You are here

Get Strong, Fit, and Fabulous in 4 Weeks

Previous
1 of 10
Next

Your Sculpting Strategy

If you're worried about concealing your curves, it's time to toss that cover-up. Our last-minute plan will help you lose up to eight pounds in just one month. Best of all, most of the routines take 20 minutes or less — but be prepared to sweat.

"To really see results, you need to intensify your workouts," says Alwyn Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, California. You'll do an interval program that burns twice as many calories as a moderately paced routine, plus a total-body sculpting strength series. Follow our routine, along with a healthy diet, and you'll be feeling strong, slim, and utterly confident.

Getting Started

These workouts are short (only four exercises each) but intense. By alternating upper- and lower-body moves, you'll keep your heart rate elevated and maximize calorie burn while sculpting every muscle. Divide the workout in half: Do 12 to 15 reps of the first two exercises back-to-back, then rest for 60 to 90 seconds; repeat for two to three sets. Remember to use a weight that is challenging enough to fatigue your muscles by the end of the set.

Your Week-by-Week Guide

 

  Sun. Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat.
1 Cardio Steady-Paced 30 minutes Strength Workout 1 Cardio Intervals 1 OFF Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 2 Rest
2 Cardio Steady-Paced 30 minutes Strength Workout 1 OFF Strength Workout 2 Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 1 Rest
3 Cardio Steady-Paced 40 minutes Strength Workout 2 Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 2 Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 2 Rest
4 Cardio Steady-Paced 40 minutes Strength Workout 1 Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 2 Cardio Intervals Strength Workout 1 Rest

Strength Workout 1

1. Dumbbell Press Squat

Target: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Shoulders

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing forward (not shown).
  • Squat down, extending arms above head; stand up and lower arms to start.
  • Repeat.

Keep it easy: Hold weights at sides.

Challenge yourself: Hold weights above head throughout the exercise.

2. Ball Push-Up

Target: Triceps, Chest, Abs, Shoulders

  • Get into a push-up position, with hands shoulder-width apart on a stability ball, back straight and abs pulled in.
  • Lower chest toward ball, pointing elbows out, keeping abs tight and head aligned with hips.
  • Push back to start and repeat.

Keep it easy: Do the move on the floor without the ball.

Challenge yourself: Raise a leg while doing the move.

3. Bulgarian Split Squat

Target: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes

Stand with your back 2 to 3 feet away from a bench or sturdy chair. Place top of right foot on seat.

Bend left knee 90 degrees, keeping knee aligned with ankle. Hold 2 counts, straighten leg in 4 counts and repeat. Switch sides after 1 set.

Keep it easy: Do alternating lunges, no bench.

Challenge yourself: Hold dumbbells at sides while keeping back leg on bench.

4. Dumbbell Clean and Press

Target: Shoulders, Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads

  • Stand with weights in front of thighs, palms facing in.
  • Squat down, dropping weights just above the knees.
  • Draw weights up to your chest, as close to torso as possible (not shown).
  • Stand straight, rotating palms to face forward, and press weights above head (not shown).
  • Lower to start and repeat.

Keep it easy: Don't squat down; draw elbows up only toward shoulders.

Challenge yourself: Make the movement explosive as you pull the weights toward your chest and above your head.

Strength Workout 2

1. Dynamic Lunge

Target: Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes

  • Stand with feet parallel and shoulder-distance apart, holding a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  • Lunge forward with right leg, bending right knee 90 degrees and bringing left knee close to ground.
  • From this position, explosively push off right foot and return to start.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

Keep it easy: Don't use any weights; make the movement less explosive.

Challenge yourself: Hold a body bar or barbell across your shoulders.

2. Opposite Arm/Leg Lifts

Target: Back, Abs, Glutes

  • Lie facedown on a stability ball with hands and toes touching the floor.
  • Tighten your abs and glutes, and simultaneously raise your left arm and right leg.
  • Switch legs and arms, then repeat.

Keep it easy: Do the exercise on the floor on all fours, without the ball.

Challenge yourself: Add ankle and hand weights.

3. Step Up

Target: Quads, Glutes

Place right foot on a bench or step (if possible, find a bench or step that's slightly above knee height).

Pushing through your right heel, straighten leg, bringing left leg toward right (don't let your left foot touch the step). Lower left foot toward floor without touching, then straighten right leg again. Do 12 to 15 reps; switch sides.

Keep it easy: Touch the top of the step and the floor with each rep.

Challenge yourself: Hold dumbbells with arms at sides.

4. Prone Jackknife

Target: Abs

  • Get into a push-up position with hands on floor aligned under shoulders.
  • Place feet on a stability ball with legs extended, abs pulled in toward spine for balance.
  • Slowly draw knees in toward your chest without twisting your spine or shifting your hips.
  • Roll ball back to start with your feet and repeat.

Keep it easy: Lie with back on top of ball and do crunches.

Challenge yourself: Lift hips toward ceiling in an inverted V.

Cardio

Part 1: Steady-Paced

Do any longer, moderately paced (RPE 6-7) workout (walking, swimming, cycling, etc.) on the weekends to blast calories and improve endurance.
Weeks 1-2: 30 minutes
Weeks 3-4: 40 minutes

Part 2: Intervals

These interval workouts smoke calories while sculpting your legs and butt. Do them twice a week with any cardio activity (we give a sample routine on a treadmill), using your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), or how hard the exercise feels on a scale of one to 10. If the workout feels too easy, try the challenge version.

 

Minutes

Intervals: Week 1 RPE
0:00-5:00 Walk at 3.5-3.8 mph. 4
5:00-5:20 Sprint at 6.5-8.0 mph 9
5:20-6:50 Recover by walking at 3.0-3.5 mph. 3
6:50-10:30 Repeat sprint series 2 more times, alternating 20-second sprints with 90 seconds of recovery.  
10:30-15:00 Walk briskly, 3.5-3.8 mph. 4

Challenge yourself: Add a sprint series for a total of 4 sets.

 

 

 

 

Minutes

Intervals: Week 2 RPE
0:00-5:00 Walk at 3.5-3.8 mph. 4
5:00-5:20 Sprint at 6.5-8.0 mph 9
5:20-6:20 Recover by walking at 3.0-3.5 mph. 3
6:20-11:40 Repeat sprint series 4 more times, alternating 20-second sprints with 60 seconds of recovery.  
11:40-20:00 Walk briskly, 3.5-3.8 mph. 4

Challenge yourself: Add a sprint series for a total of 6 sets.

 

Minutes

Intervals: Week 3 RPE
0:00-5:00 Walk at 3.5-3.8 mph. 4
5:00-5:30 Sprint at 6.5-8.0 mph 9
5:30-6:30 Recover by walking at 3.0-3.5 mph. 3
6:30-12:30 Repeat sprint series 4 more times, alternating 30-second sprints with 60 seconds of recovery.  
12:30-15:00 Walk briskly, 3.5-3.8 mph. 4

Challenge yourself: Add 3 more sprints for a total of 8 sets.

 

Minutes

Intervals: Week 4 RPE
0:00-5:00 Walk at 3.5-3.8 mph. 4
5:00-5:30 Sprint at 6.5-8.0 mph 9
5:30-6:00 Recover by walking at 3.0-3.5 mph. 3
6:00-13:00 Repeat sprint series 7 more times, alternating 30-second sprints with 30 seconds of recovery.  
13:00-20:00 Walk briskly, 3.5-3.8 mph. 4

Challenge yourself: Add 2 more sprints for a total of 10 sets.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, July 2006.

Love it? Share now!

Comments

Loading comments...