Little Moves to Make You Look Sleekâ€”Fast!
If you’ve ever wished you could lose 5 pounds exclusively from your stomach or shrink your thighs, I have good and bad news: While you can’t spot-reduce fat, you can, in fact, spot-tone your muscles. The trick is to tone the muscles that are closest to the surface–the ones most likely to give you that sleek look instantly. The side plank, for instance, sculpts the obliques, the muscles that wrap around your middle, making you look leaner from every angle.
Sound good? Try these firmers out for yourself. All you need is a pair of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a resistance band and a step or a stair. Do three sets of the indicated reps of these quickie toners three times per week on nonconsecutive days along with 30 minutes of cardio most days to melt any fat that hides your curves, and you’ll look slim, toned and strong, without spending an extra millisecond at the gym.
Why you’ll love it: This toner works both your fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers, so it sculpts your arms quickly.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, a weight in right hand, left hand on hip. Bend and raise right elbow so weight almost touches right shoulders. Step forward with left leg, extending right arm to chest level as if throwing a ball. Step left leg back to start as you retract right hand toward right shoulder for one rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Weight off your shoulders
Why you’ll love it: Rotating the dumbbells hits the muscle from multiple angles for more effective toning.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides, a weight in each hand, palms facing forward to start. Do a biceps curl, then rotate wrists so palms face forward again and press arms overhead. Bringing weights back to shoulders, rotate wrists so palms face body and lower to start for one rep. Do 10 reps.
Back in action
Why you’ll love it: Aside from sculpting, this one perfects your posture, so you appear leaner.
Start in a raised push-up position, abs tight. Keeping elbows straight, retract shoulder blades, as if squeezing something between them; hold for one second, then round upper back for one rep. Do 20 reps.
Why you’ll love it: It sculpts quads like nothing else!
Stand sideways on steps with left food on step, right leg dangling off, hands on hips. With weight on left heel, bend left knee and lower right leg toward floor, tapping toe, then straightening left leg to return to start. Do 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Why you’ll love it: This variation on the side plank zeroes in on the obliquesâ€”the muscles that wrap around your middle and keep you taut.
Lie on left side, rests on left forearm and left hip, knees and feet stacked, right arm at side. Lift left hip into a side plank. Lower and touch left hip to ground, then lift back up, holding abs in tight, for one rep. Do 20 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Bringing up the rear
Why you’ll love it: It defines your derriere from two different angles to make it doubly effective.
Start on all fours with a flat back; loop band around right food and secure it under hands. Lift right leg to side at hip height, keeping knee bent and foot flexed. Extend leg behind you. Bend leg back to side and return to start for one rep. Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Why you’ll love it: Rocking back onto your heels recruits more muscles for extra-incredible calves.
Start with feed hip-width apart, arms at sides. Holding abs tight to stabilize, roll forward through balls of feet onto tips of toes, then roll back onto heels, lifting toes, for one rep. Do 20 reps.
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