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I'm 20 years old, female, and my body weight is OK. I'm interested in starting an exercise regime to slim my entire body (legs, chin, arms, and stomach mostly and in that order...) Without building bulging abs. I'd also like to improve my agility. I'm interested in specific exercises that can do this, (for example: Walking, Sit ups) or an exercise regime (such as yoga). Take into account that I'm doing this at home, without special equipment. Please fully explain why these regimes will help me achieve my goal, or post links to sites that fully explain the regime and it's benefits.
You do not need to explain to me how to do these exercises, just what exercises, and why.

I know that dieting must go together with the exercise to fully achieve my goal, and I currently am dieting. I assume that all exercises will strengthen my muscles, and that's a good thing, obviously. I'm not trying to avoid that. It just seems that all the exercises I looked up are concentrating on toning those abs which is not my goal at all.

I'm a total newbie to this area, So try to elaborate as clearly as you can, and If my question is mixed up or unclear please comment and I will fix it. Thank you all!

  • Why don't you want to build your abs? Do you have an injury that we need to account for? Can you elaborate on your diet? How much time are you willing to devote a day to exercise? I can provide general guidelines but it would be helpful if you told me specifically, why you want to improve your agility. – JaredW82 Mar 7 '16 at 21:50
  • @jared, I am a female and just don't like the bulging abs look. I don't have any injuries and I am in pretty good shape. I am prepared to devote 30/45 minutes, at least at start. I don't have a particular reason to wanting to be more agile. I just want to be flexible. My diet is irrelevant. I'm just searching for exercises which purpose is not making bulging abs but slimming down the body. – MJH Mar 8 '16 at 12:38
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"Toning" your muscles is not something that is possible and it a very confusing term. It simply does not exist. The idea of a toned image is one that is (1) lean with some (2) muscle definition, or put otherwise: you will have a "toned" look if you lose fat and build muscle.

This simply means that you need to build muscle and shred fat. No more, no less. You seem to know that to lose fat you need to have a caloric deficit, meaning you use more energy than you consume, so that is great.

The second part is to build muscle, and this you can do in many ways. Bodyweight exercises are a good start, squats, lunges, push ups, planches, box jumps are some exercises that come into mind you could do easily at home. I believe you want to have an overall healthy look, so I'd suggest working out all your body parts.

Last note: you won't get "bulging" abs from simple strength training. Getting that muscular look you are afraid of requires lots of dedication and knowledge and you won't just transform into a she-hulk the moment you touch some weights. So you don't have to stress about that.

EDIT: as for the second part of your question. You can increase your agility by increasing your balance, explosiveness, strength and range of motion. Something you can achieve with strength training and proper stretching

  • This doesn't really seem to be the answer I'm looking for. I have done exercise other than walking in the past(squats, pushups, situps, weights) and I did not just get a "toned" look. My biceps started bulging more than I would like, and I could clearly see abs starting to define in my abdomen. I was not training very hard, just about 20 min, a day. I'm not afraid of looking like a female body builder. I know that won't happen. But I don't want Muscle definition either. I'm talking about small bulges( not hulk). I just want to look skinny. not muscly. – MJH Mar 8 '16 at 13:21
  • Well, in that case... do lots of cardio and work your type I muscle fibers. (The jogger/marathon look). – k88 Mar 8 '16 at 13:33
  • @k88 - You mean like Galen Rupp? :) – JohnP Mar 8 '16 at 19:12
  • @JohnP Well... he is not "bulgy" :) – k88 Mar 8 '16 at 20:20
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From your comments:

My diet is irrelevant. I'm just searching for exercises which purpose is not making bulging abs but slimming down the body.

But I don't want Muscle definition either.

If you want to slim down the body, diet is not irrelevant. However, the two comments that you make are at odds with each other.

The primary functions of muscle are to move the body to perform tasks, such as walking, seeing, eating, digestion, sitting, etc etc etc. Your muscles will adapt to whatever exercises you do, in order to be more efficient at doing the exercise. Part of this adaptation includes growth both in size and density. This will only occur to the extent to which you do the exercises. The reason an overweight, blobby video game addict looks the way they do is they don't exercise at all, and only move when necessary. Part of the reason a competitive bodybuilder looks the way they do is they specifically train to look that way. Your image is somewhere in the middle.

Part of the problem is nobody can see what you mean by slimmer, what you consider "bulging abs", etc. It might help if you could post a picture of what you want to look like.

My biceps started bulging more than I would like, and I could clearly see abs starting to define in my abdomen.

Then either do lighter weights, or less repetitions/sets. As I stated above, your body adapts to the workload placed on it. If you do exercises A, B, C and D for 3 sets of 10 reps each, and you start getting more "muscley" than you would like, do 3 sets of 6 reps each, or 2 sets of 10 reps or use less weight. Find what maintains the look you want, and keep doing that. If you like the way your biceps look and you're doing 3 sets of 6 reps on curls with 10 lb dumbbells, doing that over and over won't stimulate new muscle growth.

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From personal experience, I'd recommend doing something like gymnastics (many gymnastics schools offer an "adult tumbling" class so you won't be sharing the mat with 8-year-olds in leotards) or a martial art like Kung Fu or Capoeira which emphasizes mobility. In both cases, you're constantly moving, and building muscle tone to support yourself in various positions, but bulk is limited by the fact that you're balancing building enough muscle to support yourself against the need to keep bulk down so that you have strength enough to lift yourself. Plus, they tend to be fun, with a variety of different exercises so that you're not likely to get bored with it any time soon. Lastly, they obviously promote agility, since it's a core aspect of the work. Parkour is another possibility, albeit one that's more daunting for many people, and more difficult to find classes for.

If taking an actual class is not feasible (I work full time and have other activities, so I know I haven't had room for a class in ages), these activities often have home study materials you can use. I'd probably edge towards martial arts in that case. If you live in a decent-size town, the odds are that you can get a Capoeira workout DVD from the library for free. Parkour is a bit trickier in that a) there are fewer codified resources and b) it can be tricky to learn to do safely without a teacher, although there are some very good YouTube videos (I highly recommend Amos Rendao's roll tutorial, both amusing and informative). Lastly, gymnastics may seem daunting for practicing at home without a teacher, but doing handstands against walls and practicing controlled cartwheels is doable without specialized equipment or instruction with little risk of injury.

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