You want to thin out your limbs and flatten your belly. Sticking to a portion-controlled, mostly whole-foods diet along with adding the right exercise for slim arms and legs to promote fat burning and toning helps you lose weight to slim down your whole physique, including these trouble areas.
No targeted move will burn fat off your arms, legs or belly, as explained by the American Council on Exercise. But, cardio and strength training helps you lose total fat so you become leaner.
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Don't shy away from weights, either, for fear they'll build bulk rather than thin you out. Strength-training is a powerful metabolic stimulant that helps you burn more calories and lose fat.
Cardio Exercises for Slim Arms and Legs
Cardio activity is more likely to help you get a flat tummy and thin arms and legs than targeted arm circles, leg lifts and crunches. It helps you create a caloric deficit so that when your body senses it doesn't have enough calories to fuel your activity it reaches into your fat stores.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity each week, as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services.
While any cardio that gets your heart pumping will help you lose weight, go for the exercise to slim and tone arms or a leg slimming workout if that is your goal, to directly benefit your belly, arms and legs. Options include:
- Hiking on an incline
- Running or jogging
- Rowing on an ergometer
- Pedaling an elliptical trainer with arm poles
Vary the type you use to keep up the challenge and burn maximum calories. If your body becomes accustomed to one exercise, you'll become efficient and burn fewer calories.
Read more: An Easy Way to Get Thin Arms
Design a Circuit
You could spend hours at the gym, doing multiple individual exercises for slimmer arms and thighs. Or, make the most of your strength-training time by choosing exercises that combine arm, leg and ab muscles in one workout. Bonus: You also work other major muscle groups to create a lean physique.
Perform each of the following exercises as a circuit. Do each move for 60 seconds and quickly transition to the next, with just enough of a break to change equipment. Rest for one minute and then repeat the circuit two more times.
Read more: 60-Day Workout Plan
Plan to do this arm and leg slimming workout on non-consecutive days two or three times per week, such as Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
Move #1. Reverse Table Leg Lifts with Triceps Dips
- Sit with your knees bent and feet flat in the floor.
- Place your hands behind your hips about 3 to 6 inches, fingers facing your feet.
- Draw your abs into your spine and lift your hips up so you form a table with your torso.
- Keep your hands under your shoulders and feet under your knees.
- Bend your elbows to perform a triceps dip.
- Rise back up. Lift your right leg straight to the ceiling and lower.
- Repeat with the left leg.
- Do this combination for the whole minute.
Move #2. Dumbbell Side Lunge with Biceps Curls
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand alongside your hips.
- Lunge to the right.
- Bend the right knee and keep your left leg straight with both feet facing forward.
- Simultaneously curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders.
- Step back to center as you straighten your arms back along your sides.
- Repeat on the left side.
- Continue to alternate for the entire minute.
Move #3. Bridge with Triceps Extensions
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet planted and hip-distance apart.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Lift your hips to form a "bridge" from your knees to your shoulders.
- With your hips lifted, straighten your elbows to raise the dumbbells over your shoulders.
- Bend and extend your elbows so that the weight comes near your forehead.
Keep your hips lifted for the whole minute. When you bend your elbows, they should point straight up to the ceiling.
Move #4. Push-Up with Knee In
- Get into a push-up position balanced on your hands and toes.
- Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your feet hip-distance apart.
- Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
- Straighten the elbows and pull your right knee in to your right elbow.
- Return the foot to the floor for support.
- Do another push-up, rise and pull the left knee in to the left elbow.
- Alternate the moves for the whole minute.
Move #5. Plie Squats with Overhead Triceps Press
- Stand with your feet wider than your hips.
- Hold one dumbbell in both hands.
- Extend your arms overhead.
- Bend your knees into a plie squat; they should be over your heels. If not, open your feet wider.
- As you do the squat, also bend your elbows so the weight comes behind your head for a triceps extension.
- Straighten the elbows and the knees back to the starting position.
If you really want to feel the burn, add a minute of cardio between the exercises in the circuit. Examples include jumping jacks, a quick sprint on the treadmill, jump lunges or burpees.
You'll be doing high-intensity interval training, which helps to burn abdominal fat, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. It also helps slim and tone arms and legs.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss