I've managed to do something I never thought possible for myself, and lost about 5kg in one month. I'm aiming to continue this trend until I'm back below 100kg. I've managed this by walking most nights and eating a lot less.

Obviously, with the weight loss, I'm noticing loose skin in places (mostly about the stomach), and I know that I need to start thinking about crunches and situps. One person I spoke to suggested that I'd need to balance those with some work on my back.

So - what home-based (not gyms) exercises are good for toning up? I have dumbbells and barbells at home.

6 Answers 6


Think of all those things you did in P.E. back in school, and revisit those:

  • Jump rope
  • Jumping jacks
  • Push ups
  • Pull ups
  • Sit ups

Also, feel free to throw in some cycling and a little sports. Make it fun! That walking might be doing the trick, but most people don't keep that up year after year.

You should start looking for a hobby that lets you stay active, so that the weight never returns. The key is to use more calories than you take in. If you put in too many calories, your body starts storing what it can.

  • Well, the walking is mostly aimed at getting hill-fit again so I can wander around the outback with my camera and not get knackered on the first 100m - but I'm happy to make sure I walk at least partway home each evening (and with train stations every kilometre on my line it's easy to pick a distance each night).
    – user2835
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 3:44

This is a very interesting topic that I have been discussing recently. It appears that genetically the skin of some people is not flexible and once they lose weight it remains stretched out.

I remember when I lost 7kgs when cutting I didn't get any loose weight. But I have seen it with other people where their skin would remain stretched and loose after they would lose some fat(just how you are describing it).

However what such people told me is that the skin won't go back regardless of the exercises. So the only option for them was to fill it in with muscles. This way it wouldn't stay loose.

For that I can suggest you more than enough exercises but you will have to combine them with proper nutrition plan in order to gain muscle. Right now if you are dieting to lose fat you can't really gain muscle.

Let me know if my answer is what you are looking for, then I can suggest how to proceed further.

  • I don't think "filling it in with muscles" is quite right - loose skin does tighten up eventually (women who've given birth and then retoned afterwards are evidence of that) - I'm looking for ways to help it happen.
    – user2835
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 21:47
  • 1
    Not all women who have given birth got their skin tightened up. You can google that. Skin has different qualities for different people.
    – Arthlete
    Commented Jun 30, 2013 at 21:50

Compound excercices that will use as many muscles as possible. You can already do with what you have:

  • Barbell and dumbbell chest press
  • Squats
  • Bicycle crunch and plank

I recommend investing in doorframe gym bar and do pullups and chinups. You can also do leg lifts with gym bar, but I find them inferior to bicycle crunch.

For upper body, do more series & more repetitions with less weight. When I was toning for marathon, I used only as much weight to be able to make 5 series of 12 repetitions. I was really lean after that. Helps with running a lot, without losing strength.

You probably don't have much lose skin on legs, but squats with barbells are good. But for me, running uphill was much more fun.

Running helped my abs as well. But to make them better looking I used bicycle crunch, because it is very good for the muscles on sides. It makes you look "stretch" the belly from front and "shrink" from sides - effectively making it look flatter. Do plank to stabilize the whole center, it's good for deep muscles and works well in synergy with other excercies.

But this all will help just to make you look better. The skin will stretch a bit because you will have more muscle everywhere... So of course, hydrate, proper diet, use creams to make the skin more elastic and don't lose so fast, but you probably don't want to hear that ;)


Although we me see some immediate results from reducing our caloric intake, the main reason for the weight reduction is our reduction or carbohydrates or sugars (since we reduce all forms of nutrition). Carbohydrate intake causes our body to release insulin, an anabolic hormone released from the pancreas, that tells our body to store the excess sugars in our cells. Unfortunately our body has a limited amount of storage for these sugars and once that target is reached we store the remaining energy (calories) as triglycerides or adipose tissue. Therefore the reason our body puts on excess body weight is not due directly to an increase in caloric intake, but rather an over consumption of sugar that causes our body to be in a chronic state of anabolism (storing fat).

With this in mind we must then look at how we can use this to lose weight. When reducing our caloric intake on a diet, we typically eat healthier begin removing excess junk food (i.e chips, pop, candy). Since these all contain excess sugar that boosts our insulin levels, when we remove them we see this immediate loss of weight. However, we now go into a chronic state of low nutrition, which causes our body to want to keep what energy is left. This results in low blood sugar, which in turn tells our body we need to eat. To loss weight we must lower our carbohydrate and use foods that allow our bodies to have access to our stored excess energy. When eating a low carbohydrate meal, our body is now in a state of catabaolism, which allows us to access our adipose tissue as useable energy, rather than allows having access to simple sugars (a steady high level of insulin).

Although your workout may have caused some of the weight loss it is mainly attributed to the lower carbohydrate in tack caused by the lower overall intake. Your diet should be the main focus when attempting to lose weight, with less emphasis on which muscles are being used. A healthy active lifestyle normally correlates with a positive figure, but our diet is most import.

That being said, you should look into a lower-carbohydrate lifestyle consisting of healthy animal products and vegetables, while limiting our grain consumption and excess sugar, as well as processed vegetable oils.

  • 1
    I'm confident enough in my weight loss strategy - I'm asking about toning and firming the loose skin that's left after I've lost the fat.
    – user2835
    Commented Feb 1, 2012 at 9:16

Home Exercise Training

Here are some (beginner) exercises that I provide some of my clients with who train at home. The following will include links of how-to's, videos, and images that show you which body part you will train.

The descriptions in the links provided help a lot. They explain thoroughly and have helped me complete some of my exercises.

Note: I wasn't sure if you had a bench so I tried including exercises which didn't have any benches


  • Good Mornings Lower back strengthener & toner
  • Deadlifts (intermediate) Full body strengthener but concentrated on lower back
  • Bent Over Rows (Dumbbells) (Barbell) Great for toning the side & middle back


Every kind of pushup will tone your chest. It will also help tone your triceps (back of the arms). Beside each exercise I'll explain which works what a little more.




All of these tone your arms


All of these tone your arms


  • Biking
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Skipping rope
  • Burpees (harder exercise)

Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15-20 repititions and you will get toning results. You will be sore but ... No pain, no gain!

Hope this helps, good luck with your exercises! This may seem like a lot, but please, don't try to complete everything at once! I just provided you with some ideas and links to explain the exercises you can do at home.

Keep walking even if you do some of these exercises! :)

  • 1
    How does this answer the question about tightening loose skin?
    – Baarn
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:33
  • @Informaficker Her last paragraph is So - what home-based (not gyms) exercises are good for toning up? I have dumbbells and barbells at home. ... A list of home-based exercises is what I provided her.
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:37
  • 1
    But you lack to explain why these exercises are better than other exercises, or why they are good at all. And I think 'toning up' is meant in the context of 'tighten skin' here.
    – Baarn
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:41
  • @Informaficker In any case, I'll edit my post and add why they are useful.
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 2, 2013 at 15:43
  • @Alex - I'd prefer not to be referred to as "her", thanks - I have a Y-chromosome...
    – user2835
    Commented Jul 3, 2013 at 0:14

The skin is not a muscle. Exercise will not take up the slack. Don't get me wrong, exercise is needed to stay healthy and it will help indirectly, but regaining your skin tone isn't a matter of exercise.

To regain elasticity, your skin need to be well hydrated and have the proper nutrients:

Drink enough water, take enough proteins and eat plenty of fresh fruits.

You can also use several things externally, like aloe vera, egg whites, lemon, honey, skin creams,... anything which hydrates the skin will help it regain elasticity.

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