There is an alternative to slogging it out at the gym because for your best body possible this summer we’ve found the exercises that really do work better than the rest. Proven by scientists (and not chosen by some celebrity trainer) these are the exercises that have been proven to work all our problem areas – bottom, stomach and arms – the hardest, guaranteeing that we get great muscle tone fast. By Dena Mohamed
Quadruped Hip Extensions AKA the Donkey Kick – firms the main buttock muscle and the smaller muscles that sculpt and lift the bottom.
Start on all fours with hands level under shoulders and knees level with hips. Keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees, lift one leg until the raised knee is level with hip and the thigh is parallel with the floor. Engage the bottom muscle and keep your foot flexed, raise and then lower your leg to the start position.
TIP: Keep the knee bent at a 90 degree angle and really focus on a controlled lift of the leg, and not just throwing it up and down.
Bicycle Crunch – works upper and lower abs, including side muscles, for a full workout.
Lie flat on the floor, with your hands beside your head and slowly bring your knees up towards your stomach (one at a time). While crunching forward touch your left elbow to your right knee and then alternate, touching your right elbow to left knee.
“Posture is key to a flat stomach – slumping means you then have to work harder to fully strengthen and elongate your abs again.”
Dr Peter Francis, PHD professor, Emeritus San Diego State University
TIP: Up the ante and do this lying on an exercise ball; spread your legs further apart, if you want to target those love handles move your feet closer together to work your core muscles.
Triangle Push-up – works the most muscles in your upper arms and relies on your own body weight, making it harder to cheat.
It’s the traditional push-up but place thumbs and forefingers together to make a triangle. Keep your head aligned with your spine and your hands positioned underneath the shoulders. Place your feet together with toes facing towards your shins (or start by resting on your knees to make it easier).
Working with the Universities of Wisconsin and San Diego, the American Council of Exercise (ACE) set out to find which exercises target the arms, bottom and stomach the hardest. With electrodes attached to their muscles each tester was put through their paces, working through 16 of the most popular exercises to measure exactly which worked what muscles the most.
“Although we found the one exercise that did the most, to stop both the mind and the muscles getting bored, try mixing these exercises with your usual workout,” advises Dr John Porcari, Program Director of Clinical Exercise Physiology, University of Wisconsin.
Dr John Procari advises three sets of 15 repetitions for each exercise.