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A gallon of milk goes a long way toward kicking your workout up a notch

If you don’t own a medicine ball, you can substitute household items for weights and achieve the same level of resistance in your workouts.

Using a medicine ball as a weight can enhance your core workouts and make them more intense. Plus, you’ll get an upper body workout at the same time!

But if you don’t have a medicine ball or other fitness equipment, you can open your fridge for a gallon of milk, or head to the laundry room for gallon detergent bottle to use as a weight for this workout.

Crunch & Press

A medicine ball, or if you don’t have one, a gallon of milk, adds another layer to a crunch and press workout.
A medicine ball, or if you don’t have one, a gallon of milk, adds another layer to a crunch and press workout.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Lying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the ground. Hold the weight in your hands at your chest. Then, tilt your pelvis by engaging your low abs. Slowly curl up as you breathe out and press the weight toward your knees, then lower back down to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times.

V Sit & Reach

Stephanie Mansour demonstrates how to use a gallon of milk as a weight in this V-sit and reach workout to strengthen and tone core muscles.
Stephanie Mansour demonstrates how to use a gallon of milk as a weight in this V-sit and reach workout to strengthen and tone core muscles.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Sitting upright with your knees bent, slowly roll down into a half roll-down. Pull your navel in toward your spine and hold your weight at your chest. Balance on your lower back as you open the legs straight and out, and push the weight upward. Your body will look like the letter “V.” Repeat this 10 times.

Criss Cross

Using a gallon of milk, Stephanie Mansour demonstrates the effectiveness of the added resistance in a criss cross.
Using a gallon of milk, Stephanie Mansour demonstrates the effectiveness of the added resistance in a criss cross.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Holding onto the weight, lie down on your back. Bend the knees and bring them into table top position. Slowly curl up and reach the weight to the outside of the right knee as you straighten the left leg. Repeat this 10 times to each side.

Seated Ab Twist

Here’s how to use gallon of milk as a weight during a seated ab twist.
Here’s how to use gallon of milk as a weight during a seated ab twist.
Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Sitting upright, slowly roll down into a half roll-down. Pull the naval in towards the spine, and hold the weight at the center of your torso. Squeeze the inner thighs together and twist to the right, keeping both legs pressing into each other and steady. Then twist to the left. Repeat this 10 times to each side.

Integrate this core workout into your regular workout routine every other day to see maximum results!

Stephanie Mansour wants you to ‘“step up” your fitness regimen. Mansour coaches private clients in weight loss, provides fitness/health/lifestyles advice on national TV shows, and offers her free 21 Day Challenge online. Check out her fitness tips every Thursday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times. And visit her website at stepitupwithsteph.com.