Toning exercises build muscle strength and endurance while adding the appearance of a solid and firm physique. Variations of the exercises for toning tend to target specific areas of the body, particularly those that areas that tend to carry excess fatty tissue. There are many different exercises for toning, but the most common include kicks, lunges and crunches.
The most common exercises for toning the buttocks are kicks and lunges. These exercises target the gluteus muscles to firm and tone the region. Kicks and lunges can be performed on any floor that has a relatively padded surface. To perform kicks, begin with the knees and palms on the floor, careful to stack elbows, wrists and shoulders in one line. Once alignment has been established, start by lifting the right leg while maintaining a bend in the knee. With the bottom of the foot facing the ceiling, begin kicking toward the ceiling as if there were soccer ball bouncing on the sole of the foot. To isolate this toning exercise to the buttocks region and maximize its effectiveness, remain mindful of keeping the hips and the rest of the body still and aligned while kicking.
Lunges are exercises for toning the gluteus muscles and thighs. To assume the proper lunging position, begin by standing up straight. Keep the left leg in place, move the right leg forward and bend the knee. The back, left leg should be straight and long, pressing through the heel. The bent leg should be strong with the knee stacked directly over the ankle. An exerciser should be very careful not to allow the knee to pass beyond the front of his foot to avoid strain or injury in the knee. Holding a lunge position for 30 to 60 seconds at a time may be effective in building strength and tone. To add more of a challenge, bend the back left knee to hover above the ground for three seconds and lift. Repeat seven or eight times on each side.
Abdominal crunches can be effective exercises for toning the stomach and abdominal areas. It is best to warm up the abdominal muscles before beginning crunches. Warm-ups are simple exercises, but should be performed for about five minutes before attempting crunches. To warm up the abs, lie flat on your back with your legs straight in the air. Curl up by hinging at the sternum and keeping the gaze directly at the navel. Breathe deeply and hold this position for 40 breaths. To continue into an abdominal crunch, leave your legs in the air and release the abdominal muscles, returning a flat back to the floor. Curl up again, holding for two seconds and releasing. Repeat 10 to 20 times, gradually increasing repetitions as muscles become stronger.