Sunday, April 6, 2014

Your Complete Beach Body Workout

The beach beckons with the promise of sand and waves. It is time to strut your stuff in sexy resort and beach wear. Don’t let a little flab ruin your moment in the sun; it’s not too late to whip yourself into a swimsuit-friendly shape. Says fitness expert Althea Shah from Gold’s Gym, “If you’re a beginner, start with low-intensity exercises such as walking and work your way up to more challenging activities. If you’ve been working out for a while but not seeing results, kick up your programme by exercising at a faster pace or trying something new.”

Says Zumba expert Hetal Madhiwalla from Frequencee, “For cardio, a fun activity is Zumba, which you can practise in three ways. A zumba dance class will give effective results, zumba toning will sculpt you as well since it clubs weights with cardio, and aqua zumba, which is practised in a swimming pool. It is a great option for this scorching season, since you don’t break into a sweat.”

Here’s a strength training exercise routine that will tighten your legs, butt and abs for the beach.

To tone your legs1. Squats tone your thighs as well as your hips. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself as if you were going to sit down into a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to the standing position. You should start out without any weights, and add weights later as the exercise gets easier. Do 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps.

2. If you hate it when your thighs rub together, this one’s for you. Wide squats concentrate on your inner thigh muscles. Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders and then bend till your knees are at a 45-degree angle. Tighten your thighs and hold for 5 seconds, then stand back up. Keep your back straight. Do 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps.

3. Walking lunges work your quadriceps, hamstrings, and thighs. Start by standing upright, then lunge forward with one leg, but don’t let your knee go further than your toe. When you get to the bottom of the lunge, use the back leg to get back to the standing position. For starters, it is best to do walking lunges without weights.

To tone your hamstringsIf you have dumbbells, do the stiff-legged deadlift. Stand at shoulder width or a narrower stance. Grasp dumbbells to each side. With knees straight, lower dumbbells by bending hips until hamstrings are tight, or just before lower back bends. Lift dumbbells by extending hips until straight. Pull shoulders back slightly at the top of the lift if rounded. Repeat.

To tone your hips1. Hip extensions specifically target the largest muscle in the body... the gluteus maximus. The hip extension strengthens the hips and lower-back muscles.

Stand 12 to 18 inches away from a table or chair, feet slightly apart. Bend forward from the hips, at about a 45-degree angle, holding on to the table or chair for balance. In this position, lift your left leg straight behind you without bending your knee, pointing your toes, or bending your upper body any farther (hold your abdomen in, and do not arch your back). Hold the position for 5 seconds; lower your left leg back to the starting position. Repeat with right leg. Repeat with both legs 8-15 times. You can add ankle weights to make hip extensions more challenging.

2. Butt blaster kickbacks are a great start to getting an envious butt. Get on all fours. Keep your back as straight as possible. Raise one foot upwards. Try keep a 90-degree angle between your hamstring and calf. Once you get to the top, pump your leg just that little bit higher. Lower your leg back down, but don’t touch the floor. This exercise becomes more effective if you go as high as you can and then push just a little bit more. That extra increase in intensity does you lots of good. Repeat with other leg. Do 8-15 reps with both legs.

Warm upWarm up before physical activity to prevent injury. Spend five to 10 minutes walking or doing a lighter version of your favourite activity.

Cardiovascular activityWalking, jogging, hiking, swimming, biking, skipping and stair climbing are great for cardio.

Strength trainingBuilding muscle will give you a toned body and help minimise jiggle. A workout has to be planned targeting all major muscle groups at least three times week. Beginners can start with one set of exercises and build up to two or three. Eight to 12 repetitions of an activity is standard. The weight should be heavy enough to completely fatigue the target muscle by the last repetition.

Be confidentPulling off a swimsuit on the beach or by the pool is more about body confidence than a sculpted frame. Carry yourself with the attitude that you look good, and it will seep into your persona. In an interview, when The Queen actress Helen Mirren was asked, “What’s sexy?” she answered, “Confidence.” If you’ve seen the panache with which Mirren wears a bikini in her 60s, she’s right!

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