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20 Minutes to Toned

Tone in a Flash

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A promotion. A baby. Whatever the reason for falling off the workout wagon, it usually comes down to time. That's why this 20-minute workout trims and tightens in a flash—so you can get on with your life. “Alternating between cardio and strength moves every minute keeps your body guessing and your heart rate elevated,” says Raphael Verela, creator of Circuit Works. “That results in a higher calorie burn than an ordinary strength or aerobic workout.” To melt even more fat, repeat the circuit a third time (for a 30-minute routine).

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Getting Started

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How it works:

Three to five times a week, do each move for 1 minute, performing 1 minute of high-intensity cardio (such as running or jumping rope) between each exercise. Repeat once. Switch the order of the exercises every workout.

You’ll need:

A 4- to 10-pound weighted ball, a bosu balance trainer, and a resistance tube.

Gear shift:
All of the moves can be done with the equipment you have on hand. If you work out at home and don’t own a bosu, use a couch cushion or pillow instead. At the gym, try using the high-cable pulley or a free motion machine instead of the tubes.

bosu squat

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WORKS: LEGS, BUTT, SHOULDERS, AND CORE

Hold a weighted ball in front of hips and stand on top of a bosu, feet shoulder-width apart [a].

Squat as you raise arms to shoulder height in front of you [b]. Return to starting position; repeat.

High-pull lift

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WORKS: BICEPS, BUTT, AND CORE

Anchor one end of a resistance tube around a high, sturdy object (or in the top of a doorjamb with the door closed) and stand with left side facing it. Hold handle in left hand with arm extended at shoulder height out to side and palm facing up, place right hand on hip, and raise left knee toward elbow [a].

Lower left foot as you curl handle toward left ear [b]. Return to starting position and repeat, switching sides after 30 seconds.

lunge press

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WORKS: LEGS, BUTT, AND CHEST

Anchor the center of a resistance tube around a sturdy object at shoulder height (or in a doorjamb with the door closed) and stand facing away from it. Hold a handle in each hand in front of shoulders, palms facing the ground, and lunge forward with left foot [a].

Rise up as you extend arms in front of you [b]. Return to starting position; repeat, switching legs after 30 seconds.

pulldown

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WORKS: LEGS, BUTT, AND BACK

Anchor the center of a resistance tube around a high, sturdy object (or in the top of a doorjamb with the door closed) and stand facing it. Hold a handle in each hand with arms extended in front of you and palms facing the ground, and squat [a].

Rise halfway up as you pull the handles down to your sides [b]. Return to starting position and repeat.

Jackknife

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WORKS: ABS AND TRICEPS

Sit on top of a bosu with legs extended, and place hands on the ground behind you, fingers facing forward and elbows bent [a].

Raise legs at a 45-degree angle as you lift torso, straightening arms [b]. Return to starting position and repeat.