If you've recently lost weight or had a baby, you may have noticed more sagging skin on your body than you'd like to see. While it's not possible to actually tighten skin with exercise, it is possible to build metabolically active, lean muscle underneath the skin, which can help give the appearance of tighter skin. In addition, increased lean muscle will help to boost your overall calorie burn around the clock and give your body a more defined shape. This workout will help you build lean muscle mass. For best results, use a set of dumbbells heavy enough to make performing your last rep with good form very difficult. (I recommend anywhere from three- to 25-pound dumbbells, depending on your level. Try this workout up to four non-consecutive days per week.
1. Bicep Curl to Overhead Press
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Curl the weights in front of your shoulders with palms facing the ceiling. Immediately press weights overhead with the palms facing forward. Lower back down with control. Perform 15 reps.
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2. Reverse Lunges
Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, holding dumbbells. Take a wide step back with your left foot and lower into a lunge, bending both knees about 90 degrees. (Try to bring your right thigh parallel to the floor.) Keep your torso upright. Step the left foot forward, and return to standing with both feet together. Do 20 alternating reps.
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Begin in a full plank with your abs engaged. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and keep your feet together. Bend your elbows out to the sides, and lower your body toward the floor. Avoid letting your lower back sag, and try to line up the midline of your chest between your thumbs as you lower and lift. Do up to 15 reps with good form. (Modify on knees if needed.)
4. Alternating-Arm Bent-Over Row
Begin with your torso at a 45-degree angle to the floor, knees slightly bent, arms out in front of you, holding dumbbells. Row your right elbow up and back toward your side. Lower your right arm back down and perform a rep on the left side. Do 30 reps, alternating sides with each rep.
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5. Sumo Squat
Stand with your feet wide. Holding dumbells in your hands, turn your toes and knees out slightly (about 45-degrees.) Bend your knees out over your toes. Push your hips back and lower your torso toward the floor as your arms reach down to the ground. Return to start. Do 20 reps.
6. Farmer's Walk
Stand with your feet together. Pull your abs in tight and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Take up to 25 steps forward while maintaining good posture.
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Stand with your feet hip width, your knees slightly bent. Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing body. Keeping spine naturally straight, hinge forward from hips, reaching dumbbells toward the floor. (Avoid going lower than shin level to maintain a flat back.) Return to start. Do 20 reps.
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8. Chest Press
Lie face up on your back with your knees bent. Please your feet on the floor hip width apart. Holding dumbbells in your hands, position your arms bent out to sides of shoulders at 90 degrees, in the shape of goal posts. Extend your arms straight up toward the ceiling, pressing weights above center of your chest. Return to start. Do 20 reps.
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9. Side Lunges
Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides, holding dumbbells. Take a wide step out to the side with your left foot, bending your knee, pressing hips back and reaching weights down to either side of your left leg, to lower into a side lunge. Return to start. Do 20 reps. Repeat on opposite side.
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10. Alternating Biceps Curls
Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart, your arms by sides, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your right elbow and perform a biceps curl, rotating palms up as you lift the weights. (Avoid letting weights touch your body.) Return to start and repeat on with the left arm. Do 20 reps total, alternating with each rep.
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11. Bent-Over Triceps Kickback
Begin by bending forward slightly so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor and your knees are slightly bend. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows and draw your arms up by side, with your palm facing in. Extend your left hand back, reaching the dumbbell back behind your hip. Bend your elbow back into your side to complete one rep. Do 15 reps and repeat on the opposite side.
12. Inchworm Walkout
Begin standing. Bend over and slowly "walk" your hands forward until you are in a plank position. Make sure that your body is in a straight line from head to feet and that your hips aren't sagging. Walk back to the starting position to complete one rep. Do five reps total.
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What Do YOU Think?
Have you tried this workout yet? What did you think? What were some of your favorite moves? Which ones were the most challenging? Do you have any other moves you rely on to build lean muscle and tone and tighten all over? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!
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