Getting a toned, sexy body, one that is both healthy and resilient, requires several things to be added to your daily routine and carefully controlled. Diet and sleep play a huge role in it, but proper exercise can help you get away with a not so well-rounded diet and will actually make it easier for you to go to sleep and get enough rest, which is why this article will be devoted mainly to choosing the best overall workouts.
Most people, who start exercising, young or more mature, only want to develop a stronger body and are focused on improving their health, looks and, to a certain extent, their physical capabilities. They are also strapped for time and need the most efficient way of improving, i.e. get as much results in as little time as possible.
The workouts listed below will cover all your major muscle groups, and even the smaller muscles will work hard to keep you stable during compound movements, and address cardio fitness. You will need to have access to a gym to perform these, and they should be divided between 2-3 different workouts within a good progression program.
1. Conventional Deadlift or A Deadlift Variant
The deadlift is an excellent exercise for both guys and girls, but it does require a higher degree of technical skills to perform than other exercises on this list. It is advised to get a good fitness coach to show you how it’s done, and to work only on the proper form with just the bar for a couple of weeks before you get the basic movement down. You can use a weightlifting belt to help you keep a straight back.
The deadlift will target your legs, glutes, lower back and a lot of other muscles to a lesser extent. A stiff legged deadlift will focus more on the lower back and hamstrings, without taxing the nervous system as much, and is a decent replacement or supplementary exercise to the conventional deadlift.
The squat is the best leg workout out there, since with enough volume and good depth you will engage your quads and glutes to a huge degree, as well as strengthening the muscles of the core which need to be braced tightly throughout the movement to ensure stability.
Not everyone can squat comfortably down to the ground, but with some mobility work, you should be able to at least go slightly below the point where your thigh bone is parallel to the floor.
3. Bench Press Variant
The bench press will target your chest, delts and triceps, and it is an essential upper body strength builder. Girls shouldn’t shy away from it, as it will help keep their breasts perky and their arms toned and sexy. You can use the flat bench press and switch to an incline bench variant every other workout to target the upper chest a bit more for the best overall development.
4. Bent Over Rows
Not only is the bent over row a great back muscle builder – engaging the lats and spinal erectors to a great degree – but it also engages the biceps and helps keep your shoulder joints healthy.
You should balance out any pushing movement, like the bench press, with a pulling movement so that the muscles on each side of the joint are equally developed. This ensures proper posture and a healthy joint with good mobility. This one will give you a sexy back that you will be proud to show off in a backless dress or at the beach.
5. Military Press A.K.A. Standing Overhead Press
The military press is the best way to build up strong shoulders, while also giving your triceps and several smaller muscles a run for their money as well. The movement looks and feels very powerful – you’re lifting a weight over your head like an old timey strong man – and can have a very positive psychological effect on you as well.
6. Chin-Ups / Bicep Curls
Chin-ups hit the back, bicep and abs to a degree, as they need to stay tight. Another great movement for developing that sculpted back that will get quite a few looks thrown your way, and a great exercise for keeping your shoulders healthy as we’ve discussed before. If you are too week, you can start with lat pull downs or supplement with bicep curls if you’ve done rows beforehand and feel tired.
7. Dips / Skull Crushers
Dips target mainly the triceps and lower chest, although the core is also braced throughout the movement, and if you keep your knees bent, you engage the hamstrings somewhat as well. It is a great movement, but can be a bit difficult, especially if you lack shoulder mobility, so they can be supplemented with skull crushers.
Shrugs are the essential workout to target the trapezius – i.e. the muscles running from the side of your neck to the shoulders – and developing a stronger grip. You can even grip two dumbbells tightly and walk around with them, which is called the farmer’s walk, until your grip and traps start to give out.
9. Glute Ham Raises / Leg Curls / Stiff Legged Deadlift
This is some extra work for the glutes, i.e. that round firm booty everyone wants to get, and hamstrings which often don’t get enough work. Glute ham raises are extremely difficult to perform, so you can start off with stiff legged deadlifts, if you aren’t already doing them, or leg curls to develop some basic strength in this area.
Hyperextensions are a good exercise for keeping your core strong. It works the spinal erectors and will help you maintain good posture and keep your back healthy and pain free.
11. Weighted Crunches / Twisting Crunches
You can switch between regular and twisted crunches every other workout to ensure the best development. Just be sure to add weight to the movements as you get stronger and keep the repetitions between 8 and 12.
12. Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises target the lower abs and help you develop a stronger grip – you need to hang from a bar for quite a while. You can even twist your legs to the side as you raise them to target the obliques more.
13. Calf Raises
For well-rounded legs, you also need to work on your calves – they make ladies look particularly sexy when wearing heels. You can finish off your workouts with some 3-4 sets of calf raises to develop strong round calves.
14. Running / Cycling
Cardio is very important for both the health of your heart and controlling your weight. You can do some running or cycling for about 10-20 minutes anywhere between 3 to 6 times a week, either as a warm-up, after your workout or on the days between your strength workouts.
These workouts can be split up into two full-body workouts done 3 times a week, or on 2 upper and 2 lower body days a week. You start off with the biggest exercises and work your way down to smaller muscles, ending with abs and calves.