3 Exercises I’m Loving Lately: Upper Body/Core

3 New Exercises to TryI thought this would be a fun regular feature on the blog, even though I’m sure you guys can probably guess what my current favorite exercises are because I’ll put them in Every. Single. Workout. I post for a month straight (anyone remember my serious windshield wiper phase? Haha). I do this with everything—I find something I like and then do it/eat it/play it nonstop.

Maybe it’s just because I teach group fitness and am constantly looking for ways to switch things up in my classes, but I get SO excited when I’m in a class or doing a video and an exercise I’m unfamiliar with pops up. They’re not necessarily revolutionary; more often than not it’s just a twist on a traditional exercise or a slight variation that makes it harder/different.

Since the Kohl’s #MakeYourMove campaign is all about staying healthy doing things you enjoy, I thought it’d be the perfect time to start regularly featuring new (to me) exercises and variations that I’m currently loving. Look for them to pop up in workout tutorials on Pumps & Iron (you may have spotted one already in last week’s power wheel workout) and also try adding them into your own workouts and classes.

Biceps Circle Curls

Bicep Circle Curls

TARGETS BICEPS (I know, duh)

We did these in Barry’s Bootcamp the other week (Christina’s class rocks) as part of a bicep sequence and I loved them in combination with traditional curls and hammer curls (try doing all three in sequence—super effective way to target the muscle!). You really feel like you’re using every inch and angle of your biceps by adding in the circular motion with the curl.


Start standing holding a weight in each hand, palms facing front. Make sure you have a soft bend in your knees and low abs are engaged with your tailbone tucked so that you have a supportive base. From this starting position, curl the weights up and over to the right in a circular shape. At the top of the contraction, weights will be up at your chest (12 o’clock if we’re thinking of the motion as hands on a clock. From there, slowly lower the weights down and over the left, ending back in your starting position. Every time your hands reach this point (6 o’clock), you’ll switch directions so that the next circular curl is up and over to the left, down and over to the right. Forearms should stay parallel to each other as you do this; elbows stay locked in tight by your bottom ribs.

*A consideration when choosing your weights: Bicep curls with the elbows braced by our sides are generally easier than those done with the elbows lifted in front of your body. Keep this in mind and maybe choose a set of weights a few pounds heavier than you’d normally use for bicep curls.

Cobra Walking Planks

Cobra Walking Planks


This is a megaformer-inspired move that I’ve probably made you do if you’ve taken my Btone class recently. And it’s just as challenging off the machine! You can use a power wheel (pictured below) if you or your gym has one (I think this is the most challenging because you have to balance on that thin wheel), but it also works with a pair of sliders or even a dishtowel (pictured above).

Cobra Walking Planks with a Power Wheel


Start in a plank position with your feet strapped into a power wheel or on sliders/a dishtowel. From this starting position, you’re going to roll/slide backward, maintaining your plank position and bending your elbows (think of a triceps dip: arms stay in close to your sides) so that you slowly lower down to a forearm plank. From here, do a walking plank, pressing up one hand at a time to straight arms so that you’re back in high plank and read to start your next rep. With the walking plank, try to alternate your lead hand every time so that you’re not always pressing up with your dominant arm.

If you’re a beginner, do this from your knees (place knees on a padded towel or sliders.

Twisted Push Ups with (or without) a Top Crunch

Twisted Push Ups with a Top Crunch


This is a great push up modification to work your obliques! 


From the waist up, you’ll be in a push up position: hands on the ground a little wider than shoulder width apart, chest square to the ground. From the waist down, you’ll be in a side plank with the left foot stacked on top of the right. It’s important that the twist is from the waist; you want equal weight in both hands. From here, you’ll do a push up, engaging that right oblique to keep your body in a straight line as you lower the chest towards the ground and then press up, straightening your arms. At the top, crunch your top left knee in towards the left shoulder; set it back straight on top of the right foot; and go down into your next twisted push up. Beginners: modify by doing this from your knees (still twist the low body, left knee stacked on top of right knee) and omit the top crunch. Twisted Push Ups

WEARING: Nike leggings, Nike muscle tank, Nike sports bra & Nike sneakers all c/o Kohl’s

Have you tried any of these exercises before? With what exercises are you currently #MakingYourMove?


This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.

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  1. You could also do the walking planks with a TRX and go back and forth, the TRX is KILLER on the abs

  2. The plank exercises look great, I need to work on my abs x


  3. TRuly an awkwardly placed contrast seam in your leggings …a line drawn from your crotch to your ass crack …I have a Nike pair and they are for home use only because of that seam…such an odd design

  4. love the push-up/side plank combo! and I didn’t even notice the seam in your pants 😉

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