It can be difficult to tone your body if you aren’t targeting the right muscle groups or doing the right exercises. Some people go the gym for months, engaging in the same exercises without noticing any muscle definition or changes in strength. In order to transform the body and elevate your level of fitness, you need to perform exercises that burn calories and strengthen the body simultaneously. The following seven exercises will not be a waste of your time…trust us.
Anyone who has done a plank knows how long one minute can be. This exercise works to tone your glutes, back, arms, and core. Doing a plank for one minute every day is a great way to keep your core strong. If you can’t do a minute, do a plank challenge to work your way up to that time. To do a proper plank, start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Keep your hands on the ground below your shoulders, extend your legs back to have your toes on the ground, and hold this position for one minute, keeping your body in a straight line.
The humble squat works your body harder than you think it does. You’ll feel the burn the next day if you perform enough squats! In order to do a squat, start standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms by your sides and begin by squatting down, keeping your back straight, chest up, and focus forward. You can extend your arms out as you squat, if you like. Make sure that your knees remain behind your toes. Once you are in a deep squat position, drive through your heels and engage your glutes to return to the starting position. Do three sets of 15 reps.
Many people avoid push-ups because they are difficult to execute properly, but they assist in toning the body. Working your shoulders, chest, triceps, and abs, push-ups are necessary for turning flab into fab. Begin in the plank position (detailed above) and lower yourself down, keeping your elbows in and next to your sides, until you are hovering above the ground. Engage your chest and triceps and push back up to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 push-ups.
Isolate all of your leg muscles by performing lunges! The lunge is the ultimate leg-toning exercise, and there are many variations. You can boost intensity by holding weights in each hand and performing the lunges. To start, stand straight up with your feet hip-distance apart. Step forward with your right leg and bend your knees, lowering your left knee toward the ground until it touches. Press back up to the starting position by engaging your quadriceps and glutes, but make sure your knee remains straight and doesn’t go out to the side. Repeat on the other leg and keep alternating until you have done 8-10 per leg. Do three sets of 8-10 per leg.
This exercise focuses on muscle groups that don’t often receive enough attention. By engaging your spinal muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, you tone those areas and help to avoid injury. To perform the exercise, lie face down on the floor and extend your arms out over your head. Engaging your hamstrings and spinal muscles, lift your upper body and lower legs off the ground in a flying, superman-like position. Hold it for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat two more times.
Sorry, no photo or gif here. We had to throw in an aerobic exercise in the mix, but we chose cycling because you are guaranteed to break a sweat. Working to improve lower body strength and overall cardio, cycling is easy on the knees and encourages you to work harder. Make sure that you don’t pedal with your knees out to the sides; rather, they should face forward to engage your inner thighs. If you are new to cycling, enroll in a spin class to get pointers and pedal with people who are focused on burning calories. You’ll be sweating in no time!
No photo or gif necessary for this exercise, either! We imagine that all of you can visualize swimming, which is an effective core-strengthening workout that engages all of your muscle groups. It is both a strengthening and an aerobic exercise that has numerous benefits, including blood pressure reduction and the improvement of aerobic capacity. Plus, swimming is fun!