps: Start standing with feet shoulder width apart and both hands holding a dumbbell at the base next to your chest. Lower body, pushing hips back, keeping your back straight until thighs are parallel to the floor. Pushing through heels, lift body back to starting position, breathing out. That’s one rep. Do 8 to 12.

Repeat this circuit for a full body workout that will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something major, setting you up for a successful day. Think of your morning workout routine as a part of your day that’s just for you, as a moment of calm and joy, when you can connect with your body and truly focus, without any guilt or distraction, on your own wellbeing.

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