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Turn On Power: Workouts to Power Up Your Muscles

You do your time on the treadmill, hoist some weights, and maybe even throw in yoga for good measure. But your regimen probably lacks one key element: power. Besides torching extra stored fat and quickly sculpting your muscles, power moves give you a mental edge­ -- in and out of the gym. So we tapped six of the top trainers in the biz for their surefire tips for squeezing that extra octane from your muscles and workouts. They will change the way you train forever.
Joe Dowdell Joe Dowdell

At Peak Performance, the private New York City gym that Joe Dowdell co-owns, it's the deceptively simple-looking equipment, like sandbags and Prowler sleds, that will make your heart pound and your muscles burn. High tech doesn't necessarily mean fast results, and Dowdell is known for getting results, whether from A-list stars (he's worked with Anne Hathaway and Eva Mendes), pro athletes, or supermodels. The common denominator? They all focus on strength work more than cardio. "Don't make the mistake of thinking that training for power will make you bulky," Dowdell says. "It's not true. Some of the women with the best physiques train that way."

"One of the best things women can do for themselves mentally is to get physically stronger and more powerful," Dowdell says. "It will have an impact on everything you do."

Power Principles

Carve your core. "The weaker your core is, the less power you'll be able to generate," Dowdell says. Try his Stirring the Pot center strengthener: With your toes on the floor and elbows bent 90 degrees, rest your forearms on a stability ball, abs tight and body straight. Keeping your body still, use your arms to roll the ball in 10 small clockwise circles, then 10 counterclockwise.

Prioritize your workout. "Always do your power -- that is, explosive -- moves before your normal strength exercises," Dowdell says. "Because they're more neurologically challenging, you want to be at your freshest for them."

Stick the landing. "Before you jump really high, learn how to decelerate, because that's where people often get injured," Dowdell says. Start by hopping from the floor onto a 6- to 12-inch-high platform. Once you feel comfortable landing in a stable way, nix the box.