“A circuit is a smart technique for building strength and burning lots of calories,” says trainer Jim Barcena. Today, emphasize the arm, abdominal and back muscles. Start with a 5-minute cardio warm-up. Do one set of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise. After you complete all 6 exercises, hop on a cardio machine for 5 minutes. Repeat the circuit 3 times. (A) Cone jump: Jump laterally with both feet over a 4- to 6-inch cone.
Land with knees bent, then quickly jump back. Repeat for 30 seconds (to advance, go for up to 1 minute). Works quads, calves and glutes. (B) Cable row: Wrap a resistance band around a pole and hold the ends at stomach level. Step back until band is taut. Stand with arms extended in front of you. Pull hands back toward chest, bending elbows. Works back, biceps. (C) Skate squat: Stand with feet just beyond shoulder-width, arms extended in front of chest.
Squat, bending knees. As you rise, lift left leg up behind you as if you’re inline skating. Lower leg; repeat, lifting right leg. Works glutes, quads and hamstrings. (D) Triceps extension: Lie on bench holding cable handle. With hands at ear level, elbows bent and pointing to ceiling, straighten arms and push up; lower. Works triceps. (E) Box: Stand with knees slightly bent. Punch bag with right arm, then with left for 2 minutes. Works shoulders. (F) Crunch: Lie with knees bent and hands behind head. Raise shoulders off the floor, lower. Works abs.
Switch gears and put your heart into your workout: A 40-minute Spinning class builds aerobic endurance and burns around 500 calories; plus it strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, abdominals and triceps. The workout can be as intense as a 3-hour Tom Hanks movie, so make sure you are properly positioned for your ride: Adjust the height of the seat so that your knees are slightly bent during the down pedal stroke.
The handlebars should be level with or slightly lower than the seat. (The lower they are, the harder you work your abs and legs.) Always keep your shoulders down, elbows bent and your weight back over the seat (don’t lean on the handlebars).
Begin with light to moderate resistance, says Janet Fitzgerald, who teaches the hottest (literally) Spinning class in L.A. at Body & Soul Workout (if you can get off the waiting list, you can pedal with such stars as Kyra Sedgwick and David Duchovny). “Work at your own pace, but make sure you push yourself,” Fitzgerald advises. “To improve, train a little harder each time you spin.” When you’re warmed up, move into butt-toning jumps and out-of-the-saddle sprints. Then mop up the sweat.