16. Do Front Raises and Shoulder Presses

The front raise works your deltoids. In the standing position with the dumbbell in an overhand grip, let both arms rest in front of your body so that your palms are resting on your thighs. Then lift one arm straight up to shoulder height so that it’s parallel to the floor. Control the weight on the way back to the starting position for one repetition.

For the shoulder press, stand with the dumbbells in an overhand grip and bend your arms so that the dumbbells are by your ears, palms facing away from your body. Extend your arm up and slightly in front of your head; then lower to the starting position for one rep.

17. Do Bent-Over Rows

From the bent-over position, hold the dumbbell in an overhand grip and extend your arm toward the floor in a diagonal line from your shoulder. As if you are rowing a boat, bend your elbow and lift the dumbbell so that you use your back muscles as well as your arm muscles. Pretend you’re starting a lawnmower but with a smoother action. Return to the starting position for one rep.

18. Do Pelvic Tilts

Lying on your back on the floor, preferably on a mat or folded towel for some cushion, bend your knees, rest your heels on the floor, and let your toes point up. Keep your arms at your side. Imagine gravity pulling your bellybutton onto the floor so that your lower back is flattened against the floor. This will cause your pelvis to rise slightly, and you should feel your abs tighten. Hold this position for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Do three sets of 10 reps.

19. Do Abdominal Crunches

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart. Bring your arms up and put your hands under your head, thumbs pointing toward your ears. Don’t interlock your fingers, even if your fingers overlap. Keep your head extended from your body so that your chin isn’t digging into your chest. Start raising your trunk, curling up from your spine. Use your abs—not your hands—to pull yourself up.

Keep your elbows to the side and raise yourself up only enough to lift your shoulder blades off the floor. Pause and then bring your trunk back into position slowly for one repetition. Start by doing three sets of 15 reps, adjusting according to whether it feels like too much or not enough.

To increase the intensity of your workout, try doing your reps with your legs off the floor, crossed at your ankles. Keep your knees bent and your butt on the floor.

20. Play Ball

Get yourself a fitness ball and get to work toning and strengthening. A typical fitness ball is made of elastic rubber and comes in different sizes, from 14 inches to 34 inches in diameter when fully inflated. Unless you are very large or very small, you should probably choose a ball that is 26 inches in diameter. Fitness balls should not be confused with medicine balls, which are smaller but considerably heavier (up to 25 pounds).

21. Use a Ball to Do Pushups

Fitness ball pushups are among the best exercises you can do for your strength training. Begin by putting your ball in the middle of the floor and assuming the pushup position with your legs atop the ball. Pushups are much more difficult in this position, so don’t plan on doing your usual number the first time you try this. With your legs up on the ball, you are working your abdominal muscles a lot more than with standard pushups, and you are also working the lower half of your body as you fight to maintain balance in that position.

22. Try a Modified Pushup

Here’s another fitness-ball workout. Assume pushup position, with your feet up on the ball behind you. Instead of doing a pushup, however, elevate your buttocks to form an inverted or upside-down V with your body. Return to pushup position. Start slowly with this exercise and try to work up to being able to do three sets of 12 repetitions.

23. Try the Over and Back Routine

Another good workout with your fitness ball is to lie on your back on the floor, putting the ball between your feet. Raise the ball up to the point that you can take it with your hands. Take the ball from between your feet and lower it to the floor behind your head. Then take the ball and raise it up again and take hold of it with your feet, lowering it to the floor. Start slowly with this exercise, perhaps 4 repetitions initially. Strive to be able to complete three sets of 12 repetitions. This will strengthen your abs and your shoulders.

24. Hire a Personal Trainer

One of the best ways to really get into a program is to hire a personal trainer. These days, most gyms have trainers who are only too happy to help you create the exercise regimen that’s best for you and to help you through it. This ensures that you are exercising correctly and at the proper pace. A trainer will also be able to give you ideas for boosting your metabolism or dealing with trouble spots, weaknesses, or challenges. If you have a problem staying motivated, a personal trainer can be just the cheerleader—or taskmaster—you need to get all fired up about exercising.

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