When the warm weather hits, don't get caught with your winter flab still hanging around. Get in shape before it's time to hit the beach with these simple exercises that target the areas you'll be exposing the most this summer: arms, legs, glutes and abs. These exercises can all be done at home or at the gym, and are perfect for getting a toned look, adding a little more definition to your body, while avoiding putting on too much muscle mass. This type of body is better suited for a day at the beach, whether you are lying on the sand or swimming in the water.
Exercises for Your Arms
1. Bicep Curls
This works your bicep muscles as well as the muscles in your forearm to give your arms a toned look under the sun.
- Choose a dumbbell with a weight that works for you.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing outwards.
- Bend your right arm at the elbow and bring the dumbbell up to your shoulder. Be sure your elbow remains at your side throughout the motion.
- Repeat with your left arm.
2. Push Ups
If you have trouble completing a proper push up at first, balance on your knees instead of your toes. Either way, you will be working your triceps and chest with this exercise.
- Lay stomach-down on the floor.
- Raise your body up so that you are balancing on your toes and hands. Your hands should be placed so that they are slightly wider that shoulder-width apart.
- Lower yourself by bending at the elbows until your chest is just a few inches from the floor.
- Push down and extend your arms to raise yourself back up, then repeat. Keep your body in a straight line at all times throughout this workout for the best results.
At the gym, you can use dip bars or a weight bench to do this exercise, but a chair works just at well at home for developing your triceps and anterior deltoid muscles.
- Stand in front of a chair, facing away from it with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your hands on the front edge of the chair, holding your buttocks up in the air as you do so. Start with your arms straight, then lower yourself by bending at the elbows.
- Once your buttocks are a few inches from the floor, raise yourself back up by extending your arms.
Exercises for Your Legs and Glutes
Squats are great for working your thighs and glutes. These muscles are important for toning the upper portion of your legs and fitting into that beach bathing suit or swim trunks.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees to lower yourself down to a sitting position.
- Hold the position for a second or two. You may need to hold your arms in front of you for balance.
- As you lift yourself back up to a standing position, tighten your glutes. If you want more resistance, hold weights as you do this exercise.
Lunges work your quadriceps muscles and your glutes, and are also important for making your exposed legs look their best while you're out at the beach.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Take a long step in front of you with your right leg and lower yourself down until your right knee is at a 90 degree angle. Make sure you knee is directly above the toe.
- Then, push down on your right leg to return your body to the standing position you started in. Repeat with your left leg. You may hold dumbbells for added resistance.
Exercises for Your Abs
With your midsection constantly exposed as you lie on the sand at the beach, it's important to focus on your core to look your best. This exercise works your abdominal muscles, particularly those in the so-called "six-pack" area.
- Lie down on the floor facing up with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place your hands either behind your neck or crossed over your chest.
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and curl your shoulders up off the floor towards your pelvis. Your lower back should not lift off of the floor.
- Lower yourself back down until your head is a few inches from the floor, then repeat. Be careful not to push against your head or neck if you do place your hands behind your head.
7. Oblique Crunches
Oblique crunches are performed in the same manner as regular crunches with only a slight variation. This exercise works the outer abdominal muscles called the oblique muscles to complete the beach body look for your midsection.
- Set yourself in the same starting position you would use for crunches.
- Instead of curling the body straight forward like you would for a regular crunch, the right shoulder should be curled towards the left hip.
- This should be alternated with the left shoulder curling towards the right hip. You can alternate an oblique crunch with a regular crunch to add more variety to your beach body abdominal exercises.
Beach Body Diet Tips
In addition to exercise, you should stick to a healthy diet plan to encourage muscle gain and weight loss. Use these tips to get a great beach body that's toned and fit:
- Eat foods rich in fiber. Fiber helps you to feel fuller, meaning that you can eat less. It also aids in digestion so it will help you avoid bloating.
- Add in plenty of protein. Like fiber, protein is good for you and helps you to feel fuller for longer. Fish and lean meats are great choices in this category, so think about adding some chicken breast and salmon to your diet.
- Snack on fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables are great for you and contain very few calories. Keep some apples and apricots around to munch on between meals instead of salty, sweet or fatty snacks.
- Eat smaller portions more often. Rather than relying on three big meals a day, have smaller portions throughout the day to aid in your weight loss and help with portion control.