Transform Your Trouble Zones
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Fitness

Transform Your Trouble Zones

Try this total body sculpting plan to work all of your body's trouble spots in 15 minutes flat! The secret? Double-duty exercises.

Double-Duty Exercises

Cross "no free time" off your list of workout excuses.

We've found an exercise plan that transforms all of your trouble zones, lickety-split. Created by Hollywood trainer Michael George, who counts Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, and Meg Ryan among his high-profile clients, this total body sculpting plan hits every problem area in 15 minutes flat. The secret: double-duty exercises.

"You do twice the work in half the time, because every move targets several major muscle groups at once," explains George, author of Body Express Makeover (Fireside, 2005). Complete this routine three times a week, plus at least 30 minutes of cardio on most days, and you'll fast-track your way to a sleeker, more defined body in just six weeks!

 

1. One-Two Punch with Lunge Kick

Fitness Focus: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Inner Thighs, Biceps, Shoulders, Triceps

  • Stand with a light dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lunge forward with right leg, bending right knee 90 degrees and lowering left knee to about 4 to 6 inches above the ground.
  • Bring weights to chin level, elbows down and palms in.
  • Punch left hand forward, keeping elbow slightly soft and turning palm down; repeat with right hand.

  • After second punch, stand up, raising left knee toward chest, then kick forward with left leg, pointing toes.
  • Lower back into a lunge and repeat.
  • Do all reps; switch legs and repeat.

Beginners: 10-12 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 15-18 reps

2. Ab Crunch with Inner-Thigh Squeeze

Fitness Focus: Abs, Inner Thighs

  • Lie faceup with knees bent, feet flat on the ground.
  • Place a medicine ball between your knees, resting your head in your hands.
  • Tighten your abs and lift your shoulders and upper back off the ground.
  • At the same time, squeeze your thighs together, pressing into the ball.
  • Release slowly and return to starting position.
  • Do all reps; rest for 20 seconds, repeat.

Beginners: 20 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 25 reps

3. Curtsy Lunge with Front Raise

Fitness Focus: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Lower Back, Shoulders

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Cross your right foot behind your left leg and lower down in a deep curtsy, bending your left knee 90 degrees while keeping your right leg extended and your hips and torso facing forward.
  • From this position, raise weights to shoulder level in front of your body, palms down, keeping elbows slightly bent. Lower weights while standing back up to starting position.
  • Do all reps on this leg; switch sides and repeat.

Beginners: 10-12 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 13-15 reps

4. Plie Squat and Calf Raise with Biceps Curl

Fitness Focus: Core, Quads, Hamstrings, Outer and Inner Thighs, Calves, Lower Back, Biceps

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms in, feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and toes pointed toward corners.
  • Keeping elbows tucked into rib cage, curl weights toward your shoulders.
  • At the same time, bend knees 90 degrees or as far as you can without losing balance or compromising form, keeping pelvis tucked under and back slightly arched.
  • Straighten legs while squeezing glutes; lower weights back to start.
  • As you stand up, push up onto the balls of your feet as explosively as possible.
  • Hold for a count of two, then lower heels.
  • Do all repetitions of squat/curl/calf raise combo; rest for 20 seconds, repeat.

Beginners: 15-17 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 18-20 reps

5. Wall Squat with Shoulder Press

Fitness Focus: Quads, Biceps, Tops of Shoulders

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand, leaning with back against a wall, feet about 12 inches forward.
  • Bend elbows 90 degrees, raising arms to shoulder level, palms facing out.
  • Keeping back against wall, bend knees 90 degrees until thighs are parallel to ground.

  • Extend arms toward ceiling, pushing weights above head.
  • Bend elbows 90 degrees, lowering to shoulder height.
  • Do all reps, remaining in squat. Stand up, rest for 20 seconds; repeat.

Beginners: 12-15 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 16-18 reps

6. Single-Arm Row and Reverse Kickback with Lunge Hold

Fitness Focus: Core, Quads, Upper Back, Triceps

  • Stand holding a dumbbell in your left hand. Lunge forward with your right foot, resting right forearm on thigh, just above knee.
  • Lean forward, arching your back slightly, so your chest is directly over your right thigh.
  • Keep abs tight and neck in line with spine.
  • Extend left arm toward floor.
  • Pull the weight toward your ribs, keeping elbow close to side.

  • Extend arm behind you, palm facing in, while straightening elbow.
  • Bend elbow to bring weight back toward shoulder; straighten arm and lower weight toward floor.
  • Repeat row/kickback combo for all reps, remaining in lunge throughout.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Beginners: 12-15 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 16-18 reps

7. Standing Side Leg/Arm Raise

Fitness Focus: Core, Outer Thighs, Hips, Shoulders

  • Stand behind a chair or low wall with knees slightly bent. (To increase difficulty, tie a resistance band around ankles; not shown.)
  • Grasp back of chair or wall with right hand, holding dumbbell in your left hand with palm in.
  • Bend right knee slightly and lift left leg out to side as high as you can while keeping hips facing forward.
  • At the same time, lift left arm to side to shoulder level, keeping elbow slightly bent.
  • Lower arm and leg and return to start.
  • Do all reps; switch sides and repeat.

Beginners: 12-15 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 16-18 reps

8. Ball Crunch with Chest Press

Fitness Focus: Chest, Abs, Lower Back, Quads

  • Lie with your middle back on a stability ball, elbows bent with weights just above chest, palms forward.
  • Lift your head and tuck your chin, tightening your abs.
  • Lift shoulders off the ball, crunching up while extending arms, pushing weights up and together (not shown).
  • Hold for 1 count; lower and return to starting position.
  • Do all reps; rest for 20 seconds and repeat.

Beginners: 12-15 reps
Intermediate/Advanced: 16-18 reps

Your 10-Minute Cardio Plan

Mix these 10-minute fat-blasting aerobic intervals into your strength routine: You'll burn about 600 calories and still be finished in 45 minutes. Do one cardio circuit after every two to three strength moves. On days when you're really pressed for time, even just one of these cardio bursts can burn at least 100 calories. Or, on days when you're not doing the strength moves, do all three in a row for an intensive cardio routine.

Calisthenics Circuit

Minutes 0:00-1:00 March briskly in place.
Minutes 1:00-1:30 Run in place, lifting your knees as high as you can.
Minutes 1:30-2:30 Run in place, bringing heels toward butt.
Minutes 2:30-3:00 Run in place, lifting knees.
Minutes 3:00-4:00 March in place to recover.
Minutes 4:00-5:00 Jumping jacks: Bring arms fully overhead.
Minutes 5:00-5:30 March in place to recover.
Minutes 5:30-6:30 Leg scissors. Jump legs forward and back, bringing opposite hand and foot forward.
Minutes 6:30-7:00 March in place to recover.
Minutes 7:00-8:00 Skater touch: Cross right leg behind left, touching left hand to floor in front of you. Staying low, repeat on opposite side. Continue, switching sides.
Minutes 8:00-9:00 Side touch: Shuffle from right to left side, touching outside hand to floor and staying in a half-squat throughout.
Minutes 9:00-10:00 March in place to recover.

Calories Burned: 110-150*

Treadmill Speed Routine

Minutes 0:00-1:00 Walk briskly for one minute at 4.0 mph, 1% incline.
Minutes 1:00-2:00 Sprint at a fast pace (aim for 6.6-7.5 mph).
Minutes 2:00-3:00 Walk briskly to recover (4.0 mph).
Minutes 3:00-9:00 Repeat minutes 1:00-3:00 (sprint/walk intervals).
Minutes 9:00-10:00 Walk at recovery pace.

Calories Burned: 100-125*

Stair Climb

Minutes 0:00-1:00 March briskly in place or on the treadmill (3.5 mph, incline 0%).
Minutes 1:00-1:30 Jog up a long set of stairs (option: Increase treadmill to 8-12% incline).
Minutes 1:30-2:30 Turn around and walk down stairs (on treadmill, lower incline to 0%).
Minutes 2:30-9:00 Repeat minutes 1:00-2:30, alternating stairs and recovery sprint four and a half times.
Minutes 9:00-10:00 Walk to recover.

Calories Burned: 150-200*

*Estimate for a 135-pound woman.

 

Originally published in Fitness magazine, December 2005.

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