9 Total-Body Exercises that Tone Your Arms, Abs, and Butt
Best Exercises to Tone Arms and Legs (and Much, Much More)
Why waste hours toiling away on one little muscle at a time when you can target three in one fell swoop? Enter this workout, demonstrated by NYC-based fitness coach Chrissy King. Make these multi-tasking exercises to tone arms and legs and abs a mainstay of your workout: Each one simultaneously hits your arms, abs, and glutes, so you’ll get total-body results in a fraction of the workout time. (Madonna loves compound moves too!)
All you need for these exercises to tone arms and legs—and much more—is a mat, a Swiss ball, and some dumbbells. (Related: Affordable Home Gym Equipment to Complete Any At-Home Workout)
Glute Bridge with Dumbbell Fly
A. Lie face-up with knees bent and feet flat on the floor about 12 inches away from hips. Holding a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand, extend arms upward, keeping wrists aligned with shoulders and palms facing in. Push into heels and lift glutes and lower back off the mat, keeping core engaged and spine neutral.
B. Slowly lower hips to hover just above the mat while opening arms out wide toward the floor in a dumbbell fly. Draw arms back together while lifting hips to return to starting position of this exercise to tone arms and legs.
Do 12 to 15 reps.
Bulgarian Split Squat with Lateral Raise
A. Stand on right foot approximately 3 feet in front of a bench with top of left foot on the bench. Hold a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand by sides, palms facing in.
B. Slowly bend right leg into a lunge, keeping right heel on the ground and right knee in line with the second toe of the right foot. Leaning forward just slightly, raise left arm out to side until elbow is in line with shoulder. Slowly lower arm and press leg back up to starting position, keeping core engaged.
Do 12 to 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
A. Lie face-up with left knee bent, right leg extended, right arm extended by side, palm facing down, holding a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell in left hand with arm extended overhead. Engage core and use right hand to sit up, first moving to right forearm then pressing up to right palm, while keeping left arm extended overhead.
B. Push hips off the ground using the left leg and right arm.
C. In a quick, controlled movement, swing right leg under body into a half-kneeling position with left foot forward and right knee on the ground.
D. Still holding left arm overhead, stand up and step right foot next to left. Reverse the sequence to return to starting position. (Pair these exercises to tone legs and arms with our 30-day cardio HIIT challenge to get your heart pumping.)
Do 6 to 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Reverse Lunge with Front Raise
A. Stand with feet together, holding a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand at sides, palms facing in. Step back with right foot into a split-stance position.
B. Slowly bend both knees into a lunge with right knee just a few inches above the ground. With core engaged, leaning forward just slightly, raise right arm in-line with shoulder while turning right thumb upward slightly (externally rotating the shoulder helps reduce potential strain in the shoulder joint).
C. Slowly lower the arm and step right foot next to left to return to start. (Discover why the reverse lunge is one of the best exercises for your butt and thighs.)
Do 12 to 15 reps; repeat on opposite side.
Donkey Kick with Single-Arm Row
A. Start all fours with knees below hips and wrists below shoulders, holding a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand.
B. Keeping shoulders squared to mat, draw left elbow straight back until the dumbbell is next to chest. Lower left arm to starting position.
C. Slowly right left leg, keeping knee bent and pressing sole of foot upward. Keep hips squared to mat and core engaged to avoid sagging or arching back. Slowly lower knee to return to start.
Do 12 to 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat.
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes angled out slightly, holding a 15-pound dumbbell in each hand just above shoulders, palms facing in. Engage core and bend knees to lower into a squat, hinging at hips.
B. Stand up while extending arms overhead, elbows pointed to 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Reverse the movement to return to starting position.
Do 16 to 20 reps.
Curtsy Lunge with Hammer Curl
A. Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 10- to 15-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.
B. Step right foot back behind left. Bend both knees and lower into a curtsy lunge while bending elbows and raising the ends of dumbbells toward shoulders. Reverse the movement to return to start. Repeat the exercise to tone arms and legs on the opposite side.
Do 16 to 20 reps, alternating sides each rep.
A. Start in plank position with hands shoulder-width apart and tops of feet resting on a bench. Keeping core engaged and spine aligned, bend elbows and lower chest to a few inches above the ground.
B. Reverse the movement, pushing through palms to straighten elbows.
Optional: Add a leg lift. At the top of the push-up, lift one leg off the bench, keeping hips squared and core engaged to avoid arching back. Lower leg to starting position. Repeat with opposite leg.
Do 8 to 12 reps, alternating legs each rep.
Stability Ball Curl with Skull Crusher
A. Lie face-up with calves and heels resting on a Swiss ball. Holding a 10-pound dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in, extend arms upward, keeping wrists aligned with shoulders. Engage core and slowly lift hips without arching back, pressing lower legs and heels into the ball for added stability.
B. In a controlled movement, bend knees and draw the ball toward hips until soles of feet rest on the ball while bending elbows to draw dumbbells beside ears. Reverse the movement to return to starting position. (Now that you've finished all these exercises to tone arms and legs, don't forget a cooldown!)
Do 10 to 12 reps.