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Toning Workout Plan for a Beginner

As a beginning exerciser, you need to get the most out of each workout. Each exercise should thus work many different muscles for overall body toning. Exercises should produce results, be easy enough that you can do them and hard enough that you won't get bored. You can do four such exercises them at home with a set of dumbbells. Do three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each every other day. Particularly since you're new to exercise, consult your doctor before beginning.

Bent-Leg Deadlift

Author Pat Manocchia calls the bent-leg deadlift the most important of all traditional exercises because it is applicable to everyday life; it is also similar to the squat, another exercise with broad everyday application. Choose two dumbbells that will add enough load to make the movement difficult by the12th to15th repetition. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your dumbbells held by your outer thighs. Assume a straight posture and compress your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Inhale, squat down and push your buttocks backward over your heels until your butt is almost knee level. Exhale and push with your thighs and glutes up to standing position. Continue. This exercise tones your hamstrings; glutes; calf muscles; lower, middle, and upper back muscles; shoulder muscles; and forearm muscles.

Stationary Lunge

This exercise requires balance, so choose lighter hand weights to begin with. Stand with your feet slightly apart and your dumbbells by your outer thighs. Step one foot forward and lower your back knee. Continue to lower until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Don't allow your front knee to go past your front big toe. Push up and backward with your front leg muscles and return to standing position. Alternate legs. The primary muscles toned are in your legs, buttocks, lower back and stomach. Your arms and shoulders will receive some toning by holding the dumbbells.


The pushup is a traditional and highly effective toning exercise. Begin on your hands and knees for a kneeling pushup. Straighten your trunk by tucking your pelvis downward, squeezing your buttocks and lifting your abdomen up and in toward your spine. Cross your ankles and bend your legs. Inhale and lower your chest down to the floor. Exhale and push with your chest and arm muscles up to starting position. Repeat as desired. Progress to full-body pushups, where you extend your legs and, before you lower your chest toward the floor, you are balanced on your hands and the tips of your toes. Start with the same tight body position and also squeeze your thighs. You are toning your chest, shoulder, triceps, back, abdominal and hamstring muscles.

Hand Walk-Out

There are so many muscles in your upper body that it can take a long time to exercise them individually. The hand walk-out tones almost all of your upper-body muscles. Stand with your feet apart. Inhale, bend at the waist and put your hands on the floor. Keep your buttocks up. Exhale and walk your hands forward until your body is straightened out in pushup position. Inhale and walk your hands back in toward your feet. Exhale and walk your hands out again. You can add a pushup after walking your hands out. You can also incorporate your legs by moving forward and backward in a bear walk. Keep your tummy scooped up into your spine.

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About the Author

Lynne Shaw has been a professional writer for more than 15 years. She additionally enjoyed a long career in news/talk radio production and anchoring. Her articles have appeared in numerous national and regional publications. She is a contributor in "Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul."

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