Provided you are willing to put in some effort, you can really make a difference to your weight and drop a dress size. Okay, so you can’t – and shouldn’t – undergo a major transformation, but you can shed a little excess weight, firm up slack muscles, overhaul your posture and get your body firing on all cylinders.
On the hierarchy of fat loss, resistance training sits at the very top. By that, I mean you should prioritise your strength training as the most important part of your weekly exercise plan. At this point, a lot of people- particularly women- are concerned that lifting weights will cause them to bulk up. The good news is that this is certainly not the case.
Crunched for time but still want to tighten and tone? Try this full-body strength workout. Instead of countless sets and reps, you’ll do each exercise just once (or once per side), stretching the movements out over a full 90 seconds. Follow this routine 3–4 times a week (with 1 day of rest in between) and you’ll shrink a size in a month.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms raised to shoulder height for balance.
- Bend knees and slowly descend, keeping hips over heels and back straight.
- One-third of the way down, pause and hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower 2 inches more, raising heels, as needed; hold for 10 seconds.
- Continue to lower your body in this pattern 3 more times, ending in a deep squat.
- To complete the move, slowly straighten the legs in 4 (10-second) increments.
Single leg squat reverse fly with ball:
- Start with a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand and right leg lifted so the top of right foot rests on an exercise ball behind you.
- Bend left knee to 45 degrees, rolling ball backward and hinging forward until the back is parallel to floor and arms are hanging down.
- With elbows slightly bent, raise each arm a few inches and hold for 10 seconds.
- Raise arms 2 inches more, and hold for 10 seconds; repeat pattern 3 more times, ending with arms at shoulder height.
- Slowly lower arms in 4 (10-second) increments.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
Lying rotary torso:
- Lie on your back with legs lifted straight up, arms reaching out to either side and palms down.
- Lower legs a few inches to the left, and hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower 2 inches more, and hold 10 seconds; repeat 3 more times, ending with legs hovering just above the floor.
- (Your right hip will lift as you move, so draw your abs in to protect your lower back, and keep your right shoulder down.)
- Raise legs back to center in 4 (10-second) increments.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Ball bridge fly:
- Lie on back with feet on top of exercise ball and legs straight. (Don’t lock your knees.)
- Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms raised over the chest.
- Press heels into the ball, and lift hips so the body forms a straight line. (Don’t let your hips sag.)
- Bend elbows slightly, open arms a few inches to the side; hold 10 seconds.
- Open 2 inches more, and hold 10 seconds; repeat 3 more times.
- Close arms in 4 (10-second) increments.