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)
Could it be that everything old is new again? I mean, when it comes to the fitness world, yeah, kinda. If you’re over the age of 20 then you can probably recall when fitness videos (yes, like on VHS) were a thing. Maybe you remember your mom jumping up and down in your living room imitating Richard Simmons (with the big hair to match) or possibly you yourself begged your parents to purchase Darrin’s Dance Grooves so you could “work out” aka learn all of the slutty dance moves to every Britney Spears song (guilty). Welp, it looks like we’ve come full circle because the act of working out under the guidance of an instructor on a screen in the comfort of your own home has resurfaced. That’s right, more and more people are starting to turn to fitness apps and platforms to get their workouts in from home, versus making the trek to their local gym or studio. And thank fucking god, because have you seen how fucking expensive fitness classes have gotten? (If you have and you’re in NYC looking for a cheap alternative that isn’t super crowded, click here.)
But honestly, I just got another email from SoulCycle the other day informing me that the price per class in NYC has gone up to $36 a pop. And like, whatever, no shade to SoulCycle, that’s fine to pay every once in a while, like when you want to look cool and fit and trendy when you have friends visiting from out of town. But seriously, I don’t know many people who can afford to make that their go-to daily workout. I, for one, can think of plenty of other things that I rather spend 36 bucks on than a cycling class packed with basic bitches who really probably only attend the class for the IG stories. But I digress.
Anyway, as an alternative—a cheaper, way more convenient, alternative — we’ve rounded up the five best fitness apps and platforms that feature live (and some scripted) classes that you can use to get your workout in from the comfort of your own home. And I promise you, each app is far more advanced than Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies videos.
So read on if you’re in need of cheap, effective workouts you can do from your living room.
Cost: $27 a month
Obé is a fitness app and platform that streams 6-8 hours of live workouts every morning lead by an instructor in their Brooklyn-based studio. Each workout lasts a quick, yet efficient 28 minutes. The app specifically offers live workouts during the morning hours because, as you probably already know, working out in the morning increases productivity throughout the day. But if sweating before noon isn’t exactly your thing, no worries, the app has a library of quick workouts that last anywhere from 10 to 28 minutes. Obé’s workouts are streamed from the inside of a pastel-colored lightbox by some of New York’s hottest instructors like Megan Roup, as a way to give non-NYC residents the same sort of experience provided by the boutique fitness studios found here in the city. The platform offers three different types of classes: Sweat: a combination of dance and cardio, Define: provides strength and muscle building exercises, and Flow: a mix of stretching, yoga and mat Pilates.
2. Tone It Up
Cost: $12.99 a month
Tone It Up founders Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn have created Studio Tone It Up, a fitness app available in the iOS store where you can receive weekly access to exclusive classes like yoga, barre, kickboxing and various other classes with their all-female cast of fitness trainers. The app also allows you to track your goals and workout with “accountability partners,” aka other app users. If you’re familiar with the Tone It Up community, then you probably already love their workout merch and accessories, bathing suit line, and protein and nutrition plans. The app allows you to fully immerse yourself in the community and work out like the founders as well.
Cost: $39 a month or $288 a year
Cost: $15 a month
If you’ve ever visited (and obsessed over) Barre3’s West Village location, then take the experience home with you with the studio’s app that gives you unlimited access to hundreds of their sculpting workouts. The exercises last anywhere from 10-6o minutes and come along with other perks like custom workout schedules, programs, and challenges. And no worries if you don’t have a ballet bar randomly installed in your apartment because you don’t need any equipment to complete the classes on the app.
5. Buti Yoga
Cost: $40 a month for the “tone” option, $60 a month for the “sculpt” option
Okay, so we couldn’t leave our yogis out. However, if you’re looking for a zen, meditative yoga practice to do at home, then Buti probably shouldn’t be your first option. But if you are looking to quickly tone and sculpt by doing a workout that infuses yoga, tribal dancing, and plyometrics (like jumping exercises), then Buti should be your go-to. While the app doesn’t offer live classes, it does offer a very large archive of their exclusive workouts. If you go with the app’s “tone” subscription, then you have access to 50 hours of Buti workouts for $40 a month. If you go with their “sculpt” option, then you have access to an additional 50 hours of workouts that combine Buti routines with HIIT-based exercises.
Day 3 of our #dare2barechallenge calls for you to #proveyoursweat with @mmmsteph. • • Today is the day we BREAK up with numerical measurement. Your scale is a filthy liar, your calorie tracker and food journals often serve as a way to punish yourself and make you feel like a failure. The most important things to track in the next 14 days are FEELINGS. • • Speaking of feels, how’d you guys feel flowing it out today? And how about breaking up with the scale? Keep hollering at us. Please keep sharing your love letters on your scales. Don’t forget to tag #ScaleRevolution. It’s truly an honor to witness all of you doing the damn thing. ????????• • Still not in the challenge? It’s not too late. Join us. Link in bio. ❤• • #butitribe #butiyoga #sweatwithintention
Images: toneitup, barre3, butiyoga / Instagram
If you spent your winter with too much Netflix and not enough treadmill, you’re probably thinking it’s too late for your spring break bod. Like, maybe you procrastinated going to the gym too much and now you’re freaking out about the Cabo trip next week. Don’t worry, like we’ve learned in last-minute dress shopping, there’s always an overnight express delivery option, and fitness is no different. Sort of. Because we’re such a good friend, we’re going to tell you the secret to making your ass look like you didn’t say yes to the dressing. That secret is squats.
If you want to get an ass like Serena without the four kids (or whatever the lyric is), all you need to do is these simple squat exercises and you’ll literally see results in less than two weeks. Like, you could get a butt before your next period. Just do squats everyday until you get on that plane for spring break and you’ll give Jen Selter a run for her money. Without actually having to run, that is.
1. Classic Squats (25-50 Reps)
Stand with your legs in second position, slightly wider than shoulder width. If you don’t know what second position is, we’re sorry your parents didn’t love you enough as a child. Make sure your toes are pointing forward in line with your knees. Then with your arms out in front of you, sit into your squat until your butt is on the same level as your knees. Keep your back as upright as possible. Pretend like you’re sitting down into a chair or trying to take a shit in the woods or something—whatever helps you picture it. Feel free to put on a song about butts while you do this—we recommend “Anaconda” or “Bubble Butt” or the ever-classic “Dance (A$$).” You should feel it in your glutes, and your inner thighs will get a little sore too. If you start to feel the burn, you’ll know it’s working. Just like laying out in the sun. Which you’ll soon be doing when you show off your new butt at the beach. If you’re in a time crunch you can just do 100 of these classic squats a day and skip the rest or add some weights to step it tf up.
2. Moving Squats (25-50 Reps)
We know you like a challenge so you’ll get bored after doing the classic squat 50 times. Even the most rewarding long-term relationship needs the occasional thing to spice it up. So vary up your squats by moving while you do them. Take a step out to the right (or left, honestly whatever) and then go down into a squat. When you stand back up, step with your left over and back out with your right into the squat. Do this a few times, then go the other way. You’ll feel kind of like a crab walking when you do this, but that’s good because it will make you think of the ocean, which you don’t want to be at with a lame flat butt.
3. Jumping Squats (25 Reps)
At this point you’re probably 6% closer to a Kim K butt, but you’re not done yet. This time, plant yourself in the classic squat position. Instead of sitting and standing back up, you’ll jump when you stand back up from the squat. When you land, bend your knees and go straight back into the squat.
4. In And Out Jumping Squats (25 Reps)
At this point you’re almost done with the workout and probably have listened to “Bubble Butt” at least twice, but don’t worry, we’re almost done. This jumping squat is very much like the one we just did, but instead of jumping straight up and down, you’ll now jump in with your legs together when you stand up, much like those Russian nutcracker dolls that kick out when you pull a string on them. Jump in and jump out into a squat as many times as you want, but we suggest 25.
At the end of the day, your butt is a magical thing, because unlike most of the other stuff on your body, you can actually pretty easily work it out to make it better. #Blessings. You can’t exercise your way to bigger boobs (unfortunately), so focus on the squats and you’ll be spring break ready before the TSA can detain you at the airport for traveling with your friend Molly on Spring Break.