The Rx: To add some curves, women with straight builds should focus on tightening their core—especially their deep abdominal muscles which pull in the belly, and the obliques, which cinch in the sides of the waist. Straight/boyish body types should also increase weight training to add lean muscle mass (read: curves) to their butts. Upper- and middle-back exercises will help un-hunch a square-body-type’s shoulders, lessening the frail-looking frame.
The Best Workouts:
Monday: For each exercise shown, do 1 set of the prescribed repetitions, rest 30 seconds, then do another set of that same exercise. To amp up your results, follow your strength workout with a round of Smart CardioIntervals.
Wednesday: Perform the moves circuit style: Do the prescribed number of repetitions for each exercise, with no rest between exercises. After you’ve done all of the exercises once, rest two minutes. Perform the entire circuit 3 times, resting two minutes between each circuit.
Friday: Perform each set of two exercises back-to-back, with no rest between each exercise. Rest 30 to 60 seconds before repeating the set one more time.
SET 1 Lift-off Lunge [10 to 12 reps per leg], Mermaid
SET 2 Pushup and Leg Raise [8 to 12 reps], Crossover Crunch
SET 3 Squat and Overhead Press, Plyo Plank
SET 4 Hundred on the Ball, Stacked Pushup
Nothing scorches calories or firms your muscles like fighting gravity. Follow your Friday strength-training sequence with the following Butt-Busting Hill Repeats—which can be done on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stationary bike.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells up at your shoulders—elbows bent and pointing out to the sides, palms facing forward. Take a giant step forward with your right leg and lower your body until your knees are bent 90 degrees. Your knees should be in line with your ankles. (A) Press into your right foot, straighten your right leg, and come to a stand, simultaneously pulling your left knee forward in front of your hips (so you’re standing on one leg) and pressing the weights up toward the ceiling .(B) Return to start. Repeat with your left leg. 10 to 12 reps per leg
To make the move more challenging, place your front foot on a step.
Assume a side plank position, with your right elbow on the floor directly beneath your shoulder. Stagger your feet so your left foot is in front of your right foot. (A) Raise your left arm directly overhead—bicep next to your ear, arm extended, and with your palm facing the floor—so your arm is in line with your body. Arch your left arm towards the floor as you raise your hips up in the air. (B) Return to start. Repeat for a full set; then switch sides. 8 to 10 reps
Lie facedown on a fitness ball, with both hands on the floor. Walk your hands out, allowing the ball to roll beneath your body until it is under your shins. Your hands should be directly below your shoulders, so it looks like you’re ready to do a pushup. Keeping your torso straight and your abs contracted, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (A) Return to start, and immediately contract your glutes as you lift your right leg off the ball. (B) Lower your right leg to the ball, then lift the left leg. That’s one rep. 8 to 12 reps
Make the move harder by placing the ball under the tops of your feet. Make it easier by keeping the ball under your knees.
Lie on your back with your arms by your sides. Bend your knees to 90 degrees and place your calves on a fitness ball. Lift your head and shoulders off the floor, making sure to keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed. (Put your head down at any time if you feel stress in the upper body.) (A) Take 5 short, consecutive inhales, followed by 5 short, consecutive exhales. Do this 10 times for 1 rep. At the same time, lift arms off mat and pulse them up and down palms facing down, in unison with the breath. (B) 10 reps, 100 breaths per rep
Lie on your back with arms and legs outstretched so your body forms an X. (A) Contract your abs and raise your head, arms, and legs a few inches off the floor. Keeping them extended, simultaneously bring your left arm and right leg together over your abdomen. (B) Lower your limbs back to start. Repeat to the opposite side. That’s one rep. Alternate for a full set. 10 to 12 reps
To make the move more challenging, keep your head, arms, and legs raised throughout the exercise. To make it a little easier, bring only your arm and leg off the floor each time.
Assume a pushup position (resting either your knees or your toes on the floor), with your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders, left hand placed on a thick book, yoga block, or aerobic step with no risers. (A) Bend your arms and lower your chest until your arms are bent 90 degrees. (B) Straighten your arms and press up. Do 4 to 6 reps, then switch sides, bringing your right hand up onto the book or step and your left hand down to the floor on the left side of the book. Repeat, this time crossing up and over to the right. Alternate throughout the set. 8 to 12 reps
Hold a dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent in front of your torso, weights in front of your shoulders, palms facing in. Stand with your feet in a wide straddle stance, toes turned out. (A) Bend your knees and squat back, keeping your knees from extending over your toes. (B) Press back to the start position, turning your right palm forward and pressing the weight directly overhead. (C) Immediately lower into another squat, pulling your right arm back to the starting position. Stand again, this time pressing the left weight overhead. Alternate for a full set. 12 to 14 reps
Assume a standard pushup position, with your feet extended wider than shoulder-width apart. (A) Quickly hop your feet together and up toward the outside of your right hand. (B) Hop back to the starting position. Then repeat to the left side. Alternate for a full set. 8 to 12 reps