Founder of Turbo Jam Shares Her Top 5 Strength Exercises

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Chalene Johnson is no stranger to fitness. She taught her first aerobics class at 18 and eventually created the wildly popular Turbo Jam®, Turbo Kick®, PiYo™, Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Hustle™ and ChaLEAN Extreme® workouts.

She and Turbo Jam are sponsoring a contest that runs until Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009, at 9 a.m. EST. To enter, you need to click here to join the special SparkPeople/ Fitness Story Contest SparkTeam created especially for this challenge. Then blog about how you came to embrace fitness on your SparkPage, and share a link to your blog on the Message Board. (Visit the Team for official rules!) Chalene and SparkPeople will choose three winners after Oct. 27.

Today Chalene is sharing her top 5 strength training exercises.

Strength training is a key component to fitness. When you increase lean muscle mass, you increase your capacity to burn calories. It’s important to know which exercises will give you the best results. If you’re pressed for time or just need a quick way to get more from your resistance training, read on. Let’s face it--we all have days that leave us little time for working out. Putting these five moves into your weekly routine will help strengthen your muscles and bones, as well as burn more calories!

First of all, here are some general tips to remember before you start your workout:
  • Always warm-up before starting any exercise routine.
  • If you are new to strength training, do the exercises without weights for the first few times.
  • Take your time! By slowing down the movement, the exercise becomes more challenging and your own body weight plays a bigger role in its effectiveness.
My Top 5 Exercises:
Squats. One of the best lower body exercises. You’re going to learn to LOVE this. Why is it a good one? Because the movement causes many of the muscle groups in the legs to work together at once, making this a crowd pleaser. Believe it or not, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves get a piece of the action and make your legs look great! (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Push-Ups. This exercise really packs a punch! Just like the squat, this multi-muscle exercise makes the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, and abs work at once. Yes, that’s right, your abs. Push-ups are assisted by your core. Support with your abs and back, as you lift and lower. Remember; don’t let the upper body do all the work. Doing so cheats the rest of the muscles! (Click here for a demo of this exercise.)

Deadlift and Row. Why not just do just one of these exercises? Simple, doing both exercises creates a challenging, more effective move. Deadlifts target your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, while the Row adds some bicep work. Here’s something you may not know, not only is this a great compound exercise, but it also mimics what we do throughout the day. When bending over to pick-up your child or things off the floor, you need to have back strength to assist you.

The Plank. Here’s your “all in one” exercise! It’s amazing because it uses only your own body weight to strengthen the abdominal muscles, back, arms, and legs. When you suspend your entire body, you have to rely on every muscle to stabilize yourself. (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Lunges. Like the squats, lunges also work your legs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It’s also another exercise that mimics what we do throughout the day--walking, only in a more exaggerated motion. A little known lunging benefit--you gain better balance because you have to focus on it while doing each lunge. (Click here for a SparkPeople demo of this exercise.)

Each of these exercises can help you achieve your fitness goals in a shorter amount of time. Don’t forget to pay attention to your form and technique. Form is the key for any exercise. Not only will using proper form and body alignment maximize your results, but it’ll also protect your body from potential injuries! So, whether you’re looking to get more from your routine or you need to squeeze in a quick, effective workout, these 5 exercises are for you. Give them a try!

How many of Chalene's top exercises are a part of your routine? When you're crunched for time, what strength exercises do you choose?

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CHERYLHURT 6/28/2020
Great Report
ARNETTELEE 4/29/2020
CECELW 1/18/2020
I used to do turbo jam quite often. I have the complete set. I just got bored with it over time Report
LRCOTE 1/8/2020
I do yoga, it’s great strengthener. Report
ARNETTELEE 11/27/2019
thanks Report
ARNETTELEE 11/27/2019
thanks Report
ARNETTELEE 11/27/2019
thanks Report
LEANJEAN6 11/18/2019
interesting --- good info! Report
INSH8P 10/18/2019
Lunges, Squat are the daily exercises. I do them when I complete hourly 250 steps 6-8 times a day. Lunges, alternating 10x / side - sometimes holding whatever weight is available - like a package, some books. Practical, and it gets done.
Plank, Push-ups are usually modified versions when I'm at work. Deadlift and rows are favorites during jump rope rest breaks: skip for 150-200 steps / skips - rest doing deadlift / rows. Report
I have had to change to lunges more since I am not working my left side as hard as my right. Knee replacement and I realized it when I am at work. I sit a great deal and my right side of my bum hurts and my left not so much. So I am changing my lower routine to incorporate more unilateral exercises. But I still like my squats, yeah I know, I must be nuts. :) Report
thanks Report
I used to do turbo jam work outs back in the day. I bought the complete set off of the website. I really enjoyed it. Report
Good info Report
Still good advice even nine years later.
I love these moves Report
I incorporate all of these in my different routines. Love them! Report
Every single one of these exercises are in my workout arsenal! Though I hate lunges, there are so many variations to work the inner thigh, the quads, the glutes etc, you can't not do them! Report
love the plank...squats hurt my knees sometimes (but i love those too). I have a Turbo Jam DVD. It's Great! Report
I love deadlifts. I know of no other excise that hits so many core muscles. It also builds functional strength; the kind of strength you need to carry heavy items like when you help friends move without injury.

I wish I could do lunges, my knees just don't like that exercise no mater how I do it. I notice that the women at my gym who have incredible legs do lots of lunges. Report
Love this list! I do lunges on my way to the restroom on the weekends and modified planks during commercials. Report
I love all of these...I do these twice a week on tues & sat in my 24 lift class. My instructor is the best and it is true that these will help your body transform..I can see the difference in my body. The one I really don't like is the is so hard for me....oh and push ups...I can only do like 4 and then I am done. Report
I have done all but the Deadlift and Row as one movement. I really enjoy the others incorporated into my quick lunch time work outs. My all time favorite circuit is to do 50 Jumping jacks, 20 lunges on each leg-alternating, 20 pushups and then 50 crunches and repeat until 20min is up. I think I may make up a new routine with these 5 and see how it feels. I can almost feel the burn now. Report
I do all of them on a regular basis, except the pushups. I can only do wall pushups. Report
Yup, I do most of these at my gym with my trainer. However, planks are out until the edema in my leg goes down. No strength in that leg to help hold me up. But I will have a killer upper body and abs since that is the only thing I can do. Report
I do most of them at least once a week! Report

Sorry, wonky button... double post.

I do all of these moves ! they are excellent strength moves. If I do happen to be crunched for time, I tend to do a lot of push ups, plank too. You can't beat plank for a core exercise. I also like a yoga pose called boat. That's a marvelous strength move too.

Actually, several poses in yoga are great strength moves.

Great! I have been doing these for years. I am glad that you have affirmed my primary strength training. Neal Report
just one. Report
I been doing all of these I just learned about plank a few weeks ago Report
I do them all and then some. I love squats holding weights. The one that is hardest for me is the push ups. I can do about 25 in 1 minute. Report
I do all except the dead lift and row, not even sure what that means! Report
Need a demo for Dead Lifts and Row. If I'm going to try it, I want to be sure I'm doing it safely. Can anyone help? Report
I do all of them and more cos I do Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme. She's an awesome trainer and I love to dance so these are great upbeat workouts. Report
These are definitely mainstays in my fitness routine. Report
I have a love/hate relationship with all of these exercises already! Hate to do them, love the results. Report
These moves are good. In most interval classes I've taken at the gym we do all of these. The deadligt row is one I like, and have done many times. Planks are a staple in most classes I take, even boxing. Report
I really, really dislike doing strength exercises of any kind. The multi muscle ones would be great, one exercise, many muscles worked. I'm going to add them to my workout today. thanks. Report
I already doing pretty consistently the push-ups, the squats, the row and the lunges. I need to start on the deadlift. This is a helpful blog. Report
Have just been given all of these in a new program from my trainer at the gym. The squats and lunges include holding fairly heavy weights as some of my fitness goals include developing strength to do chin ups, pull ups and more press ups.
I love strength training. It has many benefits Report
I love all of these. Do I do them enough, no! I will start using these more in my workout. I will try to explain the dead lift and row. You start out with a weight in each hand you slighly bend your knees with palms facing you while keeping chest up and shoulders up, bring your hands with weights down to about your knees then you take your hands to your side while still bending and holding weights row your arms back bringing your shoulder blades together slowley with control. Hope this helps it is a great exercise I use more weight for these than for biceps or triceps.
darn! the one exercise i need a demo for doesn't have one. i know how to pick things up off the floor, but what is a deadlift and row exactly? any help out there?

i can't do push ups from the floor - maybe someday! for now i will continue to do the wall pushups and be happy for that. different muscles used but that's okay! just keep moving. it all starts with that first little step.

8-} Report
I do the squats and the lunges somewhat. But I have never heard of the deadlift and row. What exactly is it? Would like to try it. My knees are bad, so I am hoping I can do it. The plank, I have yet to try that. Gonna try it though. Report
Yup, must agree, these are all in my go-to quick/travel routine, and are FABULOUS! Report
I mix these up. Haven't heard of the deadlift and row. Report
I can't even do the squats, lunges, and the plank on the Wii Fit. Bad knees prevent me from risking these types of exercises. I wish I could. I certainly see how they would be beneficial. I am proud that I've been exercising regulary since March due to Spark. Report
I have used turbo jam for a while on and off and am a HUGE fan of this lady, shes got great tips and when doing her videos shes just got a great aura about her. Report
I love 'em all except for one - the PLANK. So hard....determined to master it though! Report
Great choices! I love them all. I am a huge fan of squats (or maybe I should say a fan of the results??), pushups, the plank, rows, lunges, they're all great! Report