If only you could use a magic wand to trim and tone your body with one tap. While a weighted wand can’t perform miracles, it can add light resistance to strengthening exercises, such as lunges, chest presses and biceps curls. Also known as a body bar, a weighted wand is a foam-encased, rubber-coated, metal bar, weighing anywhere from 1 to 18 pounds. Women tend to use weighted wands in body-sculpting classes. Because the wands provide an equal distribution of weight, they can help you to stabilize your body during an exercise.
The weighted wand is particularly effective for trunk rotation exercises, which target your obliques, or the muscles along the side of your torso, and the serratus anterior muscles, which attach to the base of your shoulder blades and wrap around your upper ribs. To try a trunk rotation exercise with the wand, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding one end of the wand with both hands. Place the other end on top of your right shoulder. The wand should face your right side. Exhale and rotate your upper torso until the wand points in front of you. Inhale and return to the starting position. Perform 10 to 25 reps and then switch sides.
To work your upper body, you can perform a classic chest press with a weighted wand. Sit upright, holding a weighted wand horizontally next to your collarbone. Position your hands shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. Your elbows should be flared out to the sides. Exhale and push the wand up to the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Hold the peak position for a second without locking your elbows. Slowly lower the wand back to starting position to complete the rep. Perform 15 to 20 reps for one set.
To tone your lower body, you can perform standard exercises, such as forward and side lunges and squats, to inventive exercises in which you change the grip on the wand. For example, begin an exercise that works your calves and arms by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Place one end of the wand on the floor, holding the other end vertically in front of you. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet. Circle your arms clockwise, as if you were mixing a witch's brew in a bubbling cauldron. Allow your elbows to bend fluidly with the motion. Perform six reps. Repeat the exercise, moving your arms counterclockwise.
You can perform isolation exercises, such as biceps curls and triceps extensions, with a weighted wand. For example, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the wand with your hands shoulder-width apart using an underhand grip. Position the wand in front of your thighs. Exhale and slowly curl the bar up toward your chest. Inhale and lower the wand to the starting position. To boost the intensity and complexity of the exercise, working the lower body at the same time, add a side lunge as you perform the biceps curl. Perform a dozen reps.
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Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.