The Most Effective Exercises

If you're like most people, you've been doing the usual set of workouts and exercises to get into shape. Push-ups, sit ups, crunches and lunges are great exercises when you're first starting out, but your body will adapt to the routine fairly quickly. The result? Fewer calories burned and little or no results with your workout routine.


Fortunately, there are a number of exercises designed to target key muscle groups and really help you get in shape fast. The American Council of Exercise encourages people of all fitness levels to try a variety of exercises that help build strength, stamina and endurance by challenging key muscle groups and maximizing the range of motion. Here are a few effective exercises and routines to get you started:

Overhead Press

The overhead press targets your middle deltoids and triceps for firm shoulders and arms; you'll need to lift dumbbells or a barbell over your head and hold for a few seconds during each rep. This exercise is best performed with your feet standing shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent; slowly raise the weights over your head and bring them back down to ear level before repeating the sequence. You'll need to maintain good form throughout the sequence.
Triceps Kickback

The triceps are one of the hardest muscle groups to target, but you can do it with a series of tricep kickbacks. You'll need a medium to heavy dumbbell to perform this basic exercise; start with your feet in a staggered position and support your lower back with one hand on your knee. Then, hold the weight and extend your arm back until the upper arm is parallel with the floor; hold for a few seconds, and then repeat the sequence. This exercise targets both the triceps and the abdominal muscles.



When you want to get your lower body in great shape, doing a series of squats can help you increase strength in your glutes, thighs and hip muscles. Squats can be performed with or without weights and require you to stand with feet hip-width apart and slowly lower yourself down to a "seated position" until your knees are bent. The longer you can hold this posture, the stronger your glutes and thighs will become. Try it with different weights to build strength and sculpt your lower body in no time.
Inner and Outer Thigh Lifts

Thigh lifts help to target the common problem areas of the inner and outer thighs and can help sculpt and tone your lower body. These exercises require lifting and extending your legs through their full range of motion and holding for a few seconds to build strength. You can add an elastic resistance band as your legs get stronger with each movement.


When you want to improve your fitness level and change up your workout routine, get a strong start with any of these simple and effective exercise routines. From the overhead press to inner and outer thigh lifts, you'll be challenging several key muscle groups and making the most of your workout!