Who needs free weights? Just grab a couple of 20-ounce water bottles to boost your strength with these push, pull, rotate, and balance moves.
Follow these five great moves for a workout you can do nearly anywhere. To start, stretch to prevent injury and next-day aches. Warm up by walking or moving for 5 -- 10 minutes before stretching. Then don't bounce, but hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
When you're finished with the workout, be sure to rehydrate. Just open one of the bottles!
Target: Entire abdominal region
Step 1: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or carpeting. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Hold a water bottle with both hands in front of your abdomen, as shown. Look toward the ceiling to align your spine.
Step 2: Leading with your chest, raise your upper body toward your knees while keeping your hips stable. Extend the water bottle toward your knees. Lower and repeat for two sets of 10 repetitions. Do not rush this motion, especially on the downward phase.
Target: Chest, shoulders, and triceps
Step 1: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or carpeting, with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Holding a water bottle in each hand, bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle to the floor and your shoulders and upper arms flat along the floor.
Step 2: Slowly extend your arms straight up. Do not lock your elbow joints. Slowly return your elbows and upper arms to the floor. Continue the exercise for two sets of 10 repetitions.
Tip: Your muscles need a full day to recover between workouts, so don't work the same muscle group every day. Alternate muscle groups or try strength training one day and walking the next.
Target: The entire abdominal region and hip
Step 1: Lie on your back with your legs elevated and knees bent, as shown. Hold a water bottle in both hands over your abdomen.
Step 2: Bring your left knee toward your chest while simultaneously rotating the right side of your upper body and the water bottle toward your left knee. At the same time, fully extend your right leg. Continue this motion, alternating sides for two sets of 10 repetitions. (If this hurts your neck, do not use the water bottle. Instead, place your hands behind your head for support.)
Tip: Make sure you concentrate on keeping the motion fluid. Each time you extend your leg, it counts as a repetition.
Target: Shoulders, core, and improving balance
Step 1: Stand tall with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and keep your chest lifted. Look straight ahead. Bend your knees slightly. With your arms at your sides and your elbows bent at 90-degree angles, hold a water bottle in each hand. Maintain perfect posture, spinal alignment, and a comfortable range of motion for your shoulder joints.
Step 2: Raise your arms up as shown, to almost shoulder height. Maintain this angle at your elbow joints throughout the motions. Return to starting position and continue the exercise for two sets of 10 repetitions.
Tip: For an added challenge to improve your balance, you can perform this exercise while balancing on one foot.
Target: Lower body, core, shoulders, and arms
Step 1: Stand tall with your feet firmly planted on the floor, slightly farther than shoulder width apart. Hold a water bottle in front of you. Bend your knees and squat down, driving your heels into the floor. Rotate your torso to one side (as if picking up a box on the floor beside you).
Step 2: Extend your body back up while lifting the water bottle across your body and up overhead at a 45-degree angle to the opposite side. Fully extend both arms as if you were putting this box on a high shelf. Repeat this motion for two sets of 12 repetitions. (For each set, do six repetitions to one side and six repetitions to the other side.)
Tip: Keep your abdominal muscles tight throughout the exercise. Focus on using your legs rather than bending your back during this exercise.