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Firm Your Body in Less Than a Month!

Hantlar / Dumbbell / Dumbellsphoto © 2008 Ulf Liljankoski | more info (via: Wylio)As you may know, we are huge supporters of strength training to improve your muscle tone, boost your metabolism, and increase your caloric burn. For those of you who love your cardio; we support that! However, if you want a firmer, more toned body, you must add in strength training. Below we list moves that will work your entire body.

To begin: Start slow and light with your weights. You want to start with a weight that you can move slow and comfortably for up to 12 repetitions. Increase the reps or the weight if the exercise feels too easy. Keep an eye on your form in a mirror (form is critical!!).

1. Stability ball crunch. Sit on a stability ball and walk your legs forward until your upper back and shoulders are supported and your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle. Place your hands behind your head, focus on the ceiling, and lightly lift your upper back off the ball, hold for one count, and return to starting position. Increase reps weekly as you become more comfortable.

2. One arm triceps kickback. Stand in front of your stability ball placing one hand on the ball, with your legs in split position. (The opposite leg from the arm resting on the ball should be stepped back). Hold a dumbbell in your free hand and bend your arm at a 90 degree angle to bring your upper arm parallel to the ground.  Extend elbow to straighten your arm, then return to starting position. Triceps are difficult to work so go slow and maintain form.

3. Seated Shoulder Press. Sit on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor, ankles directly below knees. Bring both arms up and hold weights at about ear level. Press dumbbells up above your head until arms are straight (but unlocked!) hold for one count and return.

4. Chest Press. Sit on stability ball. Walk your legs out in the same position as the crunch (so your upper back and shoulders are supported, legs bent at 90 degree angle.) Hold a dumbbell in each hand lifting your arms until your wrists are above your elbows. Press dumbbells up arms are straight (unlocked) and hold for one count, then return to starting.

5. Twisting Hammer Curl. To work the front of your arms stand with feet hip-width apart and hold dumbbell in each hand with palms facing your thighs. Bend your elbows to bring your hands toward your shoulders, keeping arms tight to body. Halfway through your bend, twist your hands so your palms face your chest. Hold and reverse the move on the way down.

6. Dumbbell Lunge. To work your legs and butt, begin by standing with feed hip-width apart and dumbbells in each hand (arms at your side) with palms facing your thighs. Take a big step forward with one foot, and bend your knees until your forward leg becomes parallel with the floor. Pause, return to starting position.

7. One Arm Bent Over Row. To work your upper and mid-back, stand in front of a stability ball in the same position as the tricep kickback.  Hold a dumbbell in your free hand, arm extended towards floor, palm facing body.  Pull the dumbbell up beside your body until your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Hold for one count and repeat. Switch arms.

8. Dumbell Squat. (A favorite!). Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, dumbbells in hands at the side of your body, palms facing in. Bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor keeping your toes behind your knees. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause then push through your heels to return standing.

Keep at these to see results within a month! Start with 1 set of 12 and increase your sets each week! Good luck!

Sources: Oxygen  Magazine.

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