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The Best Workout for an Apple-Shaped Body

Typical trouble zones: belly, waistline

Solution: Core-centric sculpting and high-intensity interval (HIIT) cardio

Cardio seems to be the No. 1 way to exercise off belly fat (one 2011 Duke University study found that aerobic exercise helped subjects shed significantly more visceral (belly) and liver fat than resistance training alone), but that doesn't mean apple shapes should totally toss strength training out the window. This plan combines high-intensity cardio to torch fat and effective strength moves to help you develop tight muscles all around your waistline for a one-two punch to that pooch!

How it works: Three or four days per week, do 1 set of each exercise back to back, with little to no rest in between. Do the full circuit 3 times total. Alternate this routine with two days of high-intensity cardio intervals.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

You will need: Free weights

1. Weighted Bird Dog

A.

Grab a dumbbell in right hand and get down on hands and knees. Extend right arm in front of shoulder with palm facing in (end of dumbbell should be touching the ground) and straighten left leg out behind hip (toes should lightly touch the ground).

B.

Brace abs in tight and slowly lift right arm and left leg up to joint level. Hold for 1 count, then lower arm and leg back down to the floor and repeat. Do the prescribed number of reps, and then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

2. Rear Lunge Chop

A.

Stand with feet together, holding onto the ends of one dumbbell. Step right leg back and lower into a lunge, reaching dumbbell across the outside of left hip.

B.

Step right foot back into left and reach dumbbell up and across to the right, rotating torso as arms lift. Return to starting position and repeat. Do the prescribed number of reps, and then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

3

Reps:

20

3. Pulldown Extension

A.

Grab a dumbbell in left hand and lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Feet should be hip-width apart, toes pointed, palms facing the floor.

B.

Extend spine as left arm bends, pulling elbow in by side, pressing shoulder blades down to hips, and lifting chest off the floor (right palm presses into the floor for support). Return to starting position and repeat. Do the prescribed number of reps, and then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

3

Reps:

12

4. Pushup Climbers

A.

Begin in full plank position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width and feet together. Slowly lower into a pushup and pause for 1 count.

B.

Press back up and as arms extend, do 8 mountain climbers (alternate bending knees into chest as quickly as possible) to complete one rep. Not ready for full pushups? Modify on knees and then press up to a full plank for the climbers.

Sets:

3

Reps:

10

5. Windmill Split Squat

A.

Begin in a split stance with left foot forward and left arm extended overhead holding dumbbell, palm facing in.

B.

Brace abs in tight, bend knees, and lower into a split squat, pressing hips back behind body, rotating torso to the left, reaching right fingertips to the floor. Shift gaze up to left hand. Press up through left side of body to return to starting position and repeat. Do the prescribed number of reps, and then switch sides to complete set.

Sets:

3

Reps:

12

6. Weighted Walk Up

A.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with feet hip width, arms extended overhead, palms facing forward.

B.

Step right leg back, bending knees, gently lowering right knee all the way to the floor, then bring left knee to the floor, lowering into a kneeling position. Step left foot forward, bending knee at 90 degrees, and stand up to return to starting position (arms should remain extended overhead the entire time) to complete one rep. Do the prescribed number of reps, and then switch sides to complete set. Too tough? Master this move without dumbbells first. For more comfort, try folding a yoga mat or towel under knees.

Sets:

3

Reps:

5