Could your workout use a little spring cleaning? It’s common to cling to exercises we know well. There is a sense of ease and safety associated with this. But your body needs fresh fitness ideas to ward off such common health hurdles as weight loss plateaus, overuse injuries, and boredom.

Transform your body by making these tiny tweaks to your favorite fitness moves:

Planks a lot. The plank is a powerful pose. This simple, static stance targets major muscle groups, improving strength and stability. And still, despite all the glory this gut-busting move offers, it loses popularity points for being mind-numbingly boring.

Instead of skipping the plank entirely, energize it with the following fun twist. Not only will this version burn more calories, the minutes also fly faster.

  • Begin in a plank position with your shoulders aligned above your hands and spine straight.
  • Slowly elevate your right arm in front of your body. Hold for two counts then lower it. Now lift your left arm for two counts then return to the starting stance. Next raise your right leg off the floor for two counts. And finally, finish the sequence by elevating your left leg for two counts.
  • Continue this plank pattern five times. If needed, this exercise can be modified to the knees or in a forearm-based plank position.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank exercise.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a plank exercise.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a modified plank exercise.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a modified plank exercise.

Strong arm. Strong, sculpted arms are desirable to many Americans, which is why the bicep curl has become one of the most popular upper-body building exercises. While the bicep curl helps to cut and carve these muscle fibers, there are better strength training moves to amp up the entire arm.

The Zottman curl fires up the forearms and biceps with a simple flip of your free-weight grip. Get ready to shed those long sleeves with this two-in-one exercise:

  • Stand with your feet together, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms rest at your sides with your palms facing inward.
  • Rotate the free weights up toward your shoulders and squeeze your biceps.
  • Now rotate your palms to face the ground and slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. This is one rep. Complete 12-15 reps.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a Zottman curl.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates a Zottman curl.

You don’t know jack. The jumping jack was introduced to us at a young age. They were a solid staple in P.E. classes around the country, and a sure-fire way to embarrass you in front of your high school crush. But don’t let those haunted high school memories keep you from practicing jumping jacks. There’s a reason this move has been around for decades — it works! The jumping jack torches calories, requires no equipment or skill, and doesn’t require much space to complete a set.

The following exercise is a grown-up version of the jumping jack. Not only does it elevate the heart rate, it also enhances agility, balance and core strength.

  • Set your stopwatch or phone timer for 45 seconds. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands positioned in front of your chest.
  • Remain in place while rapidly tapping your feet against the floor. Keep your back flat and core muscles engaged.
  • After 10 seconds, quickly jump and twist your body to the right and immediately back to the front. Continue tapping for 10 seconds, then jump and rotate your body to the left and back to the front. Maintain this quick tap for 10 more seconds, then jump up toward the sky landing lightly on your feet. Repeat this sequence until time is up.
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an updated jumping jack exercise.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley Greenblatt demonstrates an updated jumping jack exercise.

Make exercise exciting. When you enjoy your workout, you’re more likely to do it.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.