Wish there were a remedy for aging? Exercise is the closest thing we have. Try this routine for nine weeks. The moves are targeted to tone, tighten, and firm the spots where gravity first exerts its pull. You’ll love what you’ll be seeing.
HOW OFTEN Do these moves 3 to 5 times a week. For best results, warm up — cycle, jog, or march in place — for 5 to 10 minutes first.
SEE RESULTS IN 3 to 4 weeks, especially if you combine this workout with cardio and a healthy diet. At the end of this nine-week program, you’ll look more sculpted, feel tighter — and you may even lose 3 to 5 pounds.
EQUIPMENT A pair of hand weights (we used 8-pound ones) and a fitness ball (about $15; performbetter.com).
TO KICK IT UP A NOTCH At the end of 9 weeks, try increasing the weight and adding on another weekly session.
A. (not shown) Start with your feet about 2 feet apart, making sure your body is in neutral-spine position, feet pointing out. Hold weights on each side, just above hipbones.
B. Bend your knees to lower into a squat. (Be sure they don’t extend over your toes.) Lower as deeply as you can without sticking out your butt. Return to start, squeezing buttocks and abs. For all 9 weeks, do 2 to 3 sets of 20 to 25 reps.
A. (not shown) Lie on floor and place your heels on the seat of a sturdy chair or bench. (If you’re a beginner, place your feet flat on floor about hip-width apart.) Extend arms on floor to either side.
B. Squeeze your buttocks to push your hips up, so your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Lower to start; repeat. For all weeks, do 2 to 3 sets of 25 reps.
A. (not shown) While standing, bend forward to place your forearms on a fitness ball, hands in loose fists. Position arms in an A shape, fists touching each other and elbows apart. Step your legs behind you, one at a time. (If you’re a beginner, brace the ball against a wall.) Center your weight over elbows.
B. Keeping your back flat and your neck relaxed, tilt your pelvis, and contract your abs to hold a plank position for 20 to 60 seconds. Lower and repeat for 3 to 5 reps for all weeks.
A. (not shown) Lie facedown with a fitness ball under your hips, hands behind your head, legs extended with toes on the floor. (If you need more stability, brace your feet against a wall.)
B. Keeping your head, neck, shoulders and back aligned, contract abs and buttocks, and lift your chest off the ball, squeezing shoulder blades together. Return to start; repeat. For weeks 1 to 3, do 3 sets of 15 reps. For weeks 4 to 6, do 3 sets of 12 reps. For weeks 7 to 9, do 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
A. Stand in lunge position, with your left leg forward and knee bent, your right leg back and poised on right toes. Keep your torso upright and your weight centered over the balls of your feet. Hold weights in both hands, arms extended down. Bend knees to lower torso down into a lunge position.
B. Contract left buttock to rise, simultaneously lifting right foot off the floor and bending knee to contract hamstring. Return to start; switch legs, and repeat. For all weeks, do 3 sets of 10 lunges on each leg.
A. (not shown) Lie on a fitness ball, positioning it under your mid and lower back. Place your feet hip-width apart and flat on the floor. (For extra stability or if you’re a beginner, brace toes against a wall.) Extend both arms overhead, palms together.
B. Contract your abs by pulling the bottom of your rib cage down toward your hips to lift your torso off the ball, flattening your navel into the ball as you come up. Return to start; repeat. For weeks 1 to 3, do 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps. For weeks 4 to 6, do 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps. For weeks 7 to 9, start in the same position, but twist to one side and then the other. Do 2 sets of 12 reps.
A. (not shown) Sit on the edge of a chair or bench. Bend your legs so your knees form a 90-degree angle. Extend left leg on top of a fitness ball. (If you’re a beginner, do not use the ball; instead, place both feet on the floor.) With straight arms, grip the edges of the chair and slide your butt off the front.
B. Flatten your navel to your spine, and bend your elbows to lower toward the floor. When your elbows form 90-degree angles, straighten up to start; repeat. For weeks 1 to 3, do 3 sets of 15 reps. For weeks 4 to 6, do 3 sets of 12 reps. For weeks 7 to 9, do 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
A. Lie with your upper back and head on a fitness ball holding weights, feet hip-width apart. Squeeze buttocks to keep back flat. Bend arms so elbows form right angles; align elbows with underarms.
B. (not shown) Press weights up and together into an A shape. Lower to start; repeat. For weeks 1 to 3, do 3 sets of 15 reps. For weeks 4 to 6, do 3 sets of 12 reps. For weeks 7 to 9, do 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
A. (not shown) Sit on a fitness ball with your feet flat on floor, holding weights. Bend forward from the waist, keeping your back straight.
B. Keeping arms bent slightly, raise weights up to about shoulder level. Return to start; repeat. For weeks 1 to 3, do 3 sets of 15 reps. For weeks 4 to 6, do 3 sets of 12 reps. For weeks 7 to 9, do 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.