This post is by OYS writer, and certified fitness instructor, Melissa. See more of her posts here.
When asked which body parts they would call their trouble spots, most people will say one or all of the following: their butt, legs, arms, and/or abs. Cardio workouts are definitely great for burning calories and melting fat, but strength-training moves targeted to these areas of the body will really sculpt those muscles. You’ve heard me say it before, and I will keep saying it. Strength-training is what will completely change your body and allow you to start seeing those toned results you’re looking for. Read my post about the importance of strength-training here.
These moves can be done in the comfort of your own home or at the gym. You will need a set of dumbbells that are comfortable for your level, but still challenge you to push out those last reps. You should warm up for about five minutes before doing these moves. A brief walk, marching in place, really any movement will work. You just don’t want to jump into these moves with cold, tight muscles. Then do 12 reps of each move in order. Complete 3 sets if you can. If not, build up to it. Try to keep your rest time short between moves to keep your heart rate up. When you are done, cool down with some nice long stretches.
Every move includes two pictures of my friend Melanie performing the exercise, so you can see the progression of movement.
Move #1 – Lunge with biceps curl and shoulder press – works legs and arms
Stand with your feet together and hold a weight in each hand down by your sides. Lunge forward with your right foot, while curling both arms up, then holding the lunge, press your arms up over your head. Bring your arms down and come out of the lunge by bringing your feet back together. Repeat with the left foot. That is one rep.
- When you lunge, really bend your knees and try to get as low as you can.
- Make sure you don’t swing your arms as you lift and lower them.
- To make this move more challenging, lunge on a step or stair.
Move #2 – Sumo squat with arm swing – works legs, butt, and arms
Stand with your feet apart and your toes facing forward. Hold one weight in between your hands up over your head. Lower down into a deep squat slowly, as you lower your arms all the way down between your legs. Then push up out of the squat, as you raise your arms back up over your head. That is one rep.
- When you squat, imagine sitting back in a low chair.
- Even though I called this an arm “swing,” stay in control of those arms.
Move #3 – Curtsy lunge with side crunch – works legs, butt, arms, and abs
Start with your left foot behind your right leg, and your left arm holding a weight up over your head. Bend your knees and push down into a curtsy lunge (looks like you’re curtsying). As you come up, bring your left leg up and out to the side lifting your knee in the air, while you bring your arm down to allow your elbow to meet your knee. That is one rep.
- As you bring your elbow to your knee, really think about crunching those obliques.
Move #4 – Push-up with a row – works arms and abs
This is a challenging move. You can do this in full push-up position on your toes, like Melanie, or modify by doing it on your knees. Get into your desired push-up position with one weight in each hand on the floor. Lower down into a push-up, then come up and row your right arm straight back. Do another push-up, then come up and row your left arm straight back. That is one rep.
- Keep your butt down, your back flat, and your abs pulled in.
Move #5 – Sitting bicycle – works abs
This is a challenging core move that will really hit the ab muscles deep down. Sit on the floor. Lean back and slowly lift your legs up with your knees bent. Start bicycling, pushing your right leg straight out as you bring your right elbow to your left knee. Switch to pushing your left leg straight out as you bring your left elbow to your right knee. That is one rep.
- Really lean back on this one. It’s not supposed to feel easy.