So we all know we won’t ever look like these girls since I’m sure you’ve been living on more than just a carrot stick and leaf of lettuce per day, right? If you live in reality, you know that there is a “tone-up” time needed before bikini season to make sure our bodies are beach-ready. If you don’t have a lot of time, here are 5 basic moves that should help target those trouble areas that the two-piece can sometimes showcase. No equipment needed, just that sexy body-to-be of yours!
Yes, the tried-and-true move that you probably love to hate. However, it’s highly effective in toning your chest, arms, and back – plus the balancing act helps with core and glute muscles too – so pump some out! (You can modify to the knees if holding a plank on your toes is too difficult at first.)
Target zones: Arms, chest, and back
How to do it: Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, making sure your shoulders don’t collapse and keeping your back, neck and shoulders aligned. Tighten your core to maintain this position as you begin to lower your chest toward the floor. Go as far down as you can where you’re able to push yourself back to starting position. Allow your elbows to bend but keep them relatively close to your body.
Reps: 2-3 sets of 10 (60-second breaks between sets); 3-5 times per week
While push-ups may help with triceps too, the dip really turns up the heat to keep that jiggle OUT of your arms. You can use a chair, the couch, a table, or just the floor as leverage for this move.
Target zone: Arms (triceps)
How to do it: Sit in a upward-facing position on all fours (crab walk, anyone?) with your hands directly underneath your shoulders either on the floor or edge of any stable furniture. Keeping your core tight, bend your elbows to lower your butt down to the ground and then lift back up as your tighten the backs of your arms. Get as wide a range of movement as possible, but you’ll start feeling the burn pretty quickly with this one!
Reps: 2-3 sets of 10; 3-5 times per week
3. Side Plank with Dip OR Weighted Side Dip
The Side Plank can be challenging for your balance, so I’m offering an either/or for this one. Both moves work the sides of your stomach to help tighten up and lose those love handles you don’t REALLY love.
Target zone: Side body
How to do it (Side Plank with Dip): Position yourself in a side plank, supporting your body with your elbow (or hand if you’re up for the challenge!). Anchor your feet on the floor, then try to dip your hip down to tap the floor and raise back up again.
How to do it (Weighted Side Dip): Using 8-12 lb. hand weights (you can go heavier since you aren’t actually LIFTING them), slowly dip your arm down to knee height as you tighten your side, then slowly return to normal standing position. I always think of someone about to punch me and having to prepare myself for the blow. Repeat this move on both sides.
Reps: 10-20 dips per side; 3-5 times per week
4. Ab Curl/Crunch
This move is as basic as they come, but will help tighten up your core. The good news is that you can do this move during commercial breaks, so maybe you won’t even notice you’re toning!
Target zone: Abs
How to do it: Lay down on the floor with your knees bent, pressing your lower back into the floor and tucking your pelvis under (think of your belly button meeting your spine.) As you lift and extend your arms to hold your outer thighs, bend your elbows wide and press your shoulders down, keeping your chin lifted parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 2 minutes, breathing through the upper chest. If this static move is too challenging, you can always do regular ab crunches at a steady pace for the 2 minutes.
Reps: 2-4 sets of 2 minutes each (30-second breaks between sets); every day
5. Squat Jumps
This is one of my favorites because – at 5’2″ – it makes me feel like I could be a basketball player. Not really, but it is kind of fun! This move is extra effective because of the explosiveness of the jump from a static stretch position.
Target zones: Inner thighs and butt
How to do it: Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes facing outward like a ballerina. Engage your core and move into a squat position, keeping your chest up and making sure your knees don’t go past your toes. From here, jump off the ground and land softly on the ball of your foot.
Reps: 3 sets of 20; 3-5 times per week