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

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