10-Minute Toners: Upper-Body Routine

Three exercises to tone your upper body in 10 minutes flat.
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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. Choose sequence A, B, or C. 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":http://www.more.com/preview/2027/3780-10-minute-toners-core-routine#1 "10-Minute Lower-Body Routine":http://www.more.com/preview/2027/3608-10-minute-toners-lower-body-routine#1 "Shop online for equipment":http://www.isokineticsinc.com/ Originally published in MORE magazine, December 2007/January 2008.
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Shoulder Strengthener, part 1 of 2

Works core and shoulders

Place a folded towel on the floor, and assume the plank position by resting your weight equally on your toes and hands, with your arms straight, your hands shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Place your left hand on the towel.

Photos by Chris Fanning

Shoulder Strengthener, part 2 of 2

Pulling in your abs and keeping your back raised, trace a circle on the floor with your left hand. Switch sides. Repeat until one minute has passed.

Photos by Chris Fanning

Open Pull, part 1 of 2

Works the chest and shoulders

Stand facing a pole or beam, and wrap a towel around it. Holding both ends in your right hand, and a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in your left hand, raise the towel to shoulder height. Then raise the dumbbell to meet the towel.

Photos by Chris Fanning

Open Pull, part 2 of 2

Pulling on the towel as you squat, turn to the left and extend your left arm. Return to start and repeat. Don’t switch sides until the next one-minute set.

Trainer Tip Don’t rotate your hips. Keep them aligned with your knees so you don’t overextend your arm.

Photos by Chris Fanning

Crab Triceps Press, part 1 of 2

Works the shoulders and triceps

Start in a crabwalk position: Sit on the floor, then lift your hips so your weight is on your hands and feet. Point your fingers toward your heels.

Photos by Chris Fanning

Crab Triceps Press, part 2 of 2

Keeping your hips lifted, bend your elbows slightly. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to start. Repeat.

Additional sequences: "10-Minute Core Routine":http://www.more.com/preview/2027/3780-10-minute-toners-core-routine#1 "10-Minute Lower-Body Routine":http://www.more.com/preview/2027/3608-10-minute-toners-lower-body-routine#1

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

Photos by Chris Fanning

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