Toning is an essential component of a successful exercise program. Toning exercises help increase lean body mass, muscular strength, and endurance. It can be challenging to dedicate hours per week to strength and resistance training in effort to help build muscle definition. How could you possibly find the time to get super toned with a super full schedule?

When you have a limited schedule, you want to save time and perform the most effective exercises for targeting and toning your muscle groups, specifically multiple muscle groups at a time. Because targeting more muscles = more bang for your bod!

Here are a few toning time-savers to try out.

FitnessToning_Jaida_Brinkley-34Upper body: Pull-ups

Pull-ups are a wonderful upper body toning exercise. Pull-ups are great for strengthening and toning multiple muscles including the biceps, triceps, shoulders and back. This exercise proves to be a wonderful exercise not only for toning, but for postural correction. Pull-ups require stabilization of the core, which keeps the entire upper body balanced. They can be modified into chin-ups, knee tucks and even squats to pull-ups.

FitnessToning_Jaida_Brinkley-14Lower body: Squats & Lunges

Squats and lunges are obviously a very popular toning exercise for targeting the lower body, and it’s no wonder because even a few sets performed consistently yield major results in a short amount of time. Both squats and lunges activate and tone the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles. There are also many variations of squats and lunges including stability ball squats, wall squats, dumbbell squats, one-legged squats, bosu ball squats, jumping lunges, side lunges, walking lunges, lunge pulses (and many, many more). For a double-toning time-saver, you can transform squats and lunges into a full-body toning exercise by adding a shoulder press with dumbbells.

FitnessToning_Jaida_Brinkley-24Core: Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a simple, high-intensity exercise that target and tone your abs and back (aka your core muscles). For efficient results, make sure that you are drawing your navel towards your spine and activating your abdominal muscles while completing the exercise. The activation of your core muscles while performing jumping jacks at a high-intensity for only three to five minutes can really boost muscle definition in your abs. Some fun and more advanced variations of the traditional jumping jack include the cross-jack, squat jack and plank jack.

FitnessToning_Jaida_Brinkley-2Full Body: Push-ups

Push-ups are great toning time-savers because they work up to seven muscles at a time. A single push-up works your biceps, triceps, deltoids, pecs, abdominal muscles and glutes while also helping stabilize your core and building muscle endurance. Push-ups are a great way to tone a large group of muscles in only a few reps. For maximum results, keep your body in a straight line from head to toe and engage your abdominal muscles. More intense versions of the traditional push-up that provide extra toning technique include diamond push-ups, one arm push-ups and Spiderman push-ups.

These are just a few exercises that are perfect for toning with a full calendar. Try out these toning time-savers that will help get your body as tight as your schedule!

Photos by: Jaida Brinkley

About The Author

Fitness Editor

Lola George is an AFAA certified personal trainer. In addition to training, Lola studies journalism and kinesiology at the University of North Texas. Lola is also Fitness Editor for Wavelength Weekly Magazine, and aspires to write for a large health publication. In her free time, she enjoys writing, using social media, being active and taking selfies. She considers herself the girl who puts it "IT" in fitness.

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