Get a powerful start to your pre-summer shape-up with our special strength program. This month's At-Home Workout features supereffective muscle-building moves (like the ones bodybuilders do) using a Body Bar. With these types of multimuscle exercises, you work more than one body part at a time, so the moves are very time-efficient. They also require a lot of trunk stabilization, which means your abs and lower back get a bonus workout.
If you don't have a Body Bar, you can either order one (see sidebar on the left for details) or use a set of 5- to 12-pound dumbbells instead. For cardio, you'll be doing wind sprints -- a traditional track workout that will help turn you into a speed demon and burn extra calories. Be sure to begin each training session (strength or cardio) with a 5-minute aerobic warm-up, such as stair climbing, high knee lifts or gentle half-squats. Finish each workout by stretching all the muscles you just worked, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds without bouncing.
This wind-sprint program is designed to increase the power in your leg muscles, boost your cardiovascular efficiency and burn lots of calories. Replace one of your regular weekly cardio workouts with one of the three wind-sprint workouts described below. Though all the workouts are meant to be done outdoors, you can do them inside on a treadmill, if necessary. After a few weeks, your regular cardio workouts should start to feel easier and your legs should feel stronger and more powerful.
You'll need access to your local football field for this one. Begin by power-walking the entire length of the field. Then, starting at the goal line (at either end of the field), sprint 10 yards all out, turn around and walk back to the goal line. Turn around and sprint to the 20-yard line, then walk back to the goal line. Repeat, adding 10 yards each time until you've sprinted the entire length of the field.
You'll need a track for this workout. Begin by power-walking one lap around the track. Then, begin your cycle of wind sprints by sprinting the straight sections and walking the curves. Intersperse 3-6 of these sprint laps into your 20- to 30-minute workout.
This can be done anywhere you normally walk/run. Begin by power-walking for 5 minutes. Then pick a series of landmarks (houses, stop signs, light posts, etc.) and sprint as fast as you can between two of them. Walk to your next landmark, then begin the wind sprint again between the next two landmarks. Try to fit in 3-6 of these sprints within your 20- to 30-minute workout.