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20-minute toning workout

Do this strength-training regimen twice a week or more to see results in as little as four weeks

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Get Started

What to lift Three-to-10 pound dumbbells. (Opt for a heavier weight if you can easily do 12 repetitions per set, or a lighter weight if you can’t complete eight reps with good technique.)

Warm up first To prevent injury and enhance your workout, start by walking, cycling or climbing stairs for five to seven minutes.

Repeat moves Eight to 12 times (followed by eight to 12 on the other side, if you’re working one side at a time). Repeat for a total of two sets per exercise. Work up to heavier weights and three sets per move as you get stronger. Take at least one day off between workouts.

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Side Plank

Works: the ab muscles that wrap around your waist

A. Lie on your right side with right hip and forearm on floor, right elbow in line with right shoulder. Rest left hand on the side of your top thigh.

B. Scissor your left (top) leg over right (bottom) leg, so that your left foot is about an inch in front of your right foot on the floor.

C. Lift your right hip, balancing on your forearm and the sides of your feet to hold your body in a diagonal line.

D. Hold for 15 seconds (beginners), working your way up to 45 seconds. Repeat.

Technique tip: Keep your shoulders in line so your chest faces forward, not toward the floor.

Easier option: With legs together, bend your knees so your feet are behind you on the floor. Balance on your forearm and the side of your bottom knee.

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Chest Press

Works: chest, back of upper arms

A. Hold dumbbells and lie face up on the floor or an exercise bench. Arms are at chest level, elbows at a 90-degree angle.

B. Bend legs and place feet on floor about hip width apart. Raise arms toward ceiling, palms facing forward.

C. Bend elbows and lower dumbbells until upper arms are parallel to the floor (elbows bent 90 degrees, but not dropping below shoulders if you’re on a bench).

D. Return to starting position.

Technique tip: When straightening arms, align dumbbells over shoulders and chest, not your face.

Easier option: Use lighter weights.

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Overhead Press

Works: shoulders

A. Stand with feet hip width apart, holding dumbbells at shoulder height with elbows pointing toward floor.

B. Lift dumbbells overhead until hands are straight, keeping arms aligned over shoulders.

C. Lower arms, bringing weights back to starting position.

Technique tip: Avoid arching your back or locking your knees.

Easier option: Try it seated.

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Wall Squat With Biceps Curls

Works: thighs, butt, biceps

A. Stand with back against a wall and a dumbbell in each hand. Your arms should be at your sides, with your palms facing forward.

B. Slowly sit into a squat position, allowing your back to slide down the wall. At the same time, curl dumbbells toward shoulders.

C. Return to standing position as you lower your arms.

Technique tip: Keep your feet far enough away from the wall so your knees don’t extend past your toes when you squat.

Easier option: Do the squat and biceps curls separately instead of together.

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One-Arm Back Flys

Works: back of shoulders, upper back

A. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, palm in, stand with feet hip width apart.

B. Step left foot forward. Bend your left (front) leg slightly and place your left hand on left thigh, leaning forward from your waist about 45 degrees without rounding your back.

C. Squeeze shoulder blades together slightly and raise your right hand to the side and back, stopping when dumbbell is as high as your shoulder. Keep palm toward floor.

D. Lower arm and repeat. Complete one set before switching arm and leg.

Technique tip: Keep elbow slightly bent; hold your spine straight.

Easier option: Sit on a chair or exercise bench and lean forward so your chest is parallel to the tops of your thighs. Raise both arms to the side at the same time.

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Triceps Kickbacks

Works: back of upper arms

A. Hold dumbbells and sit on a fitness ball. Lean forward from waist without rounding your back.

B. Bend arms so elbows are at a 90-degree angle. (Keep elbows close to sides.)

C. Straighten arms so forearms and dumbbells move behind you. Return arms to starting position.

Technique tip: Keep your elbows behind you and your chest parallel to your thighs.

Easier option: Do it on a sturdy chair or bench versus a fitness ball.

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Back Extensions

Works: lower back

A. Lie face down with feet shoulder width apart, shoelaces on floor. Place your fists at temples.

B. Slowly raise your shoulders and chest off floor and hold for one second.

C. Lower to starting position and repeat.

Technique tip: Make sure you lift with your torso versus bobbing your head.

Easier option: Place arms at sides with hands beside thighs.

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Back Extensions

Works: lower back

A. Lie face down with feet shoulder width apart, shoelaces on floor. Place your fists at temples.

B. Slowly raise your shoulders and chest off floor and hold for one second.

C. Lower to starting position and repeat.

Technique tip: Make sure you lift with your torso versus bobbing your head.

Easier option: Place arms at sides with hands beside thighs.