We’ve all seen one too many workout plans that promise to totally change your body with only a few 10-minute gym sessions. Here’s the deal: getting stronger is a complex equation that involves fueling your body with healthy foods, making lifestyle changes (hello, self-care), and putting in the sweat to build muscle and endurance.
A lean, toned body takes movement, sweat, and swearing. And it takes the best exercise for each body part. Here’s a list so you can sculpt a better (and healthier) frame:
1. Squat and Shoulder Press
Works butt, thighs, arms
Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding five-pound weights in each hand, arms bent, palms facing in. Bend your knees and squat; pause, then stand and press your arms straight up over your shoulders. Do 8 to 12 reps.
2. Pull Combo
Works butt, thighs, abs
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms bent at 90 degrees, with your left hand near your hip and your right hand up by your face, like a sprinter. Bend and lift your left knee toward your chest, then lean torso forward, extending your left arm forward and left leg back. Return to standing. Next, step your left foot behind you and lower into a lunge, arms back in sprinter position; pause. Rise up in one explosive motion, swinging your arms so they switch positions, lifting left knee toward chest and rising up onto toes of right foot. Do entire sequence 8 to 12 times; switch legs and repeat.
3. Crossover Lunge
Works calves, hamstrings, butt
Stand with your arms at shoulder height, palms facing down. Step forward with your right foot, crossing it in front of your left. Lower into a curtsy-like lunge (making sure your right knee doesn’t extend past your toes); at the same time, twist your torso to the right. Untwist, pushing off your right foot to return to start. Do 8 to 12 reps; switch legs and repeat.
Works abs, chest, arms
Bending forward, place your hands on the floor in front of your toes. From here, walk your hands forward, until you reach a plank position. Do a push-up, then inch back to start, keeping your core engaged. Do 8 to 12 reps.
5. Standing Lift
Works obliques, back, shoulders
Stand with your left foot in front of your right, holding a single weight with both hands, arms extended so the weight is by your right hip. From here, rotate your arms up and across, without twisting your torso. Pause, then return to start. Do 8 to 12 reps; switch sides and repeat.
6. Side Plank
Works abs, obliques, butt, hips, thighs
Lie on your right side with your legs extended, hips and feet stacked, propping yourself up on your right forearm, elbow under shoulder. Next, place your left hand on your waist. From this position, engage your obliques to slowly lift your hips off the floor as high as you can. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, keeping your belly button pulled in toward your spine. Lower to start, switch sides and repeat.
7. Biceps Curl
Works biceps, shoulders, back
Stand holding a weight in each hand, arms down, with your palms facing in toward your thighs. From here, curl the weights toward your shoulders, rotating your palms up toward your chest as you lift. Pause here and then lower to start. Do 12 to 15 reps.
8. Triceps Kickback
Works triceps, back
Stand with your right foot in front of left, holding a weight in your left hand. Lean forward with a flat back and bend your left elbow 90 degrees. From this position, slowly extend your arm back, lifting weight as high as you can; pause. Lower and repeat. Do 12 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.