One of the major goals that many of us have when it comes to our bodies is to become more toned (at least it is for me!) This essentially just means that you are reducing the amount of fat on your body and increasing the amount of muscle that is shown. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily require you to build a lot more muscle, although that often happens anyway with the appropriate exercises.
If you are wanting to tone your body, but you don’t necessarily want to go to the gym (or you can’t, for whatever reason) then the good news is that toning at home is perfectly acceptable and simple to do. Follow these tips to get the most out of it, and get your body truly toned in no time!
Set A Clear Goal
First of all, you need to make sure that you know specifically and exactly what you are aiming for. In other words, how toned do you want to get? What kind of weight would you like to be, and what physique do you want to see in the mirror? The more specific you can be with your goal, (SMART goals) the easier you are going to find it to stay motivated when things get tough – as they are bound to do for pretty much anyone attempting a big fitness change like this!
It’s very important that you warm up before you do any exercises at home. The simple act of warming up for around five minutes means that your body becomes more limber and ready for you to get into the proper exercises. This lowers the risk of damaging yourself and ensures that you are going to feel loose and prepared for what is to come. All you need to do is stretch the major muscle groups that you are going to be using – if necessary, you can look up a range of warm-up videos online to follow along (so many things on YouTube!)
Legs & Glutes: Stair Steps
A simple home exercise for toning your legs and glutes is the stair step. In this exercise, you can use either a low bench or a set of stairs. First, step up onto the step with your dominant foot. Next, step up with your other foot. Then go back down in the same order you went up. Throughout this movement, try to keep your back straight. This both makes the workout more effective for your legs and reduces the risk of injuring your back.
Thighs: Body Raise
This is a very easy one to learn, which will nonetheless be very effective in toning your thighs if you do it right, and regularly. Lay on the floor on your back, putting your ankles on a chair and supporting your neck with a pillow. With your hands on your chest, try to raise your glutes, gently and slowly but in one fluid motion, as high as you can. With a few repeats of this, you will likely find that it is not as easy as it looks.
There really is no better exercise for toning your abs than the much-loved (and much-hated) plank. Most people have this love-hate relationship with the plank for the very reason that it is so hugely effective. It can really cause a burn, and that’s what you want, but if you are in extreme pain you should be sure to stop and not continue until you feel recovered. However, most of the time it won’t cause that much distress for most people.
To plank, simply lay on your front, but suspended by your forearms, with your hands clasped loosely together in front of you. Then you just need to stay like that as long as you can. Time yourself, and see if you can improve it over time.
If you would also like to tone your arms, there are plenty of exercises you can do at home for that too, one of the best being the simple lift. Using a couple of rubber hex dumbbells, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly lift the dumbbells until your hand is up to your shoulder. Then slowly release downwards again. Repeat five or ten times and switch arms. This is highly effective if done regularly.
Those are just some simple moves to start you off. If you decide to go further, you might also want to think about trying out some more intense exercises at home, such as some HIIT using online videos. However you do it, you will be sure to tone your body at home in no time.