Singaporebrides | Beauty

February 2016

Tone Up in 20 Minutes with these 5 Workouts

When brides-to-be want to lose weight, they tend to rely mostly on cardio to help them reach their goal. And while cardio is essential to torching calories and burning fat, weight training is just as important for changing the way your body looks.

One reason women avoid weight training is because they fear they will become “bulky,” or take on a bodybuilder appearance if they do. This myth is absolutely not true; women do not produce the same level of testosterone as men do, and therefore are physically incapable of “bulking up” in the same way.

The reality is that weight lifting and bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to get into shape. This series of workouts is designed to tone up specific areas of the body, so whether you’re trying to achieve six-pack abs or more defined arms, these workouts will help you get there. Each one can be completed in just 20 minutes, and require no more equipment than a set of dumbbells (and some require no equipment at all).

1. Core Workout

There is so much more to having a strong core than a tight stomach. Of course you’ll look better, but you’ll also have better posture and a stronger back—and working out will be way easier. This Core Workout is not easy, so if you’re just starting out, you might want to repeat the set only once or twice. It will engage all of your abdominal muscles, and leave you both healthier and more toned.

30 Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and lean back to a 45° angle, with your heels hovering over the floor. With your hands straight out in front of you, twist your torso from side to side, keeping your back straight.

1-minute Forearm Plank: Get into plank position, and then shift so that your forearms are flat on the ground. Maintain a flat back and engaged core.

30 Reverse Crunches: Get into crunch position, with your hands laced behind your head. Move into a regular crunch, and as you release back, release your legs down and touch the tips of your toes to the ground.

30 Bicycle Crunches: Get into crunch position, with your hands laced behind your head. Come up and turn to your right side, bringing your left knee in at the same time. Touch your right elbow to your left knee, and switch sides.

1-minute Side Plank: Lie down on your side, and rest up on your forearm. Lift your hips, and come up off the floor into a straight side plank position. Alternate sides between sets.

Repeat x4

toning workout Image by Calibe Thompson, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

2. Upper Body Workout

For sculpted shoulders, a strong back, and toned arms, look no further than this lightning fast Upper Body Workout. You’ll need a set of dumbbell for this circuit; use whichever weight you feel most comfortable with. Your arms might feel like Jell-O the next day, but incorporate this into your routine a few times a week and you’ll start to see results soon.

20 Side Dumbbell Lateral Raises: Stand up straight with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift your arms straight up to shoulder level, then release back down to your sides.

20 Bent Over Rows: Bend over into flat back position, keeping your knees slightly bent. With a dumbbell in each hand, pull up and back toward your shoulders, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do.

20 Straight Arm Lateral Pulldowns: Bend over into flat back position, keeping your knees slightly bent. With a dumbbell in each hand, lift the weights back behind you, keeping your arms straight as you do.

20 Dumbbell Chest Presses: Lie down flat on your back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your elbows forming 90° angles on either side of your chest. Push the weights up over your chest and squeeze in, using your chest muscles to propel the movement.

20 Tricep Dips: Sit up straight on the edge of a chair. Place your hands on the edge of the chair underneath your shoulders. Keeping your knees bent, slide off the chair, and hold yourself in front of it. Bend your elbows and lower your hips down. Extend your elbows, and lift yourself up.

20 Hammer Curls: Stand up straight with your arms hanging at your side, a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your elbows, and lift the weights up, then extend your arms back down.

Repeat x3

3. Lower Body Workout

This Lower Body Workout works to strengthen and tone your legs and butt. Squats are some of the best exercises you can do for your lower body, so this circuit incorporates a few different kinds into it.

0:00-1:00: Basic Squats: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms straight out in front of you. Squat down, keeping your back straight and your knees in front of your toes, until your legs are parallel to the floor.

1:00-2:00: Wall Sit: Stand against a sturdy wall, and then slide down, bending your knees into a seated position (your knees should be at a 90° angle). Hold.

2:00-3:00: Sumo Squats: Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder with apart, facing out. Squat down, keeping your back straight and your knees in front of your toes, until your legs are parallel to the floor.

3:00-4:00: Donkey Kicks: Position yourself on your hands and knees, with a straight, flat back. Lift your right leg up and out, and bring it back down. Repeat on the left side.

4:00-5:00: Side Squats: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms straight out in front of you. Step out to the right, squat down, and come up back to centre. Repeat on the left side.

Repeat x4

tone up workout Image by Calibe Thompson, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

4. Inner Thigh Workout

Although the Lower Body Workout is great for both the legs and butt overall, this Inner Thigh Workout targets an area that tends to be a problem for a lot of women. This workout will not only strengthen your legs, but also slim your inner thighs down as well.

0:00-1:00: Standing Leg Lifts: Stand up straight and balance your weight on your right leg. Extend your left leg out in front of you, pointing your toes downward, and lift it up and down. Alternate legs between sets.

1:00-2:00: Sumo Squats: Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder with apart, facing out. Squat down, keeping your back straight and your knees in front of your toes, until your legs are parallel to the floor.

2:00-3:00: Lying Frog Kicks: Lie down flat on your back. Bring your feet together, and allow your toes to point outward. Raise your legs up to a 45° degree angle, then bend your knees and bring them in as you keep your heels together. Extend back out.

3:00-4:00: Scissor Lifts: Lie down flat on your back. Lift your legs up in front of you, bending your knees slightly. Scissor your legs back and forth.

4:00-5:00: Skaters: Bend over, keeping a flat back position. Leap to the right, bringing your right foot behind your left foot. Repeat on the other side, and continue to do so in a “skating” pattern.

Repeat x4

5. Limited Space Total Body Workout

This Limited Space Total Body Workout is ideal for sneaking in a workout anytime, anywhere. These are all body weight exercises, so they use no equipment and require very little space. It’s so simple; you could fit this in on your lunch break!

25 Reverse Crunches: Get into crunch position, with your hands laced behind your head. Move into a regular crunch, and as you release back, release your legs down and touch the tips of your toes to the ground.

10 Push-Ups: Get into plank position. Lower yourself down until your elbows form a right angle, keeping your back straight. Push back up into plank position.

1-minute Spiderman Plank: Get into plank position. Lift your right leg, bend your knee, and pull it up toward your right shoulder. Repeat on the left side.

25 Donkey Kicks: Position yourself on your hands and knees, with a straight, flat back. Lift your right leg up and out, and bring it back down. Repeat on the left side.

1-minute Forearm Plank: Get into plank position, and then shift so that your forearms are flat on the ground. Maintain a flat back and engaged core.

Repeat x4


Credits: Feature image by Edson Hong, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0