We all wish we had Beyoncé’s fierce legs and Missy Elliott’s willpower to shed 71 pounds. And how exactly does Mary J. Blige look so good at 40? The secret behind these divas’ tight bods is celebrity trainer Mark Jenkins.
Jenkins, who says he was “chubby” with a 45-inch waist until he joined the Navy, offers this muscle-building, calorie-burning workout just in time for beach season. It’s tough, but stick with it—this seven-step workout will get you tightened and toned in time for beach season.
Warm-up: Jump Rope Hold the jump rope’s handles with your hands clasped together. Swing the rope in front of you in a figure-eight ten times. Then, jump rope 100 times.
Exercise 1: Single-leg Squat With Fitness Ball Muscles worked: Quads and hamstrings Reps: One set of ten on each leg
Stand with your back to a wall and a fitness ball in the curve of your lower back. Look straight ahead with arms folded across your chest, and extend one leg out. Inhale as you lower into a one-legged squat. Exhale as you rise, but don’t lock the knee at the top. This will keep constant tension on the muscles.
After one set on one leg, jump rope 50 times. Then, switch legs and repeat squat. Jump rope 50 times again.
Exercise 2: Bounding With Medicine Ball Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves Reps: Three sets of ten
Start with your left leg in front of your right, and hold the medicine ball in your right hand. Pass the ball through your legs, then jump to switch legs, so your right is in front of your left. Repeat. Try to increase your speed to create a flowing, constant motion.
“This is a double whammy,” Jenkins says. “It’ll keep your heart rate up and build muscle. It’s a total-body movement.”
Exercise 3: Hamstring Curls With Fitness Ball Muscles worked: Hamstrings and core Reps: Three sets of ten
Lie on your back with your arms spread eagle and flat on the floor. Place your feet on the fitness ball, legs extended. As you raise your hips, use your hamstrings to roll the ball toward you. Then push it back out, and lower your hips. Repeat. Between each set, do ten jumping jacks. Exercise 4: Leg-ups Muscles worked: Glutes and hamstrings Reps: Three sets of ten
Place your hands and feet flat on the floor, so your rear is in the air. Exhaling, kick one leg back and up, squeezing your glutes. Inhale as you bring the leg back down, then kick it back again. Switch legs for each set.
Exercise 5: Frog Squat Muscles worked: Glutes and hamstrings Reps: Two sets of 30
Get into a deep squat and push your thighs out with your elbows. Inhale as you squat farther down, and exhale as you come back up into the squat position.
After one set, lie on you back with knees bent, and do 30 hip raises. Then, do one more set of frog squats. Exercise 6: Fitness Ball Tucks Muscles worked: Upper body, lower abs, and quads Reps: One set of 30
Start laying face down with your abs on the fitness ball. Roll yourself out so your shins or ankles are resting on top of the ball and your arms are extended and supporting the rest of your body.
Roll the ball towards you upper body, bringing your knees to your chest. Roll the ball back and repeat. Squeeze your abs as you roll the ball towards you.
If that’s too easy, try the exercise with your toes on the ball. Exercise 7: Medicine and Fitness Ball Sit-up Muscles worked: Core and shoulders. Reps: One set of 30
Sit on the fitness ball, and slide your rear forward so the ball sits in the small of your back. Holding the medicine ball and keeping your arms extended, bring the ball behind you as you lean back. As you do a sit-up, bring the ball back to starting position.
The medicine ball adds resistance and gives your back and core a nice stretch, Jenkins says. “The more you stretch your muscle before you contract it, the more muscle fibers you improve, and the more results you’ll get.”