Whenever you're looking to slim down, exercise is your saving grace. But there's one type of exercise in particular that helps you melt body fat and maintain a new, healthy weight by sculpting lean muscle: strength training. Now, you may be wondering, "How does building muscle help me lose weight and get slender?" Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, lean muscle tissue burns more calories than the same amount of body fat—even at rest—which is key in achieving weight loss goals without sacrificing body strength. If you're eager to achieve the physique of your dreams, we spoke with an expert who shares with us six of his favorite simple strength exercises for a slim and slender body.
Tyler Read, the founder of PTPioneer.com and a personal trainer who's been involved in the health and fitness world for the past 15 years, informs us that building up your supply of muscle is an excellent way to achieve a slender figure if you currently don't have a lot of muscle mass. In addition, more muscle mass boosts your baseline metabolism and lets your body work harder, which in turn torches a greater number of calories and supports the calorie deficit you need to keep up with.
"The toned appearance of many fit bodies boils down to the muscle mass and lower body fat percentage," Read explains. "Without the muscle, you do not get a toned appearance. It takes a substantial amount of time, effort, and dedication to lifting weights over many years before there is any risk of appearing 'bulky.'"
Continue on to learn about Read's top-recommended simple strength exercises for a slim and slender body. And next, be sure to check out 5 Daily Exercise Habits for Women To Get Firm & Lean After 50.
The pushup is a classic compound exercise that serves as a solid calorie burner, according to PureGym. You'll begin in a high plank position. Bend both elbows as you gradually lower your body toward the ground. Make sure to keep your abs activated and your spine neutral—don't let your lower back cave in! Once you reach the bottom of the motion, press yourself back up to a high plank.
The plank is considered an isometric exercise that fires up your core muscles, along with your back, hip, shoulder, and leg muscles, PureGym explains. You can perform either a forearm plank or a straight-arm plank. For the forearm plank, simply assume a tabletop position before descending to your forearms. Your elbows should be under your shoulders, and your body should be in a straight line as you activate your abs and hold the position.
This bodyweight exercise begins with you placing your feet either hip-width or shoulder-width distance apart, PureGym instructs. Keep your arms by your sides or straight out in front of you. Then, bend both knees and hinge at the hips as you descend into a squat. Lower until both thighs form a parallel position to the ground. Press through both feet in order to come back up to the starting position, and squeeze your glutes just a bit.
Lunges start with you placing your feet shoulder-width distance apart, PureGym says. You can hold a lightweight dumbbell in each hand, or perform this move with just your body weight. Take a stride forward with your left leg as you bend your knees and descend into a lunge. Maintain a tall upper body and make sure your left knee doesn't go beyond your toes. Press yourself back up to the start position through your left heel. Then, bring your right leg forward to perform the exercise on the opposite side.
To initiate the dumbbell bent-over row, grab your weights with a neutral grip. Then, press your hips back so that your torso forms a 45-degree angle, PureGym explains. Both arms should be hanging down straight in front of your shins. Activate your core, and row the weights upward toward your torso as your elbows come back. Bring the dumbbells up until your triceps form a parallel position to the ground. Then, lower the weights back down.
Last but not least on Read's list of the best strength exercises for a slim and slender body, we have the glute bridge. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), you'll begin this exercise by lying down flat on your back on a workout mat. Bend both knees and place your feet on the floor hip-width distance apart. Keep your arms by your sides. Next, activate your core and your glutes, and push your hips up to the sky. (Note that you should press your hips up without forming an arch in your back.) Once you reach the top of the bridge, squeeze the glutes. Then, gradually lower your hips back down to the starting position.