Trim-and-Tone Circuit Workout
Your secret to a hot body this summer? A twofer tone-up routine that intersperses high-octane cardio bursts with muscle-burning strength moves. The result: You wearing nothing but a bikini and total confidence. It all comes from the Bombshell Bootcamp cocreator Cari Shoemate, a Houston-based trainer who's whipped hundreds of women into swimsuit-ready shape with her calorie-scorching circuit workouts. Her moves are especially effective when it's time to don barely-there swimwear, because they focus on toning up the parts that need the most attention. "Sculpted shoulders balance out your lower body, creating an illusion of a slimmer waist and hips," Shoemate explains. Butt-boosting exercises get you ready for bikini bottoms or boy shorts, and core-strengtheners focus on working your deep abdominals, obliques, and six-pack muscles to help you stand taller and look slimmer. Grab a set of three- to five-pound dumbbells and do our Trim-and-Tone Circuit, which includes cardio bursts and strength moves, on three nonconsecutive days a week. Then do your favorite form of cardio for 30 minutes twice a week. (You get bonus points if you make one of these sweat sessions a booty-shaping hill workout.) Proof positive that it works: Our group of testers, who followed Shoemate's plan for a month, dropped up to seven and a half pounds and lost an average of more than two inches from their waistlines. You'll see results just as fast, which will keep you motivated and have you rocking a two-piece in no time. See you on the beach!
Fat-Blasting Cardio Drills
Pump up this workout by adding these high-energy intervals, each designed to boost your heart rate and amp up the calorie burn. Pick one from the list below and do it for 20 seconds (go all out if you can), then recover for 10 seconds. Repeat with the same drill or pick another; keep going until you've done it eight times. Then move on to the strength circuit on the following pages, doing one set of each move (12 to 15 reps, unless otherwise noted) before returning to another cardio burst. Follow the chart below for the full workout.
Warm-up: 4 minutes
Cardio burst 1: 4 minutes
Strength circuit: 10 minutes
Cardio burst 2: 4 minutes
Strength circuit: 10 minutes
Cardio burst 3: 4 minutes
Strength circuit: 10 minutes
Cardio burst 4: 4 minutes
Cool-down: 3 to 5 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Stand with feet hip-width apart, elbows bent 90 degrees at sides. Bring alternate knees up high toward chest as quickly as possible as you pump arms.
Begin in a standing position, then squat, placing hands on floor. Jump (or walk) feet back in one quick motion until you're in a full plank position. Jump feet forward in one quick motion, going back into a squat. Return to standing. Repeat each step of the sequence as quickly as possible.
Begin in a basic lunge position, both knees bent 90 degrees, front knee over ankle. In an explosive movement, jump, switch legs in the air, and land with bent knees in lunge.
Begin in a full plank position. Keeping left foot stationary, bring right knee toward chest. Return right foot to start while bringing left knee toward chest. Continue, alternating legs.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms at sides. Squat down, knees over ankles, then jump up explosively, reaching hands toward ceiling. Land in squat position, knees bent; repeat.
Targets abs, butt, and quads
- Stand tall on top of a bench or stair with feet shoulder-width apart, abs engaged. Shift weight to left leg, lifting right foot behind you.
- Slowly bend left knee, lowering right foot behind you (as if dipping toes into a pool of water). Keep left knee centered over toes. Slowly stand up and repeat for 1 minute; switch sides.
Targets shoulders and abs
- Begin in full plank position, arms straight and wrists on floor under shoulders. Lift left hand and tap right shoulder; return left hand to floor and repeat with right hand. Next, tap each hand to opposite hip.
- Bend arms and lower into a forearm plank; repeat same sequence of shoulder taps and hip taps. Straighten arms and repeat from the start. Continue for 1 minute.
Single-Leg Squat Kick
Targets butt and outer thighs
- Holding a dumbbell horizontally with both hands at chest height, stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, left foot on top of bench or step and right foot on floor, feet parallel.
- Lower into a squat; hold 2 to 3 seconds, keeping weight in front of chest.
- Staying in a low squat, lift right leg about 45 degrees from floor, keeping weight centered over left leg. Lower right foot back to floor and squat a little deeper. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps; switch sides and repeat.
Targets upper back, triceps, abs, and inner thighs
- Sit on a bench with hands next to hips, fingers pointing forward and heels about 3 feet in front of you. Keeping chest up, back straight and knees bent, lift body off bench and slowly bend elbows 90 degrees. Straighten arms and repeat. Do 5 dips.
- After last rep, sit on bench, contract abs and lean back slightly. Lift left leg to hip height, turning toes out. Do 5 leg raises. Switch legs and repeat for another 5 leg raises to complete 1 rep. Do 3 to 4 reps total.
Targets arms, abs, and hips
- Sit on floor with knees bent, arms at sides. Slowly lift feet while leaning back slightly, engaging abs. Extend legs, forming a V, and reach arms toward feet; hold calves for a moment to get your balance, then release.
- Bend elbows 90 degrees. Keeping legs extended and about 45 degrees from floor, move arms back and forth (as if running). Continue for 1 minute.
Standing Oblique Mash-Up
Targets shoulders, back, chest, triceps, and abs
- Stand facing a wall 2 to 3 feet in front of you with feet shoulder-width apart. Place hands on wall just below shoulder height and near sides of your body.
- Lower chest toward wall, bringing elbows close to sides; at the same time, lift left knee toward left elbow. Straighten arms and lower leg back to start. Do 12 to 15 reps, alternating sides.
- MAKE IT EASIER: Stand closer to wall.
Targets shoulders, triceps, butt, quads, and calves
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at sides, palms in, feet hip-width apart.
- Lunge back with right foot, bending both knees 90 degrees; at the same time, lift left arm forward to shoulder height and right arm behind you with thumbs facing the sky. Stand up, lowering arms back to sides. (Try not to swing arms.) Repeat with opposite legs and arms. Do 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
Tilted Shoulder Raise
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides with palms facing in. Engage abs and lift arms out to sides to shoulder height, forming a T shape.
- Slowly rotate arms until thumbs face floor (as if pouring a cup of coffee). Rotate arms back and then lower to sides. Do 12 to 15 reps.
Speed Up Your Slim-Down
To maximize results in minimum time, do 30 minutes of your favorite form of cardio — biking, hiking, running, swimming, walking — twice a week. To really get your rear in gear, make trainer Cari Shoemate's butt-kicking walk-jog hill workout, below, one of your sessions. "Running on an incline is a hybrid strength-and-cardio workout," she says. "You'll engage your calves, hamstrings, and butt." The upshot: long, lean legs and a high, firm backside.
0 to 5
5 to 10
10 to 15
15 to 20
20 to 22
22 to 24
24 to 26
26 to 28
28 to 30
Cool-down: Walk for 2 to 3 minutes.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2013.