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If you’ve been doing exercises such as squats, push-ups, planks and crunches and have seen your results plateau, there are ways to intensify these exercises to achieve maximum results. We spoke with Personal Trainer and Group Fitness expert Lisa, who many of you may know from her fabulous Facebook Live workouts, about how to enhance your workouts by adding weights, activating the core and balancing techniques.

We always recommend any variations to your workout, including new exercises or the variations listed below, are performed under the guidance of a personal trainer.


Weights can be incorporated in different ways to enhance a squat for maximum results. Try using a plate held at the collarbone when squatting, to work deeper into the glutes, quads, hamstrings and adductors. You can take this weighted squat further by pressing the weight above your head and transforming it into an overhead squat which will also increase strength in the upper back, shoulders and core.


Progress your basic push-ups by performing them using a medicine ball to encourage greater use of the chest and shoulders whilst also pushing you to engage the core even more to promote greater balance and stability. Having one hand elevated on the ball also forces a greater range of motion which leads to increased muscle growth and strength.


Turn your regular plank into an unstable plank by performing it on a swiss ball. This means that the muscles used in a plank like the abdominals, back and shoulders have to work much harder to maintain their alignment. This extra challenge increases strength in those areas much faster, whilst also promoting better balance and stability.


Hold a dumbbell directly above your mid chest when performing your crunches to make your abdominals work harder to lift, resulting in a tighter, stronger core. Slowing down the move to increase resistance, or lifting your legs into a tabletop position will also further enhance this exercise

One-on-one personal training

If you want a personalised workout, improve your form and technique, are looking to learn new exercises, or need someone to spot and support you in strength training, then personal training is for you. Fernwood personal training is designed to give our members the best, targeted results in shorter timeframe that is sustainable long-term.

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