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Tone Your Trouble Zones

We asked FITNESS readers for the figure fixes they wanted most, then turned to top trainers for their ultimate slimming moves. Ab flab, bra bulge, thigh jiggle -- you name it, we've got the best sculpting solutions for it here.

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Denise Crew
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How the Workout Works

We asked FITNESS readers for the figure fixes they wanted most, then turned to top toning specialists for their ultimate slimming moves. For a total-body makeover, do all the exercises on these pages. Or pick and choose a few to target specific problem areas. Whether you do the all-over or a la carte workout, add a one-minute jog or jump-rope blast between sets to burn big calories. Perform the plan twice a week on nonconsecutive days to give your muscles mending time.

What you'll need: A set of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, a resistance band, and a straight-backed chair

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Shape Cleavage: Bra-Strap Lift

Targets: Shoulders and chest

  • Holding one end of a resistance band in each hand, palms facing in, stand tall with feet shoulder-width apart so that both feet are placed securely on middle of band.
  • With palms facing each other, raise extended arms (keep elbows slightly bent) forward until they are parallel to ground and thumbs point upward.
  • Slowly lower arms to start position.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Trainer: Holly Perkins, New Balance fitness ambassador and ExerciseTV trainer

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Shape Cleavage: Cross-Chest Press

Target: Chest

  • Holding one end of a resistance band in left hand, stand with right hand on hip and feet wide apart, left foot placed firmly on other end of band.
  • Bring left hand by upper left side of chest, palm facing chest, elbow tucked close to ribs. (Band should be taut; if it's slack, feed more length under left foot.)
  • Keeping left hand close to body, press band across chest aiming just beyond and slightly above right shoulder. (Your torso will rotate slightly as you continue to press and extend left arm out fully across chest.)
  • Slowly return to elbow-tuck position.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets per side.

Trainer: Holly Perkins

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Stop Muffin Top: Rockette Plank

Targets: Abs and obliques

  • Start on ground in full push-up position, balancing on hands and toes, hands directly below shoulders, legs extended directly behind you so that body forms a straight line from head to heels.
  • Bend right knee in to chest and bring it across body to left side.
  • Then extend right leg so that right foot is out to side of left leg. (MAKE IT EASIER: Remain with knee bent, skipping the extension.)
  • Bend right knee in toward chest, and bring right leg back to start.
  • Switch legs and repeat to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

Trainer: Brett Hoebel, creator of the RevAbs workout DVD set

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Stop Muffin Top: Push Kick

Targets: Abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent, hands in loose fists by chest.
  • Bend right knee 90 degrees as you bring it up in front of you at hip level.
  • Press right heel forward, foot flexed, as you lean torso back slightly until right leg is completely extended at hip level.
  • Bend right knee to 90 degrees again as you straighten up posture.
  • Repeat push kick without lowering right leg to ground. (MAKE IT EASIER: Return to standing on both feet between reps.)
  • Do 6 to 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets per side.

Trainer: Brett Hoebel

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Nip Hips: Speed Shuffle

Target: Hips

  • Position yourself belly-down on a sturdy chair so that hips rest just above edge of seat, and grasp chair legs with both hands.
  • Squeeze glutes and extend legs directly behind you, feet together, toes pointed, so that they are parallel to ground.
  • Separate legs a few inches, then quickly bring them inward, stacking right foot just above left. Quickly separate legs again, then switch, bringing left foot atop right to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Trainer: Amy Bento, owner NRG Fitness in Norwalk, Connecticut, and star of 10 Minute Solution: Tone Trouble Zones

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Nip Hips: Step-Up to Dead Lift

Targets: Hips, butt, and legs

  • Stand facing a sturdy chair and step left foot onto seat so that left knee is bent 90 degrees.
  • Hinge forward at waist to grasp seat back with both hands.
  • Next, press through left heel to straighten left leg so that back is parallel to ground and squeeze glutes to lift right leg behind you.
  • Step down with right foot to return to start.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets per side.

Trainer: Amy Bento

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Zap Back Flab: Palm-Up Row

Target: Upper back

  • Holding one end of a resistance band in right hand, stand with feet hip-width apart, left foot placed on other end of band so 6 to 12 inches of band extend from under foot.
  • Take a giant step back with right foot so that left knee is bent about 90 degrees, right leg is slightly bent. Put left hand on left thigh for balance.
  • With right palm facing forward, draw right elbow directly back to bring right hand by rib cage. Hold for 1 count.
  • Lower right arm.
  • Do 15 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets per side.

Trainer: Holly Perkins

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Zap Back Flab: Band Pull-Down

Targets: Shoulders and upper back

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a resistance band with both hands, arms extended directly overhead, so that palms face forward and there's 1 foot of space between hands. (The excess band hangs to side of each hand.)
  • Keeping arms straight, pull band out to sides and down until hands are at shoulder level and center of stretched band touches collarbone.
  • Slowly raise arms to start.
  • Do 2 sets of 15 reps.

Trainer: Cathe Friedrich, creator of the STS (Shock Training System) DVD series

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Turn Mush to Muscle: Arm Extension with Leg Balance

Targets: Triceps, abs, and legs

  • Holding a dumbbell in left hand, arms by sides, stand on right leg with left knee bent so that left shin is nearly parallel to ground behind you. (MAKE IT EASIER: Stand with both feet on ground.)
  • Bend left elbow to bring dumbbell in front of left shoulder.
  • Slowly press dumbbell overhead, then bring it above head toward right. Next, bending left elbow, bring it by right shoulder, palm facing out to right side (as if tracing an arc over your head).
  • Reverse movement, slowly lifting dumbbell up and over head to side and back down to left shoulder.
  • Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat. Do 3 sets per side.

Trainer: Bonnie Smith, The Sports Club/LA in Boston

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Turn Mush to Muscle: Kickback and Hammer Curl

Targets: Biceps and triceps

  • A dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend at hips so back is nearly parallel to ground.
  • Keeping elbows by sides and palms facing in, bend left elbow to bring dumbbell to left shoulder and extend right arm behind you.
  • Reverse motion, extending left arm behind you as you bend right elbow to curl dumbbell to right shoulder, to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Trainer: Bonnie Smith

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Cinch Spill-Over: Alphabet Superman

Targets: Lower back, butt, and hamstrings

  • Lie facedown on ground with arms by sides, raising them a few inches off ground so that palms are facing forward, thumbs pointing up.
  • Lift chest and feet off ground a few inches, squeezing glutes.
  • In lifted position, use arms to form letters, holding each pose for 3 counts: First bring arms out from hips at 45-degree angle (to form an M); then move out to sides at shoulder level (to form a T); then bend elbows about 90 degrees (to form a W); lastly extend arms diagonally overhead (to form a Y).
  • Reverse movement (forming Y, W, T, M), then lower chest and legs.
  • Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

Trainer: Brett Hoebel

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Cinch Spill-Over: Twisting Jackknife

Targets: Abs and obliques

  • Lie faceup on ground with legs extended and arms diagonally out to sides, palms down.
  • Lift left leg straight up as you simultaneously crunch up and rotate torso left. As you do this, bring extended right arm up and across body so that right hand reaches to outside of left ankle. Lightly push off ground with left palm to get up. (MAKE IT EASIER: Push off with left forearm for extra support.)
  • Lower to start. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 3 sets of 5 to 10 reps.

Trainer: Brett Hoebel

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Tighten Tush: The Platypus

Targets: Butt and inner thighs

  • Lie facedown on ground with upper body propped up on forearms, hands close together in front of face, palms down.
  • Flex feet and press heels together.
  • Keeping heels together, bend both knees 90 degrees so that they slightly point out to sides, then squeeze glutes to lift knees 2 inches off ground.
  • From here, slowly pulse legs an inch or two upward, leading with flexed feet, 4 times.
  • Maintaining bent-leg position, lower knees to ground.
  • Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

Trainer: Paul Thrussell, instructor of Buff Ballet Booty at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

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Tighten Tush: Arabesque

Target: Butt

  • Stand facing the back of a sturdy chair, and place hands on top of seat back for balance.
  • Raise right knee in front of you, drawing big toe of right foot up left shin until right knee is at hip level.
  • With right toe touching left knee, turn right knee out to right side.
  • Keeping an upright posture, extend right leg directly behind you as high as you can.
  • Pulse right leg up 4 times, trying to lift leg higher each time.
  • Lower right leg to start. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.
  • Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

Trainer: Paul Thrussell

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Resize Thighs: Sumo Sit-Down

Targets: Butt and inner thighs

  • Pressing palms together in front of chest, straddle the seat of a chair so that legs are wide with feet planted on ground on either side, toes turned slightly out.
  • Lower into a squat, briefly sitting in chair, then jump up and out of the squat to bring feet together in front of chair as you stand up. (MAKE IT EASIER: Remain in straddle position, pulsing up and down to get in and out of seat.)
  • Jump back, opening legs wide to return to straddle position.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 reps.

Trainer: Amy Bento

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Resize Thighs: Firewalker

Targets: Hips, butt, and outer thighs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and tie a resistance band snugly around ankles (over socks is best) or shins, holding the excess band in your hands.
  • Bend knees slightly, then, maintaining slight squat position throughout, take 8 small side steps to the right.
  • Take 8 side steps to the left.
  • Repeat for 1 minute.

Trainer: Cathe Friedrich

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Trim Calves: Hit the Gas

Target: Calves

  • Holding a resistance band with both hands, sit in a chair and extend left leg directly forward.
  • Loop center of band around arch of flexed left foot and pull band handles toward ribs so that band is taut as you sit upright.
  • Alternately flex then point foot for 1 minute.
  • Switch legs; repeat.

Trainer: Michele Olson, PhD, FITNESS advisory board member

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Trim Calves: Ballet Bridge

Targets: Abs, butt, and calves

  • Lie faceup on ground, knees bent, feet flat and palms down by sides.
  • Squeeze glutes and raise hips so that body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
  • Rise up on tiptoes. Hold for 1 count, then lower heels.
  • Do 2 sets of 12 reps.

Trainer: Michele Olson

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.

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FITNESS Magazine, October 2009
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