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Do These Exercises for a Toned and Healthy Summer Body, Says Trainer

Here are 7 go-to exercises that will have you looking and feeling your best.

It should probably come as no surprise that, as a professional trainer based in sunny Los Angeles, I routinely work with clients who voice their strong interest in looking their best in a swimsuit. If you're someone with similar goals in mind, I'll tell you the same thing that I tell them: If you want to feel great, be healthy, and look your best, you need to eat a diet rich in whole foods, you need to cut down on alcohol, you need to get plenty of sleep, and you need to exercise.

If you want to look better in a swimsuit, guess what? You need to eat a diet rich in whole foods, you need to cut down on alcohol, you need to get plenty of sleep, and you need to exercise. That's right: There is absolutely nothing special or unique about exercising for any one item of clothing you're going to wear. If you put in the work, train the whole of your body hard, and practice discipline, you'll look and feel your best—whether you're wearing a bikini, a bathrobe, or a pair of ratty old sweats.

But given that I get this request often, what I can do is provide you with a full checklist of great exercises that will help you work your body in such a way that promotes toned, lean muscle. (Depending on how rigid your diet is, it's definitely possible that you'll lose weight.) Either way, these are exercises that target all of the major muscles that tend to stand out when we're wearing little to no clothing: Your legs, your glutes, your back, your shoulders, and your triceps. If you do them, you'll be able to see visible results on your body.

With that in mind, incorporate these 7 moves into your workouts when you can, performing 3-4 sets of them at a time. And for more great exercise advice, see here for The Secret Side Effects of Exercise You Didn't Know, Says Scientist.

Hip Thrust (Barbell or Dumbbell) x8-10 reps

1 hip thrust exercise

Start the movement by setting your upper back on a bench or sturdy platform. Place a dumbbell or barbell on your lap with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your core tight, lower your weight down. Push through your heels and hips until they're fully extended, squeezing your glutes hard at the top for 2 seconds. And for more great exercise advice, don't miss The One Major Side Effect of Walking Every Day, According to Science.

Bulgarian Split Squat (10 reps each leg)

2 bulgarian split squat

Position your back foot up on a bench with either the top of your foot or on the ball of your foot and step out about 2-3 feet. Once in position, lower yourself down under control while keeping the back knee bent as you descend. Drive through with your front heel to return to standing, flexing your quads and glutes. Then repeat. And for more amazing workout advice, don't miss The Secret Exercise Tricks for a Better Body After 40, Say Experts.

Dumbbell Row (10 reps each arm)

3 dumbbell row

Position yourself parallel to a bench so your hand and knee are firmly pressed. Grip the dumbbell with the opposite arm and begin the motion by pulling the dumbbell towards your hip, squeezing your lats and upper back at the very end of the movement. Straighten your arm afterwards and get a nice stretch at the bottom before performing the next rep.

DB Lateral Raise (15 reps)

4 DB lateral raise

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your chest tall and your head slightly tilted back. Begin the motion by raising both dumbbells out to your side just right where your arms are parallel to the floor. Flex the sides of your shoulders at the top, then lower the weight under control. As you lower the dumbbells, maintain tension in your shoulders the entire time.

Bent-Over DB Lateral Raise (15 reps)

5 bent over DB lateral raise

Grab a pair of dumbbells and get into position by pushing your hips back and bending your torso forward at least 45 degrees. Keeping your chest tall and knees soft with a slight elbow bend, pull the dumbbells back towards you. Squeeze the back of your shoulders, resist on the way back to starting position before performing another rep.

Overhead DB Triceps Extensions (10-12 reps)

6 overhead db triceps extensions
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

Grab a dumbbell with both hands and hold it over and behind your head. Bend from the elbows and lower the weight slowly under control, getting a nice triceps stretch at the bottom. Once you're at the bottom, extend your arms back up, flexing your triceps hard at the top.

Stability Ball Stir-the-Pot

7 stability ball stir-the-pot

Begin by placing your forearms on a stability ball and extending your feet out with a wide base in a plank position. Keeping your core tight and your glutes squeezed, begin swirling the ball in a counterclockwise motion, then clockwise, and finally forward and back. As you're moving the ball with your forearms, be sure that your torso stays completely straight while you maintain tension in your abs. Aim for 8-10 reps for each direction. And for more exercise news, make sure you're aware of The #1 Sign You Don't Exercise Enough, Says Science.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim