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The Real-World Workout

WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

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This functional fitness routine tightens and tones the muscles you use daily.

What you'll need: One set of 3pound dumbbells, a yoga mat or carpeted floor, and a staircase or a small stepladder.

Goal: Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps for each move.

1. Sliding Side Lunge

Reallife application: Balancing shopping bags in your arms while bending down to pick up another item.

Place a paper plate underneath your left foot and stand with your feet hipdistance apart. Shift your weight to your right leg and extend your arms out in front of you, palms down, for balance. Bend your right knee 45 to 90 degrees (keeping your knee behind your toes) and slide the left foot on the paper plate out to the side as far as possible (keeping your weight on your right leg). Pull the left leg back to start while straightening the right leg. Complete one set, then switch sides.

2. Crunch and Punch

Reallife application: Getting up off the floor and in and out of cars with your hands full.

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, holding dumbbells on the floor by your sides. Bend your elbows 90 degrees to bring the weights up, keeping shoulders and upper arms on the floor. Contract your abs and curl your head, shoulders, and torso up off the floor. As you come up, extend the right arm forward and across your body to the left, as if you were throwing a light punch in that direction. Return to start, then repeat on the opposite side to complete one rep.

3. Dead Lift

Reallife application: Picking up the kids' Legos...or your guy's dirty socks...or your dog's chew toys....

Stand with feet hipwidth apart and knees slightly bent, holding dumbbells down in front of the thighs, palms facing legs. Keeping your lower back straight, slowly bend forward at the hips as far as comfortably possible while lowering the dumbbells straight down toward the floor. Return to start and keep your abs tight to protect your lower back; repeat for a full set.

4. Step and Extend

Reallife application: Hauling laundry, kids, and other heavy things up and down stairs.

Stand facing a staircase or a stepladder while holding dumbbells at your shoulders, palms facing in. Plant your right foot on the second step (you can use the first or third step, depending on the height of the stairs and your fitness level). Step up onto your right foot and straighten the right leg while lifting the weights straight up overhead. Tap your left toes on the step, then return to start. Complete one set, then switch legs and repeat.

5. SingleLeg Row

Reallife application: Reaching down into the Pack 'n Play or crib to pick up baby.

Stand with feet hipwidth apart, holding dumbbells comfortably down at your sides. Keeping your back straight, bend your torso forward at the waist while extending your left leg straight out behind you until your body forms a "T" shape. Allow your arms to hang straight down toward the floor, palms facing each other. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend your elbows to pull the weights up to either side of your chest. Lower arms and repeat for half a set, then return to start and switch legs to complete the set.


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