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1. Getting started
Warming up is essential to reduce the risk of injury. Jump on your favourite cardio machine, take a run around the block or use the stairs. A warm-up should take eight to 10 minutes — it should feel like your heart rate is beginning to elevate and your body temperature is starting to rise. The goal is to warm up your muscles and increase your heart rate without running out of breath.
2. Double duty
To fast-track your way to a bikini body, focus on exercises that incorporate more than one muscle group at a time. Once an exercise becomes too easy, increase the weight by two pounds at a time. Each exercise should be performed to the point of fatigue.
3. Squat with shoulder press
• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Holding five- to eight-pound weights, bring your arms up to the sides so that they’re level with your shoulders and your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
• Keeping your arms stable, squat by sitting with your hips back and bending at the knees. Be sure that your abdominals are engaged, and keep your knees behind your toes as you bend into the squat.
• As you return to a standing position, lift the weights up over your head into a shoulder press.
• As you lower back down to a squat, lower your arms to the start position. Do two sets of 10 reps.
4. Single-leg extension with reverse fly
• With your arms at your sides and your palms facing inward, balance on one foot, keeping your knee soft.
• Extend the other leg behind you, making sure that you keep it tight by engaging the muscles. Slightly hinge at the hips so that your body and
spine are in a straight line.
• Keeping your elbows soft, lift your arms to shoulder height while lifting the extended leg. Squeeze your shoulder blades and your glutes.
• Lower slowly to the start position, staying balanced on the one foot without letting the other touch the ground. Do two sets of 10 reps on each leg.
5. Push-up into plank-position hold
• Start in a push-up position: Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders, your feet hip-distance apart and your body parallel to the floor,
with abdominals tight.
• Lower your body to the floor and push up without locking your elbows. Remember to keep your chin up, and don’t forget to exhale as you perform the push-up. (For an easier variation, do the push-up on your knees.) Repeat 10 times.
• To finish, lower yourself to a plank position on your elbows. Keep your body parallel to the floor, tighten your abdominals and concentrate on
your breathing. Hold for 30 seconds. (For an easier variation, try the plank on your knees.) Repeat three times.
6. Side leg raise with side arm-shoulder raise
• Balance on one foot, keeping your knee soft, with your opposite foot slightly lifted off the floor. Your arms should be at your sides, elbows soft, palms facing in, with a weight in each hand.
• As you raise your leg to the side, squeeze your glutes and lift your arms to shoulder height, keeping elbows soft.
• Slowly, lower to the start position without letting the other foot touch the ground. Keep the abdominals tight. Do two sets of 10 reps on each side.
7. Alternating reverse lunges with biceps curls
• Your arms should be by your sides, elbows straight, palms facing forward, with a weight in each hand.
• Take a step back so that you’re in a lunge position. Keep your front knee behind the toes.
• As you step back into a lunge, curl your arms into a biceps curl. As you return your leg to the start position, slowly straighten your arms. Do two sets of 10 reps, alternating legs.
8. Hamstring curl using Swiss ball into a triceps overhead extension
• Lie on your back with your feet on the Swiss ball and your arms by your sides for stability.
• Lift your hips off the floor, stabilizing the trunk by tightening the abdominals.
• With your heels on the ball, roll it toward your buttocks without lowering your hips.
• Extend your legs back to the start position while keeping your hips up. Repeat 10 times.
• With your legs resting on the Swiss ball, hold the weights so that your elbows are bent and pointing straight up toward the ceiling. (Don’t let them wing out.) Your palms should be facing each other.
• Straighten your elbows by squeezing the triceps until arms are straight. Lower slowly to the start position by bending your elbows. Want to really feel the burn? Hold your hips up by stabilizing your trunk with feet supported by the Swiss ball and perform triceps extensions. Alternate 10 hamstring curls into 10 triceps extensions three times.
Tina Ceroni is an Oakville-based certified personal trainer and owner
of the fitness consulting firm Personal FIT ([email protected]).