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2-in-1 exercises that will tone your arms and abs

A workout routine to target two common trouble areas — in half the time!
Image: Abs
The abdominals and the arms are two of the most common "trouble" spots that people wish to tone. Daniel Grill / Getty Images

As a personal trainer, one of the top complaints my clients have is excess weight and flab in the mid-section. The second most popular complaint is hating how their arms look in photos.

While the winter may offer our trouble spots some refuge under bulky sweaters, they’ll make their way back into the spotlight in a few months come spring. So now is the time to commit to full-body workouts that will help you maintain your core and arm strength and save you the panic come tank-top season.

I also know that this time of year is a busy one, and oftentimes the first thing to get pushed off the calendar is exercise. So I devised an exercise routine to target these two areas, in half the time. These 2-in-1 exercises work your arms, and then give them a chance to rest while keeping your body moving though the core exercises. You can perform them every other day for optimal results.

Tricep Dip & Toe Reach

Sitting on the ground, place your hands behind you and turn your fingers towards your bottom. Walk the feet forward so that the knees are over the ankles, and press down with your feet to lift your butt into the air. Bring the shoulders back over the wrists. From here, engage the abs and bend the elbows straight back. Press down through the hands to engage the triceps. Press back up to the starting position. Then, reach your right hand off of the ground as you reach your left leg towards the sky. Reach the right arm up and forward, towards the leg, and then place both back down onto the ground. Perform another tricep dip, and then reach the left hand up towards the lifted right leg. Repeat this 10 times on each side, for a total of 20 tricep dips.

Push-Up & Alternating Pike Tap

From a plank position, pull the abs in and bend the elbows out to the side, lowering down into a push-up. Press back up to plank, and then press back to downward facing dog (or up into a pike position). Then lift the right hand off of the ground and reach the right hand towards the left ankle. Pull the navel in and up and work the internal and external obliques. Then put the right hand down, move into plank position, lower down into a push-up, then press back up into plank. From plank, pike the hips up again and this time reach the left hand towards the right heel. Repeat this 5 times on each side for a total of 10 push-ups.

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Moving Claw into Side Crunch

Standing upright with the feet hip-width apart and the abs pulled in, extend the arms out to the sides, palms up. Relax the shoulders. Make a claw shape with the hands. Rotate the arms to have the palms face down, then rotate the arms to have the palms face up again. Keep alternating for 30 seconds or 30 repetitions. After this, place your right hand behind your head and crunch the right elbow towards the right knee. Repeat this 10 times, then alternate to the left side. Repeat this routine 3 times total.

Bent Elbows & Leg Extension

Starting in a seated position on the ground, place your hands behind you with the fingers facing the glutes. Bend the left knee (knee over ankle) and extend the right leg straight in front of you. Bend the elbows and hold this position. You’ll be working the shoulders, rotator cuff, upper back and triceps here. Hold this position as you lift the right leg up towards the ceiling, and then lower it down about 1 inch off of the ground. Pull your navel in towards your spine and really work the core to stabilize your body in this position. Repeat 10 leg lifts, then press the arms up straight and switch legs.

Try these exercise routines

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