Congratulations to all those who made it part of their new year’s resolutions to get fitter this year and an even bigger congratulations to all those who are managing to stick to it.
Even if you’ve slipped up on your resolution to get fit, don’t feel too despondent. Every day is a new day to start afresh and, starting today, I’ll be bringing you regular posts revealing the most effective exercise routines to slim down and tone up to ensure that you are well on your way to getting the fabulous body you have desired in no time at all!
So, wether you are an avid keep fit fanatic or a complete novice, wether you have been keeping up with your new year resolution to get fit or fallen of the treadmill wagon, all of the routines and advice on my fitness and health pages will be applicable and beneficial to everyone wanting to see the best results.
For many, the lower part of their body, which includes the stomach, butt and thighs, is where they would love the most work done and thus, today I have include several exercises that concentrate on these areas.
As with all of the routines that you see on my fitness page, you can decide on the combination of routines you choose to do to, either choosing a few to concentrate on or all of them for a full workout. With all routines, aim to do the amount of repetitions and sets stated.
Do not rest between sets, instead moving from one to the other in quick succession in order to burn the maximum calories.
You can choose to do each exercise one after the other, and then repeat them three times (rather than repeating each exercise three times before moving onto the next one) for added variety.
For routines that include weights, you should choose weights that are not so light that you can do the seventh to tenth rep as easily as the first few but never choose weights that are so heavy that you cannot even do three! (That is, unless you want to bulk up!)
Exercise sensibly by warming up before and cooling down afterwards in order to avoid stress and injuries to the body. For the first five minutes you can warm up by way of light cardio exercises to get the heart rate going. Skipping, jogging or running on the spot are all ideal.
To cool down, strecthes are ideal. I will add a few cool down stretches in a seperate post that should be implemented into all workouts.
I would highly recommend that you incorporate some form of cardiovascular exercise into these routines – again, in the form of skipping, running or jogging on the spot – for twenty minutes and aim to workout for a minimum of forty five minutes a day, four times a week to see maximum results quickly.
With all my exercises I advise that you keep your stomach taut, even when breathing out. As you wish your stomach to be in a bikini is how you should firm it! This will assist in training the muscles to tighten and eventually it will become second nature to you. (Imagine pulling your belly button into your spine.) This is a technique that should be applied to your everyday life and within a short space of time, along with these routines below, you will notice a significant difference.
- Lying on your back with your body straight, cross your legs and lie them flat on the ground and place your hands behind your head (to support your neck). With your chin facing towards the ceiling, crunch up as far as you can, exhaling and using your stomach muscles as opposed to your neck. Hold for five seconds. Inhale as you go back down slowly, maintaining a tight stomach throughout. 3 sets of 20 reps. On your twentieth crunch, do not go back down but hold for five seconds before doing a further twenty crunches, breathing normally throughout and tightening the stomach even more.
- With your hands still behind your head, bend both legs slightly and crunch up, raising your right knee up towards you whilst turning your upper body towards your raised knee, aiming for your elbow to meet this right knee. Return to the start position and repeat with your left leg and right elbow. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Lying on your back with your body straight, take your hands, palms facing down and place them under your bottom. With your legs straight and toes pointed out, raise them approximately five inches of the ground. Hold for ten seconds, then raise a further five inches higher (breathing normally throughout and keeping stomach taut) and hold for a further ten seconds. Slowly lower the legs so that they return to being five inches from the floor, hold for ten seconds before raising again. 3 sets of 20 reps. (This on is a killer but exceptional on working the lower stomach muscles.)
- With hands still placed under you, bend both knees and roll towards your chest, breathing out. Roll them slowly back down, with knees still bent and together until the feet return to the floor. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Lie on your side with your arm closest to the ground straight out in front and palm facing down. Place your other hand behind your head. With legs straight and together, crunch up whilst raising both legs together. Aim to raise your legs high enough to meet your arm placed behind your head (think elbow to legs), concentrating on your waist and keeping your stomach tight throughout. Breath out on the crunch up. 3 sets of 20 reps.
Thighs are notoriously the hardest to tone up, even with a calorie controlled diet. This is because this is the last part of the body to get the benefits. With weight loss and exercise, starting from the face, the results work their way down one’s body, hence why a person who is loosing weight can appear gaunt and still have thunder thighs!
Try to avoid carbohydrates (see my post on the paleo diet on my health page) to speed up the weight loss process as well as to minimise the appearance of cellulite and avoid eating in the evening, in order to give the body time to digest any foods long before you go to sleep. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
These routines will help to lengthen and tone up the thighs and should be done in conjunction with a cardiovascular workout, as outlined above.
- Squat down as low as you can, with your back straight, your shoulders back and your head held high. With your hands straight out in front of you and your feet turn outwards (into a ballet stance) jump as high as you can before returning to the start position. Keep the movements controlled and land softly. Do not rest when returning to the start position, instead repeating the jump until completing the routine. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Standing tall (imagine a string at the top of your head being pulled towards the ceiling) and a taut stomach, lift one leg up and lunge forward with that leg to rest as far in front of you as possible. (You can place your hands on your hips for balance) Keeping the leg parallel to the ground and ensuring that your knee does not go over your ankle, keep the back knee from touching the floor. Then push up with the front leg and almost return to the start position but instead of resting this leg, take it and lunge backwards so that the move is forwards lunge then back lunge, in quick concession. Maintain a straight back at all times and if needed, use a chair for support until strong enough. Complete reps before repeating with other leg. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Standing tall, with your hands out in front like a boxer, take one leg and kick high straight out as far up as you can, focusing on a spot for balance. Bring this leg back down, slightly behind the other (for optimum balance) and repeat before changing to other leg. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Lying down on your side with the leg closest to the ground bent and the top leg straight with toes straight out, raise and lower the leg in controlled movements. Ensure that the leg is straight and envisage the muscles working and toning up with every movement. You can add leg weights to this, and all exercises, for added benefit. 3 sets of 20 reps.
- On all fours, bend one bent leg up (with the thigh parallel to the ground) and with toes pointing towards the ceiling in controlled movements, raise this leg up towards the ceiling approximately five to ten inches. Hold, squeezing the back of your thighs and butt before lowering. Tighten your abs and bottom and keep your back straight. Do not use your shoulders or head to assist you in this movement but concentrate on the back of the thighs and glutes for maximum results. 3 sets of 20 reps.