Founder of Turbo Jam Shares Her Top 5 Strength Exercises

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chalene Johnson is no stranger to fitness. She taught her first aerobics class at 18 and eventually created the wildly popular Turbo Jam®, Turbo Kick®, PiYo™, Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Hustle™ and ChaLEAN Extreme® workouts.

She and Turbo Jam are sponsoring a contest that runs until Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009, at 9 a.m. EST. To enter, you need to click here to join the special SparkPeople/ Fitness Story Contest SparkTeam created especially for this challenge. Then blog about how you came to embrace fitness on your SparkPage, and share a link to your blog on the Message Board. (Visit the Team for official rules!) Chalene and SparkPeople will choose three winners after Oct. 27.

Today Chalene is sharing her top 5 strength training exercises.

Strength training is a key component to fitness. When you increase lean muscle mass, you increase your capacity to burn calories. It’s important to know which exercises will give you the best results. If you’re pressed for time or just need a quick way to get more from your resistance training, read on. Let’s face it--we all have days that leave us little time for working out. Putting these five moves into your weekly routine will help strengthen your muscles and bones, as well as burn more calories!

First of all, here are some general tips to remember before you start your workout:
  • Always warm-up before starting any exercise routine.
  • If you are new to strength training, do the exercises without weights for the first few times.
  • Take your time! By slowing down the movement, the exercise becomes more challenging and your own body weight plays a bigger role in its effectiveness.
My Top 5 Exercises:
Squats. One of the best lower body exercises. You’re going to learn to LOVE this. Why is it a good one? Because the movement causes many of the muscle groups in the legs to work together at once, making this a crowd pleaser. Believe it or not, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves get a piece of the action and make your legs look great! (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Push-Ups. This exercise really packs a punch! Just like the squat, this multi-muscle exercise makes the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and abs work at once. Yes, that’s right, your abs. Push-ups are assisted by your core. Support with your abs and back, as you lift and lower. Remember; don’t let the upper body do all the work. Doing so cheats the rest of the muscles! (Click here for a demo of this exercise.)

Deadlift and Row. Why not just do just one of these exercises? Simple, doing both exercises creates a challenging, more effective move. Deadlifts target your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, while the Row adds some bicep work. Here’s something you may not know, not only is this a great compound exercise, but it also mimics what we do throughout the day. When bending over to pick-up your child or things off the floor, you need to have back strength to assist you.

The Plank. Here’s your “all in one” exercise! It’s amazing because it uses only your own body weight to strengthen the abdominal muscles, back, arms, and legs. When you suspend your entire body, you have to rely on every muscle to stabilize yourself. (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Lunges. Like the squats, lunges also work your legs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It’s also another exercise that mimics what we do throughout the day--walking, only in a more exaggerated motion. A little known lunging benefit--you gain better balance because you have to focus on it while doing each lunge. (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Each of these exercises can help you achieve your fitness goals in a shorter amount of time. Don’t forget to pay attention to your form and technique. Form is the key for any exercise. Not only will using proper form and body alignment maximize your results, but it’ll also protect your body from potential injuries! So, whether you’re looking to get more from your routine or you need to squeeze in a quick, effective workout, these 5 exercises are for you. Give them a try!

How many of Chalene's top exercises are a part of your routine? When you're crunched for time, what strength exercises do you choose?