10 Essential Moves for Any Workout

Learn the proper form and technique for these basic bodyweight exercises to prevent injury and better results. (12 Photos)

Jessica Smith on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:45PM

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10 Essential Moves for Any Workout

Vanessa Rogers

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Must Do Move #1: The Push Up

This classic exercise is so effective at developing the muscles in your chest, arms and back, you’ll see them done in everything from boot camp to Pilates workouts. 

How to: Begin on all fours, with hands slightly in front of (and wider than) your shoulders, fingers pointing front. Shift your weight forward and bring the center of your chest between your hands. Lift your feet and cross your ankles (place a towel or a yoga mat under your knees for padding)

Brace your abs in tight, bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor, lightly tapping your chest on the ground at the bottom. Press your body back up. Do as many as you can with good form, with an eventual goal of 10-15 repetitions.

Form Tip: Avoid letting your head or hips sag or lift too high during your push-up. Your torso should create a straight line from your tailbone through your head.

Make It Easier: Instead of shifting your weight forward and lifting your feet, practice your push-ups from an all-fours position until you feel strong enough to try the modified option on your knees.

Make It Harder: Try a full push up on your toes, or on a decline (with your feet propped up on a chair or bench). You can also experiment with different hand positions to target different muscles (for example, placing your hands on the floor in a diamond shape with your index finger and thumbs touching works the back of your arms, or triceps muscles).

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