This is the second part of the series “How to get a toned body for women”. In the first partI have explained the role of diet and exercise in getting a toned body and outlined those elements that will help you maximize your workout. In this post I present the actual workout, 5 exercises you can add to your workout list and tone those muscles.
I never fail to include push ups in my exercise lists. There is a big variety in performing push ups, and they can cover different fitness levels from easy to really hard ones. They also can work a large amount of muscles through your body, including those in your arms, back, abdominals and buttocks.
If a novice you can start doing push ups on fours and maybe lower down half way and back up again instead of all the way to the floor. Do aim to progress on straight legs and reaching the floor. They are more challenging than they seem but they can be performed anywhere even standing up. You can also combine them with burpee exercise.
You do need a pull up bar so it may not be as easy to do outside the gym. However, you can use any horizontal bar which will take your weight, as well as you can perform them outdoor.
A few months ago I was fooling around with my cousin and we used the branch of a tree to do our pull ups however, do be aware of health and safety and don’t put yourself in danger. So think well before using a bar or a tree and make sure is safe to do so.
To the point, pull ups is another of my favourite full body exercises. It will work your arms, back, abdominals. Actually pull ups will work more or less all muscles in your upper body, well close enough and in addition, it will work your hips and buttocks. Try doing one of them and you will feel it through your whole body.
They are hard but even if you do one or half to start from is good and just build on it. You can combine them with squats and/or crunches for added workout.
For example: Do a squat, jump up to hold the bar, perform pull up hold yourself upwards and bring your legs to the chest. Lower your legs back out lower yourself to the floor perform squat. Repeat sequence.
We all may have done some skipping as kids and in our minds it may not come across as a worthwhile hard exercise. It is however a good cardio and plyometric exercise, it tends to work most of your body and it is actually harder than you remember from your childhood. There are a few variations in skipping such as both legs together, one legged crossing arms etc.
Best advice is to try getting used to the skipping technique as it can be tricky to turn the rope and jump over it. The turning should come from the wrists, however, I do like to do a whole arm motion it is more tiring but it gives a slight workout on the arms. Go with what you know or what works better for you.
Squats / Side lunges
Squats and lunges can do miracles for your buttocks. A few weeks back I was training with a group in the dancing studio and one of the personal trainers offered to warm us up in 3 compact exercises.
Well his 3 compact exercises were mainly squats and side lunges. Needles to say it took us days to walk properly. It may not sound good but trust me the results worth it. There is a variety of different squats so you can progress them as you like. An option is to add weights for extra resistance.
I wouldn’t recommend squats and lunges to those who are obese and/or have knee injuries or complaints. In any injury or health case always consult the appropriate medical professional. Do perform squats and lunges in the correct technique to minimise knee injuries and have results.
You can also do your squats as part of a dead lift. Even better mix your dead lift into an all over body exercise. Start with squatting to pick the bar and stand up. Bring the bar to your chest and over your head, hold the bar over your head with straight arms and perform calf raises. Lower the bar in an opposite sequence finishing with a squat to the floor. Repeat sequence.
Side bridge with crunch
Quite a challenging exercise and may be quite hard for a novice. If you find is too difficult don’t persevere as it can place stress on your back. Try to break the exercise into 2 parts; a side bridge on its own and a crunch on its own.
The side bridge will work a number of muscles through all the body depending on how it’s performed, but it is particularly good for the oblique muscles (sides of your trunk), back and hip muscles. You can perform the side bridge with your straight legs or bend for more stability, supporting at the elbow or the hand (extended arm, harder to balance).
I like to add a crunch with my side bridge but like I said make sure it doesn’t add stress through your back. Once you have lifted your side of the floor and have formed the bridge, hold the position and bend the top leg towards your torso.
At the same time slightly bring your upper body towards your leg, basically perform a crunch. Lower your leg back to position and then lower your body to the floor. Make sure you perform this exercise slowly and controlled rather than trying to do loads and fast as you may be doing it in vain.
! As with any exercise consult a medical professional especially if you have any conditions and/or health complaints. I do recommend having a session with an exercise professional who can show you the correct technique of performing exercises and can help you determine your level.