The 21-Day Total-Body Makeover Workout

How This Workout Works

The Fitness Magazine supershaper workout delivers wow effects that will keep you hooked. All you need to get rolling is a 5- to 10-pound medicine ball or a dumbbell of the same weight. Here’s how it works…

WEEK 1

Mind: “Dedicate five minutes a day to keeping an exercisejournal, noting how you feel after each workout or how you stay active,”  trainer Marco Borges Borges says. Seeing yourself achieve daily goals builds momentum.

Body: Do two sets of 8 to 12 reps per move twice a week on nonconsecutive days and 25 to 35 minutes of cardiofive days a week.

WEEK 2

Mind: Plan ahead. Rather than wait for a break in your day to exercise, schedule it the night before.

Body: Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps per move three times a week and 35 to 45 minutes of cardio five days a week, performing cardio first on weight-lifting days.

WEEK 3

Mind: Find solutions, not excuses. If you don’t have time for a full session, break it into 10-minute bits. “Once you’ve started, it’s easier to keep going than it is to quit,” Borges says.

Body: Do three sets of 15 to 20 reps per move three times a week and 45 to 55 minutes of cardio five days a week, performing cardio first on weight-lifting days.

Atlas Squat
Targets: Chest, arms, butt, and quads

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold medicine ball overhead between hands, squeezing palms into ball to engage arm muscles.
  • Keeping ball overhead throughout, lower slowly into a squat with thighs parallel to floor and knees bent 90 degrees.
  • Return to start.

Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Pike Push-Up
Targets: Shoulders, back, chest, arms, and abs

  • Start on all fours, toes curled under, then move into downward dog position: Press hips toward ceiling, straightening legs and walking hands slightly forward until body forms an inverted V. (Keep heels flat on floor.) MAKE IT HARDER: Begin in inverted V position with feet on a step or bench.
  • Slowly bend elbows to lower torso about 4 inches toward floor. Press up to return to downward dog.
    Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Lunge Twist
Targets: Abs, obliques, butt, hips, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding ball between palms in front of hips.
  • Lunge forward with left leg, bending both knees 90 degrees as you rotate torso to left and raise ball diagonally overhead with arms extended.
  • Rotate back to center and lower ball; then step left leg back to return to start position. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.

Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Sit and Touch
Target: Abs

  • Lie faceup on floor with knees bent and feet flat, holding ball between palms with arms extended on floor behind head.
  • Curl head and shoulders off floor, raising ball overhead and then in front of you as you sit up.
  • Briefly place ball on floor between feet; then return to start position, raising ball overhead as you lower torso to floor.
    Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Iron Sumo
Targets: Shoulders, arms, butt, and quads

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, and hold ball between palms in front of chest, elbows bent by sides.
  • Lower into squat, bending knees 90 degrees, until elbows tap knees.
  • Squeeze glutes and legs to return to start position.

Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Reverse Lunge Press
Targets: Chest, arms, abs, butt, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding ball between palms in front of chest, elbows bent by sides.
  • Lunge back with right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees; then extend arms to press ball diagonally overhead.
  • Bring ball back by chest and return to start position. Switch sides and repeat to complete 1 rep.

Start with 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Single-Leg Resisted Curl
Targets: Biceps, abs, and legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold ball in right palm by right side, left palm pressing down on top of ball. Lift bent right knee to hip level in front of you. (If using a dumbbell, simply hold it in right hand by side, palm facing forward.)
  • Keeping knee raised and pressing down with left hand throughout, curl ball to shoulder and then lower it by side.

Start with 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Crank Plank
Targets: Abs and obliques

  • Start in side plank position: Lie on floor on right side with feet stacked, place right palm on floor directly in front of right shoulder, and press up until right arm is extended. (Keep a slight bend in right elbow as body forms a straight line from head to toes.) MAKE IT EASIER: Instead of stacking feet, place side of left foot on floor in front of right foot for a wider base of support.
  • Bring left hand to touch behind head, elbow bent out to side. Keeping hips stacked, slowly rotate torso to bring left elbow toward right arm.
  • Rotate torso to return to side plank.

Start with 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2011.

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