After a winter of hibernating in forgiving pants and bulky sweaters, it’s easy to gain a few pounds and not really notice. But once the warm weather hits, the realization that the season for bathing suits and shorts is fast approaching can leave many women in a cold sweat.
Not to worry! Kim Lyons, a certified fitness specialist and former trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and “Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge,” says there’s still time to shape up before summer. When it comes to toning up, most women look to target the trifecta: their rear, hips and thighs.
“It’s the biggest problem area for women,” says Lyons. “But the good news is it’s also easy to target.” If you start now, you’ll be ready when summer kicks off. Here are Lyons’ best body-busting moves that’ll leave you fit, firm and ready for the season!
The Low Squat / Side Crab
This all-encompassing move targets the hips, thighs and rear. Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Get into a squatting position, making sure your knees don’t extend over your toes. “Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor,” says Lyons. “Stay low and don’t straighten your legs.” Staying in this squat position, start walking sideways, leading with your right leg. Move across the floor, 10 steps to the right, and then come back. Repeat for three to four sets. “The key is to stay low,” says Lyons.
Walking Lunge With Glute Raise
This move targets your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Start by taking a large step forward with your right leg, keeping your weight on the heel of your front foot. Your left leg should be directly behind you, with your foot resting on the toes. Drop your hips directly down to the floor into a lunge position (make sure your front knee does not extend over your toe) and drop your back knee 2 inches off the floor. As you come up, shift your weight to the front foot and lift your back foot off the floor while squeezing your gluteus muscle. Swing your back leg through to repeat the lunge with the glute lift on the opposite leg. “Use your glute muscles to lift your leg off the floor,” says Lyons. “Avoid using momentum. The key is not to kick the leg but to squeeze and contract the glute muscle.” Travel 10-15 steps forward for three to four sets, alternating legs as you go.
Squat Thrust (The “Burpee”)
You may need an exercise mat for this one. Start this lower body–busting move by standing straight and tall with feet slightly apart. While bending your knees, crouch down with your rear by your heels and your hands by your feet. Now kick your feet back behind you into a plank or pushup position, keeping your back flat and your hips low. Jump your legs forward so your knees end up between your hands again, and then jump back to a standing position. Repeat 15-20 times.
This is a great glute- and hamstring-shaper. Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Digging your weight into your heels, squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to lift your hips off the floor and up into a bridge position. Your shoulder blades should be digging slightly into the ground. Now, holding your body up with your left leg, straighten your right leg and raise it up vertically. Repeat five times for each leg. “For a more advanced level, put your hands together in a dive position, pointing straight toward the ceiling,” says Lyons.