Get incredible results in just 31 days with our total-body strength and cardio workout

The lean, mean boot camp routine: get incredible results in just 31 days with our total-body strength and cardio workout

Linda Shelton

There are plenty of sound reasons why boot-camp training programs have endured. From bridal boot camps to bikini-body boot camps, the tried-and-true exercises like those used by the military promise serious–not to mention speedy–results. Plus, there’s a powerful mental component: The boot-camp mind-set is goal-oriented and uncompromising yet realistic, so a better body is just about guaranteed. If you’ve set your sights on a stronger, more beautiful high-performance body, our triumvirate of trainers from Sportivo! gym in Los Angeles can show you how to get there in just 31 days. Steve Johnson, Bryant Scofield and Steve Ford combined their military and sports-training expertise to develop this exclusive do-anywhere workout with incredible twists on traditional boot-camp moves. Pull out the free poster and follow the program, and you’ll see significant improvements in your body as soon as June 1.

the plan

Warm-up Begin every workout with 5 minutes of brisk walking or light jogging, unless otherwise noted on the calendar.

Cool-down Complete your workout by stretching all of your major muscles, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds without bouncing.

Workout guidelines Do the Strength Moves shown on this poster and the Cardio Drills on the pages that follow according to the 31-Day Calendar on page 269. Clip out the caleridar and Cardio Drills and post them in a place where you’ll see them and stay motivated all month long.

Weight key Light: 3-8 pounds; moderate: 8-12 pounds; heavy: 10-15 pounds

the strength moves

1. duck lunge and hammer curl With a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging at sides, palms in, bend elbows, curling dumbbell heads toward shoulders as you take a big step forward with left foot, bending both knees, left knee aligning with left ankle, right knee approaching ground, heel lifted [shown]. Hold the lunge, straightening arms to lower dumbbells. Keeping knees bent, step forward with right leg, repeating lunge and hammer curl. Continue to curl dumbbells as you alternate lunges to complete all reps (1 rep equals lunge on each side). Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks, calves, biceps

2. plie jump squat Standing with feet together, abs tight, hold a weighted bar with an overhand grip at chest height, hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, elbows bent and pointing down. Bend knees, then jump to separate feet wide. As you land with feet apart, straighten legs and press bar overhead. Bend knees into a plie squat [shown], then lower bar to chest; forcefully straighten legs and jump as you bring legs back together. Repeat combo for all reps. Strengthens quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks, calves, upper back, shoulders, triceps

3. plank pose push-up Kneel on all fours, hands flat and directly under shoulders, arms straight, then extend legs one at a time behind you, balancing on balls of feet, forming a straight line from head to heels, abs contracted [A]. Hold for 30 seconds, focusing on contracting every muscle, then bend elbows, keeping them close to body [B], and perform 4-5 push-ups (place knees on ground if necessary). Return to plank pose and repeat sequence 2-4 times total. Strengthens chest, triceps, front shoulders, quadriceps, buttocks, spine extensors, abdominals

4. kneeling side plank with side kick Kneeling, place left hand on ground about 1-1 1/2 feet to the left of your left knee and lean to the left, aligning left shoulder over left wrist, right hand behind head, elbow bent. Keeping left arm straight, contract abs and lift right thigh up to hip height, knee still bent. Maintain position and straighten right knee, extending right leg out to side [shown]. Bend knee, keeping thigh lifted, and repeat extension for all reps, then return to starting position and switch sides to complete 1 set. Strengthens buttocks, upper hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals, spine extensors

5. hip lift Lie on left side, supported on left forearm, hip and leg, left elbow aligned with left shoulder, and legs together and extended in line with torso. Feet are flexed and right arm is extended overhead and aligned with right shoulder. Keeping abs tight, shoulders and hips square and body in a straight line, lift hip and leg off ground [shown]. Lower, barely touching left hip to ground, and repeat for all reps, then switch sides and repeat for all reps to complete 1 set. Strengthens abdominals, buttocks, upper hips, spine extensors

6. one-legged combo row Stand facing, and about 2 arm lengths from, a support or wall, with a dumbbell in right hand, right arm hanging by side, palm in. Lean forward and place left hand on wall, bend right knee and wrap right foot around left ankle. Bend right elbow, bringing dumbbell back toward lower rib cage [A]. Maintaining leg and foot position, straighten right arm, then lift dumbbell up and out to right side, elbow slightly bent [B]. Lower arm and repeat combo row for all reps, then switch arms and leg position and repeat for all reps on opposite side to complete 1 set. Strengthens middle and upper back, middle and rear shoulders, quadriceps, abdominals, spine extensors

7. wall squat pull-away Standing with your back against a wall or support, walk feet about a foot ahead of wall, arms hanging by sides. Bend knees, sliding down until thighs are parallel to ground, knees in line with ankles [A]. Hold position, then tighten abs and pull lower back and hips away from wall until only your upper back is supported against the wall [B]. Press hips back to wall and slide up to standing position. Strengthens quadriceps, harnstrings, buttocks, abdominals, spine extensors

8. shoulder burner Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms at sides and slightly bent, palms in. Lift arms out to sides, up to shoulder height. Lower, then lift arms out to sides to 45 degrees [shown]; lower, then lift dumbbells in front of you to shoulder height and, finally, lower arms to starting position to complete 1 rep. Strengthens front and middle shoulders

9. ab twist Lie faceup, right leg fully extended on ground, left knee bent, foot flat on ground, arms crossed over chest, hands on opposite shoulders. Bring left knee in toward chest as you contract abs and rotate right shoulder toward left knee, keeping hips and right leg on ground [shown]. Lower and repeat for all reps, then switch sides and repeat for all reps to complete 1 set. Strengthens abdominals with emphasis on obliques

cardio drills Incorporate these drills as directed on the calendar on page 269, selecting the ones you enjoy the most each time.

1. jab and jump combo Stand with one side to an imaginary or actual object on the ground and assume a staggered lunge position, right foot ahead of left. Punch straight ahead with right arm 5 times, then jump back and forth over the object 5 times with feet together. Separate feet, this time with left leg ahead of right, and repeat combo, continuing to alternate for 1 minute.

2. incline climber Place hands on a stable, waist-high support and extend both legs behind you so body is at an incline, supported on balls of feet. Bend and raise one knee to chest, then quickly switch legs and raise opposite knee, staying on balls of feet. Alternate knee raises for 1-2 minutes.

3. side step-over Stand with your left side to a bench or any object that is 6-18 inches high, knees bent in a semi-crouch, torso leaning forward at a 45-degree angle from hips. Step sideways over the object, one foot at a time, then step back. Continue up to 1 minute. To progress, make object wider and/or higher.

4. traveling broad jump Standing, feet hip-width apart, bend knees to squat, swinging arms behind you, then straighten legs and jump forward, straightening arms in front of chest, thumbs touching, and land in a squat. Repeat for 5 jumps; walk back to starting position and repeat 5 times total.

5. high run Run in place, lifting knees to at least hip height, keeping spine neutral, abs contracted and arms at sides, palms in. Repeat for 1 minute.

6. skip Using the same knee-lifting move as in the High Run, skip or hop while moving forward. Swing arm opposite to lifted knee high in the air, switching arms as legs switch. Repeat for 1 minute.

7. crossover Standing at one end of an actual or imaginary line on the ground, cross legs so one foot is on either side of line. Staying light on the balls of your feet, jump up and continuously cross right foot over left and left over right, hopping forward, arms bent at 90 degrees, elbows close to sides. Repeat for 1 minute.

8. quad lift and switch Stand with hands on hips and right foot a stride’s length on ground in front of you. Maintaining a neutral spine and motionless upper torso, contract your thigh muscles and quickly lift your leg straight in front of you 10 times. When right foot hits ground after the 10th lift, lunge with right foot aligned over right ankle, left heel lifted, then jump and switch legs a total of 15 times, alternating right and left front lunges. Then, lift left leg 10 times in front of you. Repeat entire combo for 1 minute.

9. step lunge pyramid Place right foot flat on top of a step or sturdy bench 8-14 inches high, left foot on ground. Rise onto step, lifting left knee to hip height, then lower left leg back to ground in a lunge position. Repeat 15 reps with each leg, then 10 reps, then 5.

10. squat jump Stand, feet hip-width apart, hands behind head, elbows open. Bend knees and squat, thighs as parallel to the ground as possible. Then, jump straight up, extending both legs out to the sides. Land and immediately squat. Repeat for 1 minute.

11. lateral shuffle Stand with knees bent in a semi-crouch, torso leaning forward at a 45-degree angle from hips, elbows bent and palms in. Maintaining position, quickly shuffle sideways to the right 15-20 times, then shuffle to the left 15-20 times. Repeat for 1 minute.

12. skate throw Standing with feet together, leap sideways to your right with right foot; lift left foot off ground and bend it back and up toward buttocks as if skating, while throwing left arm across your body. Repeat, leaping left and throwing right arm. Repeat for 1 minute.

31 TIPS for a toned body

Stay motivated, blast more calories, build more muscle and maintain a boot-camp mentality all month long with these 31 body-boosting tips, one for each day in May. Refer to these suggestions whenever you need a little inspiration–and in just one month, you may find you have a body you love to show off.

1. Beat the heat. Rather than slow down or skip your workout entirely when the weather warms up, change your outdoor workout time to early morning or evening, when it’s cooler.

2. Squeeze it in. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, contract your butt muscles as tightly as you can, hold for five seconds, then release; repeat 15-25 times. Do this throughout the day.

3. Toast your buns. On your cardio days, increase your calorie burn with this bun-burning treadmill trek: Wearing a 15-pound weighted vest or backpack, set a treadmill at approximately 3.5 mph and a 2 percent incline. Increase the incline every minute up to 12 percent, stay at the highest incline for 3 minutes, then come back down a minute at a time. Repeat the pattern for 40 minutes total. (The added weight carried by a 145-pound woman will increase the calorie burn by about 10 percent.)

4. Channel your strength. When you’re watching television, do any type of strength move–lunges, squats, crunches–during the commercial breaks. Change moves with every commercial.

5. Tune in. On your rest days, go to a garden, beach or other favorite place, alone or with a partner. Walk around, paying attention to your surroundings; make it meditative, absorbing the sights, sounds and smells as you awaken your senses.

6. “Work” out. Use your cube or office as a minigym, doing push-ups or Incline Climbers (see Cardio Drills on page 270), or enlisting your chair to do tri-dips or chair squats.

7. Track your steps. Get a pedometer and aim to get 10,000 steps a day. It’s easier than you think!

8. Buddy up. Research shows you’re more likely to stick with your workouts if you have a partner. So pair up with a friend and do our boot-camp routine together.

9. Go exploring. Instead of walking, jogging or running in the same place every week, seek out new streets or neighborhoods or do one workout inside, the next one outside.

10. Get wet. Run or walk in the pool, using a flotation belt for deep-water running or shallow-water walking.

11. Take it with you. Whether you’re on vacation or at the office, two simple tools will keep you on track: A resistance tube makes it easy to perform your favorite strength moves, and a jump-rope ensures you won’t skip your cardio.

12. Be comfy. Wear workout clothes that are loose, stretchy or breathable, so they don’t constrict your movement. Avoid all-cotton attire; its moisture-absorbing properties will make you feel cold and clammy post-workout, regardless of the temperature. Instead, look for moisture-wicking, quick-drying poly-blends.

13. Pinpoint your passion. Write down the reasons you’re working out; this tunes you in to the big picture (e.g., to set a good example for your kids, to lower your risk of disease)–rather than letting you fixate on just the aesthetic payoff.

14. Stretch it out. Take a few minutes to stretch your muscles–it’s incredibly energizing and feels great. Try this simple routine: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keeping arms straight, clasp hands behind your back, lift chest and drop shoulders; hold and release. Next, with arms hanging at sides and keeping shoulders down, bring right ear to right shoulder, hold, return to center and bring left ear to left shoulder. Next, tighten abs and round head, torso and arms down toward left knee, bending knees slightly. Gradually move to the center and over toward your right foot, then roll back up to starting position. Repeat, starting on left side.

15. Treat your feet. Trade in your sweaty athletic shoes for a cooler, lighter style with breathable mesh uppers; your tootsies will thank you! We love adidas ClimaCool III ($100;, Nike Air Max Desire ($75; and Reebok Vector IXT II ($75;

16. Chill out. Freeze a damp bandanna, then tie it around your neck to stay cool as you run or walk.

17. Head for the hills. Get off the flats when you walk–this is especially great for toning your butt, thighs and abs. If a hill is too steep for comfort, zigzag up or down to vary the intensity.

18. Split it up. Break your cardio workouts up into 10-minute exercise sessions. For an all-day boost, start with a brisk walk first thing in the morning.

19. Stagger your stretches. Stretch between weight-training sets; research shows this can increase strength gains by up to 20 percent.

20. Seek adventures. Challenge your muscles by trying outdoor activities you may never have considered before, such as rock climbing, kayaking and windsurfing. Or check out mountain biking, which is attracting more women than ever. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, nearly 3 million women hit the trails on mountain bikes in 2002, up 34 percent from 2001.

21. Loosen up. Try a style of dance that lets you move your body freely, such as African, hula or belly dancing–all are fabulous for hips, thighs, buns and abs, as well as body image.

22. Take breaks. Resting from exercise at least once a week and getting enough sleep (eight to nine hours per night) can up your fitness benefits and prevent burnout as well.

23. Put it out there. Write down your fitness goals, and even tell them to a friend; once you’ve declared your intentions, it makes them more real and increases the likelihood you’ll see them through.

24. Get on the ball. At work or at home, sit on a stability ball instead of a chair, and you’ll strengthen your abs all day long as you improve balance and coordination.

25. Focus on form. Make sure you perform each exercise with concentration and control and maintain your alignment, whether you’re doing crunches or taking a walk. Ten perfect reps are more body-worthy than 50 poorly executed ones.

26. Seek support. Always work out in a comfortable sports bra. Look for soft, breathable fabrics in polyester/spandex blends with minimal seaming. Patagonia ( offers a range of support with its Women’s Capilene and Seamless Capilene lines. Briko’s Mia Top ( stops chafing through the most grueling workouts, thanks to its seamless design.

27. Go for the [H.sub.2]O. If you feel tired or hungry, you may simply be thirsty. To learn how to hydrate the smart way in hot weather, see “What to Drink for a Hot-Weather Workout” on page 138.

28. Pump ‘n’ tone. If your workouts include walking, wear a PowerBelt with a resistance band attached around your waist so you can strengthen your arms as well and increase your calorie burn by up to 64 percent. See “Walk This Way” on page 166 for more information.

29. Go sporty. Discover the playful side of exercise with a game of volleyball, tennis or golf. See page 250 for more fun, calorie-sizzling cardio ideas.

30. Book a healthy holiday. Plan your next vacation somewhere with endless activity options–go camping, take an adventure cruise or visit a spa for a few days.

31. Reward yourself! After completing a particularly tough workout or sticking to your program for a certain number of days or weeks, give yourself a summer treat: a tasty, but fat-free, shaved ice; a day at the beach or poolside; a sandal-showcasing pedicure and matching manicure; a cool new sun hat; or a sunless Mystic Tan (

Photography by Larry Bartholomew

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