It’s summer, so you’re probably ready to hit the beach or the pool—but is your body ready? If you’re not feeling confident in your swimsuit yet, there are still some things you can do to feel strong and fit in your trunks or two-piece.
There are several ways you can incorporate more activity into your daily routine—which is always good because more movement means more calories burned. No gym membership? That’s no excuse for not working out. With summer’s great weather, you can take your run outdoors, or you can stay home and take advantage of one of the latest hot fitness trends and stream a workout on your smart TV, tablet, phone or computer. Whatever workout you choose, you may want to add in some moves targeted to areas you’ll be showing off this summer. Here are some exercises to try to get you swimsuit ready.
6 Summer Body Exercises
Whether it’s in shorts or sundresses, you’ll be showing off your legs this summer. A simple but effective sculpting move is the lunge and it can tone the entire leg from the thighs to the calves and give you a great glute workout, to boot. Step one foot back and then lower that back leg, getting the knee as close to the floor as possible. Your front knee shouldn’t go past your toes as you move and your chest and torso should stay in an upright posture—no leaning forward or backward. Do a set of reps, anywhere from eight to 15, before switching legs. For extra intensity, hold dumbbells while lunging—the extra resistance you’ll be working against can help build muscle.
ABS: Mountain Climbers
This move is a staple of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, and for good reason: It’s a great ab-tightening move that’s done at a fast pace, combining strength and cardio. Start in plank position, arms underneath your shoulders. Then, keep your hips and back low as you move one knee towards your chest then back to the starting position. Repeat the move with the other leg and continue alternating legs quickly for about 30 seconds.
Like lunges, this is another power move that is deceptively simple. Using a pair of hand weights held in front of your thighs, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and legs slightly bent. Roll your shoulders back and tighten the abs, lifting the chest. Hinge forward from your hips, letting the weights in your hands move down towards your knees as you bend over. Rise back up to your starting position; you can move up and down to the count of two or four. If you want to mix things up, alternate deadlifts with rows—when you are bent forward, stay low and lift the weights up towards your belly, with your elbows pointing back. Lower the weights, then raise your body up again back to the beginning position.
This classic bodyweight exercise is great for building upper body strength. One of the benefits of this exercise is that there are many ways to modify it to suit your fitness level. Beginners can start by putting their weight on their knees before moving up to the normal pushup position on their toes. More advanced fitness enthusiasts can balance on their knuckles or on one hand, or do alternate leg raises up or to the side. Keep your stomach tight towards your ribs for an extra core workout while doing your pushups.
SHOULDERS: Overhead Press
Sculpted shoulders look great in strapless or sleeveless tops and dresses. You can achieve them with this move—stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs tucked in and tightened and shoulders down (resist the temptation to raise them closer to your ears as you lift). Holding hand weights, raise your hands up so the weights are about chin high with your palms facing out, like a set of goalposts. Raise your hands straight up into the air and then lower them to the starting position. Try to complete about eight to 15 reps. You can also alternate pressing each arm up for an easier modification, or if you are used to lifting weights, use a barbell.
GLUTES: Side Leg Lifts
Even though you’re lying down for this exercise, you’re still getting some good muscle toning. Lay on your side with your bottom arm under your head; the top arm can rest on your side or put it in front of you if you need balance support. Stretch the legs straight out and lift the top leg without rotating your body to the front or back. Repeat the move for about 10 to 15 reps, then switch sides. Maximize it with ankle weights or a resistance band around the ankles.
If you are having difficulty achieving the body shape you want through exercise, you can look into a DNA fitness test. PathwayFit® and FiT iQ™ use your unique genetic profile to give you information on how your body responds to different types of exercise, such as strength or endurance training. You can take that data and use it to create the optimal fitness plan for you. As a bonus, these tests also provide you with genetic-based nutritional information; as you know, diet and exercise go hand in hand, so you’ll have the knowledge you need to get your body in shape and ready for summer.