DOES the thought of squeezing into last year’s swimwear fill you with dread? You’re not alone. In fact, 79% of women say they’re not body-confident in a bikini.
But thanks to this 10-minute toning workout from personal trainer to the stars Richard Thomas, the only excess baggage you’ll be carrying this summer is a suitcase for your incredible holiday wardrobe.
Getty Images Feel confident and make sure you don’t hide behind your towel this summer with these great exercises
How it works
“These exercises are based on the BALS technique – back, arms, legs and stomach – for a full-body workout,” explains Richard.
“Do the routine three times a week and in four weeks you’ll have more defined muscles and be strong enough to lift your own body weight.
“Up the frequency to daily and you could see results in just a week. Each exercise complements the one before, so do them in the order shown.
“Fitness isn’t about how far you can run, it’s about how long it takes you to recover from activity, so gradually increase the exercise periods and decrease your rest time.”
- Beginner level: One round (45 seconds exercise, 15 seconds recovery)
- Intermediate: Two rounds (50 seconds exercise, 10 seconds recovery)
- Advanced: Three rounds (55 seconds exercise, five seconds recovery)
1 – Prisoner squats
This exercise warms you up by working all your big muscle groups, including your quads.
Bill McConkey Keep your hands behind your head for the Prisoner Squat
Start with your hands behind your ears, elbows out to your side (imagine a police officer has asked you to put your hands behind your head – hence the name of the exercise).
This will avoid the rounded shoulders you get if you squat hands-on-hips.Spread your feet at a distance of around half the width of your hips, toes pointing forward and knees in line with toes.
Engage your core, and bring your bum down towards the floor. Aim for a full range of movement as you move back up, without locking your knees.
2 – Prisoner lunges
Use the prisoner squat position to start, then simply step forward, alternating each leg.
Just before your back knee touches the floor, reverse into a standing position.
Bill McConkey Same goes for the Prisoner Lunge – make sure your arms stay firmly behind your head
Ensure your knees are in line with your toes. Don’t bang your knee against the floor – it should never hit the ground.
3 – Planks
Beginner option: the three-quarter plank.
Place forearms and palms flat on the floor, knees in contact with the floor. Without arching your back, concentrate on pulling your belly button toward the base of your spine. Add in leg raises, lifting your heel to the ceiling, alternating legs.
Bill McConkey The humble plank can do wonders for your abs
Intermediate/advanced option: full plank position
As above but starting with your knees off the floor, on your toes. You’ll work not only your core, but also your glutes.
4 – The Superwoman
On your hands and knees, lift your left arm and your right leg together, then return to starting position. Alternate sides.
Keep your arm straight – your ear should be by your shoulder, not angled outwards.
Bill McConkey Unleash your inner superwoman with this super easy move
Keep your stomach engaged, back flat and chin up. Don’t look at the floor and drop your head as this will cause neck strain.
5 – Press-ups
Rest on your knees with your feet raised in the air. Place your arms at 11/2 times the width of your shoulders – if they’re too far apart your deltoid (shoulder) muscles will be doing all the work, and if they’re too close together you’ll only be activating your triceps.
Think about lowering your chest to the floor, rather than worrying about your arms.
Bill McConkey Don’t underestimate the power of the humble press-up
Elbows should go outwards so your upper body creates a square. Come down far enough so you make a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Keep your chin tucked into your chest.
Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
Want an intermediate/advanced option? Go up on to your toes, knees off the floor.
6 – Hip bridges
Lie with your back flat to the floor, knees bent and feet flat, heels as close to your bum as possible. If your feet are too far away you’ll arch your back as you lift.
Keep your hands by your sides, palms pressed to the ground, and lift your hips and lower back off the floor so you’re resting your weight on your shoulders and the top of your back.
Bill McConkey You’ll have a bottom to die for with this move
Pull in your stomach and clench your glutes.
Repeat, and to make it harder, hold the raised hip position while lifting one leg off the floor for around 20-25 seconds each side.
7 – Crunches
Place hands above your head with elbows out to the side, legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
Bill McConkey Get crunching if you want to feel a million dollars on holiday
Move your upper body up 45 degrees, then back down. To avoid neck strain, imagine you’re holding a ball between your chin and your chest.
Breathe out as you come up and in as you come down (or instead of a flat tummy you’ll get a bloated look).
8 – Love-handle twists
In the same starting position as the hip bridge, with feet close to your glutes, bring your right elbow towards your left knee.
Alternate, crossing over each time to work the oblique muscles at the sides of your core.
Bill McConkey We’re willing to try anything that will banish our love-handles
For an advanced version, take your feet off the floor before bringing your right elbow towards your left knee.
9 – Raise & curl
Lie on your back, hands by your side, then raise your legs to 90 degrees.
Bill McConkey This move is super easy to master
To work your lower abdominals, push knees towards your shoulders, rolling your hips off the floor and tucking your knees in towards your chest.
To avoid a gap between your knees, imagine you have a ball in-between them that you have to squeeze.
10 – Dorsal raise
On your stomach, place your hands beneath your chin, elbows out to the side.Keep your feet on the ground and raise your upper body.
Make sure you keep your chin and hands together. To make it harder, raise your legs as well.
To finish off your workout, hold child’s pose – sitting on your heels and leaning forward, arms outstretched – for 20-30 seconds.
- Get comfortable
- Use a yoga mat on a hardwood floor, or lay a towel on top of carpet.
- Add some cardio to make it harder
- Do 10 seconds of star jumps or mountain climbers between each exercise.
- Up your protein levels
- Aim for protein with every meal: eggs for brekkie, a chickpea salad for lunch and a 70g steak at dinner will help build muscle.
Insta-wow kit alert
Since you’ve saved money by working out at home, here’s our ultimate lust-worthy selection of gym buys to splash out on.
The Alphabounce is the ultimate cross-trainer, with cushioning for extra support and flexibility, plus a mesh top that stretches easily as you move
- Trainers, £75.95, Adidas – buy now
Whether you’re hitting the gym or just heading to the park, drinking out of plastic is so 2017. This copper-coloured stainless-steel bottle is what every stylish gym kit needs
- Water bottle, £15, Marks & Spencer – buy now
Gone are the days of keeping ugly weights hidden away – these glam beauties give new meaning to ‘Insta gold’
- Dumb-bells, from £45 for two, Liftingpretty.co.uk – buy now
The only stars you want to see when you’re boxing! These 12oz 100% leather gloves are not only stylish, they’re brilliant quality – the result of years of testing and research by a Muay Thai champ
- Boxing gloves, £69, Fab by Fabienne – buy now
With a high waist, four-way stretch and breathable mesh, these are super-comfy. Plus, they’re shrink- and fade-resistant – so they’ll still look good no matter how many times you wash them
- Leggings, £60, Bellum – buy now
Stockists: Adidas (Adidas.co.uk), Bellum (Bellumaactive.co.uk), Fab by Fabienne (Fashercise.com), Fitbit (Argos.co.uk), Marks & Spencer (Marksandspencer.com).
Source: Women’s Health UK.
Fitness blogger Jelly Devote films her workout routines to inspire others