What’s the best workout? One of the most popular questions I receive. The answer might surprise you! I don’t think it’s right to say one is better than the other. They all come with pluses and minuses. It is however smart to mix things up so that you constantly challenge your body and keep things interesting.

What’s the type of workout I love? That’s a different story. I love any type of cardio. Running is on top of my list, right next to yoga, zumba, pilates. But I always make sure to incorporate core strengthening workouts in my routine. at least 2 days a week.

So what do I do? I love combining exercises that involve more than 1 muscle group. So bicep curls are great, but add a little bit of a balance challenge (sitting on a round or flexible surface) and you have a bicep curl on steroids (the workout not you!). So here are four of my favorite strength and core toning exercises.

This set is great to add after a quick warm-up run or even after 20 minutes on the elliptical if you feel super determined that day. They can be done a home or in the gym and the only gear you need is an exercise ball. Pair them up with some great tunes and you have the perfect workout day!

1.     Hyperextension

What to do: Kneel in front of the exercise ball, heels up, toes touching the floor and rest your stomach on the ball so that you create a 45 degree angle with the floor (as shown). Bring your arms behind your neck. While keeping your balance, lower your body as much as you can over the ball and raise yourself as much as you can while still being connected to the ball. This is one rep. Repeat 15 times for a set. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat another 2 sets.

Works: abs, lower back, gluts.

Total time: 5 minutes

Make it harder: Prop your heels next to a wall and raise the knees off the floor. Keeping your balance becomes that much difficult, working and toning muscles even harder. Speed is not important. Posture is, so make sure to work your way into the exercise slowly to reap the most benefits.

2.     Reverse Plank Leg Lift

What to do: Lay behind the exercise ball, back at a 45 degree angle with the floor, knees bent, resting on the ball and your arms behind your back. Raise yourself up, pushing yourself on the ball to get parallel with the floor (as shown). Make sure you have established your balance. While keeping your balance (difficult, I know), slowly raise the right leg about 10 inches off the ball. Lower it, then repeat with the left leg. This is one rep. Repeat 15 times for a set. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat another set.

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