Combine seven of the best toning and tightening exercises into one continuous program, and you will soon have a slimmer, firmer, tighter and toned body from head to toe.
1. Side Straddle Hops
Also known as jumping jacks or star jumps. Consider these your warm up exercise, preparing your body to burn calories. Start with feet together and hands at your sides, as you jump up, raise your hands above your head (clap) and jump your feet out. From here, jump as you bring your legs back together and arms back to your sides. Repeat quickly, without pausing.
Every training program should include body-weight squats, the leg exercise that actually works your entire body. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width with your feet pointing slightly outward. Keep your abs tight as you squat down at the hips while pushing your butt out as though sitting in a low chair. Squat as low as you can without allowing your knees to go beyond your toes. There are many variations of squats that can be done in a variety of ways to focus on different parts of your legs and glutes.
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Lunges move the focus to the backs of your legs and buttocks. Start with your feet together, step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at close to a 90-degree angle. Lunges can easily be done by alternating legs or by repeating the same leg and then switching. Later in your training you can perform your lunges holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Now shifting focus to your upper body, chest, shoulders and arms. Start with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes or knees on the floor. Hold your body in a straight line from neck to ankles. Bend your arms, leading with your chest as low to the floor as you can go. Press back up, pause and repeat.
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Planks are a core strengthening exercise, working the abs, and the muscles that support your spine. Start with your forearms and toes on the floor, forming a straight line with your body. Now tighten all of your abdominal and core muscles as you hold your body up. Hold this position for as long as possible. Start with 15 seconds and increase your time each time you do them.
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Start flat on your back and straighten your arms above your head as you tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your arms and your legs off the floor at the same time, keeping them straight, and touch them where they meet above your body. Lower them slowly and repeat. As a beginner, if you need to make the movement easier, keep your legs straight up in the air and move your arms toward your legs until they touch.
Burpees are a full body exercise that works virtually every muscle group. Start with your feet together and your arms down by your sides. Lower yourself into a squat position with your hands flat on the floor directly in front of you. Kick your legs back until you are into a pushup position and lower your chest to the floor. Push back up to the press up position as you jump both feet forward so you are back in the squat position and then jump up and raise both hands over your head. Control your descent and move immediately into your next repetition.