All you ladies are familiar with those tricky tough-to-lose hard sports that require extra effort to tighten up – love handles anyone? I’ve listed out eight exercises you need to be doing to help you feel your best, be it in a bikini, in those skinny jeans, or that dress you’ve been saving.

1: Sumo Squats

Perhaps the most tiring but most effective exercise – squats. We’ve all seen the countless images, videos, articles, memes, etc. about that squat booty. They aren’t false. It really does wonders to sculpt and grow your glutes and tone your legs. It burns a whole lot of calories and uses your core to the max. However, the sumo squat is a variation on the traditional exercise with great benefit. The sumo squat also tones your inner thighs and will give you lean ballerina-style legs. Stand with your legs wider that shoulder-width, with your toes pointed out slightly. Lower your body till you’re parallel to the floor, and then slowly bring yourself back up to the starting position.

2: Step-ups

This exercise is great to tone your glutes and hamstrings and improve the strength in your legs. These also work on your quadriceps, giving your legs a fuller look. Stand in front of a bench and place one foot on the step. Stand up and then switch feet. Make sure to keep your chest up and your core tight throughout the exercise. Keep your balance, without leaning too far forward or backward.

3: Deadlifts

This exercise is one of the best to tone your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings, while activating your core. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand on one foot with your other foot extended out behind you. Bend forward at the hips, and go down till the dumbbells are at your shin, while making sure your other leg is extended straight behind you, parallel to the ground. Hold the pose for a second or two and then slowly come back up to the starting position. Keep your core tight and your chest up during the entire movement.

4: Bridge

This exercise is perfect for your glutes and also helps keep your back healthy and flexible. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold the position when you are in the up position, and then lower your body back to your starting position.

5: Push-ups

This might be my favourite exercise, as it works the entire body and burns a lot of calories. It also tones your chest, arms, and core to keep you looking bikini sharp! Get on your fours, with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder width and your feet close together. Lower your body to the ground and then push yourself back up to the starting position. Try and keep your body parallel to the ground as much as possible for the best results. If push-ups are too tough, you can perform the exercise while on your knees instead of feet.

6: Tricep Extensions

This exercise really helps tone the triceps and rear deltoids (rear shoulder). To avoid shoulder injury or strain, use a lighter weight and increase the number of repetitions for the exercise. Stand in a lunge position, and lean over your front knee. Lift your arm by your side to create a 90 degree angle, and then extend your arm straight back so that it’s parallel to the ground. The movement will only occur from your elbow, so make sure not to move your shoulder – if you do find your shoulder moving, you need to lower the weight.

7: Plank

I love using this exercise to keep my core tight. Planks work your deep abdominal muscles that you might find more difficult to work out with other exercises. Lie in the push-up position, with your body held up with your elbows and forearms, and hold the pose for a minute at a time. To add a little more difficulty and work those obliques as well, do a side plank. Lie on one side and hold your body up with the same side elbow and forearm. Raise your hips to form a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Hold this pose for 30 seconds at a time, and then repeat on the other side.
Add an arm raise to the flat-posture plank to improve core strength. Lift each arm straight out ahead of you and hold for 10 seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating with the other side.

8: Shoulder Stand:

This exercise is the closest to yoga. Yoga has tremendous health benefits, both mentally and physically. Inversion poses have even been said to reduce the appearance of cellulite, a condition many women deal with. Lie down on your back and lift your legs and hips off the ground, bringing your legs up over your head, till your toes touch the ground behind your head. Alternatively, you can place your hands under your back, and raise your legs straight up in the air, creating a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Try and hold the pose for a minute before returning to the starting position and repeating.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

HIIT needs to be incorporated into your training routine for effective fat loss. HIIT burns more calories in a shorter amount of time compared to endurance training. If you’re in a gym, pick any cardio machine and then repeat this 10 times: go as fast and hard as you can for 30 seconds to a minute and then go at a recovery speed for a minute, before repeating. This will serve to spike your heart rate and burn maximum calories. If you aren’t in a gym, you can still easily do HIIT – just go out and sprint as fast as you for a certain distance. Then walk back the same distance and repeat.

So how do you go about using this workout? No, I don’t intend for you to perform four sets of all exercises and kill yourself. For a complete body workout, on the first day, perform the first four exercises, focusing on your lower body and core. On the next day, perform the next four exercises, focusing on the upper body and core. Do 4 sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise, and move as fast as possible for maximum effect. On the other hand, if you just want to tone up specific areas, pick the exercises that work that zone and perform those in your daily exercise routine, however you’ll have to make sure you keep challenging your body with more repetitions or resistance so you don’t get used to the exercises. Although I would personally suggest the first approach, the total body workout, you can choose the targeted approach as well, however, results might be slower to come by. And don’t forget to do your HIIT at least 3 to 4 times a week for optimal results.

So go ahead and sweat it out ladies. You’re only a few minutes a day away from that bikini body you’ve always craved! I hope you found this helpful, and make sure to let me know any quick and easy fitness tips you think all ladies should be doing.

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