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Home Exercises for Toning the Arms, Back, Belly & Love Handles

by 
author image Jody Braverman
Jody Braverman is a professional writer and editor based in Atlanta. She studied creative writing at the American University of Paris and received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. She also received personal trainer certification from NASM and her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks.
Home Exercises for Toning the Arms, Back, Belly & Love Handles
Home Exercises for Toning the Arms, Back, Belly & Love Handles Photo Credit: fizkes/iStock/GettyImages

If your busy schedule is getting in the way of your fitness goals, here's a big time-saver: Skip the gym and work out at home. You don't need fancy equipment to tone your arms, back, belly and love handles. In the same amount of time it takes you to travel to the gym and back, you can do a few sets of several different exercises to target these areas and more.

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1. Push-Ups

With just one bodyweight exercise, you can tone your arms, shoulders, chest, back and midsection.

HOW TO DO IT: Start in push-up position, with your hands on the ground a little wider than your shoulders, your abs contracted and your body in one straight line from shoulders to heels. Slowly lower your chest toward the ground, bending the elbows out to the sides and not allowing your hips to sag or pike up. Just before your chest touches, press back up to straight arms. Repeat.

Make the exercise easier by lowering your knees to the ground or placing your hands on a step or bench to elevate your upper body. Increase the challenge by elevating your feet.

Doing diamond push-ups, with the hands close together, increases the challenge for your triceps.

Clapping push-ups, in which you explode off the ground, clapping your hands under your chest before landing and coming down into your next push-up, build explosive strength and power.

2. Pull-ups

A pull-up bar is a great tool to have at home for quick back and biceps workouts.

HOW TO DO IT: Grasp the handles of the pull-up bar with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width. Pull your body up until your chin passes the bar, then slowly lower down until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.

You can make the exercise easier by doing pull-up negatives, in which you only do the descending phase of the pull-up. To do this, pull a chair in front of the pull-up bar. Stand on the chair, grasp the bar and start with your chin over the bar. Hold there as you lift your feet up, then using your arm and back strength, slowly lower down toward the floor. Step back on the chair and repeat.

Read more: The 20 Best Body-Weight Exercises

3. Inverted Row

This exercise works the upper back and arms. It's an excellent way to prepare your body to do pull-ups. All you need is a sturdy table or bar with clearance underneath.

HOW TO DO IT: Position your body under the table facing up. Grasp the edge of the table with an overhand grip wider than shoulder width. The edge of the table should be right over your chest.

Extend your arms fully and contract your core. Keep your body in one straight line from ankles to shoulders. Slowly pull your chest up to the table edge, bending your elbows out to the side. Lower back down with control. Repeat.

Make the exercise easier by bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the floor. Increase the challenge by keeping your legs straight and lifting one leg off the floor.

How long can you hold plank?
How long can you hold plank? Photo Credit: jacoblund/iStock/GettyImages

4. Front Plank

Static planks work your abs and love handles, as well as as your chest, arms and the fronts of your thighs.

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your stomach. Prop yourself up on your forearms, with your elbows under your shoulders. Tuck your toes and lift your lower body up in line with your shoulders. Contract your core muscles and don't allow your hips to sag or pike up. Slightly puff up through the shoulder blades. Hold for as long as you can, then rest. Repeat.

5. Russian Twist

This torso-twisting move works all your core muscles — lower back, obliques and abs. You can do it without weight or grab a household object such as a jug of laundry detergent to make it more challenging.

HOW TO DO IT: Sit on the ground with your legs extended. Tilt your torso back to about 45 degrees and lift your legs up. Bend your knees so your shins are parallel to the floor. Contract your core and take any rounding out of your lower back; keep a straight spine throughout.

Extend your arms out in front of you, holding your weighted object if desired. Rotate your torso to to one side, bringing your hands over to that side and down toward the ground. Keep your lower body stable. Return to center and rotate to the other side. Repeat.

Read more: The Best At-Home Weight-Loss Exercises

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