My 5 Favorite Exercises I Learned From My Personal Trainer

As many of you know, I am on my journey to lose 30 pounds.  I am down 8 pounds with 22 to go!  I am currently participating in Weight Watchers (again), and I have been seeing a personal trainer at the YMCA.  Here are my five favorite exercises that she’s taught me that I enjoy AND that I feel make me much stronger .  My trainer has also measured me recently, and I lost two inches in my hips, an inch and a half in my waist, and at least an inch or more on all my other measurements.  Sometimes it’s nice to see other measures besides the scale.

Favorite Exercise #1:  The Yoga Boat Pose (for abdominal and core strength) – I do this while watching TV

1. From a seated position, bring the legs straight up to a 45 degree angle.

2. The torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine collapse. Make a “V” shape with the body.

3. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders.

4. Balance on your bottom (the sit bones).

5. Stay in that position as long as you can, take a break, and repeat.


Favorite Exercise #2:  The Yoga Plank Pose (for arm and spine strength) – I also do this while watching TV


1. Get into the position you would take if you were about to do a push up.

2. Press the forearms and hands firmly down, do not let your chest sink, press back through the heels.

3. Keep the neck in line with the spine and broaden the shoulder blades.

4. Stay in that position as long as you can, take a break, and repeat.


Favorite Exercise #3:  The Kettlebell Swing (for hip, back, and thigh strength)


1. Stand straight with your legs shoulder width apart.

2. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees so as to go into a semi-squat. Keep your back arched and head facing forward steadily.

3. Try a light kettlebell first. Let you arms hang loosely and raise the weight with both hands over your head and inhale. Then, swing the weight with both hands in between the legs towards the back of you while exhaling. Move the kettlebell using power thrusts from the hip, thigh, and lower back muscles (powerful hip snap on every rep are musts).

4. Complete 5 to 10 sets of 20 reps of kettlebell swings with a minute pause between each set of repetitions. With heavier weights, inhale on the swing between your legs and exhale when you raise it above your head.

* I bought my Kettlebells at Ocean State Job Lot for pretty cheap, but you can get them at any sporting store.  I started with 8 pound weights, and now I am up to 20.  You will be sore after the first time you do this.


Favorite Exercise #4: Bosu Ball Leg Strengthening Exercises (for the core and leg muscles)


1. Place the ball rounded side down.

2. Step up on the ball and at first just maintain your balance (feet should width apart).

3. After achieving balance, do shallow squats, not dipping too far down, as that can cause knee damage. Your arms should be straight out in front of you.

4. Do ten reps if possible, take a break, and repeat.  You will also feel sore after the first time doing this exercise.


Favorite Exercise #5:  Exercise Ball Sit-Ups (for your abdominals)


1. Choose an exercise ball. If you are short, choose a small one. If you are tall, choose a larger one.

2. Sit on the exercise ball with both feet on the floor.

3. Roll backwards on the ball until your back is parallel with the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree-angle.

4. Place your arms either crossed over your chest, hands behind you neck with your elbows bent, or straight out over your head–depending on the amount of challenge you want.

5. Suck your abdonimal muscles in to activate them.

6. Using your abdominal muscles, pull yourself up to about a 45-degree-angle from the ground and then slowly lower yourself back down.

7. Do as many as you can (until is burns), rest for 30 seconds, and repeat.

* There are many other exercises I do with the exercise ball.  I got mine at Ocean State Job Lot, but you should be able to get them at Walmart or any sports store.


Stay tuned…….I will be posting many of my other 5 Favorite Things in weeks to come!  Good luck with your exercises.  I guarantee if you do these at least 3-4 times a week, you will feel MUCH stronger in the next couple of weeks (and probably lose some inches as well).  I can do all these at night while I am watching my shows.  I also do them after my 30 minutes of cardio at the gym!  Lastly, an added bonus of these exercises has been the fact that I do not ned to see my physical therapist or chiropractor anymore for my lower back pain!

* What are your favorite exercises?  I would love more ideas!






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Kristin Wheeler

About Kristin Wheeler

Kristin Wheeler is a stay-at-home mom of a 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son. She was previously a teacher for 8 years (in Virginia, Oklahoma, and California). She taught elementary and middle school, with a focus in technology. Kristin received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and her Master's in Middle School Education from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Her husband is a professor at The University of Rhode Island.