Abs, butts, thighs and arms come in different sizes-so should your workouts! Here, moves that target your trouble spots.
Exercise is the way to transform your body, but sometimes just working out isn’t enough. It’s also important to be doing the right moves for the shape Mother Nature gave you. How to make the most of what you’ve got? Traditionally, scientists have designed programs for athletes by body typing: You may be an endomorph (rounded), mesomorph (muscular) or ectomorph (slender). But “very few people represent these extremes,” says Lindsay Carter, Ph.D., an expert in somatotyping, the study of body types, and professor emeritus at San Diego State University. “Most women’s bodies are a mishmash of all three categories, with up to 300 variations.” New, smarter thinking, according to Carter: Pinpoint features that need the most work and find the routine that targets that problem. To build your own program, add moves chosen from those on the next four pages to your regular session of strength-training three days a week. Get ready for a revolutionary, made-for-you workout!
START HERE! To get your personalized exercise prescription, size up your body and pick the phrase from each category (legs, shoulders, arms, etc.) that sounds most familiar. Then, add that move to your usual strength workout three times per week.
“I’m flat as a pancake!”
For a bust boost, do pec-building exercises like push-ups and chest presses using heavy weights (8 to 10 pounds). To add some chest curves, try the Diagonal Flye: Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Hold weights out to sides, palms facing your feet, arms straight in a T position. Raise weights and bring them together over your chest, crossing at the elbows. Hold, then open arms and lower. Repeat. Do 12 reps.
“I’ve got big breasts and extra weight on top.”
If you’re front-heavy, you need to strengthen your back and shoulders, which will improve your posture and add tone. Try Pec Pulls: Stand with your left leg in front of your right, back heel lifted. Rest your left hand on your front thigh to support your back as you lean forward. Holding a weight with your palm facing back, cross your right arm to your left side and feel your chest contract. Pull your right elbow out to the side and raise your upper arm to shoulder level, keeping elbow bent. Feel your upper back contract. Lower and repeat. Do 12 reps per side.
“I have firm but chunky arms.”
If you’re strong, but those muscles are hiding underneath fat, slim down by upping your aerobic workouts. Also include the Reverse Push-up before and after each cardio session. Lie on the floor in push-up position with legs spread to hip width. Push body up, supported on hands and toes. Keep head, hips and heels aligned. Pull abs in tight. Bend elbows and lower chest to floor, focusing on the pushing (instead of the lowering) portion of the movement. Exhale, push back up. Do 12 reps.
“My arms are pencil thin.”
Add muscle by minimizing your cardio sessions (20 minutes, three times a week) and getting serious with heavier (15- to 20-pound) weights. Try Concentration Curls: Stand with legs in a wide straddle, knees soft. Hold weight in right hand and hang arm in front, palm facing forward. Support your right elbow with left hand. Bend right elbow to curl weight up toward your shoulder. Lower the weight and repeat. Do 12 reps on each side.
“Yikes! My arms are jiggly!”
Infuse your workout with muscle-toning arm moves using 5- to 10-pound dumbbells. (Increase weight as you get stronger to keep challenging your muscles.) Try the Bi-Tri Bend: Stand with right leg in front of left, right knee slightly bent. Hold the weights in your hands and bend your left elbow, holding weight near your rib cage; hang right hand in front, palm facing in. Press your left hand back to straighten your elbow and curl your right arm up in front, raising the weight to your shoulder. Hold, then return to start; repeat. Do 12 reps on each side.
“My middle is mushy!”
Don’t skip the calorie-blasting cardio, and carve out a stronger core by doing the Diagonal Crossover: Stand tall, hands by ears, elbows out. Raise left leg out, 6 inches off floor. Abs in, draw right shoulder toward left hip and pull left knee toward right elbow. Uncurl and repeat. Do 10 reps on each side.
“It’s only my lower abs that stick out.”
Focus on moves that work your abs and back muscles. Try the Reverse Rotation: Lie back, legs straight above hips, knees slightly bent, feet flexed. With hands supporting head, raise shoulders off floor. Pulling navel in, point legs and feet to the right as you ro-tate rib cage and upper body toward the left. Pause, return to center; repeat, alternating sides. Do 10 reps on each side.
“My abs are flat-but extremely weak.”
In addition to crunches, try the Plank Extension: From push-up position, prop yourself on forearms and toes, your head, hips and heels level. Look down, not forward, as you tighten abs and butt and raise right leg above hip height. Avoid holding your breath. Lower leg and repeat, switching sides each time. Do 10 reps on each leg.
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