Fitness

5 Ways To Tone Your Trouble Zones

We’ve all got them. Those stubborn little pockets of fat that seem ever-resilient to whatever sweat-making exercise regime we throw at them. And when you’ve been putting the hours in at the gym, you feel you deserve them to budge… just a little… surely?!

If you’re struggling to shift those last pounds, feel that your fat is in all the wrong places, and are at a loss for how you could possibly try harder – it’s time for some serious and targeted exercise ammunition….

  • Tone your toned arms
    Arm jiggle is something PTs hear clients complain of daily. As it’s a relatively small area, toning the muscle here can make a real difference, fast.
    Wellness coach Ashley Hunt (ashleyhunt.co.uk) says our upper arms can be a tell-tale sign of ageing, and to combat this we need a whole-body approach: “The key is to combine specific exercises with ones for the entire upper body. Mix arm strengthening with all-round strength training, including for the back and chest, which will help tone overall.”

    Try today: tricep bench dips

    Bench dips can really get your triceps engaged. Sit on the edge of a bench or step, legs out in front, back to the bench. Bend your arms and stretch to almost straight again

  • Lean legs
    “Thighs are one of the defining features on a woman’s body, so it’s no wonder many of us have issues with them”, says Alexandra Wilson (alexandrawilson.com) They’re also one of the areas where women tend to store most fat. Alexandra says that squats and lunges will tone them almost immediately. “Combine these thigh-zapping exercises with body brushing and more toxin-flushing green vegetables and you’ll see results, fast.”

    Try today: squat jumps

    Trim and shape your inner thighs with some squat jumps. Stand with your feet apart, knees and toes turned out about 45 degrees. Keeping your back straight, drop your hips low, bending into a squatted position. As you stand up, jump off the ground and reach your arms overhead.

  • Firm chest
    As women, we’re all too aware that gravity isn’t always our friend, and some of us feel our chests are a depressing example. As time presses on, muscles can loosen and the droop emerges.
    First and foremost, wearing a properlyfitted and supportive sports bra is vital. Without one, your workout might actually be damaging this area instead of improving it.
    PT Ross Styles (rossstyles.com) teaches a little chest-working technique: “When training this area, in classes like Pump, or in the gym with a bar, people are often told to go for a wide grip. There is nothing wrong with this, however our muscle layout is such that whilst we might feel it more in the pecs, and therefore feel as if we are really training the chest, in reality we are missing out on a large area of it. Instead, try taking a shoulderwidth grip. You’ll be targeting much of your chest you’d otherwise be missing.”

    Try today: classic bench press

    A bench press with dumbbells is an effective move if you’re aiming for a lifted appearance. Lie with the middle of your back on top of a stability ball, knees bent. Hold the dumbbells next to your armpits, with knuckles facing forward. Count to three as you push the weights up away from your chest, until your arms are above you, not quite straight but almost. Then lower back down.

  • Pert butt
    Seems these days the world’s gone bottom crazy! Where once we were told being tiny is the aim, we’re now informed it’s all ‘about the bass’!
    Wellness coach Ashley says, “It seems, right now, we’re all in search of the perfect booty. It can’t be too big, too small, too soft. It has to be perfectly shaped and toned too!” Ashley says the key to ensuring the perfect bum is to focus on it throughout the day – not just when you’re in the gym. “Engage the glutes while walking up stairs, running for the bus, or even sitting in the office.”

    Try today: butt bridge

    A simple bridging exercise can be the quickest way to feel that butt burn. Lying on your back, legs bent, push your bottom up and squeeze. Lower your butt to the ground and repeat the movement. Pulse it at the top for 30 counts to give this exercise some added omph!

  • Flat abs
    Whilst younger women tend to store fat in their lower body (thighs, bottom etc.), post-menopause, when oestrogen levels decrease, we tend to accumulate more fat around the abdomen.
    Alexandra says, “Experts will tell you that, contrary to common belief, great abs are mainly made in the kitchen and not the gym. This is indeed very true! So having a good, careful and balanced diet has to be my number one tip for great abs.”
    “When it comes to your workouts though, train the abs with frequency, consistency, good form/technique and intensity.” Always ask a PT or instructor at your gym to check you’re doing the exercises right, otherwise you could risk pain in your lower back or neck.”

    Try today: flutter kicks

    Used in the military due to their effectiveness, flutter kicks will really get that tummy tightened. Start by lying flat on your back on a mat with your arms by your sides. Extend your legs fully out and lift your heels about six inches off the floor. Make small, rapid up and down scissor-like motions with your legs.

Interesting (and frustrating!) facts about fat

  • Unfortunately, you’re not imagining it, it’s scientific fact that certain areas of your body are willing to give up their fat stores, while some are more stubborn, holding on for as long as they can.
  • Women have three to five times more of an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) that stimulates fat storage in their lower body than their upper body.
  • Women also tend to have around five percent more body fat than men do, and lose it at a slower rate.

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Phoebe Haig