This move hits both the front and back of your body so that you can hit every muscle in your trunk.
It’s also pretty dynamic and involves more muscles than standard crunches. As a result, you’ll burn more calories and sweat more.
Do it: Plug the exercise into a full-body circuit as your core move.
Or perform it as a finisher at the end of your workout. Do as many reps as you can in 5 minutes, resting only when needed.
3. Semicircle Mountain Climber
In my honest opinion, this is the most challenging mountain climber in existence.
Tracing a semicircle with your legs while supporting your bodyweight on your hands smokes your shoulders and abs like no other variation can.
I tend to sweat so much while doing these that I have to relocate to different spots on the training floor from set to set for safety purposes. No joke.
Do it: Plug the exercise into a full-body circuit as your core move.
Or perform it for 30 seconds straight, followed by 30 seconds of rest. That’s 1 round. Do 5.
4. Dumbbell Alternating Hand Swing
This isn’t your average swing. It develops hand-eye coordination, strengthens imbalances between sides, and really builds grip strength.
It’s also kind of fun to pass the weight from one hand to the other, so you’ll notice that the time passes a lot faster while doing this bad boy.
Do it: For a great cardio workout, grab a 25-pound dumbbell or 16-kilogram kettlebell, and do as many reps as you can in 3 minutes. Your goal is to go non-stop. When the 3 minutes is up, rest for 1 minute. (It’s like boxing intervals.) That’s 1 round. Do 5.
You can also pop this move it into a metabolic circuit as a hip-dominant exercise.
The blast-off pushup is the ultimate total-body pushup variation. That’s because you load your hips, knees, and ankles and then explode into the bottom of the pushup position—so every single muscle in your body is working.
But adding a diagonal to the blast-off portion is a whole new ballgame. Suddenly, you’re putting more emphasis on one side of your upper-body, asking it to handle a dynamic, heavy load. Not only with this build unilateral strength but you’ll also gain insane core stability.
Do it: Pair the exercise with dumbbell alternating hand swings. Do 20 alternating hand swings (10 per side) and 10 side-to-side blast-off pushups (5 per side). That’s 1 round. Do max rounds for time in 10-20 minutes.
6. Sprinter Situp
With this move, you’re incorporating a running pattern into the classic situp movement.
The key: reciprocal movement of your arms and legs. When your right arm comes forward so does your left leg, and visa versa. This improves your core strength, coordination, and athleticism.
Do it: Throw this into a circuit as a core exercise.
Or try to do 100 reps as fast as possible in as few sets as possible.
7. Feet-Elevated Dead-Stop Pushups
When doing a dead-stop pushup, you lower your entire body to the ground, pick up your hands from the floor, and then push back up. This eliminates the slingshot effect of your muscles and connective tissues making it twice as hard as a regular up and down pushup.
It also really builds raw strength and spinal stability. You simply can’t come up off the floor unless you fully engage your thighs, hips, and abs. As a result this move will really bump up your bench press and pushup totals.
And it’s three times harder than a normal pushup if you do this move with your feet-elevated. Trust me!
Do it: Perform 10 reps EMOM (every minute on the minute) for 10 minutes. It will be the toughest 100 reps of your life.
8. Dumbbell Pull Complex
This upper-body complex fuses a compound horizontal and a vertical pull pattern with an isolation exercise for the biceps. As a result, it blasts all of your pulling muscles including your back, biceps, traps, forearms, glutes, and hamstrings.
Do it: Grab a pair of 25-pound dumbbells. Perform 2 rows, 1 high pull, and 1 biceps curl. Perform as many rounds as you can in 2 minutes, and then rest a minute. That’s 1 round. Repeat up to 4 more times.
Once you consistency complete 10 rounds every 2 minutes, bump up the weights by 5 pounds.
9. Dumbbell Ground and Pound
It’s time to do your best Conor McGregor impression! Visualize your worst enemy and go balls to the wall—er, floor.
This exercise might seem strange or sadistic, but it’s great for mental training, stress relief, and upper-body endurance.
Do it: Grab a light pair of 5 to 10-pound dumbbells. Get in a split-kneel position, and then and repeatedly punch toward the floor for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Perform up to 10 total rounds.
This is one of my favorite leg and shoulder exercise combos. It’s also a surprisingly good move to improve your overall balance and coordination.
Do it: Lower into a split squat with a pair of light dumbbells held at your sides. Then push up so your legs are straight, while simultaneously raising up the weights to shoulder level and out to your sides. Lower back down into a split squat.
That’s 1 rep. Do 5 on one side, and then switch legs Perform as many 5-rep rounds on each side as you can in 5 to 10 minutes.
11. Dumbbell Discus
I threw the discus in high school. Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 of my throws would go out of bounds, with most of them hitting the protective fence.
Luckily, this exercise allows me to reap the benefits of this classic field event without embarrassing myself in public.
The discus involves rotation of the hips with pivoting feet, one of the most important athletic movements to train. Focus on loading and exploding through the hips with every rep. Your belly button should face forward throughout the entire exercise.
Just don’t let go of the weight!
Do it: Perform the movement with a light 5 to 10-pound dumbbell.
To fire up your fat-burning fast-twitch muscles fibers, perform the exercise for 20 seconds straight, and then rest for 10 seconds. That’s 1 round. Switch arms and do the same thing on the other side.
Perform 5 rounds per side for a genuine hip and heart attack.
12. Extended Range-of-Motion Bulgarian Split Squat
Recent studies have found that the Bulgarian split squat—where you elevate the foot of your rear leg to a box or bench that’s approximately knee height—may be just as effective as heavy squatting for gains in muscle and strength.
And it unloads your spine and fixes mobility and strength imbalances between legs. It’s money!
But you can make it even better (and by better, I mean a lot harder) by also elevating your front foot onto a lox box or step.
This extends the range of motion of the exercise your body has to travel, which increases the muscle gain and calorie-burning stimulus. It will also mobilize your hip flexors and glutes in a way that few other moves can.
Do it: Do as many reps as you can on one side for 50 seconds, and then rest for 10 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. Perform 5 total rounds on each side for an awesome 10-minute workout.
You can also place this into a metabolic bootcamp-style workout as a lower-body or single-leg move.
13. Dumbbell King Kong
This exercise doesn’t only have a beast name—it also is a beastly exercise. That’s because it combines a sumo deadlift and a curl and an overhead press for a grueling test of muscular endurance and mental willpower.
Do it: Perform 10 king kongs, and then set the dumbbells down and crank out 30 second of jumping jacks. That’s 1 round. Do 10 rounds as fast as possible.
If you have anything left in the tank, then storm and climb the biggest building you can find.
14. Levitating Lunge
You can think of this move as a more accessible way to do a pistol squat. It doesn’t require as much flexion of the knee or hamstring mobility to perform—but it does develop incredible lower-body strength and stability.
I recommend using a pair of light 5 to 10-pound dumbbells for counter balance. This will allow you to sink deeper into each rep while keeping a more upright trunk. Besides being easier on your spine, it means more work for the hips and thighs.
You can place a pad down on the floor where your knee will touch.
Do it: Build up to 5 sets of 10 reps per side. Your back knee should kiss the floor or pad for your knee. Once you can do that, add a weight vest or a 1 to 5-second pause at the bottom to keep the gainz coming.
I’m a huge fan of the bear crawl. It improves pelvic and rib positioning, core and shoulder stability, and breathing mechanics. It also strengthens the hands and wrists.
Make it more core-tastic by walking your hands out into an extended plank position. Hold for a count and reverse the movement and repeat for time or reps.
Do it: Perform 10 reps as warmup for your next upper-body workout.
Or throw it into a circuit as a core or metabolic mobility exercise.
16. Long Jump to Hop Back to Skater Jump
I’m a huge fan of what I call “cardio flows.” You seamlessly flow between a set number of bodyweight cardio moves for prolonged periods of work.
You go hard on each one for 3 to 5 seconds, and then move on to the next one and so forth.
Since the moves are non-competitive—meaning they work different areas of your body—you can work harder for longer without rest. This translates into a sky-high heart rate and a sick amount of fat-burning.
Do it: Perform the flow all-out for 2 minutes. Then rest one minute. That’s one round. Do up to 5 total rounds.
17. Dumbbell Bear Crawl to Row to Donkey Kick
What happens when a bear makes sweet, passionate love to a donkey? This exercise is born!
It’s truly criminal what this exercise does to your upper body, which is why it’s been outlawed in 37 states. Use it at your own risk.
Do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and assume a bear crawl position with your hands under your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
Perform a bear crawl forward. You’ll move your right hand and left foot forward, then move your left hand and right foot forward. Now pause, and do a row with each arm. Then immediately perform an explosive donkey kick behind you (as if a stranger is trying to mount you without permission).
Keep repeating that sequence for set a period of time or a set number of rounds. I like 1 to 2-minute work periods with 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets.
With this mega move, you get after all the goodies: butt, abs, chest, arms, shoulders, and back.
It’s also a great way to mobilize your hips and shoulders, and to offset the negative effects of prolonged sitting during the day.
Do it: Grab a pair of 25-pound dumbbells, and perform sets of 10 to 15 reps. You can also do as many reps as you can in 2 to 3 minutes. Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets.
I’m what you’d call “a terrible dancer.” So anytime I can pull off some type of dance move, I’m all about it.
And the breakdancer is one of few that I can pull off. (It’s also a perfect option for Bar Mitzvah’s, weddings, or birthday parties.)
Why should you do it? It’s unmatched for building dynamic shoulder and core stability. It also can be done at a fast enough speed to really create a metabolic disturbance. And it’s way more entertaining than normal planking.
Do it: Plug it into a circuit as a core or cardio move.
Or use it as a fast and fierce finisher. Do as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and the repeat. Do this 10 times total.
20. Side Plank Lateral Raise
The side plank is a great exercise to bulletproof your back and shoulders and strengthen your lateral hip muscles. But you can make it an even better bodybuilder by doing lateral raises with your top arm. Your shoulders will scream.
Do it: Grab a light dumbbell. Perform lateral raises with your left arm for 30 seconds, and then rest for 15 seconds. Switch sides and repeat. That’s 1 round. Do 3 to 5 sets for bolder shoulders.
21. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row to Biceps Curl
I’ve never seen this exercise anywhere before, so let’s just say that I invented it. It seamlessly streamlines a bent-over row into a curl for a great back and biceps blast.
The angle of the curl provides peak biceps activation at the top of the move, where there’s typically little to no tension with the classic standing variation.
Do it: Plug it into a circuit as an upper-body or pulling exercise. Do sets of 10 to 15 reps or work periods of 40 to 60 seconds.