Body Conditioning Exercise Routine for All-Over Toning

Warm-up: 5 minutes stretching/mobility; 10-20 minutes cardiovascular activity.

Wide Squats

Stand with the feet slightly wider than the hips and the knees in line with the second toe. Keep the weight in the heels and think of the chest lifting as you bend the knees, then send the tailbone (the last bone in your spine) backwards while maintaining a flat back. Breathe out as you return to standing, slightly squeezing the abdominals and gluteals as you lift the body.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Use hand weights.

• Stand on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: quads, gluteals, hamstrings

Hand weights are used for many of these exercises and you can make them at home by using two water-filled bottles or, to make them heavier, fill an empty bottle with sugar to the required weight.

Seated Reverse Flies

Sit on a chair, leaning forward from the hips, with arms lengthening down to the floor and palms facing inwards. Holding a weight in each hand, lift the arms out to the sides to shoulder height, nip the shoulder blades together, then return the arms to the sides.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase the weight.

• Perform standing by engaging the abdominals, leaning forward from the hip and keeping the back straight.

MUSCLES WORKED: upper back

Press-Ups

Start on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders, fingers pointing forwards. Engage your abdominals and push your body weight into your hands, bending the elbows, to lower the upper body in a straight line from the hips down to the floor. Push the hands into the floor to lift the body back up. A full press-up is one with the legs stretched out behind you and toes tucked underneath.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Full press-up

MUSCLES WORKED: chest, triceps, abdominals

Weighted Shoulder

Press Start with a weight in each hand and arms at shoulder height. Keep the elbows underneath the wrists. Push the weights up above the head but slightly in front (so you can see your hands at all times), don’t lock the elbows. Return to the starting position.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase the weight.

• Perform standing on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: shoulders

Lunges

Stand with feet hip-width apart, with one foot forward and one back. Lift the heel of the back foot. Lower the body down (not forwards) until you adopt a right angle with the back knee (your front knee should bend so your knee is above the ankle — NOT over the toe). Straighten back to the starting position.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Make the lunges a non-stop pulsing action.

• Don’t come all the way to the top before lowering back down.

• Perform the lunges at a much slower, controlled pace.

• Raise your arms in front of you for the lunge.

MUSCLES WORKED: quads, hamstrings, gluteals

Biceps Curl

Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart, with a weight in each hand and your arms by your sides. Your hands should face forward. Keep the elbows in to the sides, bending them to lift the weights. Do not swing the trunk as you lift. Lower the arms back to the sides. Keep the elbows soft.

SETS: 2

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Increase the weight.

• Perform standing on one leg.

MUSCLES WORKED: biceps

SETS: 3

REST PERIOD BETWEEN SETS: 30-60 seconds

REPS:

LEVEL 1:10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Take the legs further away or straighten.

• Cross one leg over the other.

• Change position halfway through.

MUSCLES WORKED: triceps

Triceps Dips

Place a chair against a wall and sit on it with your knees bent and feet hip-distance apart. Have your hands on the edge of the chair with the fingers pointing forward. Straighten the arms to lift the bottom up away from the chair. Bend the elbows directly behind you to lower the body, then push through the arms to lift back up. Do not push up using the gluteals — you should feel this in the back of the arms.

Abdominal Contractions on All Fours Get on all fours so you are in a table-top position (back flat, hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips). Breathe in wide into the ribcage. Breathe out and draw the navel to the spine without moving the back. Breathe in and hold this position. Breathe out and release the abdominal contraction without moving the back.

SETS: 2

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10

LEVEL 2: 10

LEVEL 3:10

DEVELOPMENT: Lie on your front with bent elbows underneath the shoulders (sphinx position). Your pelvis may begin to leave the floor.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Swimming

Get on all fours in a table-top position (back flat, hands underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips). Draw the navel to the spine (as before) to prepare. Breathe in, then breathe out as you lengthen and extend opposite arm and leg, maintaining a flat back and without dipping or lifting the shoulders or hips (keep the weight central and don’t transfer all the weight onto one side of hip). Breathe in to return smoothly to the starting position. Do once on each side.

SETS: 1 (each side)

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 8

LEVEL 2: 10

LEVEL 3: 12

DEVELOPMENT:

• Start with the hand and opposite knee lifted 2 centimetres from the floor, extend your arm and leg and return to hover.

• Lie on your front with bent elbows underneath the shoulders. Push up to half plank position. Extend opposite arm and leg. Breathe in to return to starting position. Repeat on other side.

• Start with the hands under the shoulders and lift the knees to balance on toes. Extend opposite arm and leg. Breathe in to return to starting position. Repeat on one side until set is complete. Perform stretches. Repeat on other side.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals, gluteals

SETS: 2

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• As you curl up lift one leg up to 900 from the floor then swap legs halfway through.

• Lift both legs before you curl.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals

Abdominal Crunch

Lie flat on your back with your legs and feet slightly wider than your hips. Place your hands behind the head to support it. On no account pull on the head. Breathe out and draw the abdominals in, navel to spine, and curl the upper body up off the floor. Aim to draw the ribcage down towards the hips so that the abdominal wall contracts flat and compact – don’t let the abdominals dome. Keep a small gap between the chin and the chest. Breathe in to lower yourself back to the starting position.

The slower you do this the more effectively your muscles work.

Oblique Twist and Reach

Lie flat on your back with your legs and feet slightly wider than your hips. Place one hand behind the head to support it. Do not pull on the head. Breathe out and draw the abdominals in, navel to spine, and lift the upper body. Aim to draw the ribcage down towards the hips so that the abdominal wall contracts flat and compact — don’t let the abdominals dome — keep a small gap between the chin and the chest. Reach the free arm over to the opposite knee, aiming to take the shoulder away from the floor as you twist across the body. Breathe in to lower. Repeat on the other side.

Finish by stretching.

SETS: 1 (on each side)

STRETCH TO RELEASE: sit back on your heels with the head on the floor and the arms in front of you — feel the back lengthen.

REPS:

LEVEL 1: 10-12

LEVEL 2: 12-15

LEVEL 3: 15-20

DEVELOPMENT:

• Start with both legs lifted and aim to twist the shoulder to the knee — do not cheat by bringing the knees towards the shoulder.

• Start with both legs lifted and aim to twist the shoulder to the knee, extending the opposite leg at the same time.

MUSCLES WORKED: abdominals-obliques