Spin class full? On the road? Stick with these oldie-but-goodie strength moves and cardio workouts to maintain muscle and stay lean.
Running is a simple way to tone the lower body, but if you want to turn your run into a strengthening session for other muscles not traditionally targeted, try these variations to sculpt muscles. Doing so will help prevent overuse injuries and beat boredom.
- Abs: Slow down your pace slightly and run with high knees up to the chest while keeping the abs engaged.
- Abs and quads: Run with straight legs, scissor kicking your feet straight in front of you.
- Abs and calves: Do a running skip, kicking one knee high into the chest with each hop.
- Calves: Land softly only on the balls of the feet, as if tiptoe running.
- Calves and hamstrings: As you run, kick your heels into your glutes.
- Hamstrings: Run backwards; alternate looking over your right and left shoulder to avoid bumping into anything.
- Inner and outer thighs: Run sideways crossing your back foot over your front with each step; alternate leading with the right and left legs.
- Outer thighs and glutes (aka saddlebags): Run with legs slightly wider than hips-width distance apart.
Tank-top and bikini season is on its way, and sexy, toned arms are always in season. Each of these triceps-toning exercises will help combat the notorious arm jiggle.
- Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or other stable surface.
- Move your butt in front of the bench with your legs bent and feet placed about hip-width apart on the floor.
- Straighten out your arms, and keep a little bend in your elbows in order to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.
- Now slowly bend at your elbows and lower your upper body down toward the floor until your arms are at about a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your back close to the bench.
- Once you reach the bottom of the movement, slowly press off with your hands and push yourself straight back up to the starting position.
- Repeat for one minute.
Side Arm Push-Ups
Another alternative for your standard push-up routine is the side arm push-up. It tones your triceps, deltoids, and the outside of your chest.
- Lie on your right side with your knees and hip bent to 45 degrees. Wrap your left arm around your waist, and place your left hand in front of your right shoulder with your fingertips parallel to your body. Keep your waist lifted with energy shooting out of the top of your head.
- On an exhale, press your left hand into the ground and push yourself up, straightening the left elbow. Inhale, and slowly lower yourself back to starting position.
- Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Keep reading for two more exercises that tone your triceps.
You probably can't wait to get out of all those Winter clothes and into shorts, skirts, and dresses. But are your legs ready? Incorporate these three moves into your strength-training routine to sculpt sexy, gorgeous calves you can't wait to show off.
Wide Squat With Calf Raise
- Stand with your feet about three to four feet apart, toes turned out. Bring your hands together in front of your chest and squat down so your thighs are parallel with the floor, knees over the ankles.
- Raise your left heel off the floor and begin to pulse the hips up and down, isolating the left calf.
- Continue pulsing for 30 seconds and then switch sides for another 30 seconds.
- Repeat two more times on each side.
- Begin in a squat position with the feet slightly wider than hips-width distance apart.
- Push off the balls of the feet and take an explosive jump into the air, straightening the arms and legs.
- Land softly, returning to the squat position.
- Continue for one minute.
- Begin in plank position with the shoulders over the wrists.
- Bring your right foot forward, bending the knee into the chest.
- Quickly switch legs, bringing the left knee forward while moving the right leg back.
- Continue switching from left to right for one minute, popping off the balls of your feet as if you're running in place in a plank position.
You know you want to bounce quarters off your butt, but you've never done a squat in your life. Here's a basic strength-training guide to help get you started.
How to prevent injury: To avoid pulls or strains, meet with a personal trainer or gym staff member to learn proper form. Be sure to warm up before strength training — it's good practice to get in your cardio session first and then move on to strengthening. Always listen to your body, don't let your competitive nature push you too hard, and stop as soon as you feel any pain or your muscles are too tired to do the moves correctly.
How much: Whether you're using dumbbells, a machine, kettlebells, medicine balls, or a resistance band, you don't have to choose the lowest weight when starting. Choose a weight that is hard enough to make you feel like you're working, but not heavy enough to disrupt proper form. You'll know it's the correct amount when your muscles fatigue after about 12 reps. For moves that require no equipment, do as many reps as you can correctly. Be sure to change up the weights depending on the exercise you're doing and the ability of the muscles being worked. You might be able to use eight-pound dumbbells for bicep curls but have to reach for five-pounders for triceps kickbacks.
How often: When you're first starting out, as with any type of exercise, you don't want to overdo it. Begin with sessions two to three days a week, taking rest days after each workout in order to allow your muscles to heal and strengthen. Save time by doing multitasking moves that work more than one part of the body at a time. For example, when doing squats or lunges, hold dumbbells or a resistance band and do overhead presses. Gradually add more sessions per week, but when strength training consecutive days, switch up your routine, focusing on arms and core one day and legs and butt the following day to avoid straining a muscle.
Learn the moves and workouts you should be doing after the break!
With bikini season just a few months away, get a jump on your fitness regimen now, instead of scrambling one week before your beach vacation to realize it's too late. Do a few of these circuit bootcamp workouts every week, alongside a solid cardio routine and healthy diet, and you'll be beach-ready as soon as the sun comes bearing down this Summer.
- This boot camp video workout from Jeanette Jenkins may only be 10 minutes long, but not a second gets wasted. Jeanette takes viewers through five intense exercises with extra emphasis on the backside. A good-looking booty goes a long way when it comes to bikini season!
- We can't think of a better pair to inspire you to get fit for bikini season than beach babes Karena and Katrina from Tone It Up. Their booty-camp video workout focuses on basic moves like squats and lunges, but bumps it up with the addition of weights. Get ready to work your entire body!
- LA-based trainer Jason Walsh has worked with major stars like Jessica Biel to keep them svelte and strong. Jason created this three-part circuit workout, which works multiple muscle groups and focuses on high-intensity intervals to really burn calories.
- All you need are a pair of dumbbells and a resistance band for this at-home full-body circuit-training workout. Walk away with stronger legs and arms and a solid core — bikini season can't come soon enough!
- Given how good Heidi Klum looks in a bikini, you don't have to twist our arm to do this workout from her trainer. The David Kirsch boot camp circuit workout will tone your entire body while also keeping things fun with challenging plyometric moves.
Read on for five more boot camp workouts to get you bikini-ready.
A little bit sexy and a little bit demure, a backless wedding dress can hit the perfect note on your big day. To wow with your posterior as you walk down the aisle, here are a few exercises that tone your back (and backside!).
Superman Booty Lift
Multitask with this exercise ball move, which tones your back and butt to help you look your best if you've chosen a formfitting, backless wedding gown.
- Lie on your belly, and hold an exercise ball between your feet.
- Engage your abs, and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10, and then slowly release your body back to the floor.
- Repeat for a total of 10 lifts.
Bent Over Lateral Raise
Work your shoulders, upper back, and deltoids with the bent-over lateral raise:
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and stand with your feet hips-width distance apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees. Fold your torso forward so your back is almost parallel with the floor and your hands are under your shoulders. Draw your abs in to protect your lower back.
- As you exhale, lift your arms out to the side so they are in line with your shoulders. Keep a slight bend in your elbows. To get the upper back working, think of sliding your shoulder blades together. As you inhale, slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. This counts as one rep.
- Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Do your push-ups need a push? Here are three advanced variations that effectively tone your upper body and core.
Creepy Crawly Push-Up
- Come into plank position. As you bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your torso toward the floor, bend your left knee and touch it to your left elbow.
- As you straighten your arms, come back to plank position with your left foot next to your right. Now lower your torso and touch your right knee to your right elbow. Then return back to plank position.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 10 reps.
Push-Up With Tuck Crunch
- Place your belly on a ball and walk your hands out so the ball is under your shins. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your chest to the floor, doing a push-up.
- Straighten your arms and draw your knees forward into your chest. This will send your pelvis upward and bring the ball closer to your face.
- Extend your legs straight back.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 15 reps.
BOSU Ball Push-Ups
- Come into plank position with your hands balanced on a BOSU ball.
- Bend your elbows out to the sides, lowering your torso into a push-up, and then straighten the arms.
- This counts as one repetition. Complete three rounds of 15 reps.
We love the versatility of the BOSU, which stands for "both sides up." Whether you work with the unstable ball side facing down or up, you can use this fitness tool to work every part of your body. Plus, the BOSU makes almost every exercise more challenging. Watch this video to learn five BOSU exercises that create a full-body workout.