Toning Workout Plans

Toning exercises work your muscle groups by using your body as resistance to move against. Correct body position and exercise technique are essential for exercise effectiveness. Benefits of workouts include improved muscle tone and the tightness of the muscle in a relaxed position. Combined with cardio training and proper nutrition, toning workouts can tighten and reduce body fat in problem areas.

Outer Thigh Lift

This exercise works your hips and outer thigh. Lie on your side with your hips stacked and legs extended. Slightly bend your bottom leg for balance. Extend your bottom arm and bend your top arm, placing your palm on the floor. Lift your top leg up to hip height keeping your knee facing forward. Hold, then slowly lower down to the starting position. Use your hip and buttocks to lift your leg, keeping your foot relaxed. Complete sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Hip Hitch

This exercise works the buttocks. Kneel on your hands and knees with your knees below your hips and your hands below your shoulders. Contract your abdomen to avoid arching your back. Begin exercise by lifting one bent leg up until your thigh is hip height. Hold, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Lift your leg by squeezing your buttocks, keeping your foot relaxed. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions, then repeat on the other leg.

Push-ups

Push-ups tone your chest and triceps muscles. Lie on your stomach in a face-down position with your legs extended back, your arms bent and your palms on the floor by your shoulders. Push your upper body up off of the floor until your arms are fully extended, keeping your toes on the floor. Contract your abdomen to keep your body in alignment and to avoid arching your back. Hold, then slowly bend your arms, lowering your body back to the starting position without your chest touching the floor. To modify push-ups, bend your legs, placing your knees on the floor throughout the exercise.

Abdominal Crunches

This exercise tones the abdominal muscles. Lie on your back with your knees bent at 45 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. Bend your arms with your elbows out at your sides and your hands behind your head. Begin the exercise by crunching your upper abs, lifting your head and neck off of the floor about 30 degrees. Hold, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Low Ab Crunch

This exercise works the lower abdominals. Lie on your back with your hips bent, extending your legs straight up toward the ceiling. Bend your arms with your elbows out to the side and your hands behind your head. Relax your legs and lift your lower body up so that your buttocks lifts off of the floor. Use your lower abs and hips to lift your legs. Hold, then slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

About this Author

Luann Voza teaches both math and science in an elementary school setting and physical education in a college setting. A former fitness-club owner, Voza has taught group fitness classes in step, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing and spin. As a bodybuilder, she held the title of Ms. New Jersey Lightweight Division Winner. Voza has a master\’s degree in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree in education.