Tone your body with our strength training exercises
When it comes to setting fitness priorities, toning exercises should be high on your list – and for good reason: Strong, shapely muscles give you a slimmer look by improving your posture and tightening your torso. Recent studies show that whole body strength training exercises help stave off stubborn belly fat, control diabetes and reverse muscle aging.
Get started with this 20-minute toning regimen, exclusive to Best Health. It targets muscles in your arms, chest, abs, back, butt and legs. If you do these exercises twice a week or more, taking at least one day off between workouts, you’ll begin to see results in as little as four weeks.
Strength training exercises: Stair step-ups
Works your butt, calves and thighs
12 reps each side
• Stand facing the bottom step of a staircase or a step at the gym.
• Place your right foot on the step, straightening your right leg and raising yourself onto the step. As you do, bend your left knee up, raising your left leg directly in front of you.
• Briefly balance on your right leg (your left foot is in the air) and slowly lower your left foot to the floor, squatting slightly, without moving your right foot.
Best Health tip: Resist leaning forward by aligning your shoulders over your hips.
Strength training exercises: Chest press
Works your chest and back of upper arms
12 reps per set
• Hold dumbbells (3 to 10 pounds) and lie face up on the floor or an exercise bench, with arms at chest level and elbows at 90 degrees. Bend your legs and place your feet on the floor, about hip width apart.
• Raise your arms toward the ceiling, palms facing forward. Bend your elbows and lower dumbbells until your upper arms are parallel to the floor (elbows bent at 90 degrees, but not dropping below your shoulders if you’re on a bench) and return to starting position.
Best Health tip: When straightening your arms, align dumbbells over shoulders and chest, not with your face.