10 Exercises for a Bikini Ready Body - Tone and Tighten In Time for Summer

10 Exercises for a Bikini Ready Body - Tone and Tighten In Time for Summer

Tone and tighten the major muscle groups for a great summertime body with these 10 easy exercises. Each one of these moves targets a major muscle group, providing an effective total body workout that can be done at home or in a gym.

  1. Side Hip Raises - This exercise will sculpt thighs and core muscles. Lie on the side of the body with legs bent, propping the body up on one forearm. Lift the top leg while raising hips off the floor. Abdominal muscles should be contracted throughout the motion, and the legs should always remain parallel with each other. Slightly lower the hips until they are about one inch from the ground. Repeat 15 times on each side, exhaling as the hips are raised up and inhaling as the hips are lowered back down.
  2. Lying Hip Raises - Lie on a mat, face up, knees bent, and feet parallel. Contract the glute muscles and hamstrings to lift hips off the mat. Hold the contraction before lowering the hips down until they are about an inch off the ground. Repeat 15 times, exhaling as the hips are raised up and inhaling as the hips are lowered back down. Rest for a few minutes and then do another set of 15 repetitions.
  3. Ball Hamstring Curl - Sculpt hamstrings by laying face up on a mat, with bottoms of the feet on a stability ball. Raise hips up in the air until they are in line with the rest of the body. Contract hamstring muscles to roll the ball inwards, then roll back out. Hips should be raised up as high as possible, always keeping feet, knees, and hips parallel. Repeat 15 times, breathing in as the ball is rolled inwards and breathing out as the ball is rolled away. Rest for a few minutes and do another set of 15 repetitions.
  4. Jumping Lunges - Sculpt the entire leg from toe to hip by standing, with back towards a chair or bench. Place hands on hips or hold dumbbells. Step one leg out and put the toe of the back leg on the chair. Keep the back toe on the chair, lunge down, and then jump up. Ensure that the landing is soft by moving slowly and smoothly through the foot and then go right into another lunge. Inhale during the lunge down, and exhale during the jump up. Repeat this movement 10 times on each leg.
  5. Lying Ball Raise - To sculpt the glutes, lie on a mat face down. Legs should be stretched out and toes pointed in. Squeeze a small stability ball between the ankles while keeping legs stretched. Contract the glute muscles to raise the ball off the ground a few inches. Make sure the upper body remains still the entire time and stay focused on the lower body movements. The forehead should rest on the hands during this exercise. Lower the ball until it is about a half inch off the ground. Exhale during the leg lifts, and inhale as the legs are lowered. Repeat this exercise 15 times. Take a rest. Then do another set of 15 exercises.
  6. Ab Circles With Ball - To work the entire mid-section, sit on an exercise ball so that the lower back is supported by the ball. Place hands on the sides of the head and bend to one side. Arch the back and move in a complete circle through a side bend to the left and back to the starting position. Complete 10 circles going from left to right and 10 going from right to left. Inhale during the first half of the exercise, and exhale during the rest of it.
  7. Single Leg Squats - This also tones and tightens the gluteus muscles. Place hands on hips, stand on one leg, and rest the toes of the lifted leg lightly on the side of the supported foot for balance. Arch the lower back and keep eyes and chest up. Make sure the knee never goes beyond the front toe. All of the muscles of the supporting leg should do all the work of squatting and then slowly rising back to a standing position, all while squeezing the glute muscles. Exhale during the squat and inhale during the standing up motion. Do 20 repetitions on each leg.
  8. Ab Curl With Ball - To work the abs, hip flexors, and inner thighs, lie on a mat face up. Bend legs and squeeze a ball between the knees. Place hands on the side of the head and contract the abdomen while curling the head and shoulders up off the ground. At the same time, raise the legs off the ground towards the upper body. Release until the legs are a few inches away from the ground and repeat the motion 30 times. Rest and then do another set of 30. Exhale during the curl and inhale during the release.
  9. Seated Row - To work the back, sit on a mat with legs straight out and flexed. Place a resistance band around the bottoms of the feet and hold one end in each hand. Squeeze the muscles of the middle back to bring the hands inwards towards the chest. During the movement, elbows should be close to the body, with head lifted and chest open. Then release slowly while still holding the resistance. Exhale while the hands come towards the chest and inhale as the hands are released. Repeat this motion 15 times. Rest. Then repeat another 15 times.
  10. Plank - This is a core exercise that will also tone and tighten the entire body. Get down on hands and knees on a mat. Then get into a plank position by straightening legs out and balancing on the balls of the feet while resting on the forearms. The entire body should be parallel to the ground. Inhale and exhale slowly while concentrating on keeping all abdominal muscles toned and tightened. The goal is to hold this position for one minute. Do this as many times as possible and comfortable.

These exercises should be done at least three times a week to tone and tighten muscles. For optimum results, add in a one-minute burst of cardio between each exercise, like running on the treadmill, jumping jacks, or stair running. Don't forget to stretch before and after the exercise session to keep muscles lean and long, encourage flexibility, and to prevent injury.

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