Fit into Your Skinny Jeans in 4 Weeks
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Fitness

Fit into Your Skinny Jeans in 4 Weeks

Firm your butt and thighs and flatten your belly! Even your tightest pair of jeans won't stand a chance against this fat-blasting lower-body cardio/sculpt routine.

Target Your Butt, Belly, and Thighs

Tired of the exasperating zipper dance you perform each time you don your favorite pair of jeans? Well, get ready to zip up with ease: We've got the perfect plan to firm your butt, flatten your belly, tone your thighs, and blast fat everywhere.

"To instigate real body changes, you must shake up your typical routine," says Tracey Mallett, owner of the ATP Specific Training & Physical Therapy Center in South Pasadena, California. One of Mallett's top transformational strategies is to use a flight of stairs for both cardio and strength workouts. "Stair climbing instantly boosts your heart rate, builds endurance, and provides an added muscular challenge," says Mallett.

Do the following strength and stair workouts three times a week on nonconsecutive days. Add one hilly hike or longer run on weekends to blast even more calories and you'll be slipping into those skinny jeans in one month!

 

1. Running Man

Fitness Focus: Glutes, Calves, Thighs, Hips, Core

  • Stand facing stairs with elbows bent at sides.
  • Take a giant step up to second step with right foot, then hop up, bringing left knee toward chest.
  • Land on stair with right foot.

  • Immediately step down to the floor with left foot while bending right leg behind you.
  • Hold for 5 counts, keeping your abs tight to help you balance.
  • Do 16 to 20 explosive hops on right foot, using your arms to gain momentum; switch sides and repeat.

Beginner Option: Step up without hopping; hold the end phase of the exercise for 2 seconds, touching back foot to floor to help with balance.

2. Standing Flye

Fitness Focus: Thighs, Calves, Hips, Chest, Shoulders, Core

  • Stand sideways to stairs, placing right foot on the first or second step.
  • Keep feet wide apart and turn toes out 45 degrees.
  • Hold a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms forward, arms extended at chest height and elbows slightly bent (not shown).
  • Bring weights together in front of chest while lowering hips into a pliť.
  • Hold for 2 seconds.
  • Return to starting position and repeat for 16 to 20 reps; switch sides.

Beginner Option: Lower halfway down into a semi pliť; keep hands on your hips (no weights).

3. Skater's Lunge

Fitness Focus: Glutes, Legs, Hips, Core

  • Stand facing staircase with right foot planted on the first or second step, holding 3- to 5-pound weights at hips.
  • Leaning forward slightly, lunge back with left leg, bending right knee 90 degrees and keeping knee aligned over ankle.

  • Remain in low position and bring left foot up to meet right on step.
  • Squat down, lowering hips another 2 inches. Hold for 2 counts; repeat.
  • Do 16 to 20 reps, alternating sides.

Beginner Option: Lose the weights and bend knees only 45 degrees. Do 12 reps on each leg.

4. Leg-Step Extension

Fitness Focus: Glutes, Hips, Hamstrings, Core, Chest, Arms

  • Get on all fours with hands stacked under shoulders and toes pressed into step.
  • Tuck right knee in toward chest.
  • Extend right leg behind you and squeeze glutes; hold for 2 counts (not shown).
  • Do 10 reps; switch sides.

Beginner Option: Do this exercise on the floor instead of the stairs, and perform only 6 reps per leg.

5. Single-Leg Rotation

Fitness Focus: Legs, Thighs, Glutes, Hips, Obliques

  • Stand facing away from the stairs with left toes on the first step, torso straight, holding a 3- to 5-pound dumbbell in each hand.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees, keeping knee aligned with ankle.
  • Turn torso to the right and bring weights over outside of right thigh.
  • Hold for 2 counts; return to start.
  • Do 16 to 20 reps; switch sides.

Beginner Option: Do the rotations without weights; bend knee only 45 degrees.

Burn 225 Calories in 20 Minutes

Stay on the stairs for this intense, fat-blasting cardio routine. You'll burn approximately 225 calories while sculpting your legs, butt, and abs.

Minutes 0:00-3:00

Basic Stepping

  • Walk up and down the staircase, pumping arms.
  • For the third minute, lunge up stairs two at a time; go down single stepping.

Minutes 3:00-7:00

Side Step

  • Stand with left side facing stairs.
  • Step up, leading with left foot and pumping arms; climb up on an angle.
  • Switch sides after 2 minutes.

Minutes 7:00-8:00

Basic Stepping

  • Repeat minutes 0:00-3:00.

Minutes 8:00-10:00

Explosive Toe Tap

  • Hop up to first stair with left foot, tapping ball of foot on step.
  • Switch legs, hopping up with right foot and down with left.
  • Continue, switching sides and moving as explosively as you can.

Minutes 10:00-12:00

Basic Stepping

  • Repeat minutes 0:00-3:00.

Minutes 12:00-14:00

Mountain Climber

  • Place both hands on second or third step, palms aligned under shoulders, leg extended behind you.
  • Hop left knee toward chest, then bring right knee forward and left leg back.
  • Keep head above heart at all times.

Minutes 14:00-16:00

Basic Stepping

  • Repeat minutes 0:00-3:00.

Minutes 16:00-18:00

Squat Jump

  • Stand in a half squat, knees bent about 45 degrees.
  • Jump up, landing on first stair.
  • Step down to floor; immediately squat down and jump up again.

Minutes 18:00-20:00

Basic Stepping

  • Repeat minutes 0:00-3:00.

The Best Jeans for Your Body

If you have a muscular or curvy lower body...

Do: Choose a darker wash to minimize your build; find jeans with some Lycra in them for a more comfortable fit.
Don't: Be afraid to show your shape. Avoid baggy silhouettes, which can make you look heavier than you are.

If you have saddlebags or a pear shape...

Do: Choose shades darker near outer and inner thighs to slenderize them; wear a boot cut to elongate the legs.
Don't: Wear jeans that are too stretchy; they'll hug in the wrong places.

If you have a narrow build or flat butt...

Do: Get pockets that are on an angle to give the illusion of shape; wear low-rise cuts to show off your waistline.
Don't: Go too baggy.

If you have belly pooch...

Do: Choose a mid-rise or classic fit to camouflage your middle.
Don't: Go too tight. Beware "muffin top."

 

Originally published in Fitness magazine, April 2006.

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