Bikini szn is fast approaching, and you know what that means: Time to try on bathing suits, wonder what the hell happened to the ab crack you totally had last summer, remember that you spent the whole winter eating mozzarella sticks, and then look up where your gym is actually located so you can use that membership you forgot about once August hit. So I did some research and compiled a list of some of the best workouts to tone different parts of your body. Let this list guide you the next time you’re too broke to pay for another SoulCycle class or you’re feeling lost at the gym. Bonus, a lot of these exercises can be done from the comfort of your own home, and we all know not leaving your house always beats actually going outside.
For some people, having abs is way easier than others (thank you, genetics). I personally have abs, they just so happen to be hiding behind a layer of fat. But before you start doing a million crunches, there are a ton of ab exercises that are way better than traditional crunches. For instance, doing Pilates is a killer way to get abs. If you’ve never tried it, it’s super hard but effective, since it incorporates a ton of ab-targeted exercises. The plank is another of the best workouts to tone your abs, but it can get boring. These exercises below are a little more complex than simple crunches or planks, yet still effective in toning your abs.
Double Dumbbell Drag: Start in a plank position with a dumbbell or kettlebell on the outside of your right arm. While engaging your core and ensuring you don’t move your hips, take your left arm under your right and move the dumbbell/kettlebell to the outside of your left arm. Repeat with the right arm. Make sure to keep your wrist beneath your shoulders. Add a push-up if you’re fancy.
Plank Hand Taps: If someone is hogging the dumbbells, this one is perfect for you. Start in a plank position and lift your left hand to tap your right shoulder. Repeat on the other side.
Alternating Toe Reach: Lie on your back with your legs straight on the ground and arms straight above your head. Raise your right hand to meet your left leg in the air above your body. Make sure to engage your abs with each move. Repeat with your left hand and right leg.
A fear of mine is to have the dreaded chicken wing arms, but toning your arms takes a lot of commitment. That means when I don’t want to work out, I Google images of Michelle Obama’s arms and that motivates me real quick. Here are some of the best arm toning exercises I found.
Upright Row: Stand straight with a dumbbell in each hand, in front of your legs. Raise your arms until they reach your chest, keeping the front of your hands straight in front of you. Lower your arms back down. Repeat.
Tricep Kickbacks: Stand with your legs hip-width apart and your upper body slightly leaning forward from your hips. With a dumbbell in each hand, bend your arm from your elbow towards your chest, then back behind you.
Dumbbell Punch: Standing hip-width apart and with a dumbbell in each hand, pretend you are punching your ex in the face, alternating between each hand.
We all like nice butts, and we cannot lie, and sometimes traditional squats won’t cut it. If you’re tired of people telling you to do squats, here are some more interesting exercises.
Plie Squat: If you speak in ballet talk, start in second position with your feet turned out. If you don’t, click here. Go into a plie (aka a squat). Keep your core engaged and each time you recover from the squat, squeeze your butt.
Split Squat Jump: Start with your feet together, and jump up, landing with your legs split in a plie squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push up from the squat and jump your legs back together.
Fire Hydrant: Get on all fours, and lift your left leg up like you are a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Keep your back flat by engaging your core. Do 15 reps and repeat on the right side.
If Beyoncé has taught me one thing, it’s that toned legs make all the difference.
Reverse Lunge: Start with your legs together. Lift your right leg and bend into a lunge. Bring your feet back together. Repeat with your left leg.
Pistol Squat: Balance on your right leg with your left leg lifted just above the ground. With your arms straight in front of you, lower yourself to the ground and then back up. Repeat with your right leg extended in front of you.
Lateral (Band) Walk: Stand with your legs together. If you want extra resistance, place a resistance band around your knees. Open your right leg to be about hip-width apart and then bring your left leg to meet your right. Repeat starting with your left leg.
Rocking a backless top and showcasing a toned af back would be amazing. Other than the fact that I always need to wear a bra (thanks DDD), my back isn’t as toned,
tanned, fit, and ready as I’d like it to be. Basically, I should take my own advice and do these workouts more often.
Reverse Fly: Leaning forward from your hips, place your arms straight below you with a dumbbell in each hand. Open your arms to each side, keeping them straight. Squeeze your shoulder blades and then release your arms back in front of you.
Forward Raise: Keeping your legs hip-width apart, back straight, and a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms straight in front of you. Once they are in line with your shoulders, lower them back to your legs.
Lateral Raise: Repeat the above exercise, but instead of raising your arms in front of you, raise them to either side of you.
Some people believe working out your chest will give your boobs a perky boost. I’ve never stuck to an exercise long enough to see any results, but lmk in the comments if you have.
Medicine Ball Push-Up: Do a traditional push-up, but place a medicine ball under your right hand so your back is on a slant. Repeat with the medicine ball under your left hand.
Chest Fly: Lie on your back with your legs bent in an L shape. With a dumbbell in each hand, hold them straight above your chest toward the ceiling. Open your arms until your elbows hover over the ground, but keep your forearms towards the ceiling. Engage your abs to keep your legs supported.
Dumbbell Pullover: Lie on your back with your legs bent, like you are about to do a crunch. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Raise your arms above your head towards the back of the room, then raise them towards the ceiling until they are directly over your shoulders. Repeat.
Images: Luis Quintero / Unsplash, Giphy (16), Tenor (1) Gfycat (1)
Summer is on the way, and if you’ve spent the past few months avoiding the gym or any kind of strenuous work (I feel this), then you might be not feeling in the right kind of shape to stunt on your ex this pool party season. But it’s not too late to get fit (for summer, or in general). A lot of my clients come in wanting to work on their arms, so I’m here to show you an absolute KILLER arm workout circuit you can do right at home, with NO equipment necessary. Not even weights. Trust me, you won’t need ’em. And, even better? All you need is FIVE minutes. If you’re an overachiever, maybe like 15 minutes if you want to do this set a few times through. Set a timer on your phone, and just get to it. Like, you literally can’t ask for an easier workout, so there are really no excuses.
Disclaimer: I’ve created this workout for use on myself and my clients under my supervision. Do not do these moves if you feel excessive strain or pain anywhere in your body.
Bend And Stretch (1 Minute)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms out by your side, slightly bent at the elbows, with palms facing the ceiling.
Flip your arms so your palms now face the floor. Focus on LENGTHENING through your lats, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
Return to starting position.
Shoulder Press To Lat Pull (1 Minute)
With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your palms facing out in front of you, bent at the elbows. Your elbows should be slightly behind your back.
Straighten your arms up above your head.
Return to starting position.
Straight Arm Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your arms in a T position with palms facing front. Slowly bring your palms together to touch in front of your chest, keeping arms extended.
Return to starting position.
Chest Fly (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms out like a goalpost (football, not soccer) by your head.
Bring the palms and inside of your elbows together, make sure you don’t create a tent shape with your arms. You want to get the inner elbows close, not JUST the palms.
Return to starting position.
Deltoid Raise And Lengthen (1 Minute)
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, create a 90-degree angle with your arm with your palms facing each other (like you’re about to do the robot).
Swing your arms up to shoulder height so the palms now face the floor.
Keeping the elevation, slide your arms out in front of you so they’re straight.
Pull back in, return to starting position.
Try to do all 5 of these without resting, then take a minute to shake it off/stretch—and then repeat! Aim for 3 rounds.
Images: Nicole Nam; Shutterstock
Contrary to everything you’re seeing outside your window, warm weather is on the horizon and so is sleeveless season. You may have been able to pile yourself in layers of cashmere and Canada Goose since October, but sooner or later the layers come off and your arms become exposed to sunlight for the first time in months. These six moves will sculpt your arms in time for summer, and you’ll thank me when you looked toned AF in a few short weeks. You can incorporate this arm workout into your own workout, or you can do each one after the other and repeat another 2-3 times as a circuit.
1. Dumbbell Curl To Press
The curl to press refers to two exercises placed in one movement, which include the bicep curl and the shoulder press. Both are relatively simple, but by working your bicep and shoulders in one movement, you’re toning the front of your arm and the top of it, so it’s basically a two-in-one arm workout. Start by standing up, holding a dumbbell in each hand, and first make sure you can do both exercises with the weight you’re choosing. I’d recommend anywhere from 8-12 pounds, maybe 15 if you’re a boss. With the dumbbells hanging next to your thighs, keep your elbow tucked in and your chest up as you curl the weight up until it reaches shoulder height. Then, press it upwards until your arms are fully extended above your head. The curl and press together is one rep. Do 10 of these, and remember to stand straight without locking your knees.
2. Tricep Dips
I recently did these in Krystal from The Bachelor’s workout, and honestly it reminded me how killer of an arm workout tricep dips can be if you’re doing them right. Tricep dips use your body weight to tone your arms, and all you need is some sort of bench to sit on. You’ll need to position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bench, and slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you (bent or straight, depending on your stability). Then, bend your arms to bring your butt toward the floor and hold for a second at the bottom. Straighten your arms to bring your butt back up, and continue up and down for the entire interval. Remember to keep your neck forward and make sure your butt is only a few inches from the bench.
3. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are also known as a closed-grip push-up or tricep push-ups, and they’re pretty tough. If you need to do these from your knees, go for it. The idea here is to do a push-up, but instead of placing your hands outward, you’ll keep them in a diamond shape on the ground in front of you, directly under your chest. Touch your pointer fingers and thumbs together on the ground and extend your arms straight. Then, while keeping your back straight, allow your elbows to bend, lowering your chest to the ground. Press back up to full arm extension, and that’s one rep. Aim for 8-10 of these.
4. Rear Delt Fly
If you’re wondering WTF a rear delt is, it’s referring to the rear of your deltoid, aka the back of your arm/shoulder area. Most people do these in a bent over position to hit the muscles in their back with the movement, but you can also do them standing up to just work your shoulders. Hold two LIGHT dumbbells (think 3-8 pounds) and bend slightly at your waist. Then, keeping your torso still and your arms slightly bent, lift the weights out toward the sides of your body, keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Hold for a second at the top and then bring the weights back down. Since these are a lighter and slightly faster movement, try doing 12 reps.
Plank-ups are great because they function as both an arm workout and an ab workout in one exercise. Kind of a game-changer. Start in a high plank with your arms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Then, bend one arm to bring your elbow to the floor, and then the other arm, ending up in a forearm plank. Then, push each arm up to the starting position, and continue going up and down from hand to forearm for 45 seconds. Remember to keep your core tight and your hips square while going up and down with your arms. You may need to spread your feet out wider than you would in a typical plank.
6. Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are one of those exercises that you see fitness people do on Instagram, roll your eyes, and keep scrolling. BUT, they’re low-key not that hard to figure out and they’re amazing for giving you a killer arm workout while getting your heart rate up. If your gym has battle ropes, take advantage. Play around with different movements, holding one rope in each hand or holding on with both hands. Make waves with your arms while keeping your elbows tight to your body and keeping your legs slightly bent. Try doing these in 30 second intervals. Your arms will get tired super fast, but try to fight through it. You’ll thank me when your arms look phenom in every top this season.
Images: Bruce Mars /Pexels; Giphy (5); Tumblr (1)
You can probably get away with covering up your stomach and legs for the next few months, but everyone still goes sleeveless in the winter, so your arms obviously need to look
their best decent. Arm flab isn’t exactly flattering, and the two-minute segment mid-spin class doesn’t count as a legit arm workout. We’ve created a workout that you can do without any gym equipment, so you can literally get amazing arms by staying in your apartment all winter. Do each of these moves for 45 seconds and repeat the circuit 3-4 times total. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to force the skinny-arm pose to look good in pictures.
1. Plank Shoulder Taps
We’re starting the workout off with plank shoulder taps, because they activate your core while getting your arms warmed up and toning your upper arms. The idea is to start in a plank position on your hands, and make sure your hips and shoulders stay square to the ground the whole time. Widen your feet if you need to. You want to avoid lifting your hips and swaying your torso from side to side. Then, lift your right hand off the floor and tap your left shoulder. Alternate between both arms for the full 45 seconds, and try to keep your body as still as possible the whole time.
2. Tricep Dips
Your triceps are the muscles that make your arms look super toned, and you don’t need any dumbbells or cable machines to strengthen them. Tricep dips use your body weight to tone your arms, and all you need is some sort of bench to sit on. You’ll need to position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the bench, and slide your butt off the bench with your legs extended in front of you (bent or straight, depending on your stability). Then, bend your arms to bring your butt toward the floor and hold for a second at the bottom. Straighten your arms to bring your butt back up, and continue up and down for the entire interval. Remember to keep your neck forward and make sure your butt is only a few inches from the bench.
3. Plank Ups
Some people call these up-down planks, but there’s really no technical term for it, because it’s basically a made-up move that helps strengthen your core, tone your arms, and improve your balance. It’s basically a combo move of a plank and a shoulder exercise, and it’s harder than it looks. Start in an elbow plank with your forearms on the floor and your core tight. Then, lift your right arm and place your hand on the floor, followed by your left. Once you have both hands on the floor, lower one arm back to its forearm and then the other one. Keep going up and down while staying in your plank the entire time.
4. Inverted Row
You don’t need any real equipment for this move, but you’ll need some sort of bar to hold onto and pull yourself up, so it may be harder to find if you’re at home. If you’re in the gym, any sort of pull-up bar or barbell will work. The idea is to hold onto the bar and lean backwards, using your body weight to row yourself up toward the bar. The lower you lean back, the harder it will be, so adjust based on how experienced you are. You want to isolate your arm and back muscles in this movement, so the rest of your body should be completely still. If you’re not in a gym and can’t do this move, you can substitute with a forearm plank or side planks. A little extra ab work won’t kill you.
5. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are basically regular push-ups with your hand in a diamond shape, which helps work your tricep muscles instead of your chest muscles. They’re a little harder than you’d think, so feel free to drop to your knees to make it easier. Starting on the ground, make a triangle with your hands and place them in front of you. Then, lower yourself down to the ground, getting as low as you can go by using only your upper body and your triceps. Then, push back up and start again. The idea here is to get full range of motion, so go slowly and work on getting your chest as close to the ground as you can.
6. Mountain Climbers
We love mountain climbers, because they basically kill three birds with one stone. It’s a cardio move, and it also involves your arms and abs, so you get to burn calories while toning your upper body. It’s a win-win (win). Start in a plank position with your hands on the ground and make sure your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Then, “climb” your knees into your chest one leg at a time, and get faster as the 45 seconds goes on. Make sure to keep your core tight and don’t let your hands be two feet in front of you. Cheat yourself and end up with flabby arms. Your choice.
It feels like ever since Khloé Kardashian began Snapchatting her workouts and girls everywhere started doing squat challenges in their living rooms, butt and leg workouts have been trendy AF. And while we’re totally on board with lower body workouts, betches tend to neglect upper body exercises, and that needs to be fixed. These six moves will work your arms and abs with no equipment necessary, so you can avoid creeps at the gym watching you pick out dumbbells. Go through the circuit 3-4 times in a row for a v effective at-home workout. Oh, and good luck lifting your arms to blow dry your hair tomorrow.
1. Plank Ups
It’s important to start out any ab workout with some plank variation to get your core muscles fired up, and we love plank ups because they get your arms involved too. Start in a high plank with your arms on the floor directly under your shoulders. Then, bend one arm to bring your elbow to the floor, and then the other arm, ending up in a forearm plank. Then, push each arm up to the starting position, and continue going up and down from hand to forearm for 45 seconds.
2. Diamond Push-Ups
Diamond push-ups are basically regular push-ups, but instead of placing your hands wide under your chest, you place your hands together, forming a triangle (or a sort of diamond…get it?) with your thumbs and fingers. Bend your elbows and bring your chest all the way to the ground, feeling the burn in your tricep muscles. If you can’t get full range of motion while in a high plank, drop to your knees. Aim for 10-15 reps without stopping.
3. Standing Jab Cross
If you’ve ever gone through the 2-minute arm portion of a spin class wondering why your arms burn so much from throwing a few punches, try doing these jab crosses for one minute straight. Stand up and punch with each hand in a diagonal direction, keeping your core engaged and preventing your waist from moving from side to side. The idea is to burn out your arms while twisting your torso to work your obliques, so keep your core as tight as possible.
4. Plank Shoulder Taps
This is another move that is based in a plank position, but by tapping each shoulder, you’re challenging your stability and getting your arm muscles involved in the movement. Start in a high plank and keep your feet about hip-distance apart. During regular planks, it’s better to keep your feet closer together, but for this move, you want your hips to stay as square and still as possible, so the extra distance will help. Tap your left hand to your right shoulder, and then do the same on the other side, alternating for 45 seconds. Also, it helps to squeeze your butt and keep your head as straight as possible the whole time.
5. Tricep Dips
You don’t need a piece of equipment for this one, but having a bench or chair nearby will help. You could also just stack up a bunch of books or shoeboxes. Whatever works. Sit on the ground with your legs in front of you in front of your bench and place your hands on the bench behind you with your fingers facing forward. Dip up and down with your arms, lifting your butt off the ground but keeping your heels planted. Do 15 reps, keeping your elbows tight to your body and directly behind you the entire time.
6. Bicycle Crunches
Crunches are like, the OG ab move, so we’re taking it up a notch by ending the circuit with bicycle crunches, which basically keep your legs and arms moving while targeting the sides of your abs. Lie on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground and your hands behind your head. Lift your feet off the ground and bring one knee in towards your chest, lifting your shoulder blades off the ground to touch your elbow to the opposite knee. Straighten out the leg and bring the other knee into your chest, doing the same with the other elbow. Try doing 30 seconds of slower crunches, then do 30 seconds as fast as you can.
The number one body part that 100% is not as skinny as it was in college/highschool? Your arms. Don’t deny it; you used to show off your skinny arms in pics by striking a hand-on-hip pose or popping your collarbone while stretttcchiiing your arm out. But with each passing year, the skinny arm gets less skinny. It’s a tragedy, really. Nowadays, you check every photo to make sure your one sausage arm (how is it possible to have one fat arm?) is hidden behind your enormous bag, linked with your bestie so no one can tell whose arm is whose, or obscured by a giant cocktail. In fact, 90% of your untagged photos these days are because of the appearance of #giantarm, despite the fact that your outfit is fly and you’re standing in natural light.
Here are five quick and easy exercises you can do to get that skinny arm back so you’ll never have to sacrifice a photo with good lighting again:
1. Shoulder Press
This one is easy, so no excuses. Women’s Health mag describes this slimming exercise: “Holding a pair of dumbbells just above your shoulders, palms facing each other, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Press the weights until your arms are straight overhead. Hold for one second, then take three seconds to lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders. Do six to eight reps.”
2. Pilates Boxing
This one is great if you have a lot of pent-up aggression, which, of course you do. According to Health.com: “Standing with feet a hips-width apart, bend your knees and hinge forward from your waist, maintaining a neutral spine. Raise fists to your shoulders and, keeping elbows up, box your right hand forward, clenching your abs. Bring hands to center and switch. Box on each side 20 times.” We fail to see how this is any different from regular boxing, but okay sure.
3. Arm Circles
You think they’re easy, but these are kind of a bitch and you’ll def get tired of them—but such is life and exercise in general. Fitness magazine says: “Grab a pair of three-pound dumbbells, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended straight out to your sides at shoulder length. Keeping your shoulders down, do 20 small backward circles, then switch directions.”
4. Plate Planks
Everyone knows that these are LITERALLY the worst, but Shape magazine would have us believe that there is a benefit to being in this much pain. Get into plank position, but keep one hand on a paper plate (oh ya surprise you’re gonna need one of those—don’t pretend like you have actual dishware in your apartment). Keep your arms straight and both feet planted shoulder-width apart, then circle the plate ten times clockwise and ten times counter clockwise. Feel the burn, switch arms, question your life and your choices, etc.
We know we literally always say to NOT put us down for cardio, but, honestly, it’ll help in the long run. Get on the treadmill, hit that 10% incline, and feel your fat burn away.