When you are working out with the goal of losing weight, it can be tricky to know which exercises to do if you're not with a personal trainer or in a group class. It can also be hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym or take fitness classes all the time. Fortunately, it's possible to sneak in home workouts that will help you achieve your fitness goals. CareDash talked to Jennifer Williams, the founder and CEO of Pop Physique — a trendy artistic ballet fitness class — about her top 5 favorite workout moves for weight loss and toning. The best part about these exercises is that you can do them easily at home without any equipment, aside from a yoga mat or thick blanket beneath you. 

Move 1: Forearm Plank

What it does: This is a powerhouse move that fully engages the abdominals while simultaneously working the inner thighs and glutes.

Set up:

  1. On your forearms, elbows under shoulders.
  2.  Shoot your legs back, glue them together, tuck your pelvis, squeeze your seat.
  3. Pull your abs in and squeeze your inner thighs and seat in and in. 

Variations:

  • Hold and exhale at least 30 seconds.
  • Rock the heels back while exhaling, about 30 seconds
  • come back to the center, re-tuck, re-squeeze and hold to finish about 30 seconds

Move 2: Tricep Dips (aka reverse push-ups)

What it does: This exercise is great for toned, lean arms.

Set up:

Seated on your mat, feet hips distance, palms under shoulders with fingers facing forward. Squeeze your seat and tuck your pelvis up, shift your weight over your palms.

Variations:

  • Bend your elbows, press up to straight (without locking into the elbows) 12x
  • Bend your elbows, hold the bend, and pulse down, 12x. Hold the bend and pulse up, 8 12x.

Move 3: Knee Dancing

What it does: Improves core strength and balance while you also get a killer thigh workout

Set up:

  1. Knees on a yoga mat or towel, about hips distance. 
  2. Come up so you're on your shins. Tuck pelvis and lean back until you feel like you’re leaning backward as far as possible. Your abdominals engage to hold you upright

Variations:

  • Pulse back and back and back about 20 seconds
  • Reach your Right arm towards your Right toes (engaging obliques) about 10 times
  • Reach your Left arm ti your Left toes, about 10 times
  • Come up. Inhale/exhale lean back and pulse back to finish about 20 seconds

Move 4: Table Top With Leg Extensions

What it does: Tone your deepest abdominals (transverse abdominis) for a flat stomach

Set up:

  1. Lay flat, legs zipped up, lift legs to table top
  2. Press your hands firmly into the center of your thighs
  3. Press your thighs against your hands

Variations:

  • Hold and exhale, exhale, exhale 30 seconds
  • Straighten your legs as you exhale for two counts, bend them in to table top for 2 counts, repeat 4 times
  • Go back to table top, hold and press your hands into your thighs and exhale 30 seconds to finish

Move 5: Back Dancing

What it does: simple pelvic tucks done lying flat to tone and lift the seat

Set up:

  1. Lie flat on your mat with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent.
  2. Squeeze your seat as tight as you can and tuck your seat up, tilting your hips towards your ribs.
  3. Make sure your rib cage stays glued to the floor.

Variations:

  • Squeeze and tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck
  • Hips touch the floor, hips tuck up, touch the floor, tuck up — never let go of the squeeze, even on the way down
  • Bring your heels together, toes apart in a narrow V. Heels dig into the floor, toes up. Tuck tuck tuck tuck.
  • Bring legs all the way together, inner thighs, calves and ankles zipped. Come up onto Releve and tuck, Finish with tucks in the center with both legs squeezing together.
  • Do a mix of these variations for minimum 2-1/2 minutes for an effective seat workout.

Combine any or all of these exercises for a great home workout that targets muscle groups all over the body. Let us know if you have any favorite weight loss exercises in the comments below!