Feel stronger in a week with this new-mom workout from Tracy Anderson, fitness guru to Gwyneth Paltrow.
Everything in this slideshow
This just-tough-enough plan helps you gradually build strength and stamina as you reconnect with your core. You'll start feeling stronger and more connected to your bod in about a week and will start seeing results in as few as 2 weeks. The moves may look a little complicated, so do a practice round before you start to make sure you understand the mechanics of each step, then get movin'. And follow Anderson's cardio plan to help you drop pounds safely.
HOW IT WORKS Do each move in order to complete 1 circuit. Aim for 3 circuits—resting for a couple of minutes in between— 3 or 4 times per week.
YOU'LL NEED A yoga mat and a pair of 3- to 5-pound hand weights
Balancing Leg Lift
Works butt and abs
Kneel on left leg with right leg bent, slightly lifted and turned out, hands on hips (A). Extend left hand to floor in front of you to support upper body, then extend right leg out and back (B). Engage core to pull back up to start position. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
Tracy's Tip: If your knee needs extra cushioning, fold your mat over a few extra times. And place a chair nearby to help you balance if you're feeling wobbly.
Punch and Split
Punch adn Split
Works arms, hips, butt and shoulders
Sit with feet wide, holding a weight in each hand behind your hips. Lift left arm to punch toward the sky (A) and return hand to floor. Then shift weight to hands and lift hips off ground, slightly twisting to lift right hip higher than left (B), then return hips to floor. Alternate punching left arm and twisting hips up and to the left for 10 to 12 reps, then switch sides.
Leg Lift and Plank Roll
Leg Lift and Plant Roll
Works core, outer thigh and butt
Lie on left side with forearm on floor and legs stacked. Lift right leg up (A), then lower. Roll into a plank with forearms parallel and touching, and swing right leg out to the side and off the ground (B). Return right foot to ground next to left foot, then roll back to starting position. Repeat leg lift and 1-legged plank 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
Tracy's Tip: Feel like you've mastered this one? Challenge yourself by keeping the top leg lifted as you roll into plank and back down to your side. Too tough? Do a modified plank with knees on floor.
Butt Lift Twist
Works abs, obliques, butt and hamstrings
Lie on left side with knees bent and legs stacked, then rotate upper body so chest faces floor and forearms rest on ground (A). Lift hips off ground as you roll to left knee and extend right leg up and back (B). Lower back down to (A) with control. Repeat hip-and-leg lift 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
Upper Body Push and Twist
Works arms, shoulders, che st and obliques
Lie on stomach with elbows bent and hands under shoulders and bend right leg out to the side, knee near right elbow (A). Push up to plank as you twist to left side, opening chest toward the left and balancing on the right hand and left foot; tuck right knee toward your left shoulder; and lift left arm toward sky for balance (B). Return to start position with control. Repeat push-up-and-twist 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
Tracy's Tip: If you're not ready for the side plank, try placing your bottom knee on the floor (instead of tucking it up toward the opposite shoulder).
Hip and Arm Lift
Works arms, obliques, hips and quads
Sit with both legs bent at right angles, left leg in front and right leg in back, holding hand weights behind you and leaning onto hands for support (A). Punch up with right hand as you lift hips off floor, pressing forward and stretching to left side (B). Return to start with control. Repeat punch-and-lift 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
Wait...What About Cardio?
Take it easy, Anderson says. "If you start intense cardio too quickly, you might find that your feet hurt, your back hurts and your breast milk suffers. You need time to rebuild muscle and endurance before you can do serious cardio." Her favorite way to ease back in? Walking! As you practice the strength moves, go slow with Anderson's cardio plan, working up to Phase 4 over the course of a few weeks (a couple or a bunch, depending on how you feel).
Phase 1 Take a gentle, slow walk for no more than 30 minutes daily.
Phase 2 When that feels too easy, either add time or increase your speed, bit by bit.
Phase 3 Begin to add a few minutes of light jumping—slow jumping jacks, high knees, etc.—at the end of each walk.
Phase 4 As you get stronger, gradually reduce the amount of walking and up the jumping, leaping and high-energy dancing until you can sustain an intense 30-minute cardio session. Listen to your body and dial it down a notch whenever you need to.