As summer approaches, many of us are hitting the gym (or at least thinking about it) to tone their bodies and get rid of those extra kilos that might have built up over the winter. As you know I am a big believer that a healthy and lean body can be achieved through good nutrition (this is actually the prerequisite for it!). Eating right can keep the weight off, but it won’t make you as toned and defined as you might want to be. You need to break a sweat if you want to achieve this. And nowadays you can even do it at home, at your own time and pace! The following are my 10 favourite exercises that I find bring quick results. Just make sure you are doing them regularly and with correct form, and you will see your body transform in no time. You can always increase the load of the weights if you want to work on building muscle mass.
- Works on: lower body – quads, gluts, hamstrings
- How to: feet are shoulder-width apart, make sure the knees are pointed in the direction of your feet. Imagine sitting back into a chair, lengthening the spine and reaching the hips back.
2. Side plank
- Works the obliques; perfect to tighten and shrink the waistline
- How to: Lie on your left side with your knees straight. Prop your upper body up on your left elbow and forearm. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Turn around so that you’re lying on your right side and repeat.
- Work on full body
- How to: Stand straight, then lower into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back into a push-up position and immediately drop your chest to the floor. Bow your chest up as you return your feet back to the squat position as fast as possible. Jump up into the air as high as you can.
4. Mountain climbers
- Works on: the entire body; boosts the metabolism, burns mega-calories and strengthens your core, hips, and thighs.
- How to: Assume a press up position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms.Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating for the desired number of reps or time.
5. One legged dead lift
- Works on: gluts and core
- How to: Hold a kettlebell by the handle in one hand. Stand on one leg, on the same side that you hold the kettlebell. Keeping that knee slightly bent, perform a stiff legged deadlift by bending at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance. Continue lowering the kettlebell until you are parallel to the ground, and then return to the upright position.
6. Boat pose
- Works on: core, lower back and legs
- How to: From a seated position, bring the legs straight up to a 45 degree angle. The torso will naturally fall back, but do not let the spine collapse. Make a “V” shape with the body. Bring the arms out straight in line with the shoulders. Balance on the sit bones.
7. Push ups
- Works on: arms, chest, shoulders and core
- How to: Start in plank with hands shoulder-width apart. Create a straight line from your heels to your head. Engage your core muscles, to work on your chest keep the elbows out, to engage the triceps the elbows should go back.
8. Step ups
- Works on: gluts
- How to: Stand upright with one foot on a bench or step, holding dumbbells by your sides with your arms straight. Push off your top foot and step up onto the bench (or step) with both feet. Step down onto one foot, keeping the other foot on the bench and repeat. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
- Works on: gluts and lower back
- How to: Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms as straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
10. Kettlebell swings
- Works on: the muscles in the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs and grip.
- How to: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out, and knees slightly bent; look straight ahead. Hold a your kettlebell between your legs using a two handed, overhand grip. Keeping the arch in your lower back, bend your hips back until the kettlebell is between and behind your legs; squeeze your glutes to extend your hips and swing the weight up. Let the weight swing back between your legs as you bend your hips and slightly bend your knees; if it hits you in the butt, you’re doing it right. Extend your hips and knees to reverse the momentum as you immediately begin the next rep.
What are some of the exercises you perform that you find bring results? Feel free to complete the list in the comments!