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14 Essential Toning Exercises for Your Whole Body

Summer has arrived and there’s no better inspiration for sculpting your body than warm weather. So how about some toning workouts tone up those arms, abs, and butt?

We’ve put together these fourteen key exercises so you can create your own toning workout. Spend the next couple of weeks strengthening and increasing your muscle mass without having to do the exact same workout again and again.

No need to worry about the gym – this is an at-home workout that requires little to no equipment. You can add some resistance bands and dumbells to enhance a few of these toning exercises (or just grab a couple of heavy cans from the pantry) and use Polar Ignite 2 to track your progress. It’s up to you which exercises you add to your workout, so simply tailor it to suit your needs.


Mix it up by selecting seven to ten exercises from the suggestions below to create your own circuit, making sure you include a range that covers your abs, legs, butt, and arms.

Start with an easy five-minute warm-up, such as some light yoga or stretching. Then do 12-20 reps of each of your selected exercises to complete one circuit. Power through your circuit at least twice to get the most out of your workout.

Change up your routine with new exercises each time, so your toning workouts are never the same!

Standing toning workouts

toning workouts

180 Jump

Get a new perspective on your workout with this simple exercise. It’s a great way to raise your heart rate during your circuit.

Try it: jump up while simultaneously turning your body to face the opposite direction. Jump again while turning to face your original direction. These two jumps = one rep.

Abdominal Stretch

A great exercise to warm up with or save till the end of your workout. Picture the stretch you do first thing in the morning – it has that kind of vibe.

Try it: with your feet hip-width apart, raise both arms above your head. Interlace your fingers and push your palms up so your hands are rotated outwards. Descend your shoulder blades while keeping your hands as high as possible and push your hips forward. This will stretch your abdominal muscles. 

Arm/lateral raise

Creating a classic T shape with your arms is a great way to tone your arms, upper back, chest, and shoulders. This simple exercise can be done with resistance bands or small weights for an additional challenge. 

Try it:  with your feet hip-width apart, contract your butt and stomach muscles. Make sure your spine is straight and your hips are facing forward. With your arms extended and your hands at your sides, rotate your arms so your palms face forward. As you inhale, raise both hands until they are shoulder height then lower them as you exhale. This movement = one rep.

Bicep curl

This simple exercise requires either resistance bands or light weights to achieve those toned arms. Not only will it give you great-looking guns but strengthening your biceps is also good for your shoulders as well.

Try it:  if you’re using resistance bands, place them under your feet. With your feet hip-width apart, contract your butt and stomach muscles. With your elbows tucked in tight against your sides, hold your weights or bands with your palms facing up, ideally at hip height. Slowly and steadily bring the weights/bands in and up towards your body up to your shoulders. Hold and then slowly with control, lower the weights/bands back down to your starting position.

Dumbbell Rows

Another bicep exercise that also works your upper back and chest. Choose dumbells with a moderate weight as this movement is a little more challenging. 

Try it: with your feet hip-width apart, hinge forward at the hips with your dumbells in your hands. Your back should be just above horizontal with the floor with your neck in alignment and your knees slightly bent. Pull your elbows and the weights up, squeezing your shoulder blades together, while keeping your back at the same angle. With control, lower the dumbells back down to your shins.

toning workouts


This toning exercise is a lot like getting down on one knee to propose, over and over again. You don’t need a diamond ring or any equipment for this workout, which is great for your hips, butt, and thighs.

Try it: with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips, lunge forward with your right foot. Once in a split stance, slowly lower your left knee till it is hovering just above the floor and both your legs are at right angles. Slowly rise and then bring your right foot back to stand next to your left. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Shoulder press (with optional lunge)

This another great toning exercise to use resistance bands or dumbells with. Do it standing still or incorporate a lunge to make your workout more dynamic. It’s great for your shoulders and upper back.

Try it: if you’re using resistance bands, place them under your feet. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your arms bent, elbows tucked in by your sides and your hands holding bands/weights up by your shoulders. Slowly extend your arms, rotating your palms so they face outwards until they meet above your head without lifting your shoulders. Then return your hands to their original position. For a lunge, stand with one foot forward and then drop your back knee as you raise your hands.

toning workouts


This exercise is renowned for toning your booty – but is also great for increasing the flexibility in your legs and strengthening your core too. 

Try it: with your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your hands down by your sides. Bend at the knees and squat down, lowering your butt while raising your arms in front of you for balance. Be careful not to let your knees extend past your toes but rather focus on pushing your butt back while keeping your back straight.

Windmill Rotation Stretch

A classic toning exercise that is great for your lower back and hamstrings. With such perfect posture, you’ll feel like you’re in a vintage black-and-white exercise video.

Try it: with your feet shoulder-distance apart, inhale as you raise both your arms to shoulder height. Keeping your legs, arms, and back straight, bend forwards as you exhale, bringing your right hand down to touch your left toes while looking up at your left hand, which is extended directly above you. Inhale as your return to standing, with your arms out. Repeat on the opposite side. Both sides = one rep.

Floor-based toning workouts

toning workouts

Back extension

This simple toning exercise is great for working your lower back muscles and core strength. Feels like the perfect warm-up for doing The Worm breakdancing move.

Try it: lay on your stomach with your arms and legs fully extended. Raise your arms, chest, and legs simultaneously off the floor and hold. Slowly lower your chest and limbs to their original position. Repeat.

toning workouts


A classic exercise found in all types of toning workouts as it’s so effective at working your upper body and core strength at the same time. If you’re new to push-ups and find them challenging, bend your knees and place them on the floor with your feet raised instead.

Try it: start in a classic push-up position, with your hands underneath your shoulders, your arms extended and your toes tucked under. Make sure your palms are flat, your fingers are facing forward, your core is engaged and your legs are straight. Keeping your back straight, bend at your elbows and lower your body so you’re hovering just above the floor. Press back up to your original position.


Another classic toning exercise, this one is great for working out your hip flexors, abdominal muscles, lower back, plus the muscles in your lower legs. It’s important that you keep both feet (or heels) on the floor at all times – don’t ask someone else to hold them down for you.

Try it:  lay of your back with your knees slightly bent and your heels on the floor, far away from your butt. Bend your arms, with your elbows out wide, and place your hands by your ears. Engage your core and use this to pull your upper body up into a seated position, before slowly returning to your original position.

Stomach crunch

Not to be confused with a sit-up, a crunch is a smaller movement that is focused intently on your abdominal muscles. So, if you’re trying to work on your six-pack, this is the toning exercise for you.

Try it: lay of your back with your knees slightly bent and your heels on the floor, far away from your butt. Bend your arms, with your elbows out wide, and place your hands by your ears. Engage your core and make sure your lower back is pressed firmly into the floor. Raise your shoulder blades slightly off the floor, then slowly lower them back down.

Tricep dip

Finally, this seated exercise tones the muscles at the back of your upper arms – your triceps. It also activates your core as you need this to keep your hips up off the ground. For more of a challenge, place your hands on a bench, chair, or step.

Try it: sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands on the ground behind you and rotate your arms so your wrists are at the back and your fingers are pointing forwards. Lift your hips off the floor without locking your elbows, then slowly bend your elbows, dropping your hips so they hover just above the ground. Push back up.

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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.

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