Trim and tone in 10 minutes
Try these easy at-home exercises and strength moves from SparkPeople coach Nicole Nichols to build muscle and blast fat.
Tones inner thighs, quads, hamstrings and calves.
Stand tall with feet wider than shoulders, legs straight, abs engaged and toes turned out at a 45-degree angle. Inhale and bend only your knees (don’t bend forward at the hips) until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
Make sure your knees do not pass the line of your toes and keep your back vertical. As you lower to the floor, think about pointing your tailbone down—not out and back. Exhale and squeeze your inner thighs toward each other as you straighten your knees to complete 1 repetition.
Works chest, shoulders, triceps and core.
Place your hands shoulder-width apart on a sturdy wall in front of you, feet slightly apart, abs engaged, back and legs straight. Lift your heels to balance on your toes and lean forward slightly so most of your weight is on your arms. Inhale as you bend your elbows and lean your body farther toward the wall, maintaining a long, straight line from head to toe.
Exhale as you straighten your arms to complete 1 repetition.
Tones mid and upper back, shoulders.
Hold two cans or bottles of equal weight and stand with your feet staggered, one foot in front of the other, front knee bent slightly. Stand with your back straight, abs engaged and arms extended underneath your shoulders, palms facing each other. Bend forward slightly from the waist. Keeping elbows bent slightly, exhale and slowly pull your arms out to the sides and up to shoulder level as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Inhale and slowly return to the start position to complete 1 repetition.
To protect your back, be sure to engage your abdominal muscles on each move. Pull your navel toward your spine by isolating the lower abs and lifting them up and back as you breathe easily.
Tones abs, hips and lower back.
Begin this exercise on all fours with your hands under your shoulders, arms straight and knees under your hips. Extend one leg straight behind you while keeping the knee of your other leg on the floor for support. Pull your navel in toward your spine as you extend your second leg into the plank position.
Balance your weight on your hands and toes, keeping your body in a long, straight line. Be careful not to let your hips, back or rear end sink toward the floor or your shoulders creep up to your ears. Hold for 15 to 60 seconds to complete 1 repetition, resting on your knees between reps.
Tones triceps, biceps and obliques.
Lie on your left side with your legs straight but staggered (bottom leg near the front of the mat, top leg near the back), your left arm wrapped around your waist and your right hand flat on the floor in front of your left shoulder, elbow bent 90 degrees. Exhale as you straighten your right elbow, pushing your torso away from the floor so your right shoulder moves toward your right hip.
Inhale as you slowly return to the floor and complete 1 repetition. Complete all reps, then switch sides.
Tones lower back, hamstrings and glutes.
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat and hip-width apart, knees bent, abs engaged and back straight. Exhale as you squeeze your glutes and press your hips toward the ceiling while keeping your back straight.
Inhale as you slowly release your hips to the floor and complete 1 repetition.
If you have discomfort, keep your movements controlled and small—and fully engage your abs. You’ll reap the same benefits even if you lift your back just a few inches off the floor.