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29 Ways to Tone Up at the Beach

Sand Sprints

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Warm up by running a few laps up and down in the sand. When you're ready, mark off a distance by using two landmarks or by drawing a line in the sand. Sprint from one to the next—aim to have each sprint last 12-30 seconds, with a ten-second rest between each one. The resistance from the sand makes these so much harder than regular sprints so you'll feel them quickly. Tip: Running barefoot is a lot different than running with shoes on. Focus on not striking with your heel first.

V-Up with Ball Pass

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Work your abs and your inner thighs by starting on your back with a beach ball between your hands. Sit up in a "V" position, bringing your legs close enough to pass the ball to your feet. Lower back down and repeat, passing the ball from your feet back to your hands. Tip: If lifting your upper and lower body together is too much at first (it's a little like patting your head and rubbing your tummy), do one first and then the other.

V Push-Up on Ball

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Using the ball to lift your feet up allows you to move your center of gravity more over your shoulders. Normal push-ups work your chest first and then your shoulders but these target just your shoulders. Sleeveless tops, hurray! Tip: If the beach ball is too unstable (and trust me, it was h-a-r-d to get my balance on that thing), put your feet up on something solid like a bench.

Towel Pull-Downs

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Wrap a towel around a sign post or tree trunk at about chest height. Cross one arm over the other and lean back until your arms are straight. Keeping your arms straight, pull down towards your thighs. You should feel this in the fronts of your shoulders. Switch which arm is on top every five reps. Tip: Although this is a very small movement, you should still really feel the burn. If you need more resistance, move your feet closer to the sign. Less? Farther away!

Toe Taps on Ball

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You might remember this fast-paced move that's both cardio and a good quad burner from your middle-school soccer days, but adding the sand ups the intensity. Stand with the ball in front of you and then as quickly as you can jump one foot up, lightly tapping toe on the ball. Quickly switch to the other leg. Tip: Make your arms look way cooler than mine do. I don't know why I did that. Spider! Eeek!

Walking Push-Ups Over Towel

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Laying face down on your towel, place your right hand out in a wide push-up position and your left leg off the side of your towel. Push up, keeping your left arm close to your ribs. You should feel this in the chest on your right side, your tricep/shoulder on the left, your butt on the left and your quad on the right. Your abs will be burning too. Multitasking! Tip: Don't forget to alternate which arm and leg go out with each rep.

Glute Bridge on Ball with Leg Lift

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I've never met a curl machine that worked my hamstrings and butt better than this move! Lay on your back with your ball under your heels. Lift your butt as high as you can and pull the ball in towards you. Without dropping your hips, raise one leg. Roll the ball back out and back in with leg still extended. Tip: Too tough? Keep both heels on the ball.

Back Extension on Ball

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Work your low back by laying on your tummy over the ball. Raise your arms out in front of you and then lift your upper body as high as you can go. Hold for 30 seconds before releasing. Tip: Don't hunch through your shoulders; keep all the work in your back.

Water Run

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Not just for Baywatch babes anymore! Water jogging or running not only keeps you cool but the water adds extra resistance, making you work harder. The deeper you go, the harder it will be. Tip: Keep good form and stay alert so you don't trip over seaweed, rocks, or small children. Red tank swimsuit optional.

Reverse Plank on Ball

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Sit with your feet on a beach ball and your hands directly under your shoulders. Push up into a reverse plank position (stomach facing up). Hold for 15 seconds then release. You'll feel this in your core, sure, but also your butt and shoulders. Tip: Jennie makes this look easy, but getting your body into a straight line is tough. It's a constant effort to keep those hips up!

Triceps Dip with Feet on Ball

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Follow the directions for the reverse plank but add a triceps dip at the top. Tip: Keep your elbows in close to your body as you raise and lower.

Russian Twist with Ball

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Sitting on your towel, bend your knees and lift your legs into tabletop position. Hold the beach ball and twist from side to side, touching the ball to the ground each time. This really works your abs and posture. Tip: Don't round your back. Sit up straight, young lady!

Glute Bridge with Ball

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Lay on your back with your knees bent. Place the ball between your knees and squeeze! The fun doesn't stop with your inner thighs: Lift your hips as high as you can and squeeze your glutes. Hold for 15 seconds. Tip: This will look like pelvic thrusting. Yes, I know you're in public. I'm sorry.

Crunches on Ball

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Regular crunches get harder when you do them on a ball. Tip: The lower you position the ball down your back, the harder it will be. 

Uneven Squat with Ball

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To really isolate the quad and glute of each leg, stand with feet shoulder width apart and place one foot lightly on a ball. About 75-percent of your weight should be on your supporting leg. Squat down to parallel and return to standing. Switch legs every 10 reps. Tip: Don't rest your hands on your legs!

Ball Slam with Catch

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Hold a ball over your head (a playground type ball works best, but you can do it with a beach ball) and throw it as hard as you can at the ground. Catch it before it bounces again. Unless you have perfect aim, you'll be running all over the place and that's half the fun!

Air Squat with Ball

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Air squats are a staple in the gym—and rightly so as they work your quads and butt like nobody's business—but they are 10 times harder on the unstable sand. With the ball positioned behind you, squat down just until your tush touches it. Stand back up. Tip: Start by pushing your booty way out, as if you're going to sit on a chair.

Isometric Towel Row

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Just because you're not moving, don't think you aren't working hard! Isolate your upper back muscles by standing on a rolled-up towel with one foot. Grasp ends firmly with both hands. Keeping elbows close to your sides, pull up on the towel as hard as you can. Tip: Keep your chest up and your back straight. No camels!

Bird Dog with Ball Extension

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Challenge your balance on the sand by kneeling on all fours on your towel. Lift your right arm straight up and your left leg straight back. Then slowly shift each one out to the side. Really feeling on top of your game? Hold the ball in your extended hand. Tip: Keep your back straight and don't lift your back leg any higher than your body.

Forward Lunge with Ball Twist

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Lunges feeling stale? Try them on the sand and it's a whole new exercise. Standing with both feet together, step forward with one leg, bending both knees at a 90 degree angle. Lower down just until your back knee touches the ground. Holding the ball, twist over your bent leg. Stand back up and switch legs.

Y Shoulder Raise

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Loop your towel around a sign or tree as high as you can get it. Grasp both ends and lean back until arms are straight out in front of you. Pull yourself up to standing but keep your arms straight. You should look like a capital Y. Tip: Don't bend at your hips. Keep your whole body in a straight line.

Towel-Assisted Pistol Squat

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One-legged squats are a hard move, but nothing works my butt better. Try this towel-assisted move to get all the butt-lifting benefits without falling on your backside. Wrap a towel around a tree or sign at waist height. With one leg straight out in front of you, squat down on your supporting leg until parallel to the ground. Tip: Use your arms as little as necessary.

Push-Up with Feet on Ball

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Sure, you've done push-ups before. You've probably even tried decline push-ups (with your feet on something), but the sand makes this an entirely new move. Honestly, it took about 5 tries before I could get stable enough to take the picture! Tip: Keep your shoulders flat and your head in line with your spine.

Towel Hops in Sand

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Roll your towel and lay it on the sand. Keeping your feet together, hop side to side over the towel. When you reach the end, go backwards. This not only gets your heart rate up, but the sand makes your legs work extra hard in this plyometric move. Tip: Lay your towel flat for a real challenge.

Towel Long Jump

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Lay your towel flat on the sand. Starting from two feet, jump as far as you can. Start by jumping the width of your towel and then try the length. Tip: Swinging your arms isn't cheating!

Lunge Step Over

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Starting with both feet together, take a large step forward with one foot (about the width of your towel). Lunge down until your back knee just touches the sand. Push off with your back leg and step over the towel. Step back with the opposite leg into a lunge. Push off with your front foot, stepping over the towel and bringing your feet back together. Tip: Don't let your front knee go out over your toes.

Biceps Curl with Towel

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Wrap a towel around a sign or tree at about head height. Grabbing both ends of the towel, lean back until your arms are straight. Contract your biceps and use your arms to pull you back up. Tip: Don't let your elbows drop below shoulder height.

Triceps Extension with Towel

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With that same towel still looped around the sign or tree, turn so you are facing away. Lean forward until your arms are slightly behind you. Bend your elbows and use your triceps to bring your body back up. Tip: Keep your elbows in close and don't extend your arms too far back (unless you're double jointed and planning a circus career).

Bulgarian Split Squat on Ball

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Normal split squats are hard. These are ridiculous (in a good way!). Between the instability of the sand and the ball, I had to use every muscle in my body just to avoid a face plant. (Okay so I did fall over. A few times.) I've never had anything work my butt harder in a shorter amount of time than this one. With your back foot on the beach ball, lunge down. Return to standing. Switch legs. Tip: Clap for yourself; you deserve it.


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