Bonus exercise descriptions from the July/August issue of Hers

April 27, 2011

Looking to get tight and toned for summer? Then pick up the May/June issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers, on sale now! Here, we offer the bonus exercise descriptions not listed in the magazine. Start melting off fat today and get ready to look your best for summer!

High-Knee Jump Rope

  • Begin skipping rope, jumping off one foot with each revolution.
  • As you jump, lift each knee to chest level as quickly as possible.
  • Repeat 20 times per leg.


Straight-Leg Bicycle

  • Lie faceup on the floor with your hands lightly supporting the back of your neck. With both legs straight out in front of you, lift both heels an inch or two off the floor.
  • Keeping your left leg straight, raise your left foot toward the ceiling while rotating your torso to bring your right elbow toward your left knee.
  • As you lower your left leg and right elbow back to the floor, lift your right leg and bring your left elbow toward your right knee.


Barbell Romanian Deadlift

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold a loaded barbell in front of your legs with an overhand grip, chest high, knees slightly bent and a natural arch in your lower back.
  • Keeping your head up and maintaining the arch in your lower back, lean forward from the hips, letting the bar slide down your legs to the floor.
  • Reverse the motion and push your hips forward, squeezing your glutes as you return to standing. Repeat for reps.


Bent-Over Barbell Row

  • Stand in front of a barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping your chest up to maintain a small arch in your lower back, lean forward from the hips and take a shoulder-width grip on the bar.
  • Pull the bar toward your lower abs, bringing your elbows as high as possible. Squeeze your back for a count at the top, then lower the bar to arms length and repeat.


Kimura Situp

  • Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands clasped over your chest.
  • Take a moment to contract all four quadrants of your abdominal wall. Hold this squeeze throughout the exercise.
  • Raise your torso 30 degrees from the floor, then twist your shoulders to one side.
  • Rotate back to the center, lower your torso back to the floor, then lift it 30 degrees again and twist your shoulders to the other side.


Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

  • Lie faceup on an incline bench set at 20-30 degrees, feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip at about shoulder level, elbows lined up directly below the weights.
  • Press the dumbbells upward and inward until they nearly touch at the top of the movement, making sure not to lock out your elbows completely. Hold for one count, then return along the same path back to the starting position at shoulder level. Repeat for reps.


Wide-Grip Pullup

  • Hang freely from an overhead bar with an overhand grip, your hands just wider than your shoulders. Your arms should be extended with your elbows unlocked; bend your knees and cross your ankles behind you.
  • Pull yourself up until the bar is nearly touching your chest, then lower yourself back to the starting position under control. Repeat.


Lying Leg Curl

  • Lie facedown on a hamstring curl machine, legs extended with the pad across the backs of your ankles. Make sure your knees are off the end of the bench.
  • Contract your hamstrings to bend your knees, pulling your heels toward your glutes. Try to keep your hips from coming off the bench to keep the focus in your hamstrings, not your lower back, at the top of the movement.


Standing Calf Raise

  • If your gym doesn’t have a dedicated standing calf raise machine, set up a step bench just in front of a Smith machine. Make sure when you stand up with the bar across your traps that your heels are directly underneath your glutes, toes on the edge of the step.
  • With your chest lifted, abs tight, and looking straight ahead, unrack the bar and lower your heels to the ground. With your knees straight but not locked, press straight up as high as you can onto your toes, hold for one count, then lower your heels back to the floor and repeat.


Bench Dips           

  • Sitting at the edge of a flat bench, place your palms on the bench just outside your hips and curl your fingers underneath the edge to hold on, then walk your feet forward to extend your legs straight out in front of you.
  • Keeping your back straight, abs tight and head lifted, bend your elbows to lower your torso in a straight line toward the floor. At the bottom of the movement, your glutes should be a few inches off the floor and your upper arms should be almost parallel to it.
  • Press through your triceps to return to the start position and repeat for reps.


Standing Barbell Biceps Curls

  • Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold a barbell in front of your legs with a palms-up grip.
  • Look forward, pull your abs in tight, and pin your elbows against your rib cage.
  • With your wrists locked, curl the bar up from your hips toward your chest, squeezing your biceps for a count at the top of the movement. Return the bar slowly along the same path, making sure not to lock your elbows out at the bottom of the motion, and repeat.


Medicine Ball V-Ups

  • Lie face-up on the floor with your legs fully extended and your heels lifted slightly off the floor. Extend your arms fully overhead, with your elbows in line with your ears and small medicine ball in your hands. Contract all four quadrants of your abdominal wall and maintain this squeeze throughout the movement.
  • Keeping both your arms and legs straight, bring your heels and hands toward each other and pass the ball from your hands to your ankles.
  • Squeezing the ball between your ankles, bring your straight arms and legs back to the start position, making sure not to let the ball touch the floor at the bottom of the movement. Crunching upward again, pass the ball back to your hands and return your straight arms and legs back to the start position. That’s one rep.


Kneeling Cable Rope Crunches

  • Clip a rope attachment to a high-cable pulley set at the top of the post. With your back to the post, kneel in front of the stack, grasping the ends of the rope and holding them just below your ears.
  • Locking your knees in a 90-degree bend, keep your head and chest lifted as you forward from the hips until your torso is angled roughly 45 degrees toward the floor. This is your start position.
  • Squeeze your abs and drive your elbows toward the floor. Hold for one count at the bottom, with your face nearly touching the floor, before returning slowly along the same path to the start position.


Exercise Ball Dumbbell Overhead Pullover

  • Lie face-up on an exercise ball so your shoulders and neck are supported, feet flat on the floor and knees bent 90 degrees. Raise your hips so your thighs are parallel to the floor and contract your abs to support your lower back.
  • Hold a dumbbell directly over your chest with both hands, palms facing the ceiling. Your arms should be fully extended and elbows locked. 
  • Lower the weight in an arc toward the floor behind your head, keeping your elbows locked until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Pause for one count, then contract through your sides and chest to bring the dumbbell back to the starting position over your chest. Press the weight slightly up, straight toward the ceiling, to get a deeper contraction.


Roman Chair Situp

  • Slide into a Roman chair or bench so your legs are anchored straight in front of you and your waist extends past the pad. Sit straight up so your hips form a 90-degree angle and your torso is perpendicular to the floor.
  • Slowly lean your torso straight back until your body is horizontal to the floor; pause briefly.
  • Crunch up with your abs and hip flexors to return to the starting position.


Box Step-Ups           

  • Stand in front of a box or weight bench at least 24 inches high.
  • Place one foot on top of the platform, making sure your entire foot is supported.
  • Keeping your chest lifted and eyes forward, contract your abs and press through the heel to stand straight up on top of the platform.
  • Pause for one count, then carefully reverse the movement to return your back foot to the floor. Leave your front foot on top of the platform and complete all reps for that side before switching.


Exercise Ball Wall Squat

  • Place an exercise ball against a wall at about waist level and press against it with your back to hold it in place. Your feet should be about a foot away from the wall, hip-width apart.
  • Slide your torso down the wall, letting the ball roll slightly up your back, until your knees reach a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, pushing your back against the ball.
  • Slide back up the wall, feeling the ball return to about waist level, and repeat for reps.


Middle-Grip Pull-Up

  • If the cable machine at your gym comes equipped with multiple handles for pull-ups, use the middle one and perform pull-ups as described above.
  • The different grip will alter your hand position, pulling the emphasis from the outer edge of your lats (near the back of your armpit) toward the middle nearer the spine.
  • Though your biceps will bear more of the load here than with an overhand grip, try to resist using them to pull your bodyweight up. Instead, focus on driving your shoulder blades down and together to keep your lower lats engaged.


Rope Cable Hammer Curl           

  • Clip a rope attachment to a cable station and set it at the bottom of the post.
  • Stand facing the machine with your abs tight, feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.Grasp the rope with a palms-in grip, arms straight. Pin your elbows to your sides.
  • Exhaling, pull the ends of the rope toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps for one count at the top of the movement. Inhale as you lower the rope back to the starting position and repeat for reps.


Exercise Ball Pike Pull-Ins

  • Assume a pushup position with your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and your lower legs resting on top of an exercise ball. With your abs tight, your head, hips and ankles should all form a straight line parallel to the floor.
  • Keeping your abs tight and legs straight, exhale and pull upward with your abs and legs until your hips are lifted to form an inverted V. Your toes should be on top of the ball and your hips should be almost directly over your head and shoulders.
  • Pause for one count, then inhale as you push with your legs to return the ball to the starting position. Repeat for reps.



  • Lying facedown on the floor, bend your elbows 90 degrees and line them up directly beneath your shoulders. Your legs and feet should be together, extended in a straight line behind you. Look down at your hands to keep your head in line with your spine.
  • Pulling your abs in toward your spine, rise up onto your toes so they are supporting your bodyweight as well as your forearms. Don’t allow your hips to sag toward the floor.
  • Hold this position for the prescribed amount of time or until failure.