Begin with five minutes of cardio.
1. Wall Sits: Targets Thighs
Stand two feet in front of a wall. Lean your back against it, and slide down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your abs tight, hold this position for the count of ten, slide up to recover for the count of one, and then repeat nine more times for a total of ten. This is a quadriceps-dominant exercise for lovely, toned legs.
2. Shoulder Press with Free Weights: Targets Shoulders
Beautiful arms call for beautiful shoulders. Toned biceps and triceps are important, too, but toned deltoids complete the package. Sit on bench. With core engaged, hold free weights at shoulder level, palms facing out. Press arms up and into an arc over your head until weights almost touch at the top in the center of the invisible arc you traced. Lower weights and then repeat for a total of 12 repetitions.
3. Lat Pull Downs: Targets Back (Latissimus Dorsi)
Here’s a quick way to a sexy back. Knees should be comfortably snug under bar of lat machine for best results. The weight on the machine should be moderately uncomfortable, so you are tired near the end of twelve repetitions. Palms should be facing out, lean back slightly, keeping abs engaged, pull bar to your chest in a controlled manner, while squeezing your shoulder blades together and bringing your elbows toward your sides. Extend arms again until straight (without locking your elbows). Repeat until you complete a set of twelve.
Cycle through the above set of exercises, in the same order, one more time before moving on. Once you have completed exercises 1, 2, and 3 a total of two times, grab two minutes of cardio (treadmill, jump rope, jumping jacks) to keep your heart rate elevated. Move directly into two rounds of the following exercises:
4. Chest Press With Free Weights: Targets Chest
We can’t lift the breast tissue post pregnancies and breast feeding (without surgery), but we can strengthen and tone the muscles that lay directly underneath (pectoralis major and minor), which makes for a prettier chest. Lie on bench. Choose weights that are moderately uncomfortable, but light enough to easily control throughout set. Starting with bent elbows and weights at chest, extend your arms straight up, then return to starting position. Complete one set of twelve.
5. Bench Step Ups: Targets Hips
Stand facing the bench. Lead with your right foot up on the bench, followed by your left up, then step back down with your right, and then down with your left. Repeat for a count of 10-15 on each side (I like to count “one” on the right and “and a half” on the left so I don’t lose track). High step ups engage your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Bonus!
6. Upward Row: Targets Back and Shoulders
With left knee bent on bench, bend forward and place left hand on bench so your back is flat. With dumbbell in right hand and starting with a straight arm, bend your arm as you bring your right elbow up to a 90 degree angle, while squeezing that shoulder blade. Return to starting straight arm position with weight at your side. Aim for 10-12 repetitions before switching sides.
Once you have done exercises 4, 5, and 6 twice through, finish with five minutes of cardio and two minutes of stretching. Viola! A quick and effective workout and you’re ready to get on with the day!