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Fitness and conditioning exercises

Fitness and conditioning exercises
This section lists a selection of fitness and conditioning exercises that can be done either by those interested in fitness/conditioning or for those looking for a lean fit body. They can also be used to make up an interim/active rest workout between heavy weight training workout plans.

You can use dumbbells and/or weight vests with many of these exercises to add intensity and extra resistance if required.

Some of these exercises can be quite challenging at first, so take care to not push yourself too hard with some of them and make sure to use good form.

Make a selection of some of the exercises below to hit all the areas of the body and create your own circuit.

If you haven’t already read my article on Getting into fitness‎ please do so, it’s a great way to start your journey into helping you get fit.


Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, squat down and place the palms of your hands in front of you on the floor, knees outside your elbows. Then throw your feet behind you, so you are now in a press up position (keep your body in a straight line, no bending). You can do an optional press up at this point if you like. Then using a short jump bring your feet back to the squat position (keeping hands on the floor). Then from the squat position, do a short jump up so your feet leave the ground just a few inches and reach for the sky with your arms. As you land back down, gently return to the squat position. Do this all in one motion, that is one rep. Repeat. There are also many types/variations to this exercise and well worth seeking some out on the internet.

Chin ups

Standing under a bar take an underhand grip slightly narrower than shoulder width apart. Pull yourself up bring your chin towards the bar. Keep your body straight. You can cross one of your legs over the other behind you if you like. Lower back to the start position. Repeat.

Close Hands Press Ups

Lay face down on the ground feet about 6-10 inches apart and on your toes, place your hands 6 inches apart at about your sternum/upper abs. Keep your body straight and then press up, just short of locking your arms out. Lower back down to the start. Repeat.

Dive Bombers

Start by kneeling on the floor, then put your hand down in front of you as if you are going to do a press up (however, you should now be on all fours, like a human table). Then with feet around shoulder width apart and the balls of your feet on the floor, bring your bum up in the air to form a vee (legs and arms should be straight). Then keeping your legs straight bring your body down by bending your arms and swoop forward almost brushing your chest along the floor and push up straightening your arms with a curved back. You should now look like you are in the press-up position but being pushed up at the front by your straight arms. Then reverse this movement back to the vee position. Repeat.

Dumbbell Press Rows

In the press up position with a dumbbell in each hand and arms straight and shoulder width apart, pull the right dumbbell up towards your lower right side chest, keeping the left arm locked out. Return the weight to the floor, then lower yourself down (both arms bending) and do a press up. Repeat with the left dumbbell. Keep your body nice and straight throughout the exercise. Repeat the cycle.

Dumbbell Squat Clean and Press

Start in the squat position and holding a pair of dumbbells by your sides explode up with your legs and curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders in the ready to be pressed position, then with the dumbbells now in the press position, squat back down and explode back up again to the standing position and press the dumbbells up above your head. Return to the squat position with the dumbbells by your sides. Do these movements in one continuous motion. If you prefer, you can start with the dumbbells in front of you between your legs instead of by your sides. Repeat the cycle.

Free Squats

Take a slightly wider than shoulder width apart stance. Squat down until your upper legs are just short of being parallel to the floor, keep your back in the neutral position then stand back up pushing with your legs and return to the start position. Repeat.

Front Leg kicks

A great low impact stress release exercise. Standing up straight with feet hip width apart and looking straight forward, hold your hands up in front of you as if you are going to do some boxing (but kept at equal length in front of you). Lift your right leg bending it at the knee (similar to doing a knee up) and then kick the leg forward, return by reversing the action. To aid balance, have a slight bend in the standing leg. Repeat for the left leg.

Front Split Lunge Jump

Taking a lunge stance (one leg in front and one leg behind), jump up in the air and at the same time quickly swap over the legs, putting the front leg behind and the other leg in front. Do this in a spring like motion with very little impact upon landing. Keep your body upright, don’t lean forward and don’t forget to swap your arms over as well. Repeat.

Goblet Squats

Start by standing up straight with feet one and a half times wider than shoulder width apart with a weight in your hands (kettlebell, dumbbell or weight plate). If using a dumbbell, hold it upright and cup the weight plate underneath similar to the hold you would use to throw a ball using both hands and ensure the weight is very secure if using this method. Holding the weight directly in front of you with both hands and near or against your chest, squat down, keeping your back straight and upright, not leaning forward, touch your inner thigh/knee area with your elbows as you come down. Return to the standing position, but push with your legs and lead with your head and chest up first, not your butt. Repeat.

High-Knee Run In Place (Knee Ups)

Standing upright (not leaning forward or backward), start to run on the spot, bring your knees up high (thighs should be about parallel to the floor). Use your arms like you are running to maintain coordination, timing and balance.

Hindu Squats

With feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and arms hanging down by your sides or slightly behind you, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and onto your toes (heels off the ground). Raise back up, placing heels back on the ground and at the same time swing your arms (keeping them almost straight) out in front of you and then return to standing up position with your arms by your side again. Repeat.

Hip Raises

Laying on the ground face up, bend your legs to just over around 90 degrees with feet flat on the ground. Arms should be straight and flat on the floor by your sides, palms down. Then raise your hips up, making a straight line along your body to your knees. Lower your bum back down to the floor and repeat.

Inverted Row

With a bar across a stable platform at about waist height take an overhand grip shoulder width apart and hang from the bar with straight arms at around 90 degrees from your body, feet out in front of you with a straight line along your body and legs. Then pull yourself towards the bar using your arms and back muscles and keeping your legs and body straight. Repeat.

Jumping Jacks

Standing with feet slightly apart and arms hanging down by your sides, jump up a few inches and spread out your legs while swinging your arms out to the sides and above your head at the same time. Do this with a slight spring in your jump and land with slightly bent legs and not locked out legs. Repeat.

Kettlebell Swings

Holding a kettlebell or dumbbell between your legs with both hands, sit back a little with your bum stuck out,  slightly bent knees and upper body bent over around 45 degrees at the hips, but with back straight and in a neutral position. Then swing the weight up in front of you with straight arms, so the weight ends up at around chest height by pushing your hips forward and standing up straight, return to the sitting back position and repeat.


Standing up straight with feet set at your normal distance apart, step forward with one of your legs, so that you have the front leg at around a 90 degree bend and your rear leg just short of a 90 degree bend and its knee around 6 inches off the ground. Keep looking forward, body straight up and legs in a straight line, not stepping out to the sides, hands can be on your hips or alternate them as if you where running. Return to the start position and repeat for the other leg. Repeat the cycle.

Med-ball Pressups – both hands on and off

Assume a press up position with a med-ball on the floor under your chest. Do a regular press up, but as you reach the top of your press up, jump your hands up onto the med-ball. Lower back down onto the med-ball and do another press up with both hands on the med-ball and again as you push-up, release your hands from the med-ball and land your hands back down onto the floor as you lower yourself for another press up. Do all this in a smooth constant motion. Repeat.

Med-ball Pressups – one hand on and over

Assume a press up position with a med-ball on the floor under your chest. Place one hand on the med-ball and one hand on the floor next to and at the side of it. Lower yourself down for a press up and as you press up and extend your arms, push yourself over slightly to one side, so that you can swap over your hands, placing the one that was on the ball next to the ball this time and the one that was on the floor now on the ball. Repeat going back and forth from one side to the other. Repeat.

Pistol Squats

Standing up straight with feet at your natural distance apart, lower yourself down with one leg tucking under you doing a single leg squat and the other leg held out in front. This is an incredibly difficult exercise, as it requires great flexibility, balance and strength. You can start off using a chair at the start position and/or a pole or similar to hold onto for balance. Repeat.

Press-up Claps

Starting in a regular press up position, lower yourself down and explode back up, clapping your hands together in front of you, before landing back on your hands and going back down to the lowered position. Repeat.


Laying face down with arms straight and extended in front of you at slightly wider than shoulder width apart and with your body and legs in a straight line, lower yourself down by bending your arms (elbows at around 45 degrees from the side of your body). Lower to just short of your face touching the ground. Press back up to the start position. Repeat.

Reverse Lunge

A more knee friendly lunge. Stand up straight with hands on your hips, step back with your right foot, lowering your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor. (Keep your torso straight and just lower your right knee to around 6 inches above the ground). Push back up with your left leg, returning your right leg to the standing start position, repeat for the other leg. Repeat cycle.

Seated Med-ball Twist

Sitting on the floor with your legs bent at around 90 degrees at the knees and leaning back slightly, take hold of a med-ball (or dumbbell) in both hands, move the med-ball to one side by twisting your torso to the side and place the med-ball on the floor (or as close as you can comfortably get). Return to the start position very briefly and then twist to the other side. You can do this exercise with your feet flat on the ground, but to make it more difficult and more effective, you can lift your feet off the ground a few inches. If you suffer from any form of back issues, you may not want to do this exercise. Repeat.

Side Lunge Jump

Start by standing up straight. Place your right foot about 3 foot to the side, while bending your left leg and squatting down, whiles also bending slightly forward at the waist, but keeping your back straight and at the same time also bringing your right arm straight down and touch the floor with your hand. In this position and using your left leg, jump up bring your right leg under you and your left leg stepping to the side and now with your left hand touching the floor (essentially swapping the lung position from right to left). Repeat.

Squat Jumps

Standing with your feet around one and a half times your shoulder width, squat down (thighs should be parallel with the ground), only a slight bend in the body for balance and hold your arms out straight just behind you. Then from the squat position jump up off the ground (only a few inches) and at the same time throw your arms up into the air. Upon landing allow your legs to bend back into the squat position (do not land with straight/locked legs), try to land as softly as possible, but explode up with the jump. Repeat.

Squat Thrusts

In the normal press up position with feet shoulder width apart (body in a straight line), thrust your feet up and bring your knees towards your arms and under your body into a squat position, but still with your hands on the floor (your knees should be between and next to your elbows). From this position, quickly stand up, then reverse this motion back to the press up position and repeat.


Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. With your arms also straight and positioned back and stretched out beside your head (like you are holding your arms up straight above you, but you’re lying down). Next raise your legs with a slight bend in the knees and at the same time bring your torso up and off the floor and reach for your toes with your hands. Lower back down and repeat. If you are finding it difficult to do a v-up, try doing it with one leg at a time first.

Wood Choppers

Hold a kettlebell/dumbbell/med-ball in both hands and have your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Bending your knees and twist your whole torso down to your left, bringing the weight down towards your left side as if you were going to place it down on a small table to your side, but keep your feet planted. Then bring the weight back up towards your right upper shoulder stretching it out up over your right shoulder by rotating your whole body. Keep your feet planted throughout the exercise, but allow your left foot to rotate just a little and bring up your heel to allow your hip to rotate around on the up stretch. Repeat the movement in a continuous motion. Swap to the other side once you have completed your desired reps.

Also worth adding as an alternative or even include it into your routine are the following:

Shadow boxing
Light/heavy punch bag work
Speed ball work
Bike riding
Various fitness machines (i.e. elliptical trainers, treadmill, rowing machine and stationery bike)

One thing you will notice, is that there are no static exercises, like planks or supermans etc. I much prefer to do and recommend exercises that have you moving, rather than put you in a static contraction, where you are more likely to hold your breath and create raised blood pressure situations. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t do these exercises or they are bad for you. I’m merely pointing out that there are far better exercises that get you moving as the active human body was designed for.