With summer upon us, most of us have swimsuits on the brain. So that you can uncover with confidence, we asked Tracey Mallett, the owner of ATP Specific Training in South Pasadena, CA, and creator of the Booty Barre workout, to put together a two-part plan that targets typical trouble spots—belly, waist, hips—while blasting fat and building strength. (Search: How to burn fat faster) Part 1 focuses on your "bathing suit muscles," aka your core. "These muscles include your front abdominals, sides, hips, and lower back," says Mallett. "You need to work all of them, because when your core is strong, you stand taller, look slimmer, and move more easily."
To melt belly fat and slim down, Part 2 includes flab-busting cardio. In our test panel, one woman who tried the plan lost 5.5 inches off her waist; another took nearly 18 inches off her belly, butt, and thighs; and a third dropped almost 10 pounds in 6 weeks. Keep an eye on what you eat, and you'll be ready for the beach in a few weeks! (Video: Look great and kick butt like this champ!)
Your Sleek-Abs Plan
This routine is designed for all fitness levels, so you'll get results whether you're just starting out or are a regular gym-goer. (Download this poster to stay motivated to stick to your workouts!) It includes a combination of belly-shrinking toning moves plus fat-melting cardio. Do the strength moves 3 (nonconsecutive) days a week and cardio (including 1 interval workout) 5 days. (More: Pair your routine with these Metabolism Boosting Foods for maximum results.
|Tuesday||Cardio: 30-45 min|
|Thursday||Strength Routine, Cardio: 30-45 min|
|Friday||Cardio: Interval Plan|
|Saturday||Strength Routine, Cardio: 30-45 min|
|Sunday||Cardio: 30-45 min|
PART 1: TUMMY-TONING STRENGTH MOVES
The plan: Do the moves in the order given; it'll take about 15 minutes. Finish with the full-body stretches to help lengthen your muscles and keep your spine strong and muscles limber. Whatever your fitness level, start with the basic moves during at least the first couple of workouts. When you feel comfortable, switch to the challenge version. (Video: For better results, follow this Prevention warmup routine!)
How often: 3 times a week
What you'll need: A stability ball and small playground ball (available at gofit.net)
1. TILTED FROG
Step 1: Lie faceup on mat, hands behind head, elbows bent out to sides. Bend knees, crossing feet at ankles, and lift legs over hips. Tilt pelvis up and lift head and shoulders off mat.
Step 2: Lower head and hips while extending legs. Repeat, raising head and lifting hips. Do 10 reps with right leg on top, then recross and do 10 reps with left leg on top.
Challenge phase: Do 15 to 20 reps per side.
2. DOUBLE-LEG STRETCH
Step 1: Lie faceup on mat, bringing knees toward chest. Drawing abs in tight, lift head and shoulders off mat, resting hands by knees.
Step 2: Inhale, extending arms, biceps by ears, while extending legs 45 degrees from mat. Exhaling, sweep arms around sides and forward while drawing knees back toward chest, ending with hands by knees. Repeat. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Challenge phase: Instead of sweeping arms to sides, hold a stability ball and lower it toward knees as you bend legs.
3. SIDE-LINE HIP LIFT
Step 1: Lie on right side, knees bent, right elbow under shoulder with forearm forward, forming straight line from shoulders to hips.
Step 2: Lift hips, bringing left leg to hip height. Lower and repeat. Do 10 reps; on final rep, hold and do 20 small pulses. Switch sides; repeat.
Challenge phase: Keep top leg straight throughout the exercise.
Step 1: Lie on right side, head resting on right upper arm. Bend knees in front of hips, legs stacked, and place left hand on left hip.
Step 2: Keeping right leg on mat, lift left knee, keeping feet together and hips square. Lower and repeat; do 10 to 15 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Challenge phase: Do 15 to 20 reps per side.
5. BALL TOSS
Step 1: Lie faceup with a small ball between ankles, knees bent and feet lifted. Extend arms above head. Bring legs toward chest while lifting head and arms to grab ball.
Step 2: Lower legs while bringing arms past head. Repeat, placing ball between legs. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Challenge phase: Keep legs straight throughout the exercise.
6. SIDE PLANK
Kneel with right hand on mat, aligned under right shoulder, with fingers pointing right. Straighten left leg, placing toes on mat. Extend left arm directly above shoulder, keeping hips lifted and head in line with spine. Hold here for 30 to 60 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.
Challenge phase: Do the move as above, but extend both legs and stack feet. pressing into side of bottom foot, lift hips, forming a straight line from head to heels. For an even greater challenge, lift top leg. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
Step 1: Lie faceup on mat, legs straight and arms extended above head, next to ears.
Step 2: Bring arms forward, point chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands to toes. Slowly reverse direction, bringing upper body back down to mat one vertebra at a time. Do 8 to 10 reps.
Challenge phase: Place a soft playground ball under ankles.
8. SINGLE-LEG STRETCH
Step 1: Lie faceup on mat with knees over hips. Extend right leg about 45 degrees from mat. Draw in abdominals and lift head, chest, and shoulders, resting left palm by left shin and right palm by left knee.
Step 2: Keeping head lifted, switch legs, bringing right leg toward chest and extending left leg; rest right palm by right shin and left palm by right knee. Continue for 10 reps per side.
Challenge phase: Increase to 20 reps per side.
Lie facedown on mat, hands near sides with elbows bent and legs extended. Lift chest off mat, keeping arms bent. Lift and lower right leg, then left, moving from hips (not knees). Continue, alternating legs, for 20 reps.
Challenge phase: Extend arms to shoulder height in front of you, palms facing down. As each leg lifts, raise opposite arm. Do 10 reps per side. To increase the challenge further, bring right arm toward right hip and bend torso to right as legs flutter; return to center and repeat. Do 10 reps; switch sides.