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The Little Black Dress Workout: Get Slim, Strong, and Sexy in 4 Weeks

Get the body you want for the holidays with this can't-fail cardio/sculpt plan.

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Spencer Jones
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
Susan Pittard
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The Sculpting Plan

It's party-dress season! How can you look and feel great in your LBD (that's Little Black Dress) without limiting yourself to seltzer and shrimp cocktail? Use our super-speedy routine, created by Marco Reed, owner of Get Beyond Fit in Los Angeles. Start with the 12-minute strength routine here to target your top trouble zones. Add our do-anywhere cardio program (a jump-rope workout with shadowboxing intervals) to blast up to 300 calories in 30 minutes -- perfect for no-time-to-work-out season. By January 1, you'll have lost up to 5 pounds.

Plus, follow our guide to holiday party foods and you can pare off a full 10 pounds without spending the season in deprivation mode!

Your 12-Minute Sculpting Routine
Perfect for busy days!

What you'll need: Two pairs of dumbbells (5 to 8 pounds and 10 to 12 pounds) and one set of 2-pound ankle weights.

How often: Three times a week on nonconsecutive days.

The plan: Follow the strength routine with our fat-blasting cardio workout to burn more than 400 calories.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Get the complete Little Black Dress Workout!

Get video demonstrations of each exercise in The Little Black Dress Workout

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Trunk Rotation

Targets: Shoulders, abs, and obliques

Lie back holding one 8- to 10-pound dumbbell horizontally in both hands about 6 inches above chest. Bend knees 90 degrees, thighs perpendicular to floor. Tilt knees 45 degrees to the left while bringing shoulders and dumbbell 45 degrees to the right. Do 12 to 15 reps per side. Crunch straight up, reaching dumbbell toward toes, for another 12 to 15 reps.

Too easy? Try this: Perform one rotational crunch to each side, then reach weight straight up toward toes; continue alternating movements for 2 minutes (about 30 reps each) without taking a break.

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Alternating Shoulder Raise

Targets: Shoulders, thighs, and calves

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- to 8-pound weight in each hand. Rise up onto the balls of both feet. Keeping your heels lifted, raise left arm out to the side to shoulder height and right arm to the front to shoulder height. Hold for 2 counts, return to starting position, and switch arms. Do 15 reps per side.

Too easy? Try this: Do this exercise on a stair or at the end of a step bench to challenge your balance. Each time you switch arm positions, do 1 calf raise.

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Warrior Lunge

Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, thighs, and calves

Stand on left leg and hinge forward from the waist, bringing chest parallel to floor. Extend right leg behind you while spreading arms out to sides like wings. Hold for 30 seconds; come back to starting position (not shown). Bring hands to hips and step back with right foot into a reverse lunge. Hold for 2 counts, then bring right foot next to left. Do 10 reverse lunges with right leg, bringing toes to floor behind you; return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat combo.

Too easy? Try this: To challenge your upper body, keep arms extended overhead, palms facing each other.

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Traveling Power Squat

Targets: Back, arms, butt, and legs

Stand holding a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell horizontally in front of your rib cage with both hands. Squat and hold for 2 seconds.

Jump up explosively, as if you're reaching over a volleyball net. At the same time, lift dumbbell overhead, arms extended. As you land, bring the weight back toward your rib cage. Do 12 to 15 reps. To modify, stand up explosively without allowing your feet to leave the floor.

Too easy? Try this: Travel a few inches forward each time you land -- this will force you to jump higher in order to propel yourself forward.

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Alternating Push-Up

Targets: Shoulders, chest, arms, abs, and legs

Begin in a full push-up position, hands on floor under shoulders, legs extended and abs tight. Do 1 push-up. As soon as you finish, drop your knees to the floor and do 1 bent-knee push-up. Do 20 to 25 reps total.

Too easy? Try this: Either do all the push-ups on your toes or come to your knees on every third push-up.

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Plie with Hammer/Biceps Curls

Targets: Biceps, butt, and thighs

Stand holding a 10- to 12-pound dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides with palms facing each other and toes pointed out. Bend knees 90 degrees, keeping knees aligned over toes, while curling weights toward shoulders with thumbs up; keep elbows tucked into sides.

After 1 rep, straighten legs (keep feet wide) and do a regular biceps curl, turning arms out 45 degrees. Lower and repeat plie squat and hammer curl; do 12 to 15 reps, alternating moves.

Too easy? Try this: Do the entire exercise balancing on your toes.

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Clam Dig with Rotation

Targets: Shoulders, butt, and thighs

Lie on your left side with left hand supporting head, elbow bent. Bend knees 45 degrees in front of body. Hold a 5- to 8-pound dumbbell in right hand with elbow pressing into right side. Lift both right leg and arm toward ceiling; hold for 2 seconds and lower. Keep hips stacked and right upper arm on side throughout the exercise. Do 15 reps; switch sides.

Too easy? Try this: Use 2-pound ankle weights (pictured).

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Weighted Back Extension

Targets: Shoulders, arms, back, butt, and thighs

Wrap 2-pound weights around each ankle (or do without weights) and get on all fours. Extend left arm up to head height and right leg back to hip height. Slowly touch left elbow to right knee; hold for 2 counts, then extend arm and leg out again. Do 10 to 15 reps; switch sides.

Too easy? Try this: Place 5-pound dumbbells in front of each hand, then lift the weight as you extend and curl.

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Advanced Cardio Workout

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, December 2006.

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What do you think? Review this slideshow!

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dara_woo-hoo wrote:

excellent!

12/6/2010 12:49:32 PM Report Abuse
twinbeast wrote:

Very motivating...I haven't worked out in 6months

12/8/2009 12:26:19 PM Report Abuse
kmr675 wrote:

motivating!

10/29/2009 06:19:26 AM Report Abuse
kmr675 wrote:

I like it

10/29/2009 06:18:30 AM Report Abuse

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