Want a body like a beach volleyball player?
US Olympian: Marlen Esparza
Most Enviable Body Part: Arms
Six-time National Champion Marlen Esparza trains hard to hold her own in the boxing ring, and it shows. Try this boxing routine for strong arms that look darn good in a sleeveless dress too.
The Train like a Boxer Workout
How it works: Do each set of moves back to back without rest, and then take a 60-second break before going into repeating all the moves again (“round 2”). Work your way up to three rounds total.
Jab, Cross & Switch
This front punch engages all the muscles in your arms (plus your chest, back and shoulders too) and the quick switch move keeps your heart pumping to zap away calories quick and melt away arm flab faster.
To do: Stand with your left foot forward, arms “on guard” (hands in fists, elbows bent in close to your body, fists to the outsides of your cheeks).
JAB Throw a ‘jab’ with your left arm by punching straight front, palm facing down, elbow out to the side (without locking the joint), then quickly return your arm back to your on-guard position. Keep your knees soft as you punch.
CROSS Next, do a 'cross' punch with your right arm: Rotate your right hip forward and lift just your right heel off the ground, punching your right arm straight front, rotating fist palm down, bringing elbow out to the side (without locking the joint).
Upper Cut, Hook & Duck
This strong arm and shoulder punching sequence also incorporates your lower body to keep you in a cardio zone to fight more fat with every rep.
To do: Stand with your feet about hip width apart, knees slightly bent, arms on guard.
UPPER CUT Throw an ‘uppercut’ punch with your right arm by rotating your right hip forward to power your punch -- punch ‘up’ with your fist, keeping your elbow close to your body as you punch and bent about 90 degrees (imagine you are aiming for under your opponent’s chin). Return to guard, and then quickly do an uppercut with your left arm.
HOOK Next, perform a hook with your right arm. Bend your elbow 90 degrees, turning your fist palm down, and bring your arm shoulder height and parallel to the floor. This punch comes around from the side and ‘strikes’ about a foot in front of your chin (imagine this punch is aimed at the side of your opponent’s head). Return to guard, and quickly throw a hook with your left arm.
DUCK Bring your arms back to guard, and then quickly squat down, bending your knees and sitting back into your hips, keeping your back straight and chest lifted. Quickly standing up again. Do two times in a row.
Repeat the entire sequence 10 times, alternating your leading arm each time.
Speed Bag Drill
This cardio toner targets your biceps, shoulders and those dreaded bat wings on the backs of the arm. Plus, it’ll help you build speed and coordination.
To do: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms 90 degrees, hands in fists in front of your chin. Circle your fists around each other as fast as you can (as if you were hitting a speed bag with the edge of your fists each time). Do this for 30 seconds in one direction, and then reverse the direction and repeat for 30 more seconds.
To build strength, boxers often incorporate strength and power moves into their workouts. This power-push combo will help you work the muscles in your arms, chest and shoulders.
To do: Start on the floor, on hands and feet, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, feet together.
PUSH UP Keeping your body in a straight line, abs tight, bend your elbows out to the side and lower your chest down to the floor, stopping just before you touch the ground.
PUSH OFF Next, push off the floor, and ‘jump’ up -- lifting your hands off the floor and pushing your body up. ‘Catch’ yourself lightly (and carefully) with your hands and repeat.
Work your way up to 10 reps in a row.
US Olympian: Lolo Jones
Event: Track & Field, Hurdles
Most Enviable Body Part: Legs
Olympic track star Lolo Jones uses her legs to run, jump and sprint -- which is no doubt why they look so amazing! Chances are you don’t have the time (or space) to practice hurdle jumping, but these four moves can help you develop the same types of muscles that Jones uses to help her fly over every obstacle in her path.
The Track Star Workout
How it works: Do each move below consecutively, and without rest. Take a brief 30-60 second break after you finish the last exercise and then repeat the full workout again.
High Knee Drills
Think of this move as an in-place sprint. This power move gets your heart rate up quickly and engages your lower body (and abs too!).
To do: Start standing with your feet together, arms by your sides. Bend your right knee up towards your chest as you bend and bring your left arm forward. Quickly jump up and switch sides -- lifting your left knee up to your chest and swinging your right arm forward, landing lightly on your right foot. Alternate legs and arms each time. Sprint in place as fast as you can.
Repeat for 30 seconds.
1-Leg Balance Reach
This balance challenge will not only help you improve your sense of balance while working all of the muscles in your legs from your heels up to your hip, it will also give you a chance to catch your breath after that sprint! Grab a water bottle (or other foot-tall object) for this one, and if you don’t have one handy you can just use your imagination.
LEG BALANCE REACH A Place water bottle one foot in front of you. Start standing on your left leg, right knee up at hip height. Tap your knee with your left hand.
LEG BALANCE REACH B Bend your left knee and extend your right leg behind you, reaching your right hand to the water bottle and your left arm back. Lower until you can tap the top of the bottle, and then stand back up, return to your start position, still balancing on your left leg as you return to standing position. Do 15 repetitions in a row on each leg.
Build your speed, agility and coordination and some powerful, toned thighs with this fun Four-Dot Drill exercise.
To do: Start standing with your feet together, arms by your sides, knees slightly bent. Imagine there are four large circles (or ‘dots’) on the floor in front of you, forming a four-foot square shape on the ground. Jump forward to the imaginary dot in the upper left corner of the square. Let your arms swing naturally as you jump, and land with your knees slightly bent and feet together.
Next, jump to your right, to the “dot” in the upper right corner.
Then jump straight backwards, to the “dot” in the lower right corner of the square.
Finally, jump to your left, to the lower left “dot” of the square.
Repeat as quickly as you can 4 times in a row to one direction. Then switch directions.
Jones uses her legs and her glutes to help her power up and over hundreds of hurdles during her training sessions. This rear lunge exercise will lift and shape your buns and thighs too, no jumping required.
To do: Start standing, feet together, with your hands clasped behind your head. Take a wide step back with your left leg, and lower into a lunge by bending both knees about 90 degrees, keeping your back straight, abs tight and chest lifted. Step your left leg back in to your right and stand.
Do 15 repetitions in a row, alternating legs each time.
US Olympian: Hope Solo
Most Enviable Body Part: Butt
Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the US Women’s National Team uses a lot of lateral and power moves to help keep guard of the goal and lift and shape her derriere. This booty lifting and bottom shaping routine, inspired by soccer drills, will help you lift your cheeks to a gold-medal level in no time.
The Soccer Workout
How it works: Do each move back to back with little rest in between, and work up to doing three full round of this circuit in total.
Guard your goal with this side-to-side power drill that’s a cardio burst, hip and glutes shaper all in one!
To do: Start standing with your feet together arms by your sides. Quickly take a wide step out to your left, shifting your weight into your left foot, lift your right foot off the floor and extend your right leg out to the side (almost straight, knee stays slightly bent). As you extend, bend your left knee, push your hips behind you and swing your right arm out front and your left arm back (elbows bent, hands in fists).
Next, quickly step your right leg down and repeat the move to the other side.
Repeat as many times as you can for 30 seconds.
Side Lunge Push Off
Side lunges are terrific your targeting the glutes, and this power combo adds in an extra push - without a lot of impact - to both lift and tone your booty.
To do: Start standing with your feet together, hands on hips. Take a wide step about three feet out to your left, landing in a lunge position by bending your left knee while keeping your right leg extended. Push your hips behind you, allowing your chest to come slightly forward. Keep your back straight, abs tight, and your left knee behind your toes.
Next, quickly push off the floor with your left foot, shift all the weight to your right leg and lift your left leg up and out to the side. Lift your chest and back up tall. Land in your lunge position and quickly repeat.
Do 15 repetitions in a row then switch legs.
Soccer players often use one leg at a time, which not only requires a lot of coordination, but balance too. This move kicks your rear in gear by requiring work from both legs (and cheeks).
To do: Start standing on your left leg, hands on hips, with your right foot lifted up to about calf height, knee bent, foot flexed. Brace your abs in tight and lift up tall through your spine.
Keeping your upper body steady, extend your right leg behind you, pressing back through your heel. Make sure to slightly bend left leg. Quickly bend your knee and bring your foot back in to your starting position (calf height, never touching the ground), balancing on your left leg the entire time. (If this is too tough, you can hold onto the back of a chair for balance help).
Do 15 repetitions in a row, on each leg.
Squats are probably one of the best booty shaping moves you can do (Solo incorporates lots of squat variations into her Olympics training), and this squat walk combo helps keep your heart rate (and your tush) elevated.
To do: Start standing with your feet hip width apart, arms crossed over your chest. Lower into a squat by bending both knees, tracking them over -- but not past -- your toes and pushing your hips behind you (as if you were about to sit down on a chair). Keep your back straight, chest lifted and eyes straight ahead.
Staying low in your squat position, take a step forward with your left foot, keeping left knee bent as you step and staying low to the ground. Wuickly take a step forward with your right foot, landing into your basic squat stance.
Next, step backwards with your left foot, still staying low in your squat position, and then step back with your right, landing back into your basic squat stance.
Try to repeat four times in a row (walking forward and back) without coming out of your squat position.
US Olympian: Natalie Coughlin
Event: Swimming, 100m backstroke & relays
Most Enviable Body Part: Abs
Not only is eleven-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin an amazing swimmer, she also has incredible abs! And it’s no surprise -- swimming is excellent exercise for developing strong and flat abs. Not only is it a total body exercise that engages multiple-muscle groups at once; it’s also a great calorie-burner.
The good news is you don’t have to get in the pool to build a stronger, flatter midsection. This workout routine focuses on core moves that emphasize the muscles in your abs, back, hips and legs to help you train like a swimmer -- without getting your hair wet.
The Gold Medal Swimmer’s Workout
How it works: Do three sets of each of these moves, taking a 30-60 second break in between each set (if needed). After completing three sets of the recommended reps, move on to the next exercise.
One of the best ways to get swimmer’s abs? Mimic their movements! This vertical version of the front crawl stroke engages your obliques (the abdominal muscles along the sides of your torso), back and shoulders.
To do: Start standing with your feet hip width apart, arms by your sides. Extend both arms out in front of your chest, palms facing down, thumbs touching. Bend your knees and push your hips back behind you, lowering your body into a slight squat.
Sweep your left arm down and back, as you stand up with your legs and extend your knees slightly.
Circle your left arm up and all the way back to your start position, while landing back in your squat.
Quickly repeat with the right arm (imagine you are in the pool and the air is actually water that you are pushing against during the entire movement).
Repeat this move, alternating arms as quickly as you can, for 30 seconds.
Swimmers rely on the strength of their obliques and back to help them move through the water and change direction quickly. This standing side crunch variation helps target those muscles by moving your torso from side to side.
To do: Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Brace your abs in tight to your spine and extend your arms overhead, elbows slightly bent, with your right palm resting on the back of your left hand.
Take a deep breath in, and keeping your abs pulled in tight, lean your body over to the left. Exhale as you slowly return to middle, using your right side to pull you back to the.
Repeat 15 times to the left, and then switch sides (stacking your left palm on your right this time).
Swimmers use a lot of lower body action to propel themselves through the water, giving their abdominal muscles a great workout. This move uses the resistance of gravity to maximize the effort of your abdominal wall and build strong, flat abs (and work your inner thighs too!).
To do: Start lying on your back, on the ground, with your knees bent, feet flat. Prop yourself up onto your elbows, palms facing down (like you are laying at the beach). Brace your abs in tight and lift your lower back off the floor while pressing your shoulders away from your ears.
Next, extend both legs up as straight as you can up toward the ceiling (without letting your lower back touch the floor). Cross your right leg over your left, toes pointed.
Lower your legs slightly . Open your legs slightly and then close them again, with your left leg landing over your right. Repeat this criss-crossing motion as quickly as you can for 30 seconds.
This Pilates move is as close to swimming as you can get on land, and helps to develop the opposing muscles of your abs -- your back. A strong back helps you stand taller, look leaner and balances out your muscle development for a balanced and injury free body.
To do: Position your body facedown on the floor, with your arms and legs extended straight front and back. Extend your spine and slightly lift your arms and legs off the floor -- just so they are hovering, with your eyes facing down and chin to your chest to avoid neck strain. Lift your left arm up so it is parallel to your ear as you lift your right leg higher than your hip.
Quickly switch sides, lifting your right arm and left leg and lowering your left arm and right leg to just above the floor.
Repeat this fluttering motion, as quickly as you can, for 30 seconds.
US Olympian: Misty May-Treanor
Event: Beach Volleyball
Most Enviable Body Part: Back
Champion volleyball players like Misty May-Treanor have strong back muscles that help them with everything from serving the ball to punting it back over the net. A strong back helps support your spine, improve your posture and even make your waist appear smaller.
The Volleyball Workout
How it works: Do each exercise consecutively, with little to no rest in between, repeating the full circuit up to 3 times in total.
Split Stance Y-T-I
This exercise strengthens the muscles that line your spine, the muscles in between your shoulders (which help with posture) and your lats, which run down the sides of your back.
To do: Step forward with your right foot, shifting your weight into your right leg. Raise your left heel off the floor (toes still planted on the floor), both knees bent.
Keeping your abs tight and spine straight, hinge forward from your hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor. Extend both arms along the outsides of your ears, with your hands in a ‘thumbs up’ position. This is your ‘Y’ shape. Keeping your body in place, and spine straight, open both arms out to the sides of your shoulders (with your thumbs still facing up) into a ‘T’ shape.
Next, with your chest still parallel to the floor, press your arms down by your sides, hands by your hips with your thumbs up, making a letter ‘I’ with your body.
Return your arms back to your ‘Y’ shape and repeat, doing 6 reps in a row with your
You’ll target your back and abdominals with this double-duty move!
To do: Start standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and hands clasped behind your head.
Hinge forward from your hips, keeping your back flat and abs tight, until your chest is almost parallel to the floor.
Return to standing, keeping your spine straight as you come back up, and rotate your upper body to the right, drawing your abs in tighter as you twist (your hips should stay facing forward during your rotation).
Return to your start position and then repeat, this time rotating to the left side on the way back up. Repeat, alternating sides on the twist, for 20 reps in total.
Opposite Arm and Leg Reach
This back and abs strengthener is tougher than it looks!
To do: Begin on all fours on the floor, with your hands positioned under your shoulders, knees under hips, back straight and abs tight. Lift your right hand and left knee off the floor and draw your elbow and knee in towards each other (without rounding your back or shifting your weight to the side).
Next, extend your right arm up by your ear and your left leg out behind your hip, trying to make a straight line from your right hand through = to your left toe. Hold for one count and then bring your elbow and knee back in towards each other.
Do 10 repetitions in a row and then switch sides and repeat.
This exercise strengthens all the muscles in the backside of your body (yes, including your booty!).
To do: Start facedown on the floor with your legs extended on the ground slightly wider than your hips, toes pointed. Open your arms down by your sides with your palms pressed into the ground just outside of your hips. Keep your chin towards your chest, eyes looking straight down.
Extend your spine and lift your chest as high as you can off the floor as you lift and reach your arms to the outsides of your thighs, turning your thumbs up towards the ceiling as you lift. Hold for one count and then lower back down to start.
Do 15 repetitions in a row.
US Olympian: Nastia Liukin
Most Enviable Body Part: Shoulders
Gymnasts are famous for their upper body strength, which explains why Nastia Liukin has such amazing shoulders. She balances her entire body weight on her hands throughout her practice, developing incredible shoulder strength. Strong shoulders help you with everyday activities…and make wider hips appear more proportionate, too.
The Sexy Shoulders Workout
How it works: Do each exercise consecutively, with little to no rest in between, repeating three times through in total.
Balancing Arm Circles
Train your shoulder like a gymnast does -- on one leg! This move helps warm-up your shoulders while engaging your core and leg muscles.
Start standing balancing on your right leg, with your left knee bent, foot lifted off the floor. Brace your abs in tight and begin to circle your right arm up and forward, and your left arm back.
Circle your right arm back and your left arm forward.
Keep tracing two circles from the front to the back of your body as quickly as you can while maintaining your balance, 10 times in a row, and then switch feet and repeat on the other leg.
Shoulder Press Up
You may not be ready for a handstand, but this move will help strengthen your shoulders in a similar pressing manner -- without having to turn upside down.
To do: Begin with your body in the top of a full push up position, with your feet wider than hip width apart.
Press your body back towards your thighs, bending your knees as much as you need to lift your hips up into the air (your heels can come off the floor). Hold for one count and then lower back into your start position.
Work your way up to 10 repetitions in a row.
Chair Pose Scaption
This move works your lower and upper body together for an extra calorie-burning bonus.
To do: Start standing with your feet together, arms extended in front of your chest, palms pressed together.
Bend your knees and sit back slightly into your hips (as if you were about to sit down on a chair behind you), keeping your arms extended.
Hold this position with your lower body and then open your arms into a wide ‘V’ shape, pulling your shoulder blades back and together as your arms open. Keep your chin into your chest to avoid neck strain. Bring your arms back to your start position (holding your squat with your lower body) and repeat 10 times in a row.
Too tough? Use an actual chair instead -- sit lightly on the edge of it and hinge forward from there to do your arm movements.
This functional shoulder sculptor develops the top part of the shoulder musculature, and is similar to many every day movements you make with your arms.
Start standing with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows and flex your hands bringing them directly in front of your shoulders. Brace your abs in tight.
Press your arms up overhead, fully extending your arms.
Bend your elbows and return to your starting position. Repeat 25 times in a row.
Not hard enough? Add weight to this move by holding onto dumbbells or another weighted object to add more resistance as you press (you may need to decrease the total number of reps depending on how much weight you add).
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