Best Fitness Equipment
12 New Things to Do with Common Fitness Equipment
Tone Up With the Classics
Dumbbells are too versatile a training tool to see action only when biceps curls are involved. Turn a traditional upper-body strengthener—the row—into a core-challenging, total-body exercise simply by adding a pair of dumbbells, says Frank Baptiste, a personal trainer in New York City and owner of Frankly Fitness. Like all upper-body pulling exercises, this move targets the lats as well as the biceps, but performing it from a plank position requires serious core stability. “Lifting one arm at a time challenges rotary stability as your obliques work to prevent your spine from twisting,” says Baptiste.
Do It: Begin in the high-plank position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a hex dumbbell in each hand. Making sure your body forms a straight line from head to heels, row back the dumbbell in your right hand, pulling your right elbow toward the ceiling. Keep a strong core and don’t let your hips or spine rotate. Return to start position and repeat with your left arm.
Make It Harder: Do a pushup between each row. See how to perform this challenging variation here!
Make It Easier: Substitute a modified pushup between each row in place of a traditional pushup.
Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
“This is the ultimate lower-body strength exercise that targets virtually every muscle below your waist—especially the glutes,” says Baptiste. “And because it’s a unilateral exercise, it also challenges stability and helps improve balance.” What’s more, you can do this move in your living room by using your couch instead of a bench to elevate your rear foot.
Do It: Stand about 2 feet in front of a low bench (or couch), holding a single dumbbell with both hands at arm’s length in front of your chest. Place the laces of your left shoe on the bench (or couch) behind you. Slowly lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push through your right heel to return to start position.
Make It Harder: Try this plyometric variation: Increase your speed when returning to start position and add a small hop at the top of the motion. Just remember to land softly, says Baptiste.