10-Minute Toners: Lower-Body Routine

Ten minutes are all you need to tighten and tone your lower body.

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Experts have long said that even short periods of exercise can boost heart health. Now there’s new proof. According to a study of postmenopausal women, just 10 minutes a day can help improve cardiovascular health. Quick stints "have a dual beneficial effect," says cardiologist Peter Diamond, MD, of the University of Illinois Medical Center. "They improve lean muscle mass, which helps the body burn more calories, and the aerobic activity promotes fat burning." Heart disease risk increases after 40, so this simple, effective, two-for-one workout is twice as smart now. See below for additional 10-minute sequences.

 

Workout Details
Time it takes: 10 minutes. Set a timer for one minute, repeat the first move until the bell rings, then reset the timer and do the next move for a minute, and then the next. Continue until you’ve exercised for 10 minutes. If you have 20 minutes to spare, add a second sequence (see below). String all three together for a 30-minute, full-body workout.

How often: Do at least one sequence every day. A few times a week, combine two or three sequences for a longer workout, or do two or three separate 10-minute sessions over the course of a day. To keep your heart rate up, rest for no more than 20 seconds between exercises.

See results: You will feel stronger after one week, and notice tighter muscle tone in six weeks.

Complementary workouts: Do at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise, such as walking or jumping rope, three to five times a week.

Equipment needed: An egg timer, a towel, a pair of light dumbbells (3 to 5 pounds each; $12 to $17 per pair) and a fitness ball ($15 to $20). A soccer ball or basketball will also work.

 

Additional sequences:
10-Minute Core Routine

10-Minute Upper-Body Routine

 

Shop online for equipment

 

Originally published in MORE magazine, December 2007/January 2008.

Mustafa Deliormanli

Glute Bridges, part 1 of 3

Works the back of the thighs and the butt

Lying on your back, place your heels on a fitness ball. Rest your arms by your sides, palms down. Straighten your legs and lift your hips.

photos: Chris Fanning

Glute Bridges, part 2 of 3

Keeping your spine neutral, draw the ball toward you as you bend your knees.

photos: Chris Fanning

Glute Bridges, part 3 of 3

Squeeze your butt as you lift your hips. Return to start. Repeat.

Trainer Tip: Don’t arch your back. Instead, lengthen it. This forces your glutes to support your lower back.

photos: Chris Fanning

Kick and Curl, part 1 of 2

Works the butt and core

Start on all fours. Resting on your forearms, bring your hands together and bend your left knee.

photos: Chris Fanning

Kick and Curl, part 2 of 2

Lift your left leg, then kick it back to align it with your spine. Return to start. Switch sides. Repeat.

photos: Chris Fanning

Single-Leg Touchdown, part 1 of 2

Works hips, butt and core

In a standing position, bend your elbows and place your fists in front of your chest. Bend your right knee, shifting your weight to your left foot.

photos: Chris Fanning

Single-Leg Touchdown, part 2 of 2

Bend forward as you kick the bent (right) leg behind you, and extend your right hand to the floor. Return to start. Switch sides and repeat.

Additional sequences:
10-Minute Core Routine

10-Minute Upper-Body Routine

Originally published in MORE magazine, December 2007/January 2008.

photos: Chris Fanning

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