Total Body Toning Exercises

Photo Credit: Glenn Francis CC-BY-SA-3.0 2008

Who doesn’t want a body that looks great, feels great and functions like an athlete? Not everyone can achieve a body builder physique, but everyone can benefit from exercise and whole body toning. Whole body toning can increase your metabolism, which can help you achieve your weight loss goals and decrease body fat. You can also strengthen all of your muscles and achieve a leaner, healthier body. The purpose of whole body toning is to tone and strengthen all the major muscles groups in each exercise routine. Think of whole body toning as a head-to-toe program. Start at the top and work your way down to a firm, toned and strong body. Do at least 10 repetitions of each exercise every other day for maximum benefit. Combine your exercise program with a healthy nutritional diet, and you are on your way to achieving your goal of a toned, firm body. 
Start your total body toning with some biceps curls. Stand up straight with your eyes forward and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Plant your feet firmly on the floor and tighten your abs. Hold a 5 to 8 pound dumbbell in each hand with your palm facing forward. Slowly lift the weight upward by bending your arm at the elbow. Avoid using your shoulder to lift the weight, focusing instead on using your biceps. It is important to keep your upper body straight and do not lean into the lift. Repeat the lift 10 to 15 times with each arm. Alternate sides every other lift or every 5 lifts to increase the abdominal workout and improve balance. Increase the effectiveness of your total body workout by incorporating a step-up exercise. Use a low step block and step up using the leg on the same side as the lift and then step down when you lower the weight. Keep your elbows close to your body to maximize the effectiveness of this workout and to help maintain your balance. Chess presses will strengthen your entire upper body and abdominal muscles. Lie on a weight bench or on the floor. You can also stand upright for this exercise. Place a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand. Hold the dumbbell with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows at the same level as your chest. Press your arms straight up if you lying down or straight out if you are standing up. Slowly return your elbows back to your chest and repeat this exercise at least 10 to 15 times. 
Stability balls are a great tool to strengthen your core, improve your balance and tone your whole body. Grab some 5 to 8 pound dumbbells in each hand and lie back on a large stability ball. Bend your elbows with your palms facing toward your face and keep your elbows close to your body. Raise your upper body to perform a crunch while keeping your mid-back on the stability ball and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times. Increase the number of repetitions as your strength and endurance increases. 
You don’t need expensive exercise equipment to perform some whole body toning exercises. Lie down on a mat or on the floor on your back. Place your hands under your butt with your palms on the floor. Keep your shoulders pressed against the floor and lift both of your legs about 10 to 12 inches off the floor. Point your toes toward the ceiling and then spread your legs slightly, about hip-width. Lift one leg up a few inches and then lower it. Lift your right leg as you lower your left leg and then alternate in a scissors motion. A variation of this exercise is to lift both legs about 12 inches off the floor and cross your ankles, left over right and then right over left. Perform about 20 repetitions for a great lower body and abdominal toning exercise routine. 

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