Dancing with the Stars Couch Dips: Sitting on the edge of your couch, facing the TV, place your hands right next to your sides with your fingertips facing forward. Roll your shoulders back and open your chest. Slide your body off the couch but keep it close to the couch. On an inhale, bend your elbows so that your butt is trying to touch the floor. On an exhale, lift back up to starting position.
What it does: Strengthens and tones triceps
Number of reps: As many reps as you can do in a commercial or until the entire commercial break is over. Rest for another commercial, and then repeat for the following commercial.
Good-form tip: Make sure your feet are out from underneath your body. You should be able to see them. Keep your chest open, look forward at the television, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Avoid if you have a wrist or shoulder injury.
Glee Superman Ab Workout: Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended forward, palms facing down, shoulder-width apart and legs extended straight, hip-width apart. Looking straight down at the floor, on an exhale, pull your abdominals into your spine and lift both arms and legs at the same time. Reach through your fingertips and toes as though someone is pulling you apart. (Hint: It's less about height and more about reaching.)
What it does: Gently strengthens the lower abs
Number of reps: Try for 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
Good-form tip: Make sure to keep a long neck and don't worry too much about how high you lift off the floor. Keep your abs pulled in and remember to breathe. If this is too strenuous for the back, a great modification is alternating opposite arm and leg. For instance, lift the left arm and right leg and then switch.
Modern Family Sit-Up/Sit-Down Squats: Holding a heavy book, such as a phone book (hey, we don't use them anyway, right?), extend the arms straight out in front of you, shoulder height with shoulder blades pulled down away from the ears. Sit at the edge of the couch or chair, feet hip-width apart, and maintain a neutral spine. Sit up tall. Engage the abdominals and on an exhale, push into the heels and stand straight up. Keeping the arms out in front of you, with chest open, slowly sit back down on the couch, keeping the energy in your heels. You should be looking at the television the whole time. Keep your gaze forward.
What it does: Strengthens and tones glutes, hamstrings, quads, lats, and shoulders. Helps improve balance.
Number of reps: As many as you can do in a commercial break
Good-form tip: Avoid bringing your knees over the toes. Keeping all of the weight in the heels helps maintain proper form. To make is easier, lose the book and keep your hands on your hips or, if needed, use your hands as a little extra support to help you get off the couch with control.
Grey's Anatomy Coffee Table Plank: On the floor, come down onto your elbows and knees. Your elbows should be shoulder-width apart and directly under your shoulders. Engage your abdominals, curl your toes under, straighten your legs, and lift your knees off the floor. Feet are together. Squeeze your glutes and inner thighs and maintain a long neck. Challenge your core! Pull that belly button into the spine. Imagine yourself as a coffee table, where your neck, shoulders, and hips are all in one line, and if someone put a cup of coffee on you, you would have to stay still and even.
What it does: Improves balance and stability. Strengthens the entire core, which helps strengthen the back.
Number of reps: If possible, hold for the entire commercial break, but only if you have previous experience with plank and have no prior back injury.
Good-form tip: If this is too strenuous for your body, modify it by keeping your knees on the floor. Maintain the "coffee table" image, where shoulders and hips are in line with each other.
CSI: NY Wall Pushups: Stand facing a wall, an arm's length away. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, or a little wider, on the wall. Fingertips should be at the same height as your shoulders. You should be at an angle, lifted onto your toes, feeling as though you are leaning into the wall. Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, inhale, and bend your elbows out to the sides, trying to get your chest as close to the wall as possible. Hold at the bottom and at the exhale, push back up to the starting position.
What it does: Strengthens arms and core
Number of reps: As many controlled pushups as you can do throughout the commercial break
Good-form tip: If you ever feel as though you are sacrificing form for repetitions, stop the exercise, break, and return to the exercise when you can gain more control.
College Football Cushion Crunch: Lying on your back, knees bent, place a pillow underneath the lower to middle part of your back. Place your hands behind your head with elbows wide. Pull your belly button into your spine. On an exhale, lift your shoulder blades off the floor, pushing your back into the pillow for a count of 3 seconds, and slowly lower back down for a count of 3.
What it does: Strengthens the abdominals
Number of reps: 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps
Good-form tip: Keep space (the size of an orange) between your chin and your chest and keep elbows wide. Lift from your shoulder blades, not your neck. Lift as high as you can go without sacrificing form.
The Amazing Race Butt Blast: On your elbows and knees, lift one leg off the floor and extend it straight. Flex the foot, reaching through the heel. In a full range of motion, lift the leg up and then down to the floor. Continue, then switch legs.
What it does: Strengthens glutes and hamstrings
Number of reps: 2 sets of 20 repetitions for each leg
Good-form tip: Never lift the leg so high that you arch your lower back. The abdominals should be actively engaged, and you should maintain a neutral spine.