Friday, January 1, 2010

Kick Fat Goodbye

Firm up fast with these martial arts-inspired moves.
By Selene Yeager

Warrior Bow (tones core, butt and legs)
Stand with feet together and arms overhead, palms pressed together. Bend your knees and squat back as though sitting in a chair (keep your knees behind your toes), then sweep your arms out and down, bringing them together again in front of you, diagonal to the floor. Shift your weight to your left leg and straighten it to standing, then slowly bend forward at the hips, lifting and extending your right leg straight behind you as you sweep your arms back alongside your body. Your body should form a "T." Return to start; repeat on the opposite side.

Samurai Chop (tones arms, shoulders, back, butt and legs)
Stand with feet close together, holding a dumbbell with both hands in front of you and close to your chest, elbows pointing out to the sides. Take a giant step to the left and raise the dumbbell overhead, keeping your elbows slightly bent. In one smooth motion, bend your knees to about 45 degrees (keep your knees behind your toes) and sweep your arms down in front of you in a chopping motion, stopping when your arms are parallel to the floor. Repeat the chopping motion (keep your legs stationary), then draw the dumbbell back toward your body and step back to start. Repeat on the opposite side.

Step and Strike (tones arms, shoulders, back, butt and legs)
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, holding a dumbbell overhead with both hands, elbows slightly bent. Take a giant step forward with your left leg and bend both knees until your left thigh is parallel to the floor (keep your left knee behind your toes). At the same time, sweep your arms down so they are extended in front of you at chest level. Step back to start; repeat with the right leg.

Side Swipe (tones arms, core and butt)
Stand with feet in a wide straddle stance with soft knees, toes turned slightly out, and hold a dumbbell with both hands, arms extended at chest level, elbows slightly bent. Without moving the rest of your body, sweep your arms in front of your body to the right, allowing your right arm to bend naturally. In one smooth motion, thrust your hips to the left, pivot on the ball of your right foot so your right toes point in, and sweep your arms across your body to the left as though swinging a sword at an enemy attacking from that side. Return to start; repeat on the opposite side.

Side-Kick Combo (tones arms, core, hips, butt and legs)
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, with your hands in fists in front of your face. Shift your weight to your right leg and bend your left knee to bring it up to hip level. Lean your torso slightly to the right to maintain balance, and extend your left leg out to the side at hip level, keeping your foot flexed and your heel higher than your toes. At the same time, punch your left fist straight out to the side. Return to start; repeat on the right side.

Get Fit Fast
Goal: Do 12 to 14 reps (six to seven reps per side) of each move; repeat the entire sequence three times. What you'll need: a single light (2- to 4-lb) dumbbell. Tip: The power of martial arts lies in "mindful motion." Concentrate on holding your body rock solid and engaging every muscle while performing these moves.

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