Sexy Shape-Up Secrets

Workout tips from Carmen Electra's trainer.
by Kate Dailey for ExerciseTV

You need a body-boosting workout but you don't have time to spend hours in the gym. Celebrity trainer Michael Carson feels your pain. His client Carmen Electra doesn’t have a lot of time to spend doing squats either. Carson’s solution? Spend as little time as possible working out—and avoid exercise moves you hate.

To follow Carson’s advice, you need to maximize your gym time with a series of dynamic movements that tone muscle, increase flexibility, and burn calories. That means giving tried-and-true exercises a mobility makeover and using more muscles at once.

Carson calls his workout system “rotational”--think of it as three-dimensional body movement. You’re not just moving back and forth and side to side, but in all directions. “It gives you a lot of muscular use with very little impact, and it helps prevent injury,” Carson says. “It’s all about fluidly increasing circulation, improving metabolism, burning calories, and doing everything with one movement.” Sounds good to us.

Follow his tips for a body you’ll want to show off:

Twist and shout: Crunches and traditional core exercises shorten your torso and can actually do more harm than good for your posture. “The more you twist and stretch, the more you make your muscles elongated. Traditional abs training shortens them,” he says. Carson emphasizes moves that encourage full range of motion, like the HELICOPTER SQUAT. Not only do they make you look longer and leaner, they can help prevent injury as well.

Don’t ignore your core: Everybody knows the importance of core training to increase stability, posture and strength. But do you know what your “core” is? If you think abs and back, think again. “Your core goes down below your thighs, almost to your knees,” says Carson. It’s made up of many muscles that all work together to keep you stable and strong. That’s why when you work out, you should engage them all in tandem instead of trying to spot train. Try moves like the BENT OVER PRESS to give your core a real-life workout.

Posture makes perfect: How you stand when executing a move can impact how your muscles fire, which in turn can hinder the effect of your workout. When lunging, keep your weight on your heels and squeeze your glutes for maximum impact, says Carson. Throughout your workout, shift your weight from the ball of your foot to the pads of your feet. Pay attention to which muscles are firing as you move, as well as which moves challenge you more. (If it hurts, don’t push it; check with a trainer to ensure you’re not setting yourself up for injury.)

Ugly moves have pretty results. It’s a natural impulse to want to check yourself out in the mirror when you’re working out. But doing so can sometimes hurt, not help, your form. “To do a squat properly, you want to lower your shoulders to the same degree that you’re lowering your hips,” says Carson. The result can be a move that looks awkward, but it’s better for you.

“Otherwise, you’re putting too much pressure on your knees and shins,” says Carson. “It might feel like there’s a lot going on down there, but there’s no benefit.” Watch him in the FIGURE 8 SQUAT for perfect form.

For more workouts with Michael Carson or to check out Carmen Electra’s Aerobic Striptease workouts, go to

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