Here are five of her favorite exercises.
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Squats1 of 8
Squats are one of Griffin's favorite functional movements, as they work both the lower body and core.
"Squatting often and heavy equals magic," she says.
To perform the exercise, Griffin says to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Point your toes forward or have them slightly angled out (most will need a slight angle to allow for a deeper range of motion).
Engage your core, keep the weight in your heels and hinge back at your hips. Bend your knees and sit back as if you're sitting into a chair. Get as low as you can while still keeping your chest lifted. Push through your heels to stand back up and straighten your legs as you rise.
Once you get the basic squat down, Griffin recommends challenging yourself with progressions such as front squats and goblet squats.
Expert Tip: "The squat is a hip-initiated (not knee-initiated) movement. Incorrectly starting the movement with a knee bend causes the knees to track too far forward or the weight to end up in your toes."
Sprints2 of 8
Sprints are a quick, easy and powerful exercise with a massive after-burn effect. You use fast-twitch muscle fibers that build strength and increase muscle mass, and you also work your core.
"All you need is your body and space to run," Griffin says.
When sprinting, focus on leaning forward slightly and using shorter steps. Pump your arms forward and back, not side to side.
"Try 50- to 100-meter sprints with a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio," Griffin says. "If you don't have a stopwatch, simply walk back to where you started and repeat."
Expert Tip: "Warm up your legs really, really well prior to doing a full-on sprint to avoid a pulled muscle."
Burpees3 of 8
"People love to hate these little suckers," Griffin says. "As a trainer and athlete, though, I love this full body movement because it quickly gets heart rates climbing."
Start standing. Place your hands on the ground in front of you and jump your feet back while you lower your chest and thighs to the ground. Push your body back up as you jump your feet back to your hands. Jump up and stretch your arms overhead to complete one rep.
You can modify a burpee by making it a step out and step in movement without going all the way to the ground.
Expert Tip: "For more efficiency and to avoid the rounded back when reaching for the ground, kick your feet out as you reach for the ground, then snap your legs back to your hands in one motion on the way up."
Kettebell Swings4 of 8
Kettlebell swings improve strength, power and endurance. They train muscles from all over the body, particularly the posterior chain and core.
As beneficial as this exercise can be, form plays a crucial role. Griffin recommends working with a knowledgeable trainer or fitness expert to learn the proper movement.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and grip the kettlebell with both hands. Bend your knees and hinge at the hips to swing the weight between your legs (think of a football hike position).
Squeeze the glutes to explosively thrust the hips forward and stand while you swing the weight to chest-height (or all the way overhead). Beginners should start with a Russian (chest height) swing until they have mastered the proper form.
Expert Tip: "Maintain a flat back. If you feel pain in your lower back, it's because you're hinging at the lower back instead of at the hip, or you're hyperextending (arching) your lower back at the top of the movement."
Plank-Up Push-Ups5 of 8
"I love both the plank and the push-up for their endless variations and the ability to do them anywhere," Griffin says. "Both exercises work the pecs, triceps, core, shoulders and smaller stabilizing muscles."
To perform this combined variation, start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders and legs extended. Engage your core and tuck your pelvis so your body is in a straight line from head to toe.
"No butts in the air like an inchworm and no saggy hips like a wet noodle," Griffin says.
Move one hand at a time into a push-up position, and perform a push-up. Move back to the forearm plank position one arm at a time, and repeat the sequence. Switch the side you start with each time.
Expert Tip: "To really engage your core, keep your hips facing the ground and as steady as possible instead of rocking side to side. If you have a friend or trainer with you, ask them to hold your hips steady so you can feel the difference."
Jessica Griffin6 of 8
• B.A. in Psychology (Clemson University)
• M.A. in Psychology (John Jay College)
• Certified Personal Trainer (Aerobics & Fitness Association of America)
• Perinatal Fitness (AFAA)
• CrossFit L-1 and CrossFit Weightlifting Trainer
• NJ Fit Training Home
• NJ Fit Elite Facebook Page
• NJ Fit Mom Facebook Page
• NJ Fit Training Instagram
• eBook: Beyond Burpees
Want more from Griffin? Check out five of the most important tips she preaches to her clients below.
2016 Personal Trainer of the Month Series7 of 8
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