John Mayer was right about one thing: Your body is a wonderland… and you’re about to look wonderful. Elite trainers gave us a cool anatomy lesson: To sculpt the sexiest cuts, contours and lines, you need to zero in on some surprising muscles. Check it out.
1You Want: A perky butt, so target the latissimus dorsi
The lats are big back muscles attached to your glutes. “They’re connected, so making your lats stronger will help your glutes engage more effectively,” says Abbie Appel, a master trainer in Florida. Engaged glutes mean you’ll turbocharge tush-tightening exercises.
Plow: Sit on a chair with legs extended, feet flexed, heels on floor; loop a resistance band around soles of feet and hold a handle at sides, palms up. With torso tall and shoulders down, draw arms as far as you can behind you, squeezing shoulder blades together. Return to start. Do 3 sets of 12 reps. Focus on keeping arms straight to work your lats, not your biceps.
2You Want: Amazing abs, so target the serratus anterior
Put your hands on the sides of your rib cage at your bra strap. When they’re strong, they act like little arrows pointing to defined abs. “The serratus highlights or accents the ribs, making the whole torso appear more defined,” says trainer James Bowman.
Floor Press: Lie faceup holding a weight in left hand, arm extended over shoulder. Keeping right arm at side, lift left arm until shoulder blade and head are off floor; hold for 3 beats. Return to start. Do 5 reps. Switch sides; repeat. “Lying down helps you stay more stable than standing, and it allows you to lift heavier, so you’ll see results faster,” Bowman says. Use the heaviest weight, work up to a 20-pounder.
3You Want: Gorgeous legs, so target the anterior tibialis
That’s geekspeak for shin, a body part you probably haven’t given much thought. But strengthen these suckers and you’ll create that sexy line of definition in your lower legs, says exercise physiologist Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Being strong is pretty great for injury prevention—no shin splints or ankle rolling .
Reverse Toe Tap: Sit on a chair with left thigh crossed over right and tie a string around a 3-pound dumbbell, creating a loop; hang it on left shoe. Keeping leg still, flex left foot toward shin; release. Then flex left foot toward shin and to left; release; repeat to right for 1 rep. Do 15 reps. Switch legs; repeat.
4You Want: Sexy shoulders, so target the rotator cuff muscles
This group of four muscles encircles the top of your shoulder and keeps it stable. Typical dumbbell raises hit a couple of the rotators, but to create the pulled-back, stand-out shoulders hot girls have, you need to activate all four.
Wax on, wax off: Stand with right arm extended at shoulder height, palm pressing a ball against the wall. Slowly move ball in a small clockwise circle for 20 reps, then counterclockwise for 20. Switch arms to complete 1 set; do 2 sets. We used a rubber ball; as Frediani says, go light—it takes rotation, not weight, to work the quartet.
5You Want: A butt dimple, so target the gluteus medius
You may think you’re defining your booty doing routine squats and lunges, but stronger muscles, like hamstrings, tend to take over. Which stinks, because the medius—the fan-shaped muscle that creates the booty divot—gets no love, explains Brent Brookbush, trainer and author of “Fitness or Fiction.” Pay that medius attention: Toners that have you balance on one leg will zero in on the muscle and give it one big honing hug.
Knee Side Plank: Lie on right side, propped on right forearm, elbow under shoulder, knees bent and stacked. Raise hips and extend left leg so toes hover about 12 inches off floor. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat.
6You Want: Wowza Arms, so target the posterior deltoid
You can call the “rear delt” the back of your shoulder. It sits right above your triceps—the muscle to blame for bat wings. If you have side-by-side muscles like these that are untoned, you can’t tell where one starts, the other begins… or whether or not that arm belongs to Gumby.
Rainbow raise: Hold a resistance band in front of hips, hands slightly wider than shoulders, palms facing thighs. Raise arms overhead as you pull hands away from each other, keeping arms straight and creating tension in the band. Lower arms behind you, turning thumbs toward floor. Reverse movement to return to start. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.