Get Strong & Sleek Legs for the Summer

1. We’re going to start with a run or power walk for 15 minutes. Begin by running at a moderate pace to warm up. After 5 minutes, do power intervals lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute of a fast sprint; alternated with 1 minute of a regular pace.

2. Leg Set – All these exercises should be done in a circuit fashion with little to no rest in between each movement. I typically use 10 pound weights; adjust accordingly.

  • Jump Squats (15 reps)
  • Stepups on a bench (12 reps each leg)
  • Deadlifts  (12 reps)
  • Jump Squats (15 reps)
  • Bulgarian lunges – one leg elevated on bench behind you (12 reps each leg)
  • Leg Presses on machine – plie leg position (12 reps)
  • Side Lunges (12 reps each leg)

3. Repeat Run/power walk set and leg circuit 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.

I typically will do this workout once per week, in addition to my other workouts. While my other workouts do include leg movements, this additional workout targets and challenges my leg and glute muscles optimally.

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Get a Booty like Pippa Middleton or Kim Kardashian in 4 Simple Steps

When it comes to body parts, most women want a good butt. In fact, the most common question I get asked as a trainer (other than, do I really have to watch what I eat?) is how to get a great bottom line. And when it comes to booties, most women (and men) want either a butt like Kim Kardashian or like Pippa Middleton.

Whether you desire a petite, well-formed rear or a curvy, ample booty, the honest truth is that unless you are willing to go under the knife, genetics plays a big role in the size and shape of your rear. If you are small and lean, it’s going to be difficult to get a Kim Kardashian butt – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the best rear possible for your body!

Did you know that your gluteus maximus (aka, your booty) is the biggest muscle in your body? You probably have had that thought when trying to squeeze into last year’s skinny jeans. But our glutes actually are quite valuable to the functionality of our bodies. Think of all the things they help you do: run, ride a bike, climb stairs, dance, walk, ice skate, sprint, etc. Having a strong and functional set of glutes not only looks esthetically pleasing, but it will make you a better athlete and allow you to function better in your daily activities.

Often, clients will suffer from back or knee pain, only to find out that the reason is because of weak or non-performing glute muscles. Once they establish the neuromuscular pathways between the brain and the muscle, they can begin to strengthen and will see their chronic joint issues disappear!

The four steps below will get your butt in prime shape when done consistently. Don’t expect results in a month, though – sculpting a rear takes a lot of work. Start now and by next summer, you’ll be running better and looking fine.

So, while you may want Pippa’s rear, you may have to settle for a full bodied booty like Kim’s, depending on your body type. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t rock it!

  1. Stepups: The best strength training exercise to sculp a great booty is the stepup, especially when using a step that is higher than knee height. The key is to push through your heel to maximize the contribution of the glute muscle. Start with two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, using only bodyweight. Start progressing by holding a set of 5 to 10 lb. dumbbells at your side when stepping up. Do these every week at least once but ideally twice a week.  Hint: If you want to build up your rear (such as if your current butt is flat), use a heavier weight. If you’d like to reduce the size while tightening up the glute area, use lighter weights and more repetitions.
  2. Sprints: Add intervals of sprints into your cardio routine. Sprinting really engages the gluteus muscles like no other cardio exercise. It uses your fast twitch muscle fibers, which generally don’t get worked during slow, steady-state cardio. Do these once to twice per week.
  3. Say no to Starchy foods and Sugar: Starchy carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, muffins, waffles, and pancakes, raise your blood sugar quickly, causing the insulin response to kick in. Your body ends up storing both starchy carbs and sugar as fat – paunchy fat, right on your buttocks. Unfortunately, fat overlies the muscle, causing all your hard work stepping, sculpting, and sprinting to be for naught. Eat lots of veggies and protein, and limit those carbs.
  4. Perform Cardio Regularly: To get rid of the fat on your buns, regular cardio is needed to burn it off. Do it regularly 4 to 6 times per week.

A Strength Training Workout to Stimulate Weight Loss

Weight training is essential to sculpting a strong and attractive body. But it’s also key to effective weight loss; by building lean muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest, thereby upping your resting metabolic rate.

If you’ve already incorporated consistent strength training workouts into your weekly schedule, great – you are headed in the right direction towards weight loss. But you can’t just keep doing the same routine month after month – your body gets used to the stimulus and your results will diminish.

Change up your strength training workouts often. I rarely do the same workout twice. This doesn’t mean that I am not consistently doing exercises for each part of the body – chest presses are always present, for example – but I vary the order of exercises, number of sets, number of repetitions, type of exercise, equipment used, and other things to make each workout fresh.

One way I vary my workout is to do three sets of exercises that work each muscle group. Instead of doing the same type of exercise for the chest, for example, I vary the exercise each set. Whether it’s a different grip or using a different piece of equipment, each set contains a slightly different take on the original exercise. Try the workout below for a good burn!

Note: For each set, use a weight that will cause your muscle to FATIGUE in the amount of reps states. For example, if you are doing a chest press with 12 lb. dumbbells, and you could still continue easily and with good form past 12 reps, you need to up the weight. Conversely, if the weight is too heavy to even do 15 reps in a 20 rep set, you’ll need to decrease the weight used.

First Set:

12 Reps of a Plie Squat, using a heavy weight and single dumbbell

12 Reps of an Incline Chest Press, using dumbbells

20 reps of a Flat bench (or stability ball) chest fly, using dumbbells

12 reps of a Single arm Overhead Tricep Extension, using a dumbbell

20 reps of alternating forward lunges

12 Reps of a Single Arm Bent over Row, one knee on bench, using dumbbell

12 Reps of a Standing Double arm High Row, using a piece of tubing

12 reps of a Single arm Lateral Shoulder Raise, lying on side on a flat bench, using dumbbell

Second Set:

20 Reps of a Smith Press Squat, using a lighter weight and narrow stance (hip distance apart)

12 Reps of an Incline Chest Press, using a barbell

12 reps of an Flat bench chest fly, using dumbbells

12 reps of Lying down Overhead Tricep Extensions, using dumbbells

15 reps of elevated stationary lunges (back foot elevated on step or bench)

12 Reps of a Single Arm Bent over Row with an Overhand Grip, one knee on bench, using dumbbell

12 Reps of a Standing Double arm High Row, using Cable

12 reps of a Single arm Lateral Shoulder Raise, lying on side on an incline bench, using dumbbell

Third Set:

12 Reps of a Single Leg Squat, holding dumbbells (Put a stability ball behind your back for guidance and alignment if new to these)

12 Reps of a Flat Bench Chest Press (or stability ball), using dumbbells

12 reps of a Flat bench chest fly, using dumbbells

12 reps of Standing Double arm Overhead Tricep Extension, using heavy dumbbell

15 reps of elevated stationary lunges (Front foot elevated on step or bench)

12 Reps of a Single Arm Bent over Row, using a cable pulley

12 Reps of a Standing Double arm High Row, using Cable, Balancing on one foot

12 reps of Standing Double arm Lateral Shoulder Raises, using dumbbells

Rev it up with High tempo interval training

I’m missing summer already. The cold and rainy weather that we had last week in Chicago was an unwanted sign that I have to be ready with a different workout for those inclement days.

Spring and summer are glorious, cardio-filled days for me. I love running in the early evening, feeling the warm breeze and remnants of the sun licking my bare shoulders. My bike and I become one. I thrive riding in the hot sun on a warm day. But those days are over.

While I will still run outside in the winter months, there are just some days that are too radical for me. But I absolutely hate running on a treadmill like a gerbil for an hour. That’s when my cardio interval training kicks into high gear.

Intervals are a great way to train different energy systems of the body. Sure, I’ll still sprint during the summer. But the forced indoor workouts allow me to measure my intervals accurately. The beauty of this type of workout is many: it’s a fat burning workout; it’s flexible and always changing; and you can get a great cardio and strength training workout in a quick period.

During the workout, simply alternate bouts of strength training with cardio intervals on the treadmill. The intervals can be as short or long as you want them to be. The key is to move FAST throughout the workout, never stopping for more than a minute to rest.

Here’s an example of one workout I did last week. Adjust it to make it harder or easier. I guarantee you’ll break a sweat!

Workout: Alternate a 10 to 15 minute running interval with a strength training interval for 3 sets of each.

Strength training interval consisted of Incline chest presses, single arm bent over rows, stepups, elevated lunges, flat bench flyes, and standing cable rows. Each exercise consisted of 12 repetitions at an appropriate weight to reach failure in 12 reps. Move from exercise to exercise without stopping in between.

Cardio interval consisted of varying speeds of running for random intervals. For example, I may do a minute at a 9 minute mile, then switch to a slower 10 minute mile for 40 seconds, then switch to an 8 minute mile for a minute.

Lift your Chest Naturally with Incline Press

One of the most common complaints female clients have as they age is about their bustline. Gravity, unfortunately, begins taking a toll on those girls at a young age. There’s good news, though – you can give yourself a natural lift by working your pectoral muscles with the incline chest press.

The pectoral muscles sit below your breasts, which are mostly composed of fat tissue. While there’s not much you can do about the actual breast, you can create a solid foundation for the breast to sit upon, thereby giving yourself a natural chest lift.

The incline dumbbell chest press is optimal for targeting the key muscles in that area. Set your bench to a 30 degree incline. Sit on the bench, grab your dumbbells, and perform a set of 12 repetitions. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

The key to this exercise is to build muscle for the breast to lie upon. Using too light of a weight simply won’t provide enough impetus. Don’t be afraid of a heavier weight. The ideal weight is one that causes muscle failure within 8 to 12 repetitions. If you can keep going after 12 reps easily, you are not stimulating your muscles enough.

Do the incline chest press twice per week for optimal results, combining it with pushups, flat bench presses, and standing tubing flies.