Fashion’s finest sent designs down the autumn/winter 2015 catwalk that showed some serious skin. But forget cleavage. This slightly more subversive sexiness – for example, the abdominal-and-waist-revealing Mugler dress seen here – calls for amped-up versions of your usual muscle-boosting moves.
GET IN THE FAT-BURNING ZONE The secret to looking toned all over: strategic cardio. “For many women, it’s just about reducing body fat so that the muscles they already have become more visible,” says US-based celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson. Rather than pedalling away mindlessly on the elliptical simply for the sake of working up a sweat, add bursts of high-intensity fat-torching intervals. “Jump on the treadmill, bike, rowing machine or cross-trainer (or if you’re outside, find a small hill) and push yourself to near-maximum capacity for 30 seconds and then rest for the same amount of time. Repeat 20 times,” says Daniel Wells, a Dubai-based personal trainer at Regime Fitness. “Be sure to warm up and cool down for at least five minutes, and finish with a stretch.” Need to squeeze in a fast fat-blasting workout? “Skip for 20 seconds non-stop and then rest for exactly 10 seconds before you begin jumping again. Repeat this for four minutes (eight rounds). If you are advanced with a jump rope, you can do this with double or even triple unders (where the rope passes under your feet two or three times on every jump), which will make this workout a lot more challenging, and rewarding,” says Marlene Bunston, owner and coach at Business Bay CrossFit, Dubai.
WORK EVERY ANGLE From a rib-cage-baring top to thigh-high slits, to reveal a super-fit physique head-to-toe you need to practice multidirectional movements. Because unlike constantly working in one plane of motion, such as straight-up lunges, crunches, or push-ups, changing direction increases difficulty and works major muscles and smaller strands equally so that no specific muscle becomes overdeveloped, says Stephen Pasterino, a ModelFit trainer in New York – the workout of choice for Victoria’s Secret models, like Karlie Kloss. For Angel-worthy legs, do three-way lunges, going forward, back, and sideways.
For a svelte stomach that’s totally toned, ditch standard crunches. “Instead, try a barbell ab roll-out,” says Daniel, “making sure your position is correct to avoid putting any pressure on the lower back. Start on your knees holding a barbell in front of you, then slowly roll forward while keeping your arms fully extended in a straight position until your torso is parallel to the floor. Return to your original position, carefully pushing back with your hips, using your abdominals. Try three sets of 12.”
To create defined, not bulky, shoulders (“which accentuate the natural waist and make you look more hourglass,” says Gunnar), power through variations of the push-up – moving from a few with legs straight, then bent; then with your arms shoulder-width or wider apart, even feet against the wall or balancing on a Bosu ball – to hit every part of your arms, chest, shoulders, and back, says LA-based exercise physiologist Michelle Lovitt.
SLOW DOWN YOUR SWEAT SESSION To get Doutzen-esque definition in your inner and outer thighs, try Stephen’s favourite gam-firming move: super-slow, controlled, standing leg raises (gradually lift each leg to the side, then hold, lower, and repeat). “Lift your leg high while keeping your balance – and add a two pound ankle weight, progressing to three, and then five pounds – and try changing the position of your foot with each lift to hit every muscle on the side of the hip,” says Stephen. “The thigh is often thought of as just one large muscle, but it’s not. Slowing down the speed works each individual tiny muscle too.”
The same is true for the core and arms: Take. Your. Time. Holding Pilates-style mat crunches (where you lie on your back with upper torso and legs raised, forming a C curve with your lower spine while keeping arms extended straight alongside your body) targets not only the front of your stomach but down your sides as well, says Michelle. “It takes momentum out of the equation because your shoulders and all of the muscles in your core are engaged the entire time,” she explains. “You’re essentially using only your body weight, but you’re constantly fighting the resistance – it fires up your muscles big-time.” And fired-up muscles = you, smoking hot, in a cutout dress.
— Nicole Catanse, additional reporting by Maddison Glendinning