All the right moves
Squat, lunge, crunch. Squat, lunge, crunch. Want a new body? Maybe you need a new workout! If you've been doing the same tried-and-true exercises for three months (or, worse, three years!) in a row without any change in your routine, we can pretty much guarantee that your abs, butt and thighs haven't changed much either. And you're probably bored as all get out, too.
The solution? New variations on the best body-sculpting moves. Three top trainers offer up six new exercises that will bust you out of your training bubble and snap your abs, butt and thigh muscles right out of their slumber.
The average person stops making progress after four to six weeks of doing the same workout. And no progress means no body or fitness changes. Add these moves to your program two or three times a week to challenge your muscles and prevent the tedium that causes people to skip their workouts, says Brian Newman, M.S., C.S.C.S., educational-programs coordinator for the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). You'll see -- and feel -- the results within just a couple of weeks.
Beyond the basic butt
When it comes to giving your butt a boost, Debbee Sharpe-Shaw, a trainer at the Crescent Spa in Dallas who appears on Health Network's "Fit in 15," thinks both isolation (glute lift) and compound (one-legged squat) moves are essential. "Isolation exercises work specific muscles deeply," says Sharpe-Shaw. "Compound moves use your glutes as well as your legs and abs to keep your body stable." Put them together and you've worked your muscles as completely as you can.
For basic butt do One-Legged Squat and One-Legged Glute Lift (see "All the right moves workout").
Toward terrific thighs
Often found cycling through Central Park or shredding the slopes in Colorado, Carey Bond, host of the Health Network's "Targeted Sports," believes weight-room rats can learn a thing or two from jocks, even when it comes to reshaping your legs. "In athletic training, you might start with a classic strength move like a lunge, then progress to walking lunges, lunge jumps and lateral leaps," he says. The exercises shown here are advanced and will really make a difference in your legs if you've only relied on lunges or machines to work your thighs.
For terrific thighs do Side Lateral Leap and One-Legged Russian Lunge.
Should you do ab exercises every day? According to John Boyd, who teaches "Just Abs" at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in New York City, the answer is no: Abdominal muscles need to rest, just like other muscles. Five to 10 minutes of ab exercises done to the point of fatigue two or three times a week should develop your abs, Boyd says.
"The exercises shown here take crunches one or two steps further," says Boyd. "They require a lot of balance, so it's tough just to hold your body in these positions, even before you actually start to move -- and then the challenge really begins."
For absolutely fabulous abs do The Hook and Full Plank to Dive.