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Better Body Plan: The Tighten It Up Workout

  • James Michelfelder

    How This Workout Works

    Buh-bye, juice-cleanse trend. This real-girl slim-down is fun, it's simple, and it bleeping works. Our testers lost as many as 10 1/2 pounds and 4 inches from their waist and hips in four fly-by weeks. Even better, "you ease in with short 20-minute sessions," says FITNESS contributor Monica Vazquez, the New York Sports Clubs master trainer behind this winning firm-and-fry formula (she's the one demo'ing the moves). "You'll trim all over, sizzle fat, and still have plenty of gas left in your tank to crush it the following week." Do two circuits of the Tighten It Up series, three times a week, starting off with 12 reps per move. You'll need only a set of 5- to 15-pound dumbbells. Use the to-do chart on the following page to turn up your toning and calorie burn as you go. Check off the boxes and — bada bing! — you're 10 pounds down and totally hot.

    Watch the full workout here


  • James Michelfelder

    Your 4-Week Plan

    Welcome to your dashboard for dropping 10 pounds fast and forever. Download your weekly plans to help you stick to your workout.

    Download Week 1

    Download Week 2

    Download Week 3

    Download Week 4

  • Jason Todd

    Rockette Press

    Targets shoulders, biceps, butt, and legs

    • Stand holding a dumbbell in right hand, left hand on hip. Raise bent right arm out to side; angle forearm 45 degrees toward floor.
    • Lunge backward with left leg, then press off left foot to stand on right leg, rotating right forearm to point up and lifting bent left knee.
    • Next, press right arm overhead and kick left leg forward.
    • Return to lunge. Do all reps. Switch sides; repeat.
  • Jason Todd

    Toe-Drag Plank

    Targets abs, obliques, butt, and outer thighs

    • Lie on floor on right side with left leg staggered in front of right; prop torso up on extended right arm and raise hips until body forms a straight line (side plank).
    • Lift right foot and drag toes along inside of left leg until they reach left knee. Return right foot to floor.
    • Do all reps. Switch sides and repeat.
  • Jason Todd

    Flamingo Curl

    Targets biceps, abs, butt, and legs

    • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a stool, chair, or bench with elbows bent 90 degrees, palms up.
    • Slowly stand up on right leg, arms by sides.
    • As you return to sitting, curl weights to shoulders. Do all reps; switch legs and repeat.
  • Jason Todd

    Wood-Chop Crunch

    Targets chest, abs, and obliques

    • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie faceup on floor with knees bent 90 degrees, shins parallel to floor, and arms out to sides, slightly bent with palms up.
    • Keeping arms slightly bent, raise dumbbells to touch above chest.
    • Lift head and shoulders off floor and reach dumbbells by right hip; then return to center and lower to start.
    • Repeat to left side. Do all reps, alternating sides.
  • Jason Todd

    Tabletop Row

    Targets back, triceps, abs, obliques, and butt

    • Holding a dumbbell in right hand, palm facing behind you, get on all fours.
    • Lift bent right elbow out to side at shoulder level as you bring bent left knee to chest (tuck position).
    • Lower dumbbell to floor as you extend left leg behind you. Return to tuck position.
    • Do all reps; switch sides and repeat.
  • Jason Todd

    Touch Up

    Targets chest, triceps, abs, and obliques

    • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie faceup on floor and extend arms and legs toward ceiling, palms facing each other.
    • Crunch up, bringing dumbbells toward toes.
    • Lower shoulders to floor as you bend elbows to bring dumbbells by temples and lower legs to 45-degree angle with floor. Return to crunch.
    • Do all reps.
  • Jason Todd

    Pendulum Raise

    Targets shoulders, butt, and legs

    • Stand holding a dumbbell in right hand; lunge back with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees.
    • Pass dumbbell under left knee from right hand to left hand; then raise both arms out to sides.
    • Maintaining lunge, pass dumbbell under left knee to right hand; raise arms out to side to complete 1 rep.
    • Do half the reps. Switch legs; do the rest.
  • Jason Todd

    Curtsy Salute

    Targets shoulders, triceps, butt, and legs

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in left hand overhead, palm facing forward, and right hand on hip.
    • Lunge right leg diagonally back, bending both knees (as if doing a curtsy) while bending left elbow to bring dumbbell by right ear.
    • Stand on left leg, extending left arm up, as you raise right leg out to side. Return to curtsy.
    • Do all reps. Switch sides and repeat.


    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2013.