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If health and fitness are a priority in your life, you know it's not exactly a cheap habit. Even if you're not splurging on the latest superfoods, green juices, high-tech sneaks, or fancy leggings, you're probably still shelling out cash for a monthly gym membership, personal training, or group classes—which means you might feel that workout burn in your wallet more than in your muscles.
In fact, the average active individual spends $900 per year on sports and fitness, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). That's why SFIA is working to pass the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act—a piece of legislation that would help curb the costs associated with being physically active to encourage more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
While it's not a law quite yet, there's good news: The act was just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (the top congressional tax committee) by a vote of 28 to 6, and will now be part of a larger package of health savings account (HSA) reforms that the full House of Representatives will vote on later this month.
"We are very encouraged by the progress the PHIT Act made today in Congress; this is the closest PHIT has come to becoming law since its inception," said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO, in a press release. "While the positive vote today has left us very hopeful that it will pass this year, we still have work to do. SFIA remains committed to leading the effort to increase activity in America."
The PHIT Act would allow you to use up to $1,000 (or $2,000 for families) of pre-tax dollars for physical activity expenses like gym memberships, fitness equipment, sports and activity fees, exercise classes, and personal training. If you've ever heard of a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), this is basically the same thing—but dedicated specifically to funding your fit-girl needs. (Here's what you need to know about FSAs, HSAs, and other ways to slash your health care bills.) And the country is here for it: Two-thirds of Americans and 77 percent of millennials support the idea, according to a recent poll by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Only 10 percent are opposed.
It's important to note that this isn't a $1K free-for-all of spending money to snag some new Nikes and Lululemon leggings. The money you spend would still be coming out of your paycheck. It just wouldn't be taxed liked the rest of your income. Considering the average U.S. income is $51,000 and is subject to 25 percent income tax, if your family spent all $2,000 of that PHIT money, it could save you about $500 per year, according to Bill Sells, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at SFIA.
While many companies have wellness programs that offer financial incentives or reimbursements for staying healthy and fit, it's not consistent across the board. The PHIT Act would be an optional bonus, just as with those FSA and HSA dollars you set aside, when you are signing up for or changing your health care plan—whether that's through your employer or purchased individually. (Having your day job cover your gym expenses is just one way to hack your HR benefits for serious health perks.) But the perks of this act go beyond saving you some cash:
"The PHIT Act will incentivize millions of Americans to be active, which will greatly decrease our nation's health care costs and improve the health and quality of life for so many people," says Cove. "More than 30 percent of all Americans live sedentary lifestyles, so something must be done today to change that."
Living a healthy, active lifestyle has actually been proven to reduce other health care costs, meaning you—and the health care company—pay less in the long run. For example, people diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease who exercised at recommended levels logged average health care costs more than $2,500 lower than those who didn't meet exercise guidelines, according to a study released in 2016 by the American Heart Association. Even among the healthiest people in the study (read: no heart disease and, at most, one cardiovascular risk factor), those who exercised regularly had yearly medical costs averaging about $500 lower than those who didn't exercise.
Before you get too excited about the cash money headed your way, remember that this bill hasn't actually become law yet. The PHIT Act (which, BTW, is supported equally by Democrats and Republicans) made it past the House Ways and Means Committee, but now it has to be approved by the House as part of a larger HSA reform package. Though the current political climate is pretty polarized, PHIT boasts some strong bipartisan support and has good momentum for passage, according to SFIA. The hard part isn't necessarily getting PHIT passed, but getting a whole health care reform package through. (That doesn't mean, however, that all the possible health care changes coming are good news.)
"We are confident that PHIT will be part of any health care reform package—the bigger challenge will be putting together a package that can gain 60 votes in the Senate," says Sells.
In the meantime, you can show your support by spreading the word, advocating on social media, and contacting your state reps the good old-fashioned way. (And, of course, you can cut fitness costs by killing these at-home no-equipment workouts and scoring bargain workout clothes.)
This article originally appeared on Shape.com

If health and fitness are a priority in your life, you know it's not exactly a cheap habit. Even if you're not splurging on the latest superfoods, green juices, high-tech sneaks, or fancy leggings, you're probably still shelling out cash for a monthly gym membership, personal training, or group classes—which means you might feel that workout burn in your wallet more than in your muscles.
In fact, the average active individual spends $900 per year on sports and fitness, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). That's why SFIA is working to pass the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act—a piece of legislation that would help curb the costs associated with being physically active to encourage more people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
While it's not a law quite yet, there's good news: The act was just passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (the top congressional tax committee) by a vote of 28 to 6, and will now be part of a larger package of health savings account (HSA) reforms that the full House of Representatives will vote on later this month.
"We are very encouraged by the progress the PHIT Act made today in Congress; this is the closest PHIT has come to becoming law since its inception," said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO, in a press release. "While the positive vote today has left us very hopeful that it will pass this year, we still have work to do. SFIA remains committed to leading the effort to increase activity in America."
The PHIT Act would allow you to use up to $1,000 (or $2,000 for families) of pre-tax dollars for physical activity expenses like gym memberships, fitness equipment, sports and activity fees, exercise classes, and personal training. If you've ever heard of a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), this is basically the same thing—but dedicated specifically to funding your fit-girl needs. (Here's what you need to know about FSAs, HSAs, and other ways to slash your health care bills.) And the country is here for it: Two-thirds of Americans and 77 percent of millennials support the idea, according to a recent poll by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Only 10 percent are opposed.
It's important to note that this isn't a $1K free-for-all of spending money to snag some new Nikes and Lululemon leggings. The money you spend would still be coming out of your paycheck. It just wouldn't be taxed liked the rest of your income. Considering the average U.S. income is $51,000 and is subject to 25 percent income tax, if your family spent all $2,000 of that PHIT money, it could save you about $500 per year, according to Bill Sells, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs at SFIA.
While many companies have wellness programs that offer financial incentives or reimbursements for staying healthy and fit, it's not consistent across the board. The PHIT Act would be an optional bonus, just as with those FSA and HSA dollars you set aside, when you are signing up for or changing your health care plan—whether that's through your employer or purchased individually. (Having your day job cover your gym expenses is just one way to hack your HR benefits for serious health perks.) But the perks of this act go beyond saving you some cash:
"The PHIT Act will incentivize millions of Americans to be active, which will greatly decrease our nation's health care costs and improve the health and quality of life for so many people," says Cove. "More than 30 percent of all Americans live sedentary lifestyles, so something must be done today to change that."
Living a healthy, active lifestyle has actually been proven to reduce other health care costs, meaning you—and the health care company—pay less in the long run. For example, people diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease who exercised at recommended levels logged average health care costs more than $2,500 lower than those who didn't meet exercise guidelines, according to a study released in 2016 by the American Heart Association. Even among the healthiest people in the study (read: no heart disease and, at most, one cardiovascular risk factor), those who exercised regularly had yearly medical costs averaging about $500 lower than those who didn't exercise.
Before you get too excited about the cash money headed your way, remember that this bill hasn't actually become law yet. The PHIT Act (which, BTW, is supported equally by Democrats and Republicans) made it past the House Ways and Means Committee, but now it has to be approved by the House as part of a larger HSA reform package. Though the current political climate is pretty polarized, PHIT boasts some strong bipartisan support and has good momentum for passage, according to SFIA. The hard part isn't necessarily getting PHIT passed, but getting a whole health care reform package through. (That doesn't mean, however, that all the possible health care changes coming are good news.)
"We are confident that PHIT will be part of any health care reform package—the bigger challenge will be putting together a package that can gain 60 votes in the Senate," says Sells.
In the meantime, you can show your support by spreading the word, advocating on social media, and contacting your state reps the good old-fashioned way. (And, of course, you can cut fitness costs by killing these at-home no-equipment workouts and scoring bargain workout clothes.)
This article originally appeared on Shape.com

Is going out for a run, getting into a downward dog, or doing burpees, jumping jacks, and box jumps a pain in the chest? That uncomfortable bouncing is a sign that your sports bra is not supportive enough—something that can not only hold you back during your workout, but can also be bad for your boobs.
Without good support, breasts move up and down during a workout, which overtime can break down the connective tissue in your breasts. A bra that restricts the movement without suffocating you will keep them healthy. The bra should also be made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabric to reduce the risk of any icky bacteria build-up.
We've rounded up three great sports bras for large chests that fit these criteria, tailored to the activities you like to do.
RELATED: The 9 Best Bralettes and Lingerie for Big Boobs
For high-impact training
To buy: Lane Bryant Maximum Support Sport Bra ($70-$80; lanebryant.com)
If you like to run or do a lot of high-impact training, this is the bra for you. It is designed to give you lots of support with full coverage so you can get right down to the nitty gritty. The thick straps won't pinch your shoulders, and they are convertible so you can adjust them into a racerback for stealthy support!
For all your cardio training
To buy: Glamorise Meduim Control Wire-Free Sports Bra ($40; barenecessities.com)
This sports bra was designed for medium-impact training like the elliptical machine, stair master, walking, hiking, and more. It provides full coverage and features adjustable straps so you can customize the fit perfectly to your needs. Best part: There is a closure in the back so you don't have to slither out of a sweaty bra post-workout.
For yoga

To buy: Wacoal Wire-Free Soft Cup Bra (starting at $20; amazon.com)
Made for ultimate comfort, this bra is best-suited for low impact activities. There is no underwire, but the cups are molded to provide enough support. The full coverage design lets you slip into downward dog (or headstand!) without worrying about your girls running loose. You may even be tempted to swap out your regular bra for this super-cozy alternative!

Is going out for a run, getting into a downward dog, or doing burpees, jumping jacks, and box jumps a pain in the chest? That uncomfortable bouncing is a sign that your sports bra is not supportive enough—something that can not only hold you back during your workout, but can also be bad for your boobs.
Without good support, breasts move up and down during a workout, which overtime can break down the connective tissue in your breasts. A bra that restricts the movement without suffocating you will keep them healthy. The bra should also be made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabric to reduce the risk of any icky bacteria build-up.
We've rounded up three great sports bras for large chests that fit these criteria, tailored to the activities you like to do.
RELATED: The 9 Best Bralettes and Lingerie for Big Boobs
For high-impact training
To buy: Lane Bryant Maximum Support Sport Bra ($70-$80; lanebryant.com)
If you like to run or do a lot of high-impact training, this is the bra for you. It is designed to give you lots of support with full coverage so you can get right down to the nitty gritty. The thick straps won't pinch your shoulders, and they are convertible so you can adjust them into a racerback for stealthy support!
For all your cardio training
To buy: Glamorise Meduim Control Wire-Free Sports Bra ($40; barenecessities.com)
This sports bra was designed for medium-impact training like the elliptical machine, stair master, walking, hiking, and more. It provides full coverage and features adjustable straps so you can customize the fit perfectly to your needs. Best part: There is a closure in the back so you don't have to slither out of a sweaty bra post-workout.
For yoga

To buy: Wacoal Wire-Free Soft Cup Bra (starting at $20; amazon.com)
Made for ultimate comfort, this bra is best-suited for low impact activities. There is no underwire, but the cups are molded to provide enough support. The full coverage design lets you slip into downward dog (or headstand!) without worrying about your girls running loose. You may even be tempted to swap out your regular bra for this super-cozy alternative!

Need more proof that the so-called "real" images you see on social media show anything but reality? Look no further than a before-and-after Instagram post from Monday by 28-year-old psychologist and influencer Stacey Lee.
"Instagram is a place where we see people's best selves," wrote Lee, who has struggled with disordered eating. "People don't like to freely share the parts of themselves that don't measure up to society's standards of beauty and acceptability and we like to put up a front that shows us in the light we choose."
To demonstrate her point, Lee took two photos in a pair of high-waisted leggings. On the left, Lee showed herself with the leggings pulled up to cover most of her stomach. On the right, she pulled the leggings down to her hips. The takeaway? Same woman, same leggings...but her body looked totally different in each image.
RELATED: These High-Waisted Workout Leggings Flatter Every Shape—and Never, Ever Fall Down
“Don’t compare your bloopers to someone [else’s] highlight reel,” Lee wrote, commenting on the way so many of us scroll through photos of "perfect" bodies in our social feeds and feel like we just don't measure up. 
Lee tells Health she's been sharing Instagram versus reality and Photoshop versus non-Photoshop posts for a couple years, in the hopes of destigmatizing mental health.
"I hope it helps [my followers] foster some self acceptance and begin to challenge what they see on social media," she says. "I hope it helps them be kinder to themselves, and I hope it helps strengthen the message that our body's job is not to look good. Our body's job is to keep us alive. And our job is to give it the fuel and tools it needs to do so."
Lee is a strong proponent of intuitive eating and self-love. While she admitted to having insecurities in the past, she said it took a long time to overcome them. She added that people often criticize her for having an “acceptable” body, telling her she can’t relate to those who feel insecure about their bodies.
“What people don’t understand is that thoughts, fears, insecurities and negative self evaluations do not discriminate against body composition, size and shape,” she continued in her post. “They can affect everyone.” In other words, her body may have fit the parameters of what a woman's body should look like...but she was unhappy and felt bad about herself anyway.
RELATED: The 7 Best Workout Leggings With Pockets
These days, Lee embraces her body—and she wants other women to do the same.
“This is the body I own, it’s the body I have worked for, it’s the body that has helped me through every difficult day, it’s the body that has survived all of my mistreatment,” she wrote. “And regardless of if I am making it look like the left, or letting it hang free on the right, it’s mine. Bloopers and all.”
Lee wants people—particularly young women—to see their Explore page for what it really is: a “highlight reel.” 

Need more proof that the so-called "real" images you see on social media show anything but reality? Look no further than a before-and-after Instagram post from Monday by 28-year-old psychologist and influencer Stacey Lee.
"Instagram is a place where we see people's best selves," wrote Lee, who has struggled with disordered eating. "People don't like to freely share the parts of themselves that don't measure up to society's standards of beauty and acceptability and we like to put up a front that shows us in the light we choose."
To demonstrate her point, Lee took two photos in a pair of high-waisted leggings. On the left, Lee showed herself with the leggings pulled up to cover most of her stomach. On the right, she pulled the leggings down to her hips. The takeaway? Same woman, same leggings...but her body looked totally different in each image.
RELATED: These High-Waisted Workout Leggings Flatter Every Shape—and Never, Ever Fall Down
“Don’t compare your bloopers to someone [else’s] highlight reel,” Lee wrote, commenting on the way so many of us scroll through photos of "perfect" bodies in our social feeds and feel like we just don't measure up. 
Lee tells Health she's been sharing Instagram versus reality and Photoshop versus non-Photoshop posts for a couple years, in the hopes of destigmatizing mental health.
"I hope it helps [my followers] foster some self acceptance and begin to challenge what they see on social media," she says. "I hope it helps them be kinder to themselves, and I hope it helps strengthen the message that our body's job is not to look good. Our body's job is to keep us alive. And our job is to give it the fuel and tools it needs to do so."
Lee is a strong proponent of intuitive eating and self-love. While she admitted to having insecurities in the past, she said it took a long time to overcome them. She added that people often criticize her for having an “acceptable” body, telling her she can’t relate to those who feel insecure about their bodies.
“What people don’t understand is that thoughts, fears, insecurities and negative self evaluations do not discriminate against body composition, size and shape,” she continued in her post. “They can affect everyone.” In other words, her body may have fit the parameters of what a woman's body should look like...but she was unhappy and felt bad about herself anyway.
RELATED: The 7 Best Workout Leggings With Pockets
These days, Lee embraces her body—and she wants other women to do the same.
“This is the body I own, it’s the body I have worked for, it’s the body that has helped me through every difficult day, it’s the body that has survived all of my mistreatment,” she wrote. “And regardless of if I am making it look like the left, or letting it hang free on the right, it’s mine. Bloopers and all.”
Lee wants people—particularly young women—to see their Explore page for what it really is: a “highlight reel.” 

With its slew of insider-only lingo, intriguingly bare-boned training spaces, and celeb backing (Jessica Biel, Channing Tatum, and Vanessa Hudgens, to name a few), CrossFit has inspired an almost fanatical devotion from its followers.
In addition to being the ultimate (and 4-million-strong) #fitfam, this is likely because the workout program works. Research by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s exercise physiology program found that women who performed two different WODs (that’s "workout of the day" in CrossFit speak) burned over 12 calories per minute and maintained an elevated heart rate throughout the entire workout. Translation: These women were torching calories, building muscle, and improving their cardiovascular endurance in as little as five to eight minutes.
Trouble is, walk into a CrossFit box (or simply scroll through a CrossFitter's Instagram) and you’ll see someone attempting and banging out reps of brag-worthy, tough-looking moves, which can feel pretty exclusive. “A lot of CrossFit moves look super-intimidating,” says level two certified CrossFit trainer Emmy Simpkins, owner of CrossFit Speakeasy and a CrossFit Regionals athlete. “But once you have the strength and skill to complete them, they’re not as tough as they look.”
Whether you’re a WOD-loving CrossFitter or not, you’ll realize that the below five exercises from CrossFit only look tough, after Simpkins and doctor of physical therapy Grayson Wickham, CSCS and founder of Movement Vault, break them down step-by-step.
RELATED: 5 Full-Body Moves to Do When You're Sick of Burpees
Front Squat
Equipment: Kettlebell or barbell
How to do it: Hold one kettlebell in both hands at chest level and stand with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Stand tall and brace your core, then drop your butt back and down as you keep your chest up, sitting back onto your heels. Driving through your heels, come back up to standing and give your glutes a squeeze. That's one rep. Aim for four sets of eight to 12 reps.
Once you can comfortably complete the above with a 44-pound kettlebell, transition to a barbell front squat. Here, you’ll hold the barbell in a front rack position. “Start out with just an empty barbell, and rock out reps with the barbell. Then, slowly add weight as you feel comfortable,” Wickham suggests.
Why it works: “Any squat variation is going to work the lower body, but because the weight is front-loaded for the front squat, your torso has to be more upright. This front-loaded position makes the movement quad-, glute-, and abdominal-dominant,” Wickham says. Because the rest of your body has to work to stabilize the load of the barbell, this is actually a full-body move, he adds.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
Equipment: Dumbbell
How to do it: Pick a weight that you can easily hold overhead for 20 seconds, like a 15- or 20-pound dumbbell to start. To begin, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hips shifted back. Using an overhead position (palm facing down), grab the dumbbell with your left hand. Bring the weight in between your legs, pointing your right arm straight in front of you for balance. Explosively drive your hips forward as you raise your left elbow up and back, bringing the weight overhead with a straight arm. Stabilize the weight overhead, then release the weight back between your legs to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do four sets of 10 reps per side.
Why it works: “The snatch is an Olympic weightlifting move that CrossFit 'borrowed,' but the great thing about the single-arm dumbbell snatch is that anyone can do this powerful, hip-driven, lower-body-focused movement,” Simpkins says. “Single-arm dumbbell snatches are a fantastic exercise for developing core strength and stability," Wickham adds. "But they also work your lower back, hips, shoulders, traps, glutes, and even calves. They’re deceptively full-body.”
Toes To Bar
Equipment: Pull-up bar
How to do it: Grip the pull-up bar so that your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart. Hang from the bar with a straight back and engaged core. Keep your legs together as you bring your knees to your elbows. Then, kick your toes and feet to the bar. (Depending on your skill level, this can be done with the help of a kipping motion for momentum.) Keep your arms straight as you bring your toes to the bar. Drop your legs back down slowly so that you are in control of the descent. That’s one rep. Repeat for three to four sets of six to 10 reps with as much rest as needed between.
Why it works: “To lift your legs up while hanging from a pull-up bar, your core muscles have to be fully engaged,” Simpkins says. While the movement primarily engages the abdominal and back muscles and taxes your grip, it also targets the hamstrings, hips flexors, lats, and groin, she says.
Toes to bar is a relatively advanced exercise, explains Wickham, so those who can’t yet do them should focus on knees to elbows. “For knees to elbows, the athlete should try to get their knees as high as possible while keeping their legs together,” he says.
Burpee Box Jump
Equipment: Box
How to do it: Start standing with feet hip-width apart about one to two feet from the box. Next, reach forward and drop your hands to the floor. As your hands reach for the floor, jump your feet back into a plank, and immediately lower your entire body to the floor. Release your hands and allow your body to drop to the ground. Replace your palms on the floor, push up into a plank, and hop your feet forward to your hands. That’s one burpee.
Then, as you stand, without pausing, swing your arms back and jump explosively onto the box. Land as softly as possible with both feet on the box in a semi-squat. Then, jump or step off the box and back to the ground. That’s one burpee box jump.
Try doing 30 at the end of your workout as fast as you can while maintaining good form. Or work up to doing 10 to 15 per minute every minute for 10 minutes for a real cardiovascular burn.
Why it works: What’s so great about burpee box jumps is that they translate into strength, explosiveness, and cardiovascular endurance, Simpkins says. “Burpee box jumps are challenging because they get your heart rate up quickly and are full body, so your cardiovascular system will feel it after only a few reps,” she says.
“Box jumps use all the major muscle groups of the legs, while burpees literally work almost every muscle in your body, including your chest, triceps, and abs,” Wickham says.
If you're not quite ready for a box jump, step up onto the box instead, Simpkins suggests.
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Handstand Push-Up
Equipment: Wall and mat (optional)
How to do it: Kick or walk your feet up the wall into a handstand, so that your back is against the wall and your stomach is facing out. Keeping your legs straight, rest your heels against the wall, and brace your core, glutes, and thighs so that your body is in a relatively straight line.
Then, bending at the elbows, look between your hands and slowly lower your body until your head touches the floor or a mat. (As with the toes to bar, depending on your skill level, this can also be done with the help of a kipping motion for momentum.) Without pausing at the bottom, reverse the movement and return to the starting position by straightening your arms. That’s one rep. Aim for four sets of three to four reps to start.
Why it works: This exercise is all upper-body–triceps, lats, shoulders, delts–but it’s also a core movement, because in order to keep your back from arching, you need to brace your middle, Simpkins says.
Note: This is an advanced movement. The handstand push-up requires the muscles in your upper body to work much harder than standard push-ups because you're pushing a larger percentage of your bodyweight (a.k.a. all of it). It’s best reserved for people who can do at least 10 standard push-ups and who can hold themselves in a handstand for 30 seconds.

With its slew of insider-only lingo, intriguingly bare-boned training spaces, and celeb backing (Jessica Biel, Channing Tatum, and Vanessa Hudgens, to name a few), CrossFit has inspired an almost fanatical devotion from its followers.
In addition to being the ultimate (and 4-million-strong) #fitfam, this is likely because the workout program works. Research by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s exercise physiology program found that women who performed two different WODs (that’s "workout of the day" in CrossFit speak) burned over 12 calories per minute and maintained an elevated heart rate throughout the entire workout. Translation: These women were torching calories, building muscle, and improving their cardiovascular endurance in as little as five to eight minutes.
Trouble is, walk into a CrossFit box (or simply scroll through a CrossFitter's Instagram) and you’ll see someone attempting and banging out reps of brag-worthy, tough-looking moves, which can feel pretty exclusive. “A lot of CrossFit moves look super-intimidating,” says level two certified CrossFit trainer Emmy Simpkins, owner of CrossFit Speakeasy and a CrossFit Regionals athlete. “But once you have the strength and skill to complete them, they’re not as tough as they look.”
Whether you’re a WOD-loving CrossFitter or not, you’ll realize that the below five exercises from CrossFit only look tough, after Simpkins and doctor of physical therapy Grayson Wickham, CSCS and founder of Movement Vault, break them down step-by-step.
RELATED: 5 Full-Body Moves to Do When You're Sick of Burpees
Front Squat
Equipment: Kettlebell or barbell
How to do it: Hold one kettlebell in both hands at chest level and stand with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Stand tall and brace your core, then drop your butt back and down as you keep your chest up, sitting back onto your heels. Driving through your heels, come back up to standing and give your glutes a squeeze. That's one rep. Aim for four sets of eight to 12 reps.
Once you can comfortably complete the above with a 44-pound kettlebell, transition to a barbell front squat. Here, you’ll hold the barbell in a front rack position. “Start out with just an empty barbell, and rock out reps with the barbell. Then, slowly add weight as you feel comfortable,” Wickham suggests.
Why it works: “Any squat variation is going to work the lower body, but because the weight is front-loaded for the front squat, your torso has to be more upright. This front-loaded position makes the movement quad-, glute-, and abdominal-dominant,” Wickham says. Because the rest of your body has to work to stabilize the load of the barbell, this is actually a full-body move, he adds.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Snatch
Equipment: Dumbbell
How to do it: Pick a weight that you can easily hold overhead for 20 seconds, like a 15- or 20-pound dumbbell to start. To begin, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, hips shifted back. Using an overhead position (palm facing down), grab the dumbbell with your left hand. Bring the weight in between your legs, pointing your right arm straight in front of you for balance. Explosively drive your hips forward as you raise your left elbow up and back, bringing the weight overhead with a straight arm. Stabilize the weight overhead, then release the weight back between your legs to return to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do four sets of 10 reps per side.
Why it works: “The snatch is an Olympic weightlifting move that CrossFit 'borrowed,' but the great thing about the single-arm dumbbell snatch is that anyone can do this powerful, hip-driven, lower-body-focused movement,” Simpkins says. “Single-arm dumbbell snatches are a fantastic exercise for developing core strength and stability," Wickham adds. "But they also work your lower back, hips, shoulders, traps, glutes, and even calves. They’re deceptively full-body.”
Toes To Bar
Equipment: Pull-up bar
How to do it: Grip the pull-up bar so that your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart. Hang from the bar with a straight back and engaged core. Keep your legs together as you bring your knees to your elbows. Then, kick your toes and feet to the bar. (Depending on your skill level, this can be done with the help of a kipping motion for momentum.) Keep your arms straight as you bring your toes to the bar. Drop your legs back down slowly so that you are in control of the descent. That’s one rep. Repeat for three to four sets of six to 10 reps with as much rest as needed between.
Why it works: “To lift your legs up while hanging from a pull-up bar, your core muscles have to be fully engaged,” Simpkins says. While the movement primarily engages the abdominal and back muscles and taxes your grip, it also targets the hamstrings, hips flexors, lats, and groin, she says.
Toes to bar is a relatively advanced exercise, explains Wickham, so those who can’t yet do them should focus on knees to elbows. “For knees to elbows, the athlete should try to get their knees as high as possible while keeping their legs together,” he says.
Burpee Box Jump
Equipment: Box
How to do it: Start standing with feet hip-width apart about one to two feet from the box. Next, reach forward and drop your hands to the floor. As your hands reach for the floor, jump your feet back into a plank, and immediately lower your entire body to the floor. Release your hands and allow your body to drop to the ground. Replace your palms on the floor, push up into a plank, and hop your feet forward to your hands. That’s one burpee.
Then, as you stand, without pausing, swing your arms back and jump explosively onto the box. Land as softly as possible with both feet on the box in a semi-squat. Then, jump or step off the box and back to the ground. That’s one burpee box jump.
Try doing 30 at the end of your workout as fast as you can while maintaining good form. Or work up to doing 10 to 15 per minute every minute for 10 minutes for a real cardiovascular burn.
Why it works: What’s so great about burpee box jumps is that they translate into strength, explosiveness, and cardiovascular endurance, Simpkins says. “Burpee box jumps are challenging because they get your heart rate up quickly and are full body, so your cardiovascular system will feel it after only a few reps,” she says.
“Box jumps use all the major muscle groups of the legs, while burpees literally work almost every muscle in your body, including your chest, triceps, and abs,” Wickham says.
If you're not quite ready for a box jump, step up onto the box instead, Simpkins suggests.
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Handstand Push-Up
Equipment: Wall and mat (optional)
How to do it: Kick or walk your feet up the wall into a handstand, so that your back is against the wall and your stomach is facing out. Keeping your legs straight, rest your heels against the wall, and brace your core, glutes, and thighs so that your body is in a relatively straight line.
Then, bending at the elbows, look between your hands and slowly lower your body until your head touches the floor or a mat. (As with the toes to bar, depending on your skill level, this can also be done with the help of a kipping motion for momentum.) Without pausing at the bottom, reverse the movement and return to the starting position by straightening your arms. That’s one rep. Aim for four sets of three to four reps to start.
Why it works: This exercise is all upper-body–triceps, lats, shoulders, delts–but it’s also a core movement, because in order to keep your back from arching, you need to brace your middle, Simpkins says.
Note: This is an advanced movement. The handstand push-up requires the muscles in your upper body to work much harder than standard push-ups because you're pushing a larger percentage of your bodyweight (a.k.a. all of it). It’s best reserved for people who can do at least 10 standard push-ups and who can hold themselves in a handstand for 30 seconds.