5 Simple Exercises To Transform Your Body In 4 Weeks

Hilary Gowan

Journalist

Exercising is hard. If it wasn't, gym memberships wouldn’t be expensive and nobody would pay personal trainers to write exercise programs for them (as well as to shout encouragement in their faces). But how can you get in shape in any other way? All of those TV ads for miracle exercise machines are just lies...

Well, it turns out that not all exercises are made the same. You can actually build yourself a fair substantial program that only uses a few core exercises. Here we have some that will help you get in shape in no time ("no time" being "4 weeks"). For best results, combine them with a healthy diet!

1

The Plank

It is a core exercise to strengthen your abs, shoulders and back. It also reduces back pain and improves your balance. A strong core will improve your overall performance. Your entire body will be stronger and protect you from undue injury.

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Get down on the floor into a push-up position. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be under your shoulders. Your body should be in a straight line. Engage your core by sucking your stomach in towards your spine and hold it. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and gradually make it longer up as you progress.

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2

The Push-Up

Push-ups are a classic for a reason. They work the whole body while building strength in your forearms, chest, shoulders, back, abs and legs.

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Place your hands on the ground directly beneath your shoulders. Make sure your core is tight and your body is straight. Keep your back flat and straight while lowering your body towards the floor. Exhale, and push yourself back up. Make sure to remain in a perfectly straight line.

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3

The Squat

A compound movement which effectively works multiple muscles in your body to strengthen your core, your legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes), hips, and your back. They also strengthen your joints, and even improve your balance.

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Stand facing forward with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and push your butt back out as if you are sitting down on an invisible low stool. Keep your head up and arch your back a little. Lower yourself until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your weight is pressing onto your heels! Push through the heels to go back up into the starting position.

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4

The Bird Dog

The bird dog works your core as well as your lower back. You can help strengthen your core and your stabilizer muscles.

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Get on the floor on all fours. Keep your core tight and your spine and neck neutral. You should be looking towards the floor. Your knees you line up with your hips and your wrists should be directly under your shoulders. Extend your left leg slowly up until it is parallel to the floor. Do not lift it above your hip. Then slowly lift your right arm. Keep it straight and parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position and doing it with the other arm and leg.

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5

The Glute Bridge

Unsurprisingly, it targets glutes, but also your core and hips. It is a key exercise to prevent lower back pain.

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Lay down on the floor with your face up. Bend your knees, but keep your feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms to your sides and the palms face down. Lift your hips slowly up from the ground. Stop when your knees, hips and shoulders are in straight line. Squeeze your glutes hard, tighten your core and hold the position for a few seconds before going back down.

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