Tim's Exercise Tips

/ 22 June 2018

Here are some top exercise tips from Antony and Zoe’s trainer, Tim.

 Download Tim’s full plan  

It is recommended that you increase physical activity gradually. If in any doubt, or you experience physical discomfort while exercising, please stop and consult a healthcare professional.

The side lunge

So many people forget sideways movements, but doing this exercise really targets the butt in a big way, and tones the inner and outer thigh.

  • Assume an athletic standing position, with the knees and hips slightly bent, feet shoulder-width apart, and the head and chest up. This will be your starting position.
  • Staying low, take a slow, lateral step to the right. Keep your toes pointed forward and stay low. Extend the left knee, driving your weight to the right, flexing the knee and hip into a side lunge. Maintain good posture through the entire spine, keeping your head and chest up.
  • Pause at the bottom of the motion, and then drive through the heel of the right foot to push back to the starting position.  Do the required number of reps on each leg before you switch.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 per leg
  • Rest for 60 seconds between sets

The glute bridge

This exercise really lets you concentrate on squeezing the muscles of your butt, as well as strengthening your core.  You can go from using no weight, all the way up to using very heavy weights, to pack on some shape to that bum.

  • Place your upper body on a bench and your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Keep your body straight. Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the floor, then return to starting position and repeat.
  • Do 3 sets of 15
  • Rest for 60 seconds between sets

Squat

This is quite simply the best exercise for nearly everything, but it’s the absolute number one exercise for building a great butt.

  • Stand with feet about hip-distance apart or wider, toes turned out just slightly.
  • Pull your belly button towards your spine and contract your abdominal muscles while pulling the shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Shift your weight into your heels and bend at the hips, starting to push the hips towards the wall directly behind you.
  • As you bend at the hips, your knees and ankles will also bend.  As you lower the hips, your knees will start to go forward.  This is normal, but don’t let them go too far.  Keep your abs engaged to hold your balance and focus more on sending the hips back than bending the knees forward.
  • Continue to lower your hips as low as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • If you can, go down until your butt is in line with your knees.
  • Do 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Goblet squat

  • Stand holding a dumbbell close to your chest. This will be your starting position.
  • Squat down between your legs as deep as possible. Keep your chest and head up and your back straight.
  • At the bottom position, pause and then drive up to return to the starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

The plank

This is a very well-known core muscle exercise which is often done incorrectly, causing the back and/or shoulders to hurt.

  • Keep your shoulders directly over your elbows.
  • Your back should be totally straight while you actively pull in your belly button to activate the TVA muscles which act like a corset around the whole mid-section.
  • Squeeze the muscles at the front of your thighs, trying to lift your kneecaps and squeeze the glutes.
  • If you cannot keep your hips in line, or you can feel it in your back, then you should stop the exercise.
  • Do 3 sets of 30-60 seconds
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Windscreen wipers

This exercise targets everything from your lower and middle abs to the obliques and pelvic floor.

  • Lie on your back with your arms straight out to the sides. Lift your legs and bend the knees at a 90-degree angle if you cannot straighten them.
  • Pull the belly button in as tight as possible.
  • Rotate the hips to one side, without letting the legs touch the floor.
  • Lift your legs and return to the starting position.
  • Rotate the hips to the opposite side and repeat until set is complete.
  • Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Lying leg raise

This exercise specifically targets the lower abdominals and the pelvic floor.

  • Lie on a bench or just on the floor with your legs straight (if possible) and at a right angle, with the soles of your feet facing up to the sky.
  • Pull your belly button into the floor as tight as you can with the intention of flattening your lower back against the floor.
  • Slowly lower your legs towards the ground, keeping your abs pulled in as tight as possible, trying to keep a flat back.  Most people cannot keep a flat back and you don’t need to, but the intention to keep the back flat will keep the abdominals engaged in the right way.
  • Stop with your heels an inch from the floor and pull the abs tighter to lift the legs back up to the starting position.
  • Once at the top, do not lift the bottom off the floor or let your legs go past the 90-degree angle.
  • Stop once you have completed the required reps or if your lower back begins to hurt.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Dorsal raises

When trying to get a trim waist it’s important not to forget that your lower back makes up a lot of your waist.  This very simple exercise directly targets the muscles in your lower back.

  • Lie face down.
  • Bend your elbows and place your fingertips at your temples, with your elbows out to your sides.
  • Slowly lift your chest and stomach up off the floor. Make sure to keep your hips and legs against the floor and keep them still.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and return to starting position.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Prone cobra

This exercise targets every muscle in the back of your upper body and opens up your shoulders for those of you that tend to slouch. Everyone slouches.

  • Lie on your front, gently squeeze your glutes (butt muscles), and gently lift your back up off the floor.  You can do this on a raised bench for a larger range of motion.
  • Keep facing the ground, chin tucked in
  • With your arms at a 45 degree angle to your sides, gently lift them off the floor, Palms facing outwards.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Waiter’s carry

Being able to walk while keeping your core muscles engaged is very important to keep you balanced and your waist looking tight.

  • Raise a plate/dumbbell overhead with both hands. Once you have control of the weight, remove one hand. Keep your arm fully extended and your eyes focused on the plate.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. This will be your starting position.
  • Begin walking at a controlled pace, maintaining a fully extended arm overhead.
  • Walk for recommended number of steps or time.
  • Do 3 sets of 30 seconds per arm.
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

 

Chest stretch

Stretching your pectoral (chest) muscles will help you stand more upright which in turn tighten up your waist.

  • Use a doorway or any archway and place your hands slightly above shoulder height either side
  • Step forwards with on leg so that you move forwards into the stretch.
  • Keep your eye line up and shoulders drawn backwards and down
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and switch legs
  • Hold the stretch 30 seconds per leg in between exercises or as many times as you can throughout the day.

 

Lats and shoulder stretch

The biggest muscle in your upper body is the latissimus dorsi muscles, which cover most of your whole back.  Unfortunately, they do become tight, and as they attach to the front of your shoulders, they tend to pull them inwards.

  • Reach up to a doorway or other structure above, taking a slightly-wider-than-shoulders position with your hands.
  • Rest the blade (sides of the hands of the little fingers) on the frame.
  • Keep the arms relatively straight, with a slight bend in the elbow.
  • Step forwards with one leg so that your torso moves forwards and increases the stretch.
  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and switch legs.
  • Hold the stretch 30 seconds per leg in between exercises or as many times as you can throughout the day.

 

TRX face pull

This exercise opens up your chest and strengthens the muscles in the backs of your shoulders.  As it is a bodyweight exercise, you get the added benefit of working all of the muscles in your core.

  • Set the TRX cables to an elevated point.
  • Grab the handles with your hands and lean back at a slight angle.
  • Let your arms go straight out at about face level.
  • Pull your body in and keep your hands at face level.
  • As you pull yourself in, bend your elbows so that they make a 90-degree angle.
  • Let your body back so that your arms are straight again.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Wall angel

A very simple exercise but one that many struggle with because of bad posture.  Do this anywhere and do it a lot.

  • Stand up against the wall with your arms at a 90-degree angle and level with your shoulders while maintaining contact against the wall with your tailbone and shoulder blades.
  • Raise your arms above your head, trying to keep your elbows and wrists as close to the wall as possible.
  • Lower your arms to the starting position and repeat.
  • Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Lateral raises

This exercise doesn’t take much weight and if done correctly targets the outside of the shoulders as well as the front and the back.  Very good for isolating and building great-looking shoulders.

  • Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arm’s length, with the palms of the hand facing you.
  • While maintaining the torso in a stationary position (no swinging), lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass.
  • Continue to go up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement and pause for a second at the top.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Chin-ups

If you can’t handle your own body weight and pull yourself over a bar once, you need to work on doing it as it hits all the muscles you need for that V-shaped back.

  • Grab the pull-up bar with the palms facing your torso and a grip closer than the shoulder width.
  • As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, keep your torso as straight as possible while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
  • As you breathe out, pull your torso up until your head is around the level of the pull-up bar. Concentrate on using the biceps and back muscles in order to perform the movement. Keep the elbows close to your body.
  • After a second of squeezing the biceps and back in the contracted position, slowly lower your torso back to the starting position: when your arms are fully extended. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 or maximum repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

Lat pulldown

Everyone knows this exercise and everyone should do it, as it hits the whole back as well as allowing you to really concentrate on feeling the right muscles

  • Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the kneepad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar.
  • Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width.
  • As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position.
  • As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar.
  • After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

 

Dumbbell pullovers

This exercise works the large muscles of your back, chest and the muscles around the rib cage to accentuate your abs.

  • Lie perpendicular to the bench (torso across it as in forming a cross), with only your shoulders lying on the surface. Hips should be below the bench and legs bent with feet firmly on the floor. The head will be off the bench as well.
  • Grasp the dumbbell with both hands and hold it straight over your chest at arm’s length. Both palms should be pressing against the underside one of the sides of the dumbbell. This will be your starting position.
  • While keeping your arms straight, lower the weight slowly in an arc behind your head while breathing in until you feel a stretch on the chest.
  • At that point, bring the dumbbell back to the starting position using the arc through which the weight was lowered and exhale as you perform this movement.
  • Hold the weight on the initial position for a second and repeat the motion for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets

 

Hanging leg raises

A brilliant exercise to hit every part of your abdominals as well as strengthening your grip and working the shoulders.

  • Hang from a chin-up bar with both arms extended at arm’s length in top of you using either a wide grip or a medium grip. The legs should be straight down with the pelvis rolled slightly backwards. This will be your starting position.
  • Raise your legs until the torso makes a 90-degree angle with the legs. Exhale as you perform this movement and hold the contraction for a second or so.
  • Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in.

 

 

Walking Lunges

This is a great bum building exercise and it targets every part of the thigh from back to front and inner to outer.

  • Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips.
  • Step forward with one leg, flexing the knees to drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot.
  • Drive through the heel of your lead foot and extend both knees to raise yourself back up.
  • Step forward with your rear foot, repeating the lunge on the opposite leg.
  • Do 3 sets of 24-30 repetitions
  • Rest 60 seconds between sets