Master these 10 exercises and we guarantee you'll be feeling more body-confident than ever in your swimwear

But thanks to this 10-minute toning workout from personal trainer to the stars Richard Thomas, the only excess baggage you’ll be carrying this summer is a suitcase for your incredible holiday wardrobe.

How it works

“These exercises are based on the BALS technique – back, arms, legs and stomach – for a full-body workout,” explains Richard.

“Do the routine three times a week and in four weeks you’ll have more defined muscles and be strong enough to lift your own body weight.

“Up the frequency to daily and you could see results in just a week. Each exercise complements the one before, so do them in the order shown.

“Fitness isn’t about how far you can run, it’s about how long it takes you to recover from activity, so gradually increase the exercise periods and decrease your rest time.”

  • Beginner level: One round (45 seconds exercise, 15 seconds recovery)
  • Intermediate: Two rounds (50 seconds exercise, 10 seconds recovery)
  • Advanced: Three rounds (55 seconds exercise, five seconds recovery)


1 – Prisoner squats

This exercise warms you up by working all your big muscle groups, including your quads.

Start with your hands behind your ears, elbows out to your side (imagine a police officer has asked you to put your hands behind your head – hence the name of the exercise).

This will avoid the rounded shoulders you get if you squat hands-on-hips.Spread your feet at a distance of around half the width of your hips, toes pointing forward and knees in line with toes.

Engage your core, and bring your bum down towards the floor. Aim for a full range of movement as you move back up, without locking your knees.

2 – Prisoner lunges

Use the prisoner squat position to start, then simply step forward, alternating each leg.

Just before your back knee touches the floor, reverse into a standing position.

Ensure your knees are in line with your toes. Don’t bang your knee against the floor – it should never hit the ground.

3 – Planks

Beginner option: the three-quarter plank.

Place forearms and palms flat on the floor, knees in contact with the floor. Without arching your back, concentrate on pulling your belly button toward the base of your spine. Add in leg raises, lifting your heel to the ceiling, alternating legs.

Intermediate/advanced option: full plank position

As above but starting with your knees off the floor, on your toes. You’ll work not only your core, but also your glutes.

4 – The Superwoman

On your hands and knees, lift your left arm and your right leg together, then return to starting position. Alternate sides.

Keep your arm straight – your ear should be by your shoulder, not angled outwards.

Keep your stomach engaged, back flat and chin up. Don’t look at the floor and drop your head as this will cause neck strain.

5 – Press-ups

Rest on your knees with your feet raised in the air. Place your arms at 11/2 times the width of your shoulders – if they’re too far apart your deltoid (shoulder) muscles will be doing all the work, and if they’re too close together you’ll only be activating your triceps.

Think about lowering your chest to the floor, rather than worrying about your arms.

Elbows should go outwards so your upper body creates a square. Come down far enough so you make a 90-degree angle at the elbow. Keep your chin tucked into your chest.

Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.

Want an intermediate/advanced option? Go up on to your toes, knees off the floor.

6 – Hip bridges

Lie with your back flat to the floor, knees bent and feet flat, heels as close to your bum as possible. If your feet are too far away you’ll arch your back as you lift.

Keep your hands by your sides, palms pressed to the ground, and lift your hips and lower back off the floor so you’re resting your weight on your shoulders and the top of your back.

Pull in your stomach and clench your glutes.

Repeat, and to make it harder, hold the raised hip position while lifting one leg off the floor for around 20-25 seconds each side.

7 – Crunches

Place hands above your head with elbows out to the side, legs bent and feet flat on the floor.

Move your upper body up 45 degrees, then back down. To avoid neck strain, imagine you’re holding a ball between your chin and your chest.

Breathe out as you come up and in as you come down (or instead of a flat tummy you’ll get a bloated look).

8 – Love-handle twists

In the same starting position as the hip bridge, with feet close to your glutes, bring your right elbow towards your left knee.

Alternate, crossing over each time to work the oblique muscles at the sides of your core.

For an advanced version, take your feet off the floor before bringing your right elbow towards your left knee.

9 – Raise & curl

Lie on your back, hands by your side, then raise your legs to 90 degrees.

To work your lower abdominals, push knees towards your shoulders, rolling your hips off the floor and tucking your knees in towards your chest.



To avoid a gap between your knees, imagine you have a ball in-between them that you have to squeeze.

10 – Dorsal raise

On your stomach, place your hands beneath your chin, elbows out to the side.Keep your feet on the ground and raise your upper body.

Make sure you keep your chin and hands together. To make it harder, raise your legs as well.

To finish off your workout, hold child’s pose – sitting on your heels and leaning forward, arms outstretched – for 20-30 seconds.


  • Get comfortable
  • Use a yoga mat on a hardwood floor, or lay a towel on top of carpet.
  • Add some cardio to make it harder
  • Do 10 seconds of star jumps or mountain climbers between each exercise.
  • Up your protein levels
  • Aim for protein with every meal: eggs for brekkie, a chickpea salad for lunch and a 70g steak at dinner will help build muscle.

Insta-wow kit alert

Since you’ve saved money by working out at home, here’s our ultimate lust-worthy selection of gym buys to splash out on.

  • Trainers, £75.95, Adidas – buy now

  • Water bottle, £15, Marks & Spencer – buy now

  • Dumb-bells, from £45 for two, – buy now

  • Boxing gloves, £69, Fab by Fabienne – buy now

  • Leggings, £60, Bellum – buy now

Stockists: Adidas (, Bellum (, Fab by Fabienne (, Fitbit (, Marks & Spencer (

Source: Women’s Health UK.

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