The 20-Minute Workout That Really Works
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The 20-Minute Workout That Really Works

Get toned and blast fat with twice the workout in half the time.

Optimize Your Exercise

Who has time for 30 minutes of aerobics plus a strength-training session? This 20-minute workout burns fat and tones your trouble zones -- fast!

Multitasking, that fancy word for cooking dinner while talking on the phone and helping your kids with homework, magically weaves extra time into your day by allowing you to do several things at once. That makes it the perfect concept to apply to your exercise program, too.

With the Super Circuit workout on these pages, you'll alternate body-sculpting exercises that target several areas at once with intervals of aerobic training. The result: a full-body, muscle-shaping routine combined with high-intensity cardio bursts that burn calories and incinerate body fat. In other words, twice the workout in half the time. And to make our Super Circuit even more super, we've chosen moves that tackle typical trouble zones such as the butt, chest and abs.

The workout

Alternate each set of each body-sculpting move with a one-minute cardio interval for a total of 20 muscle-firming, fat-burning minutes.

Important: Keep moving! Blast through the routine without any rest; as soon as you finish your cardio interval, jump to the next body sculptor. Do this workout at least three times a week and you should see shapelier muscles, a dip in body fat and an increase in strength in about 30 days.

Basic equipment: An aerobic step, an exercise mat or thick towel, and a set of light weights (3 to 8 pounds, depending on how strong you are). If 3-pound weights are too heavy, do the exercises without weights. As you get stronger, add weights to your workout.

One-Minute Cardio Interval

Beginner

March in place, pumping your arms vigorously and lifting your knees to waist level.

Intermediate

Step up and down on your step. Be sure to pump your arms and plant your entire foot firmly on the step platform. Lead with your right foot half the time, and with your left foot for the other half.

Advanced

Step on the platform with left foot, then lift right knee to waist level. Pump arms, left arm forward, right arm back. Step down with right foot, then with left. Next, step up with right foot, and lift left knee; right arm forward, left arm back. Continue alternating.

A note about intensity: Whichever cardio level you choose, give it your best effort. You should feel slightly breathy and sweaty by the end of each minute. Your heart should be thumping, but you shouldn't be so out of breath that you can't talk or have to take a break before moving on to the next exercise.

Body-Sculpting Move 1


The ultimate butt move: side squat and arm raise. Also works outer thighs, inner thighs, front of thighs and shoulders.

1. Stand tall with feet hip width apart, arms at sides with palms facing in and elbows slightly bent. Hold a weight in each hand.

2. Step right foot out about a foot and a half to the side and bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. As you do so, lift arms up and out to the side until hands are at shoulder level. Push off the right foot to return to the start.

Sequence: 15 reps to right side; one-minute cardio interval; 15 reps to left side.

Body-Sculpting Move 2


The ultimate back-of-thigh shaper: double curl. Also works front of arms.

1. Leaning forward slightly, stand with feet as shown, left foot forward. Bend left knee slightly and lift right heel off the floor. Hold arms at sides with palms forward, clasping a weight in each hand.

2. Simultaneously bend right knee so that right heel moves toward buttocks, and bend elbows to bring hands toward shoulders.

Sequence: 15 reps with right leg lifted; one-minute cardio interval; 15 reps with left leg.

Body-Sculpting Move 3


The ultimate upper-back toner: row and extension. Also works shoulders, arms.

1. Holding a weight in each hand, stand with feet hip width apart. Keeping your back flat and abs tight, bend knees, lean forward from hips and let arms hang down, palms facing in toward each other.

2. Bend elbows and raise weights to chest level then straighten elbows and press the weights behind you. Bend elbows again and lower arms to start.

Sequence: One set of 15 reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of 15 reps.

Body-Sculpting Move 4


The ultimate chest firmer: step push-up. Also works shoulders, arms.

1. Place a mat or towel underneath your knees and lie on stomach in front of an aerobic step placed lengthwise. Bend knees and cross ankles. Place hands shoulder width apart on edge of aerobic step and straighten arms so that you're balanced on palms and thighs, just above knees as shown. Tighten abs.

2. Bend elbows until upper arms are parallel to floor. Push back up.

Sequence: One set of 15 reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of 15 reps.

Body-Sculpting Move 5


The ultimate ab sculptor: hover. Also works lower back, arms.

Don't be fooled -- this simple exercise is a total ab and lower-back move.

1. Kneel on the floor; then lean forward. Bend elbows and balance upper body on forearms; stretch out legs and balance weight on toes. Clasp hands together and tuck chin toward chest. Tighten abs so that back is straight; make sure lower back does not sag downward and don't raise your butt above the rest of your body.

2. Hold this position for 5 to 10 slow counts. Keep torso straight the entire time. Do two reps per set. To rest between reps, sit back on heels and stretch upper body forward.

Sequence: One set of two reps; one-minute cardio interval; second set of two reps.

 
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