Abdominals and thighs, as females we are all too familiar with these troublesome areas that take some seriously hard work to sculpt. Take a look over these few exercises that can help you lean out and tone up to get into your favorite summer wear. Get that figure you desire and flaunt it in your favorite swimsuit, tight skinny jeans or that summer dress.
Add these 10 suggested exercises to your pre-summer workout routine to really take it up a notch or just vary your regular workout to start seeing some results! These exercises will work your whole body including your abdominals (stomach), abductors (inner thighs), gluteal (butt) and deltoids (shoulders).
- Dumbbell Single-Leg Deadlift
A great exercise to lift and tone your butt! It also activates your entire core to work on strength and stability for your lower back.
Hold a pair of dumbbells whilst standing on your left leg. Hold your right foot just off the ground behind you, bending at the knee so your shin is parallel to eth floor.
Tilt from your hips, lower your body as far as you can with slow and controlled movement. Hold. Squeeze your butt, push your hips forward and straighten your body up to the starting position. Keep your core engaged and chest up at all times throughout the movement to ensure you do not utilise your lower back.
- Side Hold
A secret weapon to tighten and tone your waist is the side hold or side plank. The deep abdominal muscles – oblique’s and transverse Abdominis – are activated with this exercises, which most abdominal exercises struggle to activate.
This exercise is my secret weapon to help tighten and shrink my waistline. It works the deep abdominal muscles (oblique’s, transverse Abdominis) that many abs exercises don’t reach.
With your knees straight, lie on your left side whilst leaning on your left elbow and forearm to hold your upper body up. Move your hips up to form a straight line with your ankles and shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on your right side.
The push up is a classic exercise, which works muscles of the entire body. By working the whole body you burn a large amount of calories. It activates the pectoralis muscles of the chest to keep the girls in check and looking perky in that bikini!
On hands and knees place your hands underneath your shoulders, and shoulder width apart. Stretch out your legs with feet together to create a straight line across your back from head to toe. Lower your chest towards the ground until it almost touches. Return to the start position by pushing through the palms of your hands. Do not dip your hips and ensure you engage and squeeze your butt and core throughout the whole movement.
- Sumo Squat
The sumo squat is almost mimicking the ballet move of second position plies. It works to sculpt your inner thighs and you’re your butt, specifically the gluteus minimus (side of your butt).
Stand in a position like a sumo wrestler would – with feet much wider than shoulder width and toes turned outwards slightly. Lower your body into a squat; bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold. Squeeze your butt, push through your heels and return to the starting position.
Include some High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) into your weekly workouts to bump up your calorie burning capacity. HIIT is a great way to get a high calorie burn over a short period of time apposed to doing long, slow continuous cardio training.
You have two options go into the gym and choose a piece of cardio equipment – Treadmill, bike, skipping rope, elliptical etc. – OR you can get outdoors and run or bike. Its your choice! Do a good 5 to 10 minute warm up at an easy pace that brings your heart rate up. Then for 10 minutes, work at 85-95 percent of your maximum effort for 20 seconds, then back off to 50-60 percent of your maximum effort for 40 seconds until time is up. Ensure to cool down at an easy pace for 5 minutes at the end to bring your heart rate back to normal. This is a killer workout and will get your heart rate up to burn more calories and increase your fitness faster than if you were working out at a slower pace.
- Overhead triceps extension
The overhead triceps extension is great for toning your shoulders and in particular your triceps (the back of your upper arm). Use a moderate weight for 15 – 20 repetitions to work on toing those arms!
Stabilise your self by squeezing your butt and your core whilst having a slight bend in your knees. Bring the dumbbell up above your head with straight arms. Drop the dumbbell back and down behind your head by bending at the elbows. Slowly raise the dumbbell back to the starting position, squeezing your triceps at the top of the movement. Make sure your elbows stay pointing towards the front and squeeze your ears with your upper arms so they don’t stick out like chicken wings! If you do not focus on this, you wont work your muscles properly! Repeat for 15 – 20 repetitions with a 3 – 4 kg weight.
- Step ups
Step-ups are simple but effective at targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings and butt. By doing so you can develop lean, strong and toned legs.
You can do this exercise pretty much anywhere as long as you have some form of step or bench. Start by standing in front of the bench or step. Place your entire right foot onto the step. Squeeze your core and butt, press the heel and mid area of your right foot into the step or bench and push your body up until your right leg straightens. Pause briefly at the top, then slowly lower your body back down until your left foot touches the ground. Ensure your chest is up at all times, with weight balanced evenly over the center of your body. That’s one repetition. Repeat 15 – 20 times on each leg! Add some dumbbells or a kettle bell to make this exercise harder as you become stronger and fitter.
Bridges are a great exercise to work on your gluteal and lower back. By developing a stronger butt you are better able to support loads placed on your lower back.
Lie on your back on the ground with your face up, with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Squeeze your butt and proceed to lift your hips up so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Keep squeezing your butt and hold at the top position. Slowly lower your body back to the ground into the starting position.
- Plank with rotation
The plank is an excellent exercise to work the entire body and strengthen the core. Adding in the rotation will allow you to work on your obliques as well as your main core muscles – erector spinae and rectus Abdominis.
Begin in a push up position, then bend at the elbows and drop down to rest on your forearms instead of your hands. As with a push up, your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes. Engage your core and squeeze your butt to support your back. Do not drop or raise your hips. Slowly rotate your body outwards to the left, stretching your arm up and out towards the roof. Hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly return to eth start position on your elbows. Repeat on the right side.
- Forearm Stand
This exercise will work on your balance and core activation as well as your upper body. Holding a posture inverted is excellent for reducing the effects of cellulite.
In front of a wall, kneel on your knees. Place your forearms on the ground just out from the wall. Tilt your head down and put your weight on your arms and upper body. Lift your legs up and straighten up into the air. Try to hold as long as you can, squeezing your butt and core to brace. The wall is there for support if you need it. Slowly drop down the way you came up if you loose balance or place your feet on the wall to stabilise. Keep a relaxed neck. Hold for one minute. As you become more balance try holding a little longer.
How to structure your workout with these exercises:
- Full Body SessionMake it a super quick full body session to tone up your whole body. Choose 5 of the above exercises, complete each exercise for 15 repetitions and repeat the circuit two to three times. Try to complete each exercise as quickly as possible without sacrificing technique, this will ensure you maximally burn calories! On alternate days complete the other five exercises above that you did not complete on the previous day. In order to increase your workout intensity as you become fitter and stronger, throw in some cardio based intervals or do another set!!
- Area Specific Session Are you wanting to tighten up one specific area? Spot reducing is impossible however if you try to target the muscles in that area you will be more likely to have beautifully toned muscles in that area to help towards your goal. Pick exercises from the above list that target the areas you would like to work on and work on them daily to really blast those muscles. Continue to challenge yourself and your muscles to ensure you are continuing to get results. You can up the anti by increasing the number of repetitions you complete or adding or upping the weight you use as resistance.