While toning and maintaining some level of fitness is important to me, so is staying cool in the August heat. In NYC, everyone glistens with perspiration just walking down the street. I'd rather skip the sweaty workout and hole up in my newly air-conditioned apartment. However, as a beauty editor interested in wellness, I know that I should move my body at least a little bit.
As such, I reached out to a few fitness experts and asked them to tell me their favorite workout moves that are both effective and sweat-free. This way, I can tone up without having to wash my dry, curly hair as often as I hit the gym (or ruin a blowout if I happen to have one).
Here are 10 easy-to-master no sweat exercises that won't require deodorant and a face towel.
The Bum Sculptor
"I highly recommend tai chi, yoga, or Pilates," says Michelle Goldberg, a personal trainer at Equinox. But if you can't catch a class, grab a mini loop band—they're travel-friendly and give you a big burn. "This exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and outer thighs—but won't make you sweat," she says.
- Place the loop band above the knees and come to all fours.
- Extend one leg back, point the toe and lift until it's slightly lower than hip height.
- Pulse your leg with control 20 times.
- Then, bend the knee at 90 degrees, bring the knee to your chest and lift it right back up 10 times, just like a donkey kick.
- Now, try the fire hydrant. Keep your leg bent under your chest and lift out to the side 20 times.
- Switch sides and perform the same number of sets on the opposite side.
"Try a first position demi-plié with arms moving between first and fifth position," says Lauren Kleban of Lekfit. "This move engages your core, arms, back, glutes, and inner thighs."
- Start with your heels together, and feet turned out—rotating from your hips.
- Tilt your pelvis back, keep your chest up, shoulders down, and arms rounded with fingertips directly in front of your navel.
- You may start with holding onto something for support until you feel secure enough to let go.
- As you bend your knees slightly over your toes, lift your arms.
- This is a small bend of the knees. Stop if you feel any pain.
- Keep your heels down as long as possible.
- As you straighten your legs, your arms return to start.
- Perform two sets of 10 reps.
The Plank Crunch
"If properly executed you, will build stability in the shoulders and strength in the arms, back, and core," says Athleta brand ambassador and trainer Jen Dapper.
- Start in an upper push-up or plank position, with your hands directly stacked under your shoulders, with your elbows hugging in.
- Keep your upper back flat with your legs fully extended and ﬁrm.
- Lower your abdominals, drawing up, and pull your right knee to the right tricep (while still drawing up abdominals).
- Then, cross to the left side and return to the start position.
- Repeat for the other side and try for 10 reps on each side.
The Sexy Back
"This targets your latissimus dorsi muscle on the back," Goldberg explains.
- Stand up straight, holding a resistance band or loop band in front.
- Reach your arms up to the ceiling, keeping tension on the loop band.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades, drive your arms down and wide while keeping the band in front of your face and ending slightly below your chin.
- Extend your arms back up to the ceiling while maintaining tension.
- Repeat for two sets of 10 reps.
The Reverse Pushup
"This move works because it is a compound movement that requires focus and control but doesn't necessarily make you sweat," explains celebrity trainer Astrid Swan.
- Start in top push-up position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Lift your hips in the air, so you look like an inverted V.
- Keep both legs down or, for more of a challenge, lift one leg into the air.
- Lower your shoulders toward the floor, and before your chin or chest hits the floor, swoop your body forward so that your chest ends up facing forward, your back arched, head up, and arms straight—similar to a yoga move.
- Do your best to reverse the entire move back to starting position.
- If that is too advanced, lower knees and reset back to push-up position.
- Do one to two sets of 10 reps.
The Dead Bug
Dapper says that The Dead Bug exercise will "strengthen deep abdominal muscles and stabilizes your lower spine to build strength and reduce back pain."
- Begin on your back with your arms and legs ﬁrm, fully extended to the ceiling.
- You can keep your legs bent at 90 degrees, progressing to a straight leg as your core strength improves.
- Perform a pelvic tilt to press the small of your back ﬂat into the mat, keeping your belly tight.
- Slowly extend the opposite arm and leg parallel with the ﬂoor.
- Exhale and return to start position.
- Make sure the small of your back is ﬂat on the ﬂoor for the duration of the exercise.
- Repeat this move 10 times.
Resistance stretching is a type of exercise that increases range of motion and flexibility while also increasing strength. The best part? It is a great no-sweat way to tone up. This hamstring stretch will improve flexibility and tone your legs.
- Lie on your back with both legs straight out. You can also bend one knee up if that is more comfortable.
- Place a resistance band around the sole of your foot.
- Contract your hamstring muscles (the muscles at the back of your leg) as you push into the band like you are bending your knee.
- Your knee shouldn’t bend much, as this is more of an isometric movement.
- Push into the band, then relax the muscle and pull the band back further to stretch the hamstrings.
- Perform 10-15 reps on each side.
Lunge With Twist
This Lunge With Twist is a great no-sweat exercise because it targets your legs and core at the same time. The lunge portion strengthens your quads and hamstrings, while the weighted ball challenges your core muscles. You can start without a weighted ball and progress to a small one as your strength improves.
- Hold the weighted ball or medicine ball slightly in front of you, with your arms bent.
- Lunge forward with your right leg.
- Using a slow and controlled motion, twist to your right, keeping your core tight.
- Rotate back to the center.
- Repeat sides, lunging forward with the leg and twisting to the left.
- Perform two sets of 10 on each side.
Balance Board Twisting Exercise
Balance boards or wobble boards strengthen and tone your body while also challenging your balance. Several different brands, such as the Simply Fit Board, consist of a plastic board that you stand on. They work your muscles but don’t work up a sweat.
- Place your balance board on a firm surface.
- Stand on the outer edges of the board, holding onto something as you step on it.
- Once you have your balance, begin slowly twisting, so the board starts moving in a circular motion.
- To work your muscles even more, hold a three- to five-pound dumbbells in each hand.
- Twist for one minute. Repeat three to five more times.
Walking is the perfect no-sweat exercise that you can do on your lunch break or after work. You can walk up hills for leg strengthening or increase the distance walked to work on your cardiovascular health. Walk outside or on the treadmill when the weather is too hot. Here are examples of some walking workouts:
- 10-minute slow walk, 10-minute fast walk, 10-minute cool-down
- 5-minute warm-up walk, 5-minute fast walk, 5-minute slow walk on an incline, 5-minute fast walk on an incline, 5-minute cool down
- 10-minute warm-up, 15-minute fast walk, 5-minute cool down
- 5-minute warm-up, 10-minute walk on hills or incline, 10-minute walk flat, 5-minute cool down
- Aim to walk at least 15 to 30 minutes per day.
Page P. Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012;7(1):109-119.