The ultimate problem area workout!

Raphael Calzadilla

Do I really have to ask which three areas of the body I get the most questions about? Even someone who’s never exercised could answer the question.

Many people think that if they focus on a trouble spot, whether it's tummy, bum or legs, that it will magically begin to shrink and tighten up. I’m here to give you some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is that you cannot spot reduce. It is physiologically impossible. The good news is that I’m going to tell you the truth about how to get to those annoying trouble spots.

So sit back and put away your “Get a Tiny Bum in 2 Minutes a Day” workout video. It’s time someone levelled with you and gave you some solid advice and a workout to go along with it.

If you want to reduce your tum, bum and legs, then you’re going to have to lose body fat. You can’t stay at an elevated body fat level and achieve smaller trouble-spot areas. It will never happen...never!

Mother Nature actually protects us from making ourselves look like cartoon characters. For example, if you have 3 stone to lose, and your focus is on getting a smaller bum and nature allowed you to lose only on your bum, all that would result is a very odd-shaped body lacking balance and symmetry.

Instead, Mother Nature forces us to lose fat all over the body so that we can be in balance and look lean.

The key is to know how it’s done. Here’s my remedy:

• A calorie-reduced nutrition program that provides calories low enough to lose fat but high enough to sustain energy.

• Cardiovascular exercise three to four days per week at a moderate intensity.

• Weight training at least two days per week to work the muscles all over the body so that when you lose the fat, you see a tight, lean body.

• A once or twice per week “Specialty Workout” performed on its own day to work troubled areas.

I’m providing your “Specialty Workout." This workout can be performed once or twice per week on non-weight training days. You can do cardio the same day but no other weight training. My specialty workouts, when combined with the key elements above, will produce outstanding results.

You will move from exercise to exercise at a brisk pace and focus 100% attention on your "pain-in-the-backside" areas. Here’s a description of each movement as well as the workout parameters.

The ultimate problem area workout


Benefit: These two exercises will focus on both the upper and lower areas of the abs and keep the entire body in motion.

DOUBLE CRUNCH: The Double Crunch is a great exercise because when performed correctly, it focuses on both the upper and lower abdominal region. The entire body is in motion on this movement.

Lie on a mat face up. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45-degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor.

Place both hands crossed gently over your chest or on the sides of your head with the fingertips touching gently. Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Make sure you crunch hard and tight. I want you to hold the contraction at the top of the movement for one second.

Slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor. Exhale while rising up and inhale while returning to the starting position. Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck.

Perform 15 slow and controlled reps and immediately go to the next exercise.

BICYCLE MANOEUVRE: Research consistently rates the Bicycle Manoeuvre as one of the most effective abdominal exercises. Just like the Double Crunch, it works the entire ab area.

Lie on a mat with your lower back in a comfortable position. Place your fingertips on either side of your head by your ears. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion, alternating your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee.

Don’t perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back, and don’t pull on your head and neck during this exercise. The lower to the ground your legs bicycle, the harder your abs have to work.

Perform 15 slow and controlled reps and immediately go to the butt exercises.


Benefit: The exercises below provide a double whammy. The Walk Lunges will work the bumand legs and the Straight Leg Reverse Lifts will totally isolate your bum and allow you to focus on an isolated contraction.

WALKING LUNGES: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grasp a pair of dumbbells with your arms straight at your sides, palms in. Take a large step forward and lower your body so that your front knee lines up with your ankle. The back knee is almost touching the floor. Push off with your back foot and take a large step forward with your other foot. You should contract your glutes on the lowering of each movement.

Walk-lunge 15 to 20 steps, and then turn around and return to the start using the same form. After the set is completed, immediately go to the next exercise without a break.

STRAIGHT-LEG REVERSE LIFTS: Begin this exercise on your hands and knees. Straighten your left leg as if you were going to do a push-up. Keep the right leg bent, supporting your weight along with your arms. Contracting your soon-to-be-gladiator glutes, lift your left leg up toward the ceiling, stopping when you feel a full contraction of the bum.

Slowly return to the starting position. After completing the set on the left side, repeat on the right side. Exhale while lifting the leg. Inhale while returning to the starting position. Don’t let your back arch. If you are an intermediate or advanced exerciser, you can add an ankle weight to the working leg to make it more challenging.

Perform 15 slow and controlled reps and make sure to contract your glutes at the top of the movement. Then immediately go to the leg exercises.


Benefit: These two great exercises will work the entire leg area - the quadriceps, hamstrings and, as an added bonus, your bum.

ANGLED LEG PRESS (also called inverted leg press): Place your feet two inches higher than you normally do on the leg press machine in order to place slightly more overload on the butt and hamstrings. Your feet can be positioned at shoulder width or just little wider. Make sure you lower the weight just a tad below 90 degrees, but no more. We can’t forget that we need to protect those knees.

Make sure your legs are high enough on the platform so you can really feel your hamstrings (back of the thigh) on the lowering part of the movement.

Perform 15 challenging reps and go immediately to the next exercise. If you don’t have access to a leg press, perform two sets of the next exercise with a 30-second rest between sets.

DUMBBELL SQUATS: Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells or cans in each hand with your arms hanging down at your sides and palms facing one another. Maintain a neutral spine and a slight bend in the knees throughout the exercise.

If you want to make the exercise easier to manage, simply hold the end of one dumbbell between your legs. This helps with balance and is particularly good for beginners.

Lower your body by bending from your hips and knees, stopping when your thighs are parallel with the floor. Contracting the quadriceps muscles, slowly return to the starting position. Exhale while returning to the starting position and inhale while lowering your body.

Make sure you don’t let your knees ride over your toes (you should be able to see your feet at all times). It also helps to find a marker on the wall to keep your eye on as you lift and lower; otherwise, your head may tend to fall forward, and your body will follow. Think about sitting back in a chair as you are lowering down and push off with your heels as you return to the starting position.

Perform 20 slow and controlled repetitions.

Performing all of the exercises above is considered one cycle. After completing one cycle, wait 45 seconds and repeat. Beginners can perform two cycles on two alternate days per week, intermediates three cycles on two alternate days per week and advanced four cycles on two alternate days per week. The advanced level is challenging, so make sure you’re ready and able to handle it.

You have the knowledge and the workout - now let’s get down to business!

As always, check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise programme.

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