rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » Exercises to give you the body type and tone YOU want

Exercises to give you the body type and tone YOU want

Last updated on: August 15, 2013 09:53 IST

Exercises to give you the body type and tone YOU want

     Next

Next

Are you an apple or a pear? Fitness expert Brinda Sapat outlines a workout regime based on your body type. Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

Gym training is often misunderstood as just weightlifting and the means to achieving a bulked-up body. But it is, in fact, a fantastic tool to give you any shape you desire by manipulating the exercise pattern.

A small framed person can add bulk and definition, someone with a big build can achieve a lean look, women can get a slim, toned and statuesque look...a lot is possible.

Some gyms have consultants or trainers who will advise and chart out an exercise routine tailor-made to your goal, so be very clear about what it is you wish to achieve.

Whether you are using a trainer or not, however, here’s a heads-up on how things work.

There are basically 3 types of equipments in the gym:

Cardiovascular machines: These include the treadmill, stationary cycle and elliptical. They are used to burn fat and improve stamina.

Weight machines: These machines work muscles while supporting your body. They help to isolate and focus on working on the strength of an individual muscle. When using heavy overload and doing few repetitions, it builds muscle bulk. Lighter weights and more repetitions will give the muscle a leaner look.

Free weights and more: Equipment like dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, resistance tubes and stability balls offer no body support, which makes exercising with them more challenging and uses various muscles of the body. This is more functional in nature and helps the body with daily physical movements. They operate on the same principle as with weight machines, as far as the muscle look goes.

AND THEN THERE’S YOU!

Gym training also involves using your own body as resistance to perform exercises like push-ups, lunges, abdominal crunches etc. Once again, you engage a lot more muscles to help support the body.

All the above must be used to have an overall fit and well-balanced body.

So now you have a fair idea of what you need to do, but the next big question is -- how much of what?

This is a very important factor when it boils down to the results you want, so keep reading!

To shed a lot of weight

Those who are very overweight need to use:

  • Cardiovascular machines for 30-60 minutes, 5-6 days a week.
  • Light weights (machines and freehand) with more reps 2-3 days a week.

To get a lean, toned and long look

Those who are within the normal weight range need to use:

  • Cardiovascular machines for 30-60 minutes, 3-4 days a week.
  • Light weights with more reps (machines and freehand) 4 days a week.
  • Throw in some flexible strength exercises, which will add length.

To get a lean and well-defined look

For those who are within the normal weight range:

  • Follow the same pattern as above, but mix up heavy and light weights with few and many reps respectively.

To bulk up

Those who are within the normal to low-weight range need to use:

  • Cardiovascular machines for 30 minutes, 3 days a week .
  • Heavy weights, with fewer reps 5-6 days a week.

In the following pages, we bring you solutions for specific body types -- pick your weights as per the look you want by referring to the points above.

Brinda Sapat is Group Exercise Instructor at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for over a decade.


Photographs: Cedward Brice from Scottsdale, USA/Wikimedia Commons

     Next

Apple shape

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

To trim down that big tummy you need to burn it with cardio 4-5 days a week and shape up the underlying muscles with abdominal and back exercises.  Balance out your body shape by doing enough weights for the upper and lower body. Weight-bearing exercises for the shoulders and hips will give you more of an hourglass appearance. Watch that posture! Pulling yourself up helps to take off inches from the midsection, so stand tall. Prevent tummy bloating by eating a light, low-fat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime.

Here's a routine just for your body type; do note that these are your 'focus' exercises, but you must work on all the muscles of the body.

Lateral raises

These will add shape to your shoulders.

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands, alongside your hips. Raise the arms till your shoulders, elbows and wrists are in a straight line. Slowly lower.

Do 12- 16 reps.

Plank

Get into a full push-up position and hold for 30-60 seconds.

Abdominal crunches

Lie on your back with your hands under your head, knees bent at 90 degrees and crossed at the ankles. Now contract the abdominal muscles and lift your shoulder blades off the floor, while simultaneously lifting your hips off the floor. Squeeze the tummy hard, and then slowly lower.

Do 12-16 reps.

Swan

Lie on your tummy. Place your hands under your nose, elbows out to the side. Raise your upper body till your chest comes off the floor. Lower down and then lift both your legs keeping the knees straight. Lower down. Keep alternating between the upper and lower body.

Platypus walk

Shape up your hips and thighs with this one.

Stand with your feet wide apart and squat down. Your knees should be turned out in line with your toes. Make sure the knees don’t extend beyond the toes to avoid putting undue strain on the knees. Place your hands behind your head, with the elbows going out to the side.

Holding the squat position, walk 8 steps forward and back. Repeat this 4-8 times.


Image: Clockwise from top left: Lateral raises, the plank, abdominal crunches, the platypus walk and the swan

Tags:

Prev     Next

Pear shape

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Cardio exercises will burn off the fat from your hips and glutes. Do hip and thigh exercises like squats and leg abductions to tone the area and lift the butt. Using weights for the upper body and calves will tone up the rest of the body, making it look more proportionate.

Here's a routine just for your body type -- do note that these are your 'focus' exercises but you must work on all the muscles of the body.

Lateral raises

These will add shape to your shoulders.

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands, alongside your hips. Raise the arms till your shoulders, elbows and wrists are in a straight line. Slowly lower.

Do 12- 16 reps.

Heel raises

Tone up your calves with these.

Stand with your feet parallel to each other. Rise up on your toes as high as you can, squeezing the calves. Lower down and before your heels contact the floor, lift up again.

Do 16 reps.

Squats

This one will tighten the butt and thighs.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Extend your arms out in front of you. Slowly lower down by bending at your hips and knees, as if you are trying to sit in a chair placed way behind you. Make sure your knees don’t bend over past your toe line. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Press your feet into the floor and come up to standing position without locking your knees.

Do 12-16 reps.

Leg abductions

For the outer thigh.

Stand with all your weight on the left leg. Raise your right leg out to the side without swinging it. Slowly lower and repeat. Do 16 reps. Then do the same with the left leg. You can overload by strapping on an ankle weight of 1-2 kg.

Push-ups

Get onto all fours. Extend your legs into push-up position. Place your arms wide on the floor. Maintain a very straight line from your feet, knees, hips, back to your head and lower yourself towards the floor by bending your elbows. Push yourself back up by squeezing your chest.

Keep your abs tight all through.

Do 12 reps.

Plank

Tighten your tummy.

Get into a full push-up position and hold for 30-60 seconds.


Image: Clockwise from top left: Lateral raises, heel raises, squats, the plank, push-ups and leg abductions

Tags: Heel , Cardio

Prev     Next

The ruler

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

This is a typical athletic build, slim with negligible curves. Add definition to your body by doing weights for all parts of the body -- your muscles will look toned and shapely.

Here’s a routine just for your body type; do note that these are your 'focus' exercises, but you must work on all the muscles of the body.

Push-ups

For the chest.

Get onto all fours. Extend your legs into push-up position. Place your arms wide on the floor. Maintain a very straight line from your feet, knees, hips, back to your head and lower yourself towards the floor by bending your elbows. Push yourself back up by squeezing your chest. Keep your abs tight all through.

Do 12 reps.

Lateral raises

These will add shape to your shoulders.

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands, alongside your hips. Raise the arms till your shoulders, elbows and wrists are in a straight line. Slowly lower.

Do 12- 16 reps.

Squats

They will tighten the butt and thighs.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Extend your arms out in front of you. Slowly lower down by bending at your hips and knees, as if you are trying to sit in a chair placed way behind you. Make sure your knees don't bend over past your toe line. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Press your feet into the floor and come up to standing position without locking your knees.

Do 12-16 reps.

Leg abductions

For the outer thigh.

Stand with all your weight on the left leg. Raise your right leg out to the side without swinging it. Slowly lower and repeat. Do 16 reps. Then do the same with the left leg. You can overload by strapping on an ankle weight of 1-2 kg.

Plank

Tighten your tummy.

Get into a full push up position and hold for 30-60 seconds.

Heel raises

Tone up your calves with these.

Stand with your feet parallel to each other. Rise up on your toes as high as you can, squeezing the calves. Lower down and before your heels contact the floor, lift up again.

Do 16 reps.


Image: Clockwise from top left: Push-ups, lateral raises, squats, heel raises, the plank and leg abductions

Tags: Heel

Prev     Next

The hourglass

Prev     More
Prev

More

You've got great proportion, but if you're carrying extra fat you want to burn off, get onto the treadmill (or any other cardio activity) 5-6 days a week for at least 30 minutes, working at moderate to brisk pace. Tone and tighten your muscles with resistance training.

Here's a routine just for your body type; do note that these are your 'focus' exercises, but you must work on all the muscles of the body.

Push-ups

Get onto all fours. Extend your legs into push-up position. Place your arms wide on the floor. Maintain a very straight line from your feet, knees, hips, back to your head and lower yourself towards the floor by bending  your elbows. Push yourself back up by squeezing your chest.

Keep your abs tight all through.

Do 12 reps.

Lateral raises

These will add shape to your shoulders.

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in both hands, alongside your hips. Raise the arms till your shoulders, elbows and wrists are in a straight line. Slowly lower.

Do 12- 16 reps.

Squats

This one will tighten the butt and thighs.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Extend your arms out in front of you. Slowly lower down by bending at your hips and knees, as if you are trying to sit in a chair placed way behind you. Make sure your knees don’t bend over past your toe line. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Press your feet into the floor and come up to standing position without locking your knees.

Do 12-16 reps

Plank

Tighten your tummy.

Get into a full push up position and hold for 30-60 seconds.

And finally...STRETCH!

Very often overlooked, stretching is very important after every workout to loosen up the stiff muscles, increase flexibility and prevent muscle soreness.

And of course, what you eat makes a big difference, so plan your meals wisely.


Image: Clockwise from top left: Push-ups, lateral raises, the plank and squats

Tags: STRETCH

Prev     More