Tone up trouble spots by choosing the right exercises for your body.
Exercises for your arms
Sagging arms can be caused by a lack of tightness in the triceps muscles (the muscles at the back of the upper arms). Toning the triceps has the added benefit of pushing up the biceps muscles on the top of your arms, for an all-round tighter look.
- Triceps dips
Using a sturdy chair or low bench (even a coffee table would do), sit on the edge with your hands under your bottom. Your fingers should be pointing forwards and over the edge of whatever you’re sitting on. Your feet should be flat on the ground. Move your bottom away from your hands so you can “dip” your body up and down. Lower your bottom towards the ground, sending your elbows back behind you. Keep your upper arms close to your ribs. Use your arms to push yourself back up to the starting point.
Tone up your legs
There’s a lot of muscle in your legs, so work it hard to get the muscle tone and shape you want. Choose an exercise that will work the quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (back of your legs) and glutes (bottom).
- Bodyweight squats
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width, toes pointing slightly out. Keep your torso upright (don’t bend forward) as you squat down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Pause, then power up to standing. To make this more challenging, hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in both hands at your chest.
Target your inner thighs
Flabby inner thighs can be tackled by targeting the adductor muscles. The best exercise for the adductors is a lunge. Try this curtsey lunge to tighten up and tone the inner thighs.
- Curtsey lunge:
Stand as if you are going to do a squat. Have your hands on your hips, or together at your chest. Now step your left leg behind you and to the right, crossing your thighs. Lunge down, bending both knees, stopping just before the left knee touches the ground. Push up on both legs to return to standing. Steady yourself, then repeat with the right side: step your right leg behind you to the left, lunging down until the right knee is nearly at the floor.
Tighten your tummy
Forget hundreds of sit ups. Target the deep core muscles to tone and tighten your tummy.
- Bodyweight plank
Lie face down on the floor, then lift yourself up so you are supported on your forearms, hands, and toes. Your elbows should be under your shoulders, your forearms straight out in front, and your palms down. Your legs should be straight out behind you and your toes tucked under. Keep your entire body straight from head to tailbone. Don’t sag in the middle or lift your bottom up high. Keep your body in this straight strong line and breathe normally. Keep your tummy in tight (think about a candle flame under your belly button – try to lift your tummy away from the flame). Hold until you feel yourself losing that strong posture.
Lift your bottom
As we get older, our bottoms can start to sag. The good news is that the glute muscles are large, strong, and respond well to strength training. So you can definitely reverse the signs of ageing. Try this step up and lunge combination to tone up your bum.
- High step ups:
Using a high, stable surface (a bench or aerobics step is ideal) and step up on to it. Step the right foot up, then the left foot to join it, before stepping back down (right then left). Think about controlling the step down and landing softly. Alternative right/left and left/right.
- Walking lunges:
Walk forward in a straight line, lunging as you go. Take slightly longer steps than normal, and lower your back knee to the ground with each lunge. Alternate left and right just as you would when walking normally, but replace each walking step with a deep lunge.
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