Improve the Move!

Do you have a favorite fitness move? Something you add to almost every workout?

Lots of people love squat, lunges, plies, planks, crunches, jumping jacks and burpees and do them almost automatically, without much consideration of how to improve the move, and reach past their fitness plateaus. Recently, I went on Fox & Friends to give your favorite fitness move a “Multitasking Makeover” by adding arms/abs/balance challenges/weights or cardio plyometrics.

Check out the video from Fox, or follow the instructions below. For more moves, follow me on twitter and facebook @NikkiFitness where I update with an #ImproveTheMove #Moveoftheday each day. My Improve The Move book and DVD will launch in 2014.

Video:Missed my @ffweekend @foxandfriends  segment yesterday-how to Improve The Move:squats/lunges/jacks/planks?

Watch here


Each toning move = 20 reps, each cardio move = 30 second intervals.


• 4 Part Squat – Squat with hips back and knees over ankles. Hold weights in your hand next to your hips and as you stand from the squat, do a biceps curl, lifting weights to shoulder level. Lift up onto the balls of the feet for a calf press, and push the weights overhead, extending arms to the sky. Come back down to your heels as you lower the weights to shoulders, and do your second squat rep while lowering weights (finishing the bicep curl down) to hips. Do 20 reps of this multitasking makeover move!

• Cardio Spring Squats -Squat with hands on quadriceps for support. Jump off the ground as high as you can. Land softly with knees bent and hands on quads again. Repeat for a 30 second plyometric interval for cardio and glutes, quadriceps and calf toning.


• Lunge Liftoff Triceps – Instead of elevator lunges (feet on the floor in a lunge and bobbing up and down without steping forward or back) or just lunging forward and stepping back, do a lunge-liftoff! Lunge with the right leg forward and two light weights in your hands. Lift off by transferring your weight over your right leg with left leg straight and lifted behind you, parallel to the floor (looks like Warrior III in yoga). Kick weights back for triceps. Do 20 on the right then switch sides. This multitasking move works abs, triceps, glutes and quads!

• Cardio Jumping Lunges – Lunge with right leg in front, knee over ankle, and then jump off the ground and switch legs in the air. Land in a lunge with the left leg in front. Repeat the jump to right lunge and jump to left lunge for a 30 second interval. The plyometric jumping motion here works your quads, glutes and calves while elevating the heard rate for maximum fat slimming, muscle sculpting and calorie burn.


• Plank Rows – Get into a plank, (face-down on the ground, by balancing on your toes and hands, wrists directly under shoulders; your head, shoulders, hips and heels should be in a straight line). Engage your abs so that you middle doesn’t sink towards the floor. Improve the Move by balancing both hands on 10-15 lbs weights. Engage your upper back muscles (trapezius and rhomboids) to do a left row. To row, lift the left weight towards your left ribs and bend elbow up past your back, towards the sky, balancing on right hand and weight. Extend the left arm to place the weight back on the floor and pull your right elbow up past your back and right hand by your ribcage. Do 10 on each side to equal 20 total .This move works the abs, arms, chest and upper back.

• Cardio Walk Out Planks- Add some cardio to your plank ! Start by removing the weights and begin standing. Bend your knees and place your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out away from your feet until you get into a plank. Walk your hands back to your feet, stand up and jump as high as you can off the floor, reaching your hands to the sky. Land softly, with knees bent, place hands on the floor and start walking out to a plank again. Repeat the interval for 30 seconds for cardio calorie burn plus arms, chest, abs, booty and leg work.

Jumping Jacks:

• Jack Plies – Do a jumping jack, arms and legs out like an X, and back in, then jump your legs out into a plié squat, knees facing out to the sides, and legs wide enough so that your knees are over your ankles, not your toes. Get as low as you can and support your back by placing your hands on your quadriceps. Jump back in to stand, and repeat the jack, plié combo for a 30 second interval. This uses plyometrics (jumping high and low to fire up the muscles, in this case emphasizing inner thighs, quads, calves and glutes, along with cardio for a well-rounded workout.)

  • Cardio Air Jacks – Do a jumping jack (out and in), then on the next out, instead of sweeping your hands away from you, sweep and cross them in front of you and up/out to the top of an X while jumping off the ground and kicking the legs out to form the bottom legs of the X. The rhythm should be jack/in/X jump/in. Do a 30 second plyometric interval for cardio coupled with glutes, quads and calf toning. Take your favorite move to a new level. When you make over your moves, you make over your body as well! NIkki

Football Fitness Drills

Our Bodies are “ready for some football” now that summer vacations are over! We drafted fantasy teams and now it’s time the get a fantasy body, the way the players do.  Here’s a video segment I did on Fox & Friends during the real NFL draft with plyometric muscle and cardio moves like:

-Touchdown Jacks

-Booty Ball Biceps

-Block Kick

-The Line of Scrimmage

Try these football themed routines now that the season is about to start, and kickstart your muscle burn!



Improve the Move: Walking Workout

Improve the Move: Walking Workout


Walking is a great workout for beginners to start a fitness routine, as an anti-aging cardio routine for older adults, and for athletes on days when they are “resting.” For the rest of us, it’s a perfect for the days when you feel tired and not in the mood for a hard core sweat session, because you can probably motivate yourself if you think it’s just a walk in the park.


Before you think “Not Prancercising?!” don’t worry, these won’t look silly. I have taken plyometric cardio moves from my Booty Camp video and made them a little easier, but they still look and feel like a great workout. Whether going for a walk on a trail, or just marching in place in your living room, these 5 moves add more variety and muscle toning to your walking workout.


1-Step knee to kick and hop:

While marching in place or walking on a trail or track, do a rhythm of step right (1) , lift left knee, (2)  put left foot down (3), step right (4), step left (1), then lift right knee (2), then put right foot down (3), then left (4). Repeat. (Make it harder: add a hop so that the foot you step on leaves the ground.) Do this for 30-second intervals, then change the knee to a low kick. To kick, lift the knee first, then kick the heel out with a flexed foot. Retract the foot back in with knee bent, then lower foot to the ground, keeping the rhythm of step/kick/step/step.


2-Walking lunges:

March in place or walk for 30 seconds.

If walking, then lengthen your step to about the length of one of your legs in front of you, and land your right heel, midfoot, then ball of foot into a right lunge with the knee over the ankle (if it is over the toe or past the toe, you need to step your feet farther away from each other.) Push off your front leg to bring your back left leg next to the right. Step forward into a lunge with your left and repeat for a 30 second interval. Do 4 sets of walking and walking lunges.


If marching in place, step the right leg forward into the lunge, then step it back to meet your left leg. Step the left leg forward into a lunge, then step back again to start position to do the intervals.


(Trainer’s tip-Keep your shoulders lined up over your hips to avoid leaning forward and putting strain on the knee and low back.)


3-V step:

If walking, do 30 seconds of a regular gate, then step your right leg wide and left leg wide, then on the next step bring the feet back in. You can add arms to the move by lifting your right arm out in front with your right leg, and left arm with the left leg at shoulder level to work your delts. Place hands back on hips


4-Walkout plank:

March in place or walk down the trail for 8 steps. Stop walking, bend your knees and place your hands on the ground. Walk your hands out in front of you for a count of 4, so that your body forms a plank with head, shoulder hips and heels in one line parallel to the ground, then walk the hands  back in immediately. March again for 8 counts and repeat this series 8 times to work your arms, chest and abs along with your legs. (Trainer’s tip: make it harder by adding a jump after you walk your hands back to your feet and stand up.)


5-Tubing marches:

Add an exercise band or tubing for a full-body workout with arms. Place the band across your hips and hold the ends with your hands. (Wrap the ends around hands several times for more resistance.) While marching, slightly bend elbows and move them behind you as far as you can, keeping hands near your ribs. Straighten the arms to pull on the band and extend the hands all the way behind you to work the trouble spot back of the arm in triceps kickbacks.


Next, engage your upper back (trapezius and rhomboids) by holding the ends of the band in each hand and lifting the band taut in front of you at shoulder level with arms extended in front of shoulders at shoulder width. Stretch the band and squeeze the shoulder blades behind you while widening the hands out all the way to the sides. (The tube will move closer into your chest.)


Now that’s what I call a muscle march… prancing’s for horses!