Train like a bodybuilder to shape and tone your body.

Bodybuilding Workouts for Women for Bikini Bodies

by Paula Quinene

It's possible to regain the toned physique of a bikini-ready body, even after having children. Bodybuilding workouts, utilizing moderate to heavy weights for four to six sets of six to 12 repetitions, tone your muscles more effectively than lifting very light weights for two sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. Training different muscles once per week with three separate bodybuilding weekly sessions enables you to develop your muscles more quickly than completing a full-body workout two days a week because you are then able to incorporate a greater volume of training, that is, more exercise and mores sets per muscle.

1. Chest and Back on Mondays

If you see that your shoulders and head droop forward and the upper part of your back is developing a hunch, it is the result of weakened or untrained back muscles or large breasts, according to Paul Chek of the Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology Institute. Developing your chest and back muscles gives you a natural breast lift by building the muscles under your breast tissue, strengthening your neck muscles and drawing your shoulder blades together, thus elevating your breasts and pushing them forward -- a plus when you are wearing a bikini. Pair exercises for your chest and back, such as flat dumbbell presses with one-arm dumbbell rows, incline dumbbell presses with lateral pull-downs and incline dumbbell flies with seated cable rows.

2. Legs and Shoulders on Thursdays

Forget about the leg extension and leg curl machines and all those body weight squats in a group fitness class. To get your mommy body ready for that bikini, stick to barbell and dumbbell lower-body exercises. Walking dumbbell lunges and dead lifts are effective exercises for the transitional area between your glutes and hamstrings because your glutes become completely elongated during the first half, or eccentric phase, of each exercise. During the second half, or concentric phase of each exercise, you are able to contract the glutes through the muscle's full range of motion, maximally developing their size and shape. This effectively lifts your booty higher for that nice and rounded look. Dumbbell sumo squats are effective for your inner thighs, while heavy barbell squats target the front of your thighs. Pair each leg exercise with a shoulder exercise, such as dumbbell shoulder presses, bent-over dumbbell flies, dumbbell lateral raises and one-arm upright dumbbell rows. Training your shoulder muscles like a bodybuilder gives the appearance of a smaller waist, a plus for your post-childbearing waistline.

3. Biceps, Triceps and Abdominals on Fridays

Toned arms are eye-catching assets, while a fit midsection is a must for a bikini body. Organize your arm and abdominal workout into groups of three exercises with one exercise for your biceps, one for your triceps and one for your abdominals in each group. Group dumbbell curls, two-arm dumbbell triceps extensions and planks together; EZ barbell curls, triceps bench dips and decline crunches holding a 4 to 10-pound medicine ball; and concentration curls, overhead triceps rope extensions and hanging leg raises. For each group, do one set of each exercise one right after the other, and then repeat for three to five more times. Once you are done with the first group of exercises, move on to the second group of exercises. Finish with the third group of exercises.

4. General Training Guidelines

Once you are able to do more than 12 repetitions for at least three sets, increase the weights you are lifting so that you continue to challenge and build your muscles. Keep track of your routines, including the name of exercises, the amount of weight you lifted, the number of sets you did and the number of repetitions you completed, to ensure you are making your workouts more difficult.

5. Dietary and Cardio Considerations

To augment your bodybuilding workout and get that bikini body, cut your calories by 500 to 1,000 calories per day,.while ensuring you still consume enough to maintain your muscle mass. Bodybuilders should also incorporate aerobic exercise to remove the fat covering their toned muscles. Stick to high-intensity interval training cardio sessions twice per week because it is more effective at burning stubborn fat than an hour of aerobics, according to a study published in "Strength and Conditioning." This type of workout also tones your post-baby midsection -- your obliques in particular -- because the obliques work to stabilize your trunk. To do this, sprint for 30 to 60 seconds, and then walk for 60 to 120 seconds. Repeat this sprint-and-walk interval for 11 more repetitions.

About the Author

Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.

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