The Real-World Workout
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
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