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Total-Body Workouts for Women

The Beauty of Strength

Turn your program on its edge with Lori Harder’s killer core and upper body circuit.

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Busy Girl, Healthy Life.

These are the words that appear across the top of Lori Harder’s website, though one could argue that her header is missing one key phrase: Happy Heart. Lori is one of those rare individuals who is continually — and genuinely — upbeat and sunny, and her amiable disposition translates into rampant popularity both online and in person. Lori’s schedule book is nearly filled to capacity each month with speaking engagements, Isagenix networking, and her Mind, Body and Soul programs, giving further legitimacy to her Busy Girl marquee.

She also hosts a women’s retreat several times a year called The Bliss Project. “Women from all around the world come together to reconnect to their soul, find their purpose, and bust through their mental and physical fears,” she says. “The weekend is full of yoga, meditation, speakers and events that light that fire inside of you to create what you want. I used to struggle with fear and anxiety myself, and these are the tools I used to create radical change in my life. Now it’s my mission to teach them to as many people as possible.”

At 35, Lori has also found bliss in her workout regimen. “I’m not hung up on a certain training routine anymore,” she says. “I still love going to the gym three days a week for weight training, but now I get outside as much as possible.” As well as a big fan of SoulCycle, she’s become a functional training devotee and has pared her routines down from two hours to about 45 minutes a session. “Functional training gives me that long, lean athletic look while also making me agile and strong in half the time,” she says.

Lori shares one of her favorite functional workouts exclusively with Oxygen, blending the BOSU with strength moves to create a timesaving circuit that works your core and upper body. “You also get a high-intensity cardio element with the up-and-overs,” she adds.

The Beauty-of-Strength Workout

How to do it: Do this workout as a circuit, moving quickly through the moves with minimal rest in between. Rest 60 to 90 seconds before repeating the circuit and go through it a total of four times.

Exercise Sets Reps
BOSU Push-Up and Press 1 15
BOSU Boat Hold and Curl 1 15
BOSU Crossover Crunch and Punch 1 15 each side
Arc Squat With Body Bar 1 15
BOSU Up And Over 1 30
BOSU Oblique Crunch 1 15 each side

BOSU Push-Up And Press


Setup: Place the BOSU dome side down and get into a push-up position with your hands on the BOSU sides.

Move: Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the BOSU until it nearly touches, keeping your body straight and your abs tight. Then extend your arms, jump your feet underneath you and stand up, lifting the BOSU and pressing it up overhead.

Make It Easier: Eliminate the push-up.

Make It “Harder”: Add a squat to the mix while holding the BOSU overhead.

Tip: Keep your chest lifted, even when the BOSU is overhead, to protect your spine and shoulders.

BOSU Boat Hold And Curl


Setup: Sit in the center of the BOSU and hold a set of weights at your sides, elbows in, arms angled outward about 45 degrees. Lift your legs with your knees slightly bent and sit up tall with a straight back so you’re in a boat pose, balanced on top of the BOSU.

Move: Hold the boat pose as you curl the weights up and down in a biceps curl. You can tap your feet down if needed to help you re-balance.

Make It Easier: Do with your heels lightly touching the floor.

Make It “Harder”: Straighten your legs completely.

Tip: Always keep your spine straight; never round forward or hunch over.

BOSU Crossover Crunch And Punch


Setup: Lie with the center of the BOSU in your midback so your spine arches naturally over the top. Bend your left knee, placing your foot flat on the floor, and extend your right leg straight out. Hold a dumbbell at your shoulder in your left hand with your elbow bent, palm facing forward, and extend your right arm out to the side.

Move: Lift your right leg up while simultaneously punching the weight up and across your body, curling up off the BOSU and reaching for your toes. Lower slowly to the start and repeat. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Make It Easier: Do without weight or draw your knee in toward your chest instead of lifting your straight leg.

Make it “Harder”: Add five pulses to each rep in the highest, lifted position.

Tip: Lower your leg as close to the floor as possible without touching down to engage the most muscles in your core and hip.

Arc Squat With Body Bar


Setup: Hold a body bar overhead with your hands shoulder-width apart and stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly.

Move: Kick your hips back and bend your knees to squat down, keeping your weight in your heels. As you descend, lower the bar with straight arms in an arc in front of you so that when you reach the bottommost point, the bar is just above your shoes.

Make It Easier: Begin with the bar at shoulder height.

Make it “Harder”: Do it standing on one leg.

Tip: Keep your shoulder blades locked in place as you raise and lower the bar to protect your shoulder joints.

BOSU Up And Over


Setup: Hold a body bar or light barbell across your shoulders, elbows down, chest lifted, and begin with your right foot on top of the BOSU. Bend your knees and kick your hips back so you’re in a deep squat.

Move: Push off your right foot and quickly extend your legs, hopping into the air, kicking your right leg out and down to the floor and landing on the top of the BOSU with your left. Lower again into a squat and continue, alternating sides.

Make It Easier: Eliminate the squat and/or the barbell.

Make it “Harder”: Hold the squat for a count of three.

Tip: Make your movements light and agile, and lower into a deep squat on either side of the BOSU to best engage your glutes and skyrocket your heart rate.

BOSU Oblique Crunch


Setup: Lie on your side across the BOSU with its center between your hip and rib cage. Your shoulders and hips should be stacked, and your feet should be scissored and anchored against a wall or underneath a sturdy object. Place your top hand behind your head and cross your bottom hand across your chest.

Move: Lift your torso up and off the BOSU as high as you can by contracting your obliques, shortening the distance between your hips and your ribs. Pause a moment before lowering slowly to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.

Make It Easier: Drop one knee to the ground or slide the BOSU closer to your armpit.

Make it “Harder”: Extend your top arm straight up into the air, or hold a small weight by your ear.

Tip: Imagine a string pulling your elbow straight up toward the ceiling.

Best BOSU Training Tips

  1. The name “BOSU” actually means both sides utilized, and the dome and flat sides of the BOSU are great tools for training.
  2. The BOSU is an unstable surface and is going to test your balance. Be ready to look and feel like a novice. You’ll inevitably wobble, bounce or roll off the BOSU from time to time, but that’s a good thing: It means you’re being challenged!
  3. You’re not always going to find your balance right away. If you’re not positioned correctly, take the time to find that sweet spot so you’re in the correct position to do the move properly and engage the muscles as they should be done.