Jul. 7. 2017
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of NS and Creator of The Method

Happy Fitness Friday! I hope you all had a great holiday–these short weeks go by so fast! With the 4th of July already behind us, Summer is truly in full swing. I like to switch up and refocus workout routines in the summer–it gets pretty hot in Tennessee, and these moves are easy to do inside, whether at a gym or in the living room! Summer is a great time to go back to basics and make sure we’re getting the most out of the strength moves we all know and love. A good foundation means higher intensity, better strength, and more out of every move that you build on top of them: great push-up form actually makes burpees less brutal (and more effective)! To give you the low-down, my amazing friend Hannah Davis is back with a guide to four foundational exercises that should always be a part of your strength training routine.

Hannah’s already been so kind to share four other workouts with NS, so if you missed them be sure to check them out here:

  1. A No Equipment Partner Workout For You and Your BFF
  2. A Simple and Effective Full Body Workout
  3. A Fun HIIT Workout To Boost Your Metabolism
  4. A Simple Weight Training Workout for a Stronger Booty

PERFECTING THE BASICS: Your guide to performing four essential movements for the strongest workouts. There are so many moves that either build off of these poses, use similar postures, techniques, etc.  A great way to intensify these moves is adding weight, I like to use kettlebells or bands

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat works your core and your upper back as well as the lower body. It can be difficult to maintain the arms in an overhead position as you lower into a squat, so if you need to modify it, place your hands behind your head (but squeeze the shoulder blades together) or cross them in front until you can load it up by holding weights. Do 10-15 reps.


You can use a cable machine, dumbbells, or a resistance band to improve your pull strength. In this standing row variation, start in a split stance to provide more leverage. Make sure you have backed away from the attachment point enough to have resistance in the band with arms straight out in front. Keeping the shoulder down and away from the ears, slowly pull the band back and squeeze the shoulder blades together tightly for a 2-second pause before returning the band back to the start position in a slow, controlled fashion. Do 10-20 reps.

Reverse Lunges

Start with feet together. Take a big step back with the right leg while keeping most of the weight focused on the left leg. Drop the back knee as low to the ground as you can. Drive back up to the start position through the heel of the left foot. Repeat for 10 reps before switching legs.


Start in a plank position. Engage your lats, brace your core, squeeze your glutes and your quads before lowering yourself to the floor and pushing yourself back up for 10-15 reps. If you cannot get at least 3 inches from the ground, modify your push-up until you can. You can modify by dropping to your knees or performing pushups against the countertop or a coffee table.

 I hope you guys enjoy this guide! If you use these moves in your workouts at home, be sure to share what you think in the comments! If you need some tunes to motivate you while you’re getting a move on, check out the Summer Sweat it Out Playlist. Happy sweatin’!

xx McKel

Hannah Davis, CSCS, has been featured in national publications and television shows as a leading fitness expert. She served as the fitness expert for Cosmopolitan Magazine and her workouts have been featured in Women’s Health, SELF, Fitness and Oprah Magazines, to name a few. She is the author of the Operation Bikini Body Training Program and owns her own personal training studio in Tennessee. Hannah’s mission is to empower women by becoming physically strong and capable of taking back their health.