Tone-up quick for spring break

By on March 8, 2006

Spring Break is less than a week away, and for many students it is crunch time, literally. Getting a beach-ready body is a must for many spring breakers, but with only a few days left, there is only time for the best exercises to get you in shape quick.

Everyone wants nice flat abdominals when walking around on the beach, so there are a few tips to remember when working on your abs. According to you should start working on your lower abdominals first since they are the most difficult to tone. And don’t think that you have to do crunches every day. Three toning sessions per week are enough to see results, according to the Web site.

Muscles need recovery time to grow, which will lead to tone in your midsection. If you are toning everyday your muscles will not get the proper rest they need to show results. It is best to leave at least one to two full days between abdominal workouts.

For the basic floor crunch, you need to lie on the floor with your legs bent and your feet flat. Put your hands behind you back making sure to keep your elbows back in line with your head. Crunch up slightly by raising your head and shoulders, breathing out as you crunch, holding the position for 2-5 seconds. As you crunch up make sure to push your lower back into the floor and squeeze the lower section of your tummy. Lower yourself back down to the floor and repeat. For best results do 12 sets of 4-5 reps.

Simple lunges are a great way to tone your lower body. Start off by placing your hands on your hips. Once you become comfortable with lunges you can hold dumbbells or barbells while doing them. Stand with your feet together, chest out, and midsection firm. Step forward with a large step, and bend both knees. Keep your front shin in a straight line with your ankle. Your back should be nearly touching the floor. Take your front foot and push back up to the starting position, and repeat. Remember that when you are doing lunges and squats don’t let your knee move past your ankle. This puts too much strain on your knees and could lead to injury.

To tone your arms there are two basic muscles to work: the biceps and triceps.

To work the biceps, standing dumbbell curls do the trick. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, keeping palms facing forward. Curl the dumbbell up towards your shoulders until you feel a pulling in your biceps, then lower and repeat.

For the triceps, you can do tricep dips. Sitting on a bench or chair keep your legs extended out in front of you. Keep your body stable, chest out, and midsection tight. Put your hands beside your backside so they are facing forward. Scoot your backside to the edge of the chair and lift yourself off the chair, keeping legs slightly bent.Then lower your body down until your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Push yourself back up and repeat.

Lastly, there are two good exercises you can do to work the butt. The first is called the “Butt Buster floor exercise.” Kneel on all fours with your hands wider than shoulder width apart. Push one leg up behind you keeping it bent so that your knee is level with your hips and keep the sole of your foot facing the ceiling. Squeeze your butt as tightly as possible and return your knee to the starting position. Alternate legs and repeat.

The next exercise is not for people who want to increase the size of their butts. It is called the “Step Up.” You will need a 20-inch step, bench, or chair high enough so that when you rest your foot on it you knee will be in line with your hips. Step up with your right leg onto the bench, making sure your knee is in line with your hip. Bring your left leg up behind you keeping both legs straight and your body sturdy. Your leg should be bent on a right angle, and your knee should be in line with your ankle. Now lower your right leg down again, followed by your left leg, and repeat.

Remember that no matter what part of your body you are working on, it is key to remember to keep your tummy tight and do not hold your breath and always do a warm up exercise before you start.


About Sarah Sztuk