Although there are hundreds of exercises that will help to create the perfect summer body, here is a list of ones that I have found especially effective at sculpting my physique for the Summer months.
If you are new to these exercises, use lighter weights at first and as you get the hang of them and can use proper form, gradually increase the weights as you progress for the best results!
This is one of the ultimate exercises for shaping the lower body and defining the glutes. It is also a great fat burning exercise as you are using so many muscles to execute the movement. It can be performed with body weight, dumbbells or a barbell.
If you are using a barbell with heavier weights, it is safer to perform this exercise inside a rack with safety bars. Begin by setting up the rack so that the bar is resting at shoulder level – Step under the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades together so that you essentially form a shelf for the bar to rest upon.
a) Hold the bar and use your legs to push up as you straighten your torso so that the bar is lifted from the rack. Bend the knees and hips slowly lowering the bar in a controlled manner.
b) Make sure that your knees do not travel past your toes and continue the movement as low as your flexibility allows or until the upper leg and calves form just below a right angle.
c) Return to the starting position by pushing up through the heels paying close attention to your form.
d) Repeat this movement for as many repetitions as necessary.
Note: It is crucial that throughout this movement you maintain a straight – not rounded back. This can be achieved by keeping the head and chest upright. Keep all your muscles tight and squeeze the glutes.
Deadlifts are a great lower body exercise. They also benefit the upper body – particularly the back and shoulders at the top of the movement.
This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or a barbell.
It is generally comfortable for beginners to use an overhand shoulder width grip, but this can be altered according to preference.
a) Begin the exercise in front of a loaded or empty barbell depending on your strength. While holding the bar, begin the movement by pushing through your legs while raising the torso upwards.
b) Keep the bar as close to your body as possible, moving it up your shins through the lift. By keeping the bar as close to your centre of gravity as possible, you will increase the efficiency of this lift. This will also reduce the pressure on your lower back as you will be less likely to hunch forwards.
c) At the top of the movement, stick your chest outwards and squeeze your shoulder blades together to contract your back.
d) Return to the starting position by bending at the knees while pushing the torso forward from the waist without rounding the back. When the plates of the bar return to the floor this is considered one full repetition. Repeat for as many reps as necessary.
Note: Keeping a straight back is crucial in this exercise as rounding places the spine in a very vulnerable position. Keep the muscles tight making a conscious effort to squeeze the glutes throughout the movement; this adds protection to the lower back.
Lunges are brilliant for shaping the glutes and legs.
Bodyweight is perfect for this exercise and as with the others mentioned you can progress to either dumbbells or barbells as you get stronger.
If using a barbell, start the exercise with it across your back in the same position as you began a squat.
Take a large step forward with your left leg so that your right leg is stationary behind you.
a) Begin to lower your upper body down keeping your back straight and tight
b) Move your knees back if they to travel beyond your toes – this will put unnecessary pressure on the ligaments and joints in this area, which are especially susceptible to injury if these exercises are carried out with bad form.
c) Push your body back up through the heel of your foot
d) Return to the starting position.
Make sure that you perform the same amount of repetitions on each leg to ensure a balanced work out.
4) Glute bridges
Glute bridges are one of the best exercises around to create shapely glutes.
This exercise can be done with just bodyweight but is especially effective with a barbell.
a) Begin seated on the ground with a loaded barbell placed across your legs. It is wise to use some form of padding under the bar such as a foam wrap, towel or even a folded exercise mat to prevent the bar from hurting you throughout the movement.
b) Next, roll the bar up so that it is directly above your hips and lie down so that you are flat on the ground.
c) Push through your heels, driving the barbell upwards while squeezing the glutes tightly extending as far as you can.
d) Pause at the top of the movement and return to the starting positions.
5) Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are a great exercise to not only shape the arms but also to get the heart rate up.
a) Begin this exercise in a standing position, feet in a staggered stance – hold a medicine ball in one hand on the same side that your back leg is on.
b) Raise the medicine ball above your head; extend through the hips knees and finally the ankles to prepare for the slam and to set yourself up in a position that will generate optimum power.
c) When you are at full extension, flex the muscles in your shoulders hips and your spine to slam the ball as hard as you can directly into the floor in front of you. As the ball bounces, catch it and repeat this movement for the amount of repetitions needed.
d) Repeat this movement an equal amount of reps on each side and keep all your muscles tight for the duration of the exercise.
Burpees are a fantastic exercise to get your sweat on and also help shape the whole body in the process.
a) Begin this exercise in a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
b) Jump your feet backwards into a push up position, then jump your feet back up into the squat position as quick as you can.
c) Jump as high into the air as possible from the squat position.
d) Repeat the movement for as many repetitions as necessary.
7) Bench press
This exercise is an upper body staple as it works so many muscles at the one time from the chest to the arms and shoulders.
a) Lie on either a flat, incline or decline bench.
b) Place your hands on the bar in a medium grip and then remove the bar from the rack holding it directly above you with the arms locked out, this is the beginning position for the movement.
c) Lower the bar slowly and in a controlled manner so that it touches your chest at the nipple line – Concentrate on pushing the bar up with emphasis on using your chest muscles.
d) At the top of the motion pause for a few seconds then repeat the movement for as many repetitions as needed.
Keep the muscles tight throughout the movement.
8) Pull ups
Pull ups are an excellent upper body exercise as they work not only the arms and the shoulders, but the back too.
If you are a beginner you may find an assisted pull up machine easier to use than just a pull up bar. If your gym does not have one of these you can also use resistance bands to make the movement easier.
a) Hold the pull up bar with a grip closer than shoulder width, keep your back straight and stick your chest out.
b) Breathe out as you pull yourself upwards on the bar so that your head is at the height of the pull up bar.
c) Keep your elbows tight and close to your body and hold this position for a few seconds.
d) Slowly lower your body back down as you breathe in, when you return to the starting position repeat the exercise again for as many repetitions as necessary.
You can add a dip belt with weights attached to make this exercise even tougher as you progress.
Take Home Message
These exercises are all fantastic to achieve a lean and shapely bikini body, giving you curves in all the right places whilst burning that fat away.
Try adding them into your training routine to target all the areas that will be on show come bikini season!