9 Quick Exercises That Start with A (How To & Muscles Worked)

No matter how motivated or knowledgeable you are, there likely has been or will come a time in which you are bored of your workout routine and in need of something new to do.

When that time comes, there are a lot of things you can try, like:

One cool way to combine all three is to do an alphabet workout!

To kick things off, here’s a list of exercises that start with A.

Some of the best exercises that start with A are:

  • Ab rollout
  • Agility ladder drills
  • Ankle alphabet
  • Ankle flexion
  • Arm circles
  • Arnold press
  • Archer push-up
  • Archer row
  • Atomic push-up

*Note, we tried to avoid using too many exercises that fall under “alternating or ab”

Let’s take a look at each exercises, how to do it, muscles worked, and how you can put together an alphabet workout to mix things up!

How To Use This List of Exercises that Start with the Letter A

Not every workout has to be robotic and strict. Exercise is supposed to be fun and creative.

Whether you want to just focus on one letter per day or take one exercise from each of the twenty-six letters (prepare for a long gym session!) or every other letter, or even spell your name or the month of the year, the pattern is completely up to you.

By creating some sort of “game” or alternate routine, not only will your mind be more engaged, but so too will your body as you would likely not be performing the same pattern or exercise routine.  

1. Ab Rollout

An advanced variation of a basic plank, the ab rollout not only targets the core, but also the upper back and shoulders.

By strengthening your core, you will improve your balance, rotation, flexion, and extension, assisting in the ability to perform most day-to-day activities.

How To

Living up to its name, this exercise focuses primarily on your core muscles while adding an element of instability by using an exercise ball (Swiss Ball).

Start by kneeling on the floor (you can use a mat or towel to kneel on for comfort) with the ball set in front of you.

Place your forearms on the top of the ball with your hands either in a loose fist or having your fingers extended straight out. Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees.

Make sure that your back is flat and your body is in a straight line, core engaged. Depending on your level of strength, balance, and athletic ability, you can either perform this exercise on your knees or be elevated in a forearm plank formation.

Slowly roll the ball out in front of you (imagine your forearms are sawing through a piece of wood). Extend your arms out as far as you can in a controlled manner while keeping your gaze straight ahead. As you reach forward, the top of your chest will likely touch the ball.  

In the same controlled, slow motion reverse the ball back towards you to the starting position. Focus on keeping your core engaged and not allowing your hips to drop.

You can also perform this exercise with an ab wheel.

Muscles Worked

  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Obliques
  • Erector Spinae
  • Deltoids
  • Latissimus dorsi

2. Agility Ladder Drills

While there is no one specific exercise, agility ladders are used to help improve your speed, agility, and quickness, focusing on your athletic ability, balance, and coordination.

You can add in an element of strength building through various exercises such as squats and pushups etc.

How To

As mentioned the exercises you can do with an agility ladder are endless and up to the creative mind, however, some of the basic ones are

Two Foot Hops – Jump forward into each square with both feet, moving quickly throughout the ladder

Single Foot Hops – Jump forward into each square using one foot only

Hop Scotch – Similar to the playground game, hop forward into the first square with one foot only. Then quickly jump and land both feet outside of the same square. Hop into the second square with your left foot and then quickly jump and land outside the second square with both feet. Repeat the pattern through the ladder

Lateral Quick Feet – Rather than moving forward, this drill will focus on your lateral movement. Begin with one foot inside the first square and the other slightly behind you. As you jump laterally into the second square, quickly switch feet so that your feet land opposite of how you started. Repeat through the ladder.

Muscles Worked

As countless exercises can be done with an agility ladder, it is a piece of equipment that allows for a full body workout that targets most of the following muscles

  • Abdominals
  • Biceps
  • Calves
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip Flexors
  • Lower Back
  • Quads
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps

3. Ankle Alphabet

Whether you are looking to rehab from a sprained or strained ankle or you are just looking to increase the range of motion, flexibility, and stability in your feet, performing the ankle alphabet is a simple exercise you can do anywhere and anytime.

How To

Regardless of whether you are sitting or lying down, elevate one leg off the ground so your foot is in the air and begin to draw the letters of the alphabet, going through all twenty-six letters.

If you are sitting down, extend your leg out in front of you and place a towel or pillow under your calf so you can elevate your ankle off the ground.

Alternate feet.

Muscles Worked

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus
  • Tibialis Anterior
  • Tibialis Posterior
  • Peroneal

4. Ankle Flexion

Whether you are playing sports, dancing, driving a car, or reaching for something on the top shelf, chances are you use plantar (ankle) flexion multiple times throughout your day.

How To

This exercise can be performed with and without equipment. For this example, we will be using a resistance band.

Secure the resistance band to a stable post.

Start in a seated position with one leg extended straight out in front of you. Secure the other end of the band around the ball of your foot.

With your toes pointed away from your body (flexion), slowly begin to pull your toes upwards towards your shin (dorsiflex). Slowly return to the starting position and repeat

Focus on using your ankle only, do not allow any other leg movement to happen.

Muscles Worked

Various large and small muscles are targeted during this exercise including

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus
  • Plantaris (Leg)
  • Flexor Hallucis Longus (Found deep inside your lower leg)
  • Flexor Digitorum Longus (Found deep inside your lower leg)
  • Tibialis Posterior
  • Peroneus (aka Fibularis) Longus (Found along the side of your lower leg)
  • Peroneus Brevis

5. Arm Circles

A great dynamic stretching exercise for people who are stuck working at a desk all day or who require heavy lifting or prior to an upper body workout.

Avoiding stretching the arms can cause shoulder, upper back, and arm muscles to stiffen and become sore over time, leading to potential injury.

This simple exercise can be done anytime and anywhere, with or without equipment.

How To

While you can perform this exercise sitting down, ideally you would want to stand upright with your arms out at shoulder height, forming a “T”.

Slowly begin to rotate your arms in a controlled forward circular motion. Gradually make your circles bigger. Continue this movement for either rep or time count (approx. 30 reps or 30 seconds)

Ideally, you will also reverse the direction of the circles, rotating from bigger to smaller.

Muscles Worked

  • Bicep Brachii
  • Tricep Brachii
  • Anterior Deltoid
  • Posterior Deltoid
  • Lateral Deltoid
  • Trapezius

6. Arnold Press

The Arnold Press, named after You Know Who, is a terrific variation on the standard overhead shoulder press.

It blasts all three heads of the shoulder at once by adding a rotation element to the movement.

How To

From a supported position on a seated bench with one dumbbell in each hand:

Start with your palms facing you, dumbbells held at about chest height, elbows tucked — almost like you’re at the top of a bicep curl.

Rotate the dumbbells out, palms facing away from you, elbows slightly flared.

Press up, fully extend the dumbbells.

Lower the weights slowly, rotating palms back toward your body to return to the starting position.

Muscles Worked

  • Anterior Deltoid
  • Posterior Deltoid
  • Lateral Deltoid
  • Triceps
  • Upper chest

7. Archer Push-Up

The archer push-up is a push-up variation that allows you to shift more of the load to one arm or the other.

It’s useful as a progression toward being able to do a one-arm push-up.

How To

Assume regular push-up position.

Extend one-arm out and away from your body at a 90 degree angle.

Perform a push-up, with the arm closest to you doing most of the pressing, while the extended arm provides stability.

Perform multiple reps on one arm, or shift your body and weight back and forth between arms at each rep.

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps
  • Pecs
  • Anterior deltoids

8. Archer Row

A fun and cool-looking row variation using a resistance band, archer rows help build core strength and promote better mobility in the shoulders and chest.

How To

Kneel on a single knee, one end of a resistance band held in each hand.

Raise on arm up and at an angle, almost like you were preparing to fire a bow into the air. Pull back on the band using the other arm, pause, then slowly return to start position.

Keep your body tight and engage your core muscles to prevent rotation.

Muscles Worked

  • Rhomboids
  • Shoulders

9. Atomic Push-Up

A full body exercise, the Atomic Push-up combines cardio, strength, and balance/stability through the use of TRX (or another brand of suspension training equipment).

It is important that you can properly execute a regular pushup as well as several other forms of stability pushups such as single leg or legs elevated and even a TRX Plank before attempting the Atomic Push-Up.

How To

Secure both feet into the cradles and align your feet directly under the anchor point. Lie flat on your stomach and place your hands shoulder-width apart (regular pushup position)

With your core, glutes, and quads engaged for stability, slowly press yourself upward, extending your arms until you are in a high plank position. Make sure you do not allow your lower back and hips to sag.

While keeping your feet pressed together, begin to tuck your knees in towards your chest, which will elevate your hips.

Continue this movement until your hips are directly over your shoulders. Focus on keeping a flat back.

After you have reached the peak of this modified pike position, slowly begin the downward phase, inhaling as you lower your body into the plank position, executing a proper pushup (aim to lightly touch your chest to the floor)

 Muscles Worked

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Triceps
  • Lower Back
  • Abdominals
  • Hip Flexors
  • Glutes
  • Quads

Wrapping Up

As mentioned, there is nothing wrong with making working out and exercising fun and creative.

Whatever your method of doing an alphabet-related exercise routine, it is a great way to get switch things up for a solo workout session or to involve family and friends as you fire up different muscle groups and work up a great sweat.  

Before you go, read:

Hope this helps!