Health & Wellness

5 easy moves to tone your body

Some people are intimidated by barre or Pilates-style workouts, but in reality, anyone can do them — and you don't need an actual barre to get started! Grab a chair, a set of lightweight dumbbells and try these five exercises. They're low impact, but will bring the burn!

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1. Shoulder walks

Bar Method

For this exercise, you'll need a light set of two to three-pound weights. This move teaches your body good posture and alignment, tones and strengthens your deltoids and works your core muscles — specifically those in your abs, glutes and upper back.

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How to: Start by holding one light weight in each hand. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Soften your knees, grip your glutes and shift your rib cage forward to engage your abs. Rest the tops of the weights of your thighs with your palms facing each other. Press your shoulders down. Straighten your arms. Lift one arm up to shoulder height. Cross your arms in the middle of your range of motion. Tap the weight off of your thigh each time and move at your own pace. Continue for two to three minutes.

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3 exercises you can do with a chair

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3 exercises you can do with a chair

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2. Heel lifts

Bar Method

For this exercise, you'll need a stable (non-rolling) chair with a high back that you can hold lightly for balance. Heel lifts will warm up your feet, strengthens your knees, tones your calves and hamstrings and sculpt your glutes.

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How to: Position yourself a half-arm's length from the backside of the chair, and hold it lightly for balance. Open your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Straighten your legs. Tuck under by gently rolling your hips underneath your spine. Bend slightly forward at your waist, and pull your shoulders back and down. Lift and lower your heels up, down, up, down. For more of a challenge, you have the option of balancing with your hands on your waist or your arms overhead. Do about 30-60 repetitions.

3. Parallel thigh

Bar Method

For this exercise, you'll need a stable (non-rolling) chair with a high back that you can hold lightly for balance. This exercise makes your whole body leaner, burns lots of calories and strengthens and protects your knees.

RELATED: The ultimate exercise to tone your arms

How-to: Face a half-arm's length from the backside of the chair, and hold it lightly for balance. Open your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Lift your heels as high as is comfortable for you, so that you are on the balls of your feet. Bend your knees and come about a third of the way down. Upright your spine and look straight ahead. Relax your seat and maintain a light grip on the back of the chair. Press down an inch, up an inch, down an inch. Be sure to vary the tempo and include static holds to your preference. Continue for one to two minutes.

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4. Bicep pulses

Bar Method

For this exercise, you'll need a slightly heavier set of three to four-pound weights. Practicing this exercise teaches your body good posture and alignment, carves your biceps and works your core muscles — specifically those in your abs, glutes and upper back.

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3 Exercises For A Strong Core

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3 Exercises For A Strong Core

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How-to: Hold one weight in each hand. Straighten your arms, turn your palms forward and upward and draw your hands about a foot forward of your thighs. Bend your arms so that your weights are one inch lower than your elbows. Bend your elbows to lift your weights one inch up toward elbow height and one inch down. Keep your upper arms still, with your elbows at a fixed point. Continue small, controlled bends for 30 seconds to one minute.

5.Narrow v thigh

Bar Method

For this exercise, you'll need a stable (non-rolling) chair with a high back that you can hold lightly for balance. It works your lower quads to support your knees and burns lots of calories.

RELATED: Burn calories fast with these 3 workouts

How-to: Face a half-arm's length from the backside of the chair, and hold it lightly for balance. Press your heels together and open the balls of your feet two to three-inches apart into a narrow v shape. Raise your heels about an inch off the floor, bend your knees and come to your lowest point. Relax your glutes and calves. Move down and inch, up an inch, down an inch. Vary the tempo and include static holds to your preference. Continue for one to two minutes.

Kiesha Ramey-Presner is the vice president of teacher development and master instructor for The Bar Method, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary this year.

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