The Midlife Workout

Our exercise plan to help you through it — and beyond. These eight moves will help develop balance, increase core strength and build muscles to torch more calories, says Desirée Bartlett, group fitness manager at Equinox Fitness in Santa Monica, who created this workout.
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Rearview Redo: Works glutes, inner and outer thighs

A | Loop a towel or rope around a sturdy stair rail or pole. Position yourself so rope is taut, and rise up to balls of feet, with feet slightly wider than shoulder width.

B | Bend knees into a squat (keep your knees at 9O degrees) and stay up on toes for 5 counts. Keep torso upright. Squeeze glutes to return to standing; repeat. Do 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Triceps Toner: Works triceps and abs

A | Position yourself on a large fitness ball to support your upper back. Align shoulders with hips, keep feet hip-width apart, knees bent at 9O degrees, and abs and glutes tight. Holding a weighted medicine ball or the ends of an 8-pound weight, extend both arms directly overhead, palms facing each other.

B | Keeping upper arms and elbows stationary, bend arms to lower the weight to the crown of your head. Slowly press weight back up, straightening arms. Do 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Lower-Belly Blaster: Works abs and legs

A | Lie on your back, cradling your head with your arms. Flex feet and raise legs off the floor, right leg to about 45 degrees and left leg to about 9O degrees.

B | Exhale as you curl up, lifting shoulders as high as you can off the floor. Both legs should remain straight and fixed as you curl your body up. Switch leg positions on the second set. Do 2 sets of 1O to 12 reps.

Back De-Bulger: Works upper and lower back

A | Lie on your stomach. Reach behind you and clasp hands by interlacing fingers.

B | Squeeze shoulder blades down and together (imagine trying to hold a tennis ball between them) to lift chest off the ground. Hold for two counts. Return to start; repeat. Do 2 sets of 1O to 12 reps.

Waist Whittler: Works abs, back, glutes and shoulders

A | Lie on your left side, feet stacked on top of each other, upper body propped on left elbow. Squeeze abs and glutes tightly. Be sure elbow is directly beneath shoulder.

B | Press into your left forearm to raise hips off the floor. Keep torso straight, not arching forward or back. Hold for 5 seconds. Lower hips to start and repeat. Do all reps on one side, then switch sides and repeat. Do 2 sets of 1O to 12 reps.

Core Flattner: Works abs, thighs and glutes

A | Lie on your back with legs extended up in the air at a 45-degree angle, feet slightly apart. Hold a fitness ball overhead in both hands, arms straight.

B | Toss the ball and catch it between your ankles, either keeping your head and shoulders flat on the floor, or for a greater challenge, curling your shoulder blades up off the floor. Squeeze ball with inner thighs. Curl lower body up farther to grasp ball with your hands. Return to start; repeat. Do 2 sets of 15 to 2O reps.

Bra-Bulge Buster: Works triceps, chest and back

(Find a smooth surface for this exercise, to allow towels to move easily)

A | Start in push-up position from your knees. Place a small folded towel under each palm, and position the towels directly beneath each shoulder. Cross ankles.

B | Slowly slide both arms out to the sides slightly wider than shoulders (or as far as you can) and lower chest toward floor; hold for two counts. Press towels together, sliding both back under shoulders as you raise up to start. Switch ankle position and repeat. Do 2 sets of 8 to 1O reps.

Backside Booster: Works glutes, thighs and abs

A | Lie on your back with left knee bent and foot balanced on top of a weighted medicine ball. Keep right foot fl at on floor and extend arms alongside body on the floor.

B | Exhale as you raise your hips off the ground, balancing your left foot on the ball and raising your right leg to align with left knee. Hold for two counts. Lower to starting position; repeat. Do all reps on one side, then switch legs and repeat. Do 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Originally published in More magazine, December 2005 / January 2006.

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