-Exercises to Tone Your Whole Body

Exercises to Tone Your Whole Body

Working out is super important. It boosts your mood and strengthens your body. It is the ultimate form of self-care. If you’re short on time or can’t get to the gym, don’t worry! There are many exercises that you can do, including these ten exercises that tone and tighten your body.

The amount of testosterone the average female has running through her veins is so low getting “bulky” from lifting weights alone is not possible. What will get you bulky is eating excessive amounts of food while lifting heavy weights. Lifting heavy weights will actually give you the appearance of having a lean, dense, “toned” strong body- exactly the appearance that you are going for. The secret sauce is the right diet combined with the following exercises.

Also note, that the exercises below work for women just as well as they work for men. When it comes to getting into shape, the same exercises work for the same group of people despite what’s between their legs. Sure there is a hormonal difference, but a body is a body and squats, lunges and deadlifts do not discriminate between the different sexes.

I’ve always disliked the word “toning”. Why? Well, simply put, it’s a BS marketing word used to attract women wanting to get into shape. “Toning” means, as stated above, the desire to put on lean muscle usually without the bulky look. Now that we know that the “bulky” look actually comes from overeating while lifting weights, that’s not something we really need to be concerned about.

Exercise controls weight. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases.

Push-ups

The push up is a great muscle toning exercise for the arms, chest, triceps and the front of the shoulders.

  • Position your body with your arms straight out, shoulder width apart, abs tight, holding your body in a plank position.
  • Lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back at roughly a 45-degree angle.
  • Push your torso away from the ground until your arms lock, then repeat.

Squats

Squat exercises are great for a total lower body workout. They effectively work most of the major muscle groups of the butt, hips and thighs.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, back straight, shoulders down, toes pointed slightly out.
  • Keeping your back straight, lower your body down and back as if you are sitting down in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as close to parallel as possible.) Make sure your knees do not pass over your toes and keeps your abs tightly activated to ensure a straight spine. Rise back up slowly. Repeat!

Toning your thigh and bottom muscles

Pick a few of these moves, or try them all to sculpt your legs, tone your thighs and bottom muscles.

  • Begin the exercise as shown in the picture, supports yourself on your hands and knees.
  • Then, stretch one leg, trying to keep it straight and not letting it go to the side or bend while raising and stretching the opposite arm at the same time.
  • After that, do the same for the other arm and leg.

Abs exercises

This exercise will maintain strong abs and helps to prevent back pain, boost your agility, and increase your flexibility.

  • Lie on your back and stretch your arms up, then slowly raise one of your legs, bent at the knee, and touch it with your hand, as you can see above. 
  • Return to the initial position and repeat with the other leg and arm. Don’t forget about the main rule here — the left arm goes to the left leg, and the right arm goes to the right one.

Abs and buttocks

Here are quick abs and glute workouts for your best butt and abs ever:

  • First, prop yourself on your hands and feet so that your body forms a triangle above the floor. 
  • Raise one of your legs as high as you can, as seen in the first picture, and then lower it slowly and try to touch the tip of your nose with your knee. 
  • Return to the initial position and do the same with the other leg.

Waist

To have that perfect slim waist, you need the right mix of exercise that targets your right core muscles while increasing your metabolism.

  • Take up the initial position with your legs set widely apart and slightly bent at the knees and with your back propped against the wall. 
  • Then, lace your fingers or take a ball, as shown in the picture, and slowly move your hands from side to side, trying to touch the wall with them and, most importantly, keeping upright.

Plank

Plank helps you to build strength in your core, upper and lower body so its a good full body work out.

  • Start by getting into a press-up position.
  • Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and not on your hands.
  • Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
  • Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.
  • Hold this position for the prescribed time.

Pull-ups

One of the most beneficial (and difficult) upper body movements you can master. No matter who you are, being able to do unassisted pull-ups is one of the best ways to get into shape and build muscle. It can take some time to be able to actually do an unassisted pull-up- and that is ok! Try learning on an assisted machine or using a band to help you hold negatives at the top of the movement. As you become stronger, you can make your way down to less and less assistance until you are eventually pulling up your body by yourself. Pull-ups work various upper body muscles such as your lats, shoulders, arms, back and core.

Deadlifts

Again, working the lower body is going to be the most beneficial if you are looking to lose fat. Deadlifts are a fantastic exercise because not only do they work the hamstrings and glutes, but holding that weight in front of you and staying tight is going to engage your core, arms and back as well.

Lunges

There are tons of lunge variations and almost all are great. Lunges work many lower body muscles depending on what variation you are doing. Increasing the difficulty of a lunge by doing a walking lunge for example, incorporates more balance and stability which forces your abdominals to fire which in turn burns more calories. Even if you are not looking to change the appearance of your legs, it’s important to still work them in order to build muscle and burn fat.

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KB Swings

When done properly, kettlebell swings work may different muscles in the body including the glutes, hamstrings, back, core, shoulder and quads. It’s an explosive movement and combines cardiovascular training with strength which is fantastic for calorie torching and muscle building. The explosively of the movement is a sure way to get the heart rate up and break a sweat.

Bulgarian split squats

Bulgarian split squats are great for adding muscle tone to the quads, hammys and glutes. They help to build single leg strength which decreases asymmetries in the body and help to increase overall stability. Start doing these with just your body weight and try to get the full range of motion. As they become easier, add weight and focus on the contraction in your core and butt as you come up and down in the movement.

Compound exercises

Compound exercises are an awesome way to torch calories and burn fat because they use more than one muscle group to complete the movement. Technically then, you can say any of the above movements are “compound exercises.” Yes. But I personally like to think of a compound exercise as combining two big exercises into one. Some examples of this would be:

Squat thrusts

  • Mountain climber into pushup
  • Pike into pushup
  • Clean to press
  • Snatch
  • Squat to row

Plyometric exercises

There are tons of plyometric exercises to choose from but these are some of my favorites.

  • Box jumps
  • Burpees
  • Battling ropes
  • Medicine ball slams

Plyo’s are great for fat loss and to build muscle because they get the heart rate up and burn a good amount of calories while doing so. They help build strength and endurance without risking losing lean muscle which can happen when you do a lot of steady state cardio.

The four-week plan

Week 1:

Do the following for six days:

  • 2 minutes plank;
  • 1-minute push-ups;
  • 1-minute abs and thighs;
  • 1-minute abs;
  • 1-minute abs and buttocks;
  • 1-minute waist;
  • 2 minutes plank.

Have a ten-second break between the exercises.

Week 2:

Alternate the following sets for 6 days.

Set 1:

  • 3 minutes plank;
  • 3 minutes abs;
  • 3 minutes thighs and buttocks.
  • Have a 15-second break between the exercises.

Set 2:

  • 3 minutes waist;
  • 3 minutes push-ups;
  • 3 minutes abs and buttocks.
  • Have a 15-second break between the exercises.

Week 3: repeat the Week 1 set.

Week 4: repeat the Week 2 sets.

If you do everything correctly, you will achieve amazing results in just a month and, as a bonus, develop a habit of doing this simple ten-minute set of exercises every day. And if you want to improve your body even more, then doubling the effort is all you need to do!

Single-leg dumbbell curl

Targets: Biceps
How to do it:

  • Stand on one leg, holding a dumbbell in each hand and keeping your back straight.
  • Start with the dumbbells just below your waist and your elbows facing behind you.
  • Curl the dumbbells up to your shoulders, then lower them back to the starting position.
  • Switch legs at the halfway mark.

Day 2: Active rest day

Active recovery means any moderate-intensity activity that can get your blood flowing. Research has found that it can reduce muscle soreness. So don’t skip it! Opt for a brisk walk (yes, walking counts as exercise!) or a gentle yoga sesh.

Day 3: Full-body workout

Plank

Targets: Core
How to do it:

  • Get into push-up position on your hands and toes (lower onto your forearms if necessary).
  • Keep your core tight and back straight.
  • Hold the position for 15–30 seconds or as long as you can hold proper form.

Stability ball dumbbell row

Targets: Back
How to do it:

  • Lie with your stomach against a stability ball.
  • Plant your toes into the floor and extend arms in front of you, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Pull the dumbbells straight up to your sides.
  • Extend your arms back out.

Push-up on stability ball

Targets: Chest
How to do it:

  • Kneel next to a stability ball.
  • Slowly roll your shins onto the ball and walk your hands out until you’re in push-up position.
  • Keeping elbows close to your torso, lower your shoulders toward the floor.
  • Straighten your arms to push back up.

Single-leg dumbbell scaption

Targets: Shoulders
How to do it:

  • Stand straight, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Keeping arms at your sides, lift one foot directly beside your balance leg.
  • Raise the dumbbells at a 45-degree angle to your body, keeping arms straight.
  • Keep your torso aligned and engage your core.
  • Stop when arms reach shoulder height.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Walking lunge

Targets: Legs
How to do it:

  • Take a long step forward with one foot, keeping front heel down.
  • Lower your back leg until knee touches the floor.
  • Push through your front leg to stand.
  • Continue to walk forward, alternating feet.

Single-leg biceps cable curl

Targets: Biceps
How to do it:

  • Face a cable weight machine and grab the handles, or wrap a resistance band underneath one foot.
  • Lift one foot in front of you, holding it closely beside your balancing leg.
  • Flex your arms by bringing hands up to shoulders
  • Extend arms back down to return to the starting position.

Stability ball triceps extension

Targets: Triceps
How to do it:

  • Lie on a stability ball with your back straight and feet planted firmly into the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lift the dumbbells above your chest.
  • Bend elbows to bring the dumbbells just behind your head.
  • Straighten arms to return to the starting position.

Day 4: Active rest day

Plank

Stick to lighter activities on this active rest day. Some good examples:

  • swimming a few laps
  • going for a brisk walk
  • biking around town

Day 5: Full-body workout

Floor prone cobra

Targets: Core stabilization posture
How to do it:

  • Lie facedown with arms at your sides and palms outward.
  • Lift head and chest by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Return to the starting position.

Alternating step-up

Targets: Legs
How to do it:

  • Find a sturdy platform (such as a box, bench, or stairs) at an appropriate height.
  • Step up onto the platform and back down, alternating legs, as if you’re marching.

Stability ball dumbbell fly

Targets: Chest
How to do it:

  • Sit on a stability ball.
  • Roll down until your shoulders are resting on the ball.
  • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, extend arms straight up.
  • Lower the dumbbells to either side, keeping a slight bend in your arms.
  • Return to the starting position.

Shoulder shrug with dumbbells or resistance bands

Targets: Shoulders
How to do it:

  • Hold a dumbbell or the end of a resistance band in each hand.
  • Keeping shoulder blades together and arms straight, shrug your shoulders up and down.

Seated lat pulldown

Targets: Back
How to do it:

  • Sit at a lat pulldown machine and grab the bar with an overhand grip, or wrap a resistance band around a sturdy surface above you.
  • Keep arms straight and torso upright.
  • Pull the bar or resistance band down to chest level by bending elbows and squeezing shoulder blades down, pausing at the bottom.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.

Standing one-arm cable extension

Targets: Triceps
How to do it:

  • Stand with one foot in front of the other, wrapping a resistance band around your back foot.
  • Hold the resistance band in your hand on the same side as your back foot, with upper arm raised next to your head and forearm bent behind you.
  • Isolate your triceps and raise your hand to straighten arm.
  • Slowly bring arm down again.

Seated hammer curl on stability ball

Targets: Biceps
How to do it:

  • Sit on a stability ball, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Plant feet firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend elbows and lift the dumbbells up to your chest, keeping wrists facing each other.
  • Return to the starting position.

Day 6: Active rest day

For this active rest day, try going for a short walk or hike. Pro tip: Use a foam roller to ease sore muscles.

Day 7: Rest day

You made it to rest day! Yay! Your muscles need time to recover, so your body deserves a little bit of nada — even if that means chillin’ on the couch all day. No judgment!

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