9 Exercises To Live By

9 Exercises To Live By

This Article First Appeared on Crazy Gurl

Everyone wants to be & stay in good physical condition. Some of the problems behind NOT following thru with a fitness plan are: not enough time, lack of current physical condition, lack of proper motivation and any other reason one may come up with to NOT work out. Sometimes we just need a plan that can fit into our spectrum & overcome our excuses.

Now, I must point out here – THE VERY FIRST THING YOU MUST DO IS MAKE UP YOUR MIND. You must find it within yourself to get up and put forth the effort.

Be Brave, Be Bold – Overcome

While the initial huddle may be higher for some than others, it MUST be jumped over. Do what you have to do to overcome YOUR excuse. Do it privately if it’s an issue of shame. Many people avoid exercise due to shame. They feel ashamed to go to the gym. They feel ashamed to walk on the track at the high school. They don’t want to share their goals or even their progress to co-workers for fear of being ridiculed (either publicly or behind their backs). That’s fine – keep it secret, keep it safe. Isn’t that what Gandalf told Frodo? Hahahahaha, I hope you all got that as I thought it was relevant as well as witty.

So I am going to share 9 exercises that anyone can PROGRESS INTO. If you are a sedentary person or perhaps morbidly obese (no shame – we won’t tell. But, you know if you are, right?), then these exercises have easier counterparts and you can progress into the harder ones. The point is to TRY, and do THE BEST YOU CAN. It’s the regular & constant practice of the movements that will pay off.

Another thing – DON’T WISH FOR THE HOLLYWOOD BODY. Fitness isn’t about being perfect, or even near perfect. Fitness is about your health. STRIVING to do better. Having a stronger heart. Living a better & perhaps LONGER life. Excuse my french but, FUCK Hollywood and their preconceived notions of perfection -OK?

Start out basic -WALK

going for a walk is good exercise
Going for a walk is good exercise

All jokes aside, walking is an amazing and effective exercise. It is one of the easiest. You may do it at your leisure. And, if you desire, you DON’T have to go outside (although that’s exactly what I recommend). If one of your excuses for not excising includes shame, then stay indoors. Buy a treadmill. If you have the money, buy a nice one. If you are strapped for cash, try Craig’s List or even WALK AROUND YOUR HOUSE OR APARTMENT. Another way around this obstacle AND taking my advise of going outside – walk at night. Either way – MOVE.

OK, Let’s Get Busy

Now these 9 exercises are nothing new, nothing innovative. They are old school movements. What we are going to do is TIME each exercise along with perform each exercise according to YOUR present abilities. Don’t be intimidated by the movements we have posted. You can do them OR do an easier form of the same movement. Just do it, to quote a famous product’s slogan (oops, hope we don’t get a call form You-Know-Who).

Jump Squats

Jump Squats (Air Squats)

Now the image to the left is the advanced progression. If you can, do THIS. Other alternatives include:

  • Air Squats – Just get rid of the jump
  • Chair Squats – Use a chair or table to stabilize & support yourself
  • Half Air Squats/Chair Squats – Just go down as low as you can

Do this exercise for a set period of time. Start with 30 seconds. Progress to 1 minute, 1 /12 minutes, 2 minutes and so on. REMEMBER, be your own trainer. You know what you can & cannot do.

Note: Look at the image & do your best to keep your knees level with your toes, to avoid injuring your knee over time. Also, flair out your arms, as shown, for balance & stability.

Mountain Climbers

mountain climbers
Mountain Climbers

‘Climb every mountain
Ford every stream
Follow every rainbow
Till you find your dream’

Although I don’t believe Peggy Wood had fitness in mind when she sang that song in “The Sound of Music”, but the lyrics hold true, aye?

Now the image to the right is the intermediate progression. If you can, do THIS. Other alternatives include:

  • Slow Stepping – Instead of a 1 beat hop, like the image, SLOWLY step each beat. At one point, you end up in a squat position then, just step back & repeat.
  • Double Time – This is advance. Instead of the single beat shown, speed things up if you can.

This movement is great for your core (chest, shoulders, abs, etc) as well as cardio. Again, start with 30 seconds. Progress to 1 minute, 1 /12 minutes, 2 minutes and so on.


Burpees are the Devil, hehehe. They are hard, lung busting, exhausting BUT effective. Now the image to the left shows the advanced, modern burpee. In the beginning, and as part of our slow progression strategy, you will start with Dr. Royal H. Burpee’s original, much milder (and less tormenting) version of the movement. Intended it to be done just four times in a row as part of a fitness test.

Here are the different progressions for the burpee:

  • Original Burpee – This is Dr. Burpee’s burpee (wow that’s sounds weird). Read this older article for a complete break down. I recommend this to begin with.
  • Basic Burpee – The basic burpee is essentially what you see in the image above, without the jump & the push-up.
  • Intermediate Burpee – Again, just like the image above, but this time without the jump. So, include the push-up.

For the purposes of this plan, start with 30 seconds. Progress to 1 minute, 1 /12 minutes, 2 minutes and so on.

Push Ups

Ah, the push up. The militaries around the world use them. Sports teams, P.E. classes, fitness assessment tests – the world ’round, push ups are a main staple for fitness.

The image to the right is the strict military push up – hands on floor at chest level, elbows in, body straight. Other progressions include:

  • Angled Push Ups – Just like image BUT, performed against a wall, a table or other surface. This is the 1st progression.
  • Knee Push Ups – Perform just like the image BUT, place your knees on the floor as opposed to your feet.
  • Wide Angle Push Ups – Same as image but, with a wider placement of you hands. Makes the movement a bit easier.

Again, for this plan, start with 30 seconds. Progress to 1 minute, 1 /12 minutes, 2 minutes and so on. Don’t do numbered repetitions, do for time.



Known by other names, we are going to call these bicycles. Hopefully, for obvious reasons. This is a TREMENDOUS ab & hip flexor movement. Done as the image to the left, the movement really hits the muscles of the ab area. Do faster for more cardio, slower to tougher ab involvement. The progressions with this movement are:

  • Slower
  • As pictured
  • Faster

And, as always, start with 30 seconds. Progress to 1 minute, 1 /12 minutes, 2 minutes and so on.


The plank, for it’s simplicity, is an amazing core exercise. It activates all the muscle groups in the body, back & front. Essentially a static exercise (you’re being still) you can add bouncy movement back & forth for added difficulty. It’s harder than it looks. Progressions include:

  • Static on Knees – Same as image, just based on your knees
  • Static as shown
  • Moving Plank – As shown BUT, add slight movements to and fro.
  • Wide Arm Plank – same as image but, post on your hands, stretched wide and above your shoulders.

Hold this position for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds (standard). Progress to 1 – 3 minutes respectively. This looks easy but, believe me, you will learn to hate planks (which is a GOOD thing).

Alternating Box Steps with Knee Hike

There is no cool and catchy name for this set of movements. It is, essentially, stair stepping. The progressions are:

  • Step on a single stair or smaller 8″-10″ stable object, without the knee hike
  • Step on a single stair or smaller 8″-10″ stable object, WITH knee hike
  • Step on stable 18″ object, without knee hike
  • Step on stable 18″ object, as shown in image.
  • Progress to higher stable objects

Perform these movement for 30 seconds, alternating sides. Progress to 1 minute, 2 minutes up to 5 minutes if and when you are able.

Hip Heist

The hip heist is excellent for the glutes (the BUTT), hamstrings and lower back. This naughty looking movement is essential for overall core fitness. Perform on a raised object or from the floor, wrestler style. I don’t have real progressions for this movement. Just start slow.

Alternating Jump Squats

Alternating Jump Squats

This movement is great for all the muscles in the legs, hips & core. Often seen at CrossFit spots as a foundation workout, this movement has cardio benefits also. Start with a simple alternating step, if you need to. Then progress to the jumping as pictured.

Progressions are:

  • Simple Alternation Steps – just step forward and lunge a little. Then, step back and repeat on the other side.
  • Simple Alternating Hop – same as the step progression but with a slight hop
  • Alternating Jump Squats – Perform as pictured.

As before, perform for time. Start with maybe 20 or 30 seconds. then, progress to 1 minute, 1 1/2 minutes, 2 minutes and so forth.

Take these different movements and combine them for a daily or weekly workout. Do the movements, for time, one at a time, for a complete workout. Repeat your favorites if you like. Or, repeat the ones you hate the most, as those tend to be the ones you need the most!

Well that’s it. Remember, even if you’re new to exercise or have physical limitations, you have options. Find out how to adapt this fitness program with movements that will enable you to progress at your own pace. Be your own coach – own it. None of this will be possible unless you step up and take responsibility. If you need help, reach out to a local fitness coach OR, reach out to our very our fitness mentor – The Nerd of Fitness. He offers fitness consultations online for as little as $25!

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