2. PLIÉ SQUAT Stand with feet farther than hip-width apart and turned out comfortably, legs slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell vertically, cupping the top end in both hands, arms straight so the dumbbell hangs in front of your body. Contract your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades down and together [A]. Maintain position and bend both knees, lowering hips as much as you can without shifting forward or backward [B]. Straighten to starting position and repeat. Weight: 8–10 pounds. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings and buttocks.
3. SEATED BENT-OVER ROW Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, knees bent and over ankles, feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, then bend forward at your hips, keeping your back straight, until your chest is close to your thighs; let your arms hang directly below your shoulders, palms facing in. Maintaining this position, squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, then bend your elbows up and back, bringing weights toward your lower rib cage (shown). Straighten arms to starting position and repeat. Weight: 5–8 pounds in each hand. Strengthens upper and middle back, rear shoulders and biceps.
4. BALL BRIDGE Lie on the floor with your lower legs and heels on top of a stability ball, legs straight, arms flat on floor, palms down. With abs contracted, press your heels into the ball and lift your hips and lower back off the floor so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels [A]. Holding this position, bend your knees, rolling the ball toward you [B]. Push the ball away, then lower your body to the floor and repeat. Strengthens abs, back, buttocks and hamstrings.
5. AB CRUNCH Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Place fingers, unclasped, behind your head, elbows wide. Inhale, then exhale, pulling abs in as if to press your navel to the floor; hold for 2 seconds, then release and repeat 15 times. Repeat the contraction and lift head and shoulder blades off the floor (shown), pause, then lower and repeat 15 times. Strengthens abs.
6. PUSH-UP Kneel at arm’s distance from a 4- to 8-inch-high step and place your hands on the platform farther than shoulder-width apart, arms straight and toes on the floor. Contract abs, drawing your tailbone down and walk knees back so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. Bend your elbows, lowering chest toward the step until elbows align with shoulders (shown). Push back to starting position and repeat. Strengthens chest, front shoulders and triceps.