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The Best Exercises to Get Fit for Summer

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Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.

Get summer ready!

Get summer ready!

Time to Get Ready for Summer

The days are getting longer, and the temperatures are rising. Summer is nearly here. It's time for trips to lake, barbecues, camping, and outdoor adventures. It's also time to put away the sweaters and jackets and put on those pretty sun dresses, tank tops, and shorts. Everyone wants to look and feel their best, especially during the summer months.

If you've been slacking off a little, no worries! It's never too late to get back on track. Start today and you will be more tight and toned by July. Just in time for the holiday!

Below I've outlined my favorite exercises to tighten and tone the body from head to toe. Get ready to feel confident and look amazing!

Disclaimer: You should always consult your physician before beginning any fitness or nutrition program.

Cardio and HIIT

First up, everyone's favorite type of exercise. Before you start groaning, hear me out. Cardio is an important part of a comprehensive weight-loss program. It strengthens your heart, increases your stamina and endurance, and will allow you to go on your hikes without getting tired in the first ten minutes. It also helps burn calories and fat, makes you sweat, and feels good. The trick is finding the right cardio workout for you. There are many variations of cardio. You can:

  • Jog around your neighborhood
  • Hop on the treadmill
  • Use the elliptical
  • Take a cycling class
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Take a walk
  • Do a dance cardio workout

If none of those things sound appealing to you, don't despair. My favorite form of cardio is HIIT, high intensity interval training. It's the ultimate multi-tasking workout. You basically alternate between bursts of cardio movements and strength movements. You can customize your own HIIT workout. For example, try alternating the following movements every 30 seconds to a minute:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Any squat variation
  • Jog or run in place
  • Any lunge variation
  • Squat jumps
  • Leg lifts
  • Jump rope

You could also follow along with a video. If you browse YouTube, you will find a variety of HIIT videos to choose from. If you have injuries or need modifications, you can always keep your workout low impact by stepping through the movements instead of jumping.

Abs and Core Work

The mid-section is often the most challenging area for women to tone, especially after having children. It takes time, patience, effort, and consistency. It's important to choose the right exercises and to work the entire core. A fun tidbit: every exercise you do has the potential of also being an ab exercise. Proper form is essential and in most cases, movements require you to bring your navel to your spine. This small movement works your mid-section and helps strengthen your abs, while also protecting your back. The entire body is connected.

It's important to work all the muscles of the core. You should work the abs, the obliques, and the transverse abdominis. This will help pull everything in and give you a smaller waist. In addition to that, you should also be working the lower back and the hip flexors. Strengthening your core supports your spine, helps prevent bone and muscle weakening, can improve cognitive functioning, and helps you perform everyday activities.

My Favorite Ab Moves:

  • Wood chops
  • Penguin crunches
  • Standing abs in the style of Tracy Anderson and Tracy Campoli
  • Around the worlds
  • 360's in the style of Shaun T.
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Seated Russian twists

For the Core:

  • I'm all about the planks. I love to mix it up with different variations and adding in leg movements.
  • Mountain climbers
  • Balance ball crunches
  • Balance ball back extenstions
  • Reverse crunches
  • Supine leg lifts are one of my favorite ways to target the low abs. This move also works other key areas of the core.

Legs and Booty

Summertime means shorts, skirts, and bikini bottoms. Everyone wants to tone the legs and booty to look and feel their best. This is one of my favorite areas to work, too.

These are my picks for slim, sleek stems and a tight, toned booty:

  • Squat variations
  • Lunge variations, especially curtsy lunges
  • Dead lifts with free weights
  • Box jump and squats
  • Attitude leg lifts
  • Fire hydrants
  • Glute kickbacks
  • Clamshells
  • Bridges

Arms and Shoulders

Tight, toned arms are a must for summertime. It's one of the easiest areas to work and one of the first areas where you will see results. I like to add in a variety of upper body work that includes my arms, shoulders, chest, and upper back. Remember, it's all connected!

Here are some of my favorite exercises:

  • Push up variations
  • Bicep curls
  • Hammer curls
  • Tricep extensions
  • Shoulder press variations
  • Front raises
  • Arnold presses
  • Tricep dips

I tend to stick to lighter weights and higher reps. I have 3 lb. and 5 lb. hand weights that I use regularly. It works for me and the look I'm trying to achieve. When considering weights, think about what you can handle with proper form. The movements should burn, but you should be able to maintain proper form throughout the entire exercise.

Final Tips

When you are trying to tone up, it's important to stay consistent with your workouts. Depending on your fitness level and goals, you might aim for three to five days a week, for 30 - 45 minutes a day. If you are more advanced, you might find yourself working out every day. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is to stick with it. Show up for yourself. Stay consistent.

The other important factor in achieving your goals is nutrition. You have to fuel your body with the right foods in order to have the energy to perform the exercises. Making healthy choices ensures that you see results, too. You can't eat a ton of junk and expect to look and feel amazing. My philosophy is everything in moderation. If you want a slice of pizza, have a slice of pizza. Just don't eat the entire pie. If you want dessert, have it and take the time to savor it. Indulge occasionally and truly enjoy it. The rest of the time, make those healthy choices. When you start over restricting yourself, your mind and body crave those "bad foods" and you're more likely to binge out on them. Keep your lifestyle in mind and adjust accordingly. Find what works for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2018 Alyssa


Alyssa (author) from Ohio on March 16, 2021:

I'm glad you found this helpful!

Ray from Philippines on June 28, 2018:

I badly need this. I want to lose weight before doing our graduation pictorial. Thank you for sharing.

Alyssa (author) from Ohio on June 22, 2018:

Oh I'm so happy to hear you found this useful, Glenn! I agree, remaining active is important, especially as we get older. :)

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on June 22, 2018:

These workouts are great for guys too, Alyssa. You compiled a very useful set of workouts here, both for cardio and well as full body exercises. I did some of these and I felt the burn. I believe it’s important to remain active with body exercises as one ages.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2018:

Do you do videos? You should!