Free Weights Work
Using free weights to target many muscles at the same time burns more calories in each move than resistance machines you sit or lie on. Try these six moves to help tone your whole body.
1. Squat Jumps
Works: thighs, butt, hips
A. Stand with feet hip width apart, toes facing forward. Bend legs until thighs are almost parallel to the floor. At the same time, reach your arms in front of you at chest level. Lean forward slightly, keeping back straight and knees aligned over ankles as you push your butt behind you.
B. Jump out of the squat position so your feet lift off the floor, while pulling your arms behind you with elbows bent close to your sides.
C. Return to starting position; repeat 12 to 15 times.
Make it easier: Do squats without jumps.
2. Walking Lunges With Biceps Curls
Works: Works: legs, butt, front of arms
A. Begin with feet hip width apart, holding a five- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms by your sides and palms facing toward your body. Step right foot forward as you lift left heel off the floor.
B. Lower your back (left) knee toward the floor into
a lunge position. At the same time, bend your arms, bringing the dumbbells toward your shoulders, palms still facing each other.
C. Straighten your arms as you return to the standing position. Immediately step left foot forward as you lift right heel off the floor. Do another biceps curl as you lower your right (back) knee into a lunge. “Walk” forward as you alternate between right and left lunges. Repeat 12 times per leg.
Make it easier: Do the curls and lunges separately.
3. Crossover Reverse Lunges With Overhead Presses
Works: legs, hips, inner thighs, butt, shoulders
A. Stand with feet hip width apart and, with a dumbbell in each hand, bend your arms so elbows are at shoulder height (don’t let wrists bend).
B. Step right foot behind you and slightly to the left. Bend both legs, bringing your back (right) knee toward the floor as if curtsying. At the same time, raise the dumbbells overhead until your arms are straight.
C. Return to the starting position and repeat, still moving just your right leg. Repeat sequence on the right leg 12 to 15 times; switch legs and repeat for another 12 to 15 times on the left.
Make it easier: Bend your legs only slightly to decrease your range of motion when you do the crossover lunges.
4. One-Leg Low-Row With Leg Lift
Works: abs, back of shoulders, mid-back, butt
A. With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip width apart. Step right foot about 18 inches forward and bend forward about 45 degrees so your chest is almost facing the floor. Keep back straight and abs tight. Arms should be hanging straight down from your shoulders.
B. Bend arms, pulling the dumbbells toward your shoulders and squeezing shoulder blades together. Elbows should be pointing behind you. As you bend your arms, lift your back (left) leg off the floor until your foot is almost level with your hips.
C. Slowly lower your back foot to the floor and straighten arms. Repeat 12 to 15 times, then switch
legs for another 12 to 15 times.
Make it easier: If you find it hard to balance, do these without the leg lift.
5. Plank With Side Step
Works: abs, arms, back, hips
A. Lie face down with your forearms on the floor and elbows aligned under shoulders. Your hips should be off the floor; your knees and toes should be touching the floor. Tighten abs and raise knees off the floor, straightening your legs.
B. Slowly move your right foot about 12 inches to your right, keeping toes to the floor. Bring your right foot back to the starting position, and repeat sequence with your left foot.
C. Repeat 12 times each side. Avoid rounding or arching your back as your feet move side to side.
Make it easier: Skip the side steps and/or balance yourself on your knees instead of your toes.
6. Bridge With Triceps Extension
Works: butt, back, back of arms
A. Lie face up with legs bent and feet on the floor, heels about 12 inches from your butt. With a dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms, aligning hands over shoulders with palms facing each other.
B. Slowly lift hips off the floor, squeezing butt muscles; resist curving your back in or out. Feet, shoulder blades and head should be on the floor. As you hold in the bridge position with hips lifted, slowly bend your arms, lowering just your forearms and hands to either side of your head. Keep your elbows pointing toward the ceiling and in line with your shoulders.
C. Repeat triceps extension 12 to 15 times with hips lifted throughout.
Make it easier: Do the arm exercise with your hips on the floor.