Your Lean-Body Plan
What is the quickest way to shed weight, build lean muscle, and reveal a toned and sexy physique? The answer is simple: A combo of strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It's not revolutionary, but this regimen has been proven time and again to be the best training method to get a lean body in the least amount of time. You'll crush calories, build fat-burning muscle, and avoid plateaus.
I'll admit that as a woman, I was hesitant to start lifting heavy weights. In my mind, weight lifting equated to a "bulky" and "thick" body. But I quickly learned that this couldn't be farther from the truth. Muscle is metabolically active, meaning that it burns calories even at rest. The more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn. Just remember that muscle is more dense than fat so don't rely on the scale to track your progress. You will see the amazing results in the mirror and feel them every time you pull on your skinny jeans.
This workout combines strength training and HIIT to give you a rock-solid core, lean legs, and defined arms.
You'll need: A pair of dumbbells (10-20lbs), a jump rope.
How it works: Do 1 set of each exercise without resting between moves. Repeat the entire circuit 3 times. If you're short on time, you'll still get a great workout by doing 1 full circuit. For best results, do this workout 3 days per week. To make it more challenging, increase the weight for each exercise.
This exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings, giving perfect definition and lift to your booty.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them at arm's length in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Shift your weight into one leg. Without changing the bend in your knee, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor (keep the weight as close to your body as possible). Pause, then return to standing. Your back should stay naturally arched during the entire movement. Do 8 reps each side.
Split Squat Jumps
These powerful jumps blast calories and engage every muscle in your body.
How to do it: Come into a lunge position with both knees bent. Make sure your front knee is directly above the ankle. Bring both arms back as you lower down into a lunge. Explosively, jump off the ground and switch feet in the air. Land softly in a lunge position with your other foot forward. Keep switching at a quick pace. Make sure to keep your chest lifted and swing your arms forward as you jump. Do 5 jumps per side.
Squat to Press
Squats are excellent for slim thighs, a tight butt, and sculpted hamstrings. By adding the press, the core and shoulders are engaged the entire time.
How to do it: Grab a set of dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your elbows and bring the weights to shoulder height. Lower down into a squat by shifting hips back, like you are sitting in a chair. Come back to standing and press weights directly overhead. Lower the weights back to shoulder height as you immediately lower into your next squat. Continue the movement at a quick pace for 10 reps.
Similar to other jumps, this exercise burns calories quickly, keeps your heart rate up, and engages every muscle. Broad jumps will also improve overall athletic performance.
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Quickly extend your arms behind you while bending knees even more. Explosively jump forward (as far as you can) while swinging your arms forward. Land softly (by bending your knees) in a solid, athletic position. Try not to bounce or wobble at all and use your core to stay solid. Do 8 reps.
Plank with Dumbbell Row
Nothing beats planks when it comes to strengthening your deepest abdominal muscles, which flatten out the stomach. Plus, the row builds strength and definition in upper back, shoulders, biceps, and triceps.
How to do it: Grab a set of dumbbells and come into plank position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Brace your core as you lift one dumbbell off the ground in a rowing movement. Bring the weight back to the ground and switch sides. Continue alternating at a quick pace. Make sure to keep hips as still as possible and legs engaged the entire time. Do 8 reps per side.
Jumping rope is a quick way to get the benefits of cardio without spending a lot of time on it.
How to do it: Make sure to stay light on your feet and keep your chest lifted. Use your wrists more than your arms to swing the rope. Try to keep elbows fixed in place. Jump rope for 1 minute.
Walking Lunge with Bicep Curl
his exercise builds strength in the quadriceps, core, glutes, and upper body. Doing single-leg exercises like this improves balance and stability, as well as dynamic flexibility in the knee, ankle, and hip joints.
How to do it: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand tall, holding the weights by your sides. Take a big step out into a lunge. Bend both knees, keeping front knee directly above ankle. Drive off the ball of your big toe to come up in a standing position. Keep your foot off the ground as you curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders. Keep elbows fixed in place. Continue by stepping the foot that is lifted forward into a lunge. Do 10 reps on each leg.
Sprints are a very efficient way to improve athletic performance and keep the entire body lean and strong.
How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your back at a 45-degree angle, weight shifted forward. Drive through your big toe to take bounding steps forward. After about 10 yards, rest for 30 seconds before starting your next sprint. Quickly shift your hips forward to repeat the forward movement again. Do 5 sprints.
by Nora Tobin