Tone and tighten your trouble areas
If we could choose where our extra kilos sat, I’m sure there’d be many of us walking around with fuller busts and nicely rotund backsides, but unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. Instead ,many of us are stuck with love handles and dimpled thighs - and the only way these stubborn spots will change is by putting in some hard work.
Fortunately, celebrity trainer and Zespri Gold Kiwifruit Ambassador, Neil Russell, knows a thing or two about exercise and has shared with us a few simple exercises and tips to transform those trouble areas.
TARGET: Your butt
“Exercises that target your lower body and performed on one leg require your bum to engage and maintain stability, so single leg squats or bridges and lunges are great ways to tone up.”
“There are many different varieties of lunges, but the most effective for toning your bum is a back lunge to single leg hold.”
To do these, balance on one leg and then step back in a controlled manner, slowly dropping your back knee down so that it’s just off the ground. Then, squeeze your bum and push through your front heel to come back up standing on one leg. Repeat, and you will get a better butt in no time!
Basic Glute Bridge (Hip Raise)
“This can be done with weights on your hips, on one leg or with an exercise ball to increase the intensity.”
Lie on your back with both of your feet flat on the ground, hip distance apart and about 30cm from your bottom. Squeeze your abs and your glutes, and then slowly lift your hips so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold and squeeze, then lower your bottom so that it’s just off the ground. Squeeze and lift again.
TARGET: Your arms
“When looking to tone your arms, there are two main muscles to work on: triceps and biceps. Minimising muscle mass is also important, so rather than doing isolation exercises [such as] tricep extensions and bicep curls, performing compound and multi joint exercises that focus on arms is a better option.”
“If you are just beginning, start by performing your push-ups on your knees.”
Start in a full plank position, keeping your spine straight and your core switched on so that your tummy doesn’t drop. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your hands below the line of your shoulders and elbows at less than 45 degrees to the body. Slowly lower yourself as far as you can, keeping your spine long and straight. Then push back up to the starting position, ensuring your elbows don’t swing out too wide and your hips don’t drop.
Back lunges with bicep curls
Stand tall with your weights down by your side and position yourself in a split stance so that if you lower your knee straight to the ground, your back knee lines up with your hips and shoulders and your front knee is at 90 degrees. When you’re in position, slowly lower yourself, distributing your weight evenly between both legs (in the toe of your back foot and the heel of your front foot) until your back knee is just off the ground. Pause and then push up through your front heel and perform an arm curl, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Lower your hands and repeat.
TARGET: Your love handles
“Getting rid of love handles is a process of eliminating body fat. This is best done through regular HIIT* and compound or multi joint resistance exercises such as the squat and press.”
Squat and press
Stand tall, with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding your weights at your shoulders. With your weight towards your heel and tummy drawn in, slowly lower into a squat position, keeping your chest high and gaze forward. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, pause and return to standing position. Once standing, press your weights up over your head, keeping your knees slightly bent.
TARGET: Your tummy
“Getting a flat tummy is all about minimising body fat around the trunk. This is best achieved through a healthy diet and regular HIIT* and exercises that draw upon multiple layers of abdominal and postural muscles to optimise posture and muscle tone.”
Start by laying on your tummy with your elbows on the ground, directly under your shoulders. Then, engage your tummy muscles and slowly lift your knees and one leg at a time until you’re on your toes. Draw in your belly button and think of lengthening out your spine, as if you were trying to stand up tall (only horizontally!). Focus on slow, controlled breathing and staying really still. Beginners can start by holding their plank for 20-30 seconds. If you’re more advanced, aim for one minute.
TARGET: Your thighs
“Squats are a simple and effective way to build lean muscle tissue, and running helps to give great shape through the thighs and calves.”
“Vary between going for longer runs and doing short, fast interval sessions to get the best results. Find stairs and hills to increase the intensity.”
To perform a basic body weight squat, start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight back towards your heels. Keeping your core engaged and spine neutral, slowly bend at the hips and knees and try to come down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause in this position, and then return to standing.
After some more exercise tips? Well, it’s your lucky day, because together with Zespri Gold Kiwifruit, Neil has put together a seven-day exercise plan to encourage us all to get moving! You can check it out here: zespri.com.au/wakeupwithakiwi.
*Examples of HIIT exercises can be found on page five of the exercise plan.
Are there any other body parts you’d like to work harder on? Do you like following exercise plans?