Simple exercises to tone and strengthen your upper body, midsection, and lower body.
Wouldn’t you love to work your entire body with one workout session? There are some great exercises that target your shoulders, arms, and chest; legs and bottom; and your abdominals and back. Interested?
To do these basic exercises you’ll need an exercise ball, weighted dumbbells, a mat, and a resistance band. Modify each exercise to fit your fitness level and ability. Choose weights that challenge you but are light enough to finish the recommended repetitions. Before performing the exercises, warm up your muscles by doing 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise. Then rest at least 30 seconds between sets.
Ready? Here we go!
Area 1: Shoulders, Arms, and Chest
Front Raise Triceps Extension
While sitting up straight and tall, hold dumbbell weights down by your sides. Raise your arms out to the side and then overhead until your arms are straight, with your biceps next to your ears and hands high in the air. Slowly bend your elbows to 90 degrees, while lowering the weights down behind your head. Straighten your arms back above your head, and then lower the weights back down behind your head. Perform 12 repetitions.
Bicep Curl on an Incline
To make the bicep curl exercise more challenging, try performing it on an incline. Lean against an exercise ball or lie on an inclined bench. You may have to use lighter weights than usual since you’ll be working against gravity. To do this exercise using the ball, sit on the ball while resting the dumbbell weights on your thighs. Walk your feet forward until you’re back is supported by the ball and you are slightly facing the ceiling. Straighten your arms down by your sides with palms facing away from your body. Bend your elbows and slowly bring the weights up towards your shoulders. Lower the weights down, but keep your arms slightly bent. Do one to three sets of 10–15 repetitions.
Area 2: Legs and Bottom
To do this variation of the basic squat, you’ll need a resistance band. Hold the handles and put the band under your feet. Wrap the band around your hands until there is tension. Take a wide step to the left and bend your knees. Lower your bottom toward the floor, but make sure your knees don’t go in front of your toes. Keep your upper body straight and upright. Return to the starting position, and then take another wide step to the left. Take 12 steps one way and then 12 in the other direction.
Ball Bottom Lift
Lie on the exercise ball so that your head, neck, and shoulders are the only body parts supported. Bend your knees and lift your toes so your heels are the only body part touching the floor. If possible, hold weights and rest them on your hips. Lower your hips toward the floor, while keeping the ball still. Then squeeze your glute muscles (the muscles in your backside) and raise your hips until your body is straight again. Do one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Area 3: Back and Abdominals
One of the most effective abdominal exercises is the bicycle. Lie on a mat with your lower back pressed on the floor. Bend your elbows and lightly support your head with your fingers. Bend your right knee and pull it toward your chest while raising your head and shoulders off the floor and moving your left elbow to touch your right knee. Lower your right leg and lift your left while touching it with your right elbow. Keep moving and alternating sides. Make sure you breathe through each repetition. Do one to three sets of 12 reps each.
A great exercise to work your lower back is called the back extension. To do this, lie on a mat on your stomach. Place your hands behind your back – or for more intensity, behind your head. Contract your abs and lift your head and chest off the floor, keeping your head and neck aligned. Hold for two to four seconds, lower back down to the floor, and repeat. For an even greater challenge, lift your feet off the ground at the same time, keeping your legs straight. Perform 12 reps.
To the Gym
While these exercises will build strength in the comfort of your own home, you can take your strength gains even further in your local gym. So hit the gym and get ready to get your body in its best shape ever!