Five Basic Exercise Moves Everyone Needs To Know

These five moves are kind of fitness all-stars. These exercises appear in practically every single workout class, fitness DVD, and travel-friendly routine ever created. So whether you love push-ups and burpees or not, chances are you’re going to have to do them again soon. They work, but only when you do them right. That’s why it’s extra important to master the proper form.

Get these moves down pat now—and be ready to reap all of the muscle-strengthening, body-toning benefits next time they pop up in your routine.

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    The High Plank

    • Start on your hands and knees on the ground. Your hands and knees should be shoulder-width apart, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
    • Lift your knees off the ground and step your feet back, bringing your body to full extension. You want to create one long line that connects your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
    • Reach back through your heels and forward through the crown of your head. To keep your neck and spine in a neutral position, try aiming your chin about six inches in front of your body.
    • Keeping a tight core is key here. Tighten your quads, engage your abdominals, and push through your palms. Keep those hips lifted and don’t forget to breathe!
    • Moving your feet closer together will make this exercise more challenging.

    Learn more about the perfect plank here.

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    The Bodyweight Squat

    • Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, feet turned out about 5-15 degrees.
    • Hinge your hips back toward a wall (real or imaginary) behind you, and bend your knees to lower into a squat.
    • Keep the weight in your heels and your chest upright. Keep your knees inline with your feet (don’t let them buckle in).
    • Go as low as you can, then push through your heels to return to standing.

    Learn more about the perfect squat here.

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    The Push-Up

    • Start in a high plank position and place your palms under your shoulders or slightly wider. Keep your fingers pointing directly forward.
    • Keep your core tight and bend elbows to lower torso toward the floor. Don’t let your hips drop down before your chest lowers.
    • Go as low as you can, then push through your palms to straighten your arms.
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The Reverse Lunge

  • Start in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale as you step backwards with your right foot. Land on the ball of your right foot and keep your heel off the ground.
  • Now bend your knees creating two 90-degree angles with your legs. Your left shin should be perpendicular to the floor and your left knee is stacked above your left ankle. Aim to have your back knee hovering about 3-6 inches off the ground. Get low!
  • You want to have your shoulders directly above your hips and your chest is upright.
  • Push off with your back foot and press through your front heel to return to standing.

Learn more about the perfect reverse lunge here.

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    The Burpee

    • Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Then bring your palms to the floor.
    • Jump your feet back so that you are in high plank, keeping your core tight and your hips lifted.
    • Bend your elbows and do a push-up, returning to high plank. (Some variations of the burpee skip this step or do it slightly differently. Do what works best for you!)
    • Now jump your feet to the outsides of your hands and explode up. Reach your arms overhead as you jump as high as you can

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