Stunning, strong, able to leap tall exercise steps in a single bound — is there anything our cover girl can’t do? Francisca Dennis has it all, and she’s sharing her secrets to success, starting with a workout that will get you trim and toned — and out of the gym in less than an hour.
Do the following exercises in order, starting with the warm-up move and ending with a cooldown stretch that addresses all major muscle groups (not shown). Perform this workout three to four times per week, leaving a day of rest between sessions.
SPRINTER START WARM-UP (NOT SHOWN)
[A] Begin by kneeling on the floor or on a mat. Place both hands on the ground under your shoulders, Step your right foot forward so it is beside your hand. Step your left foot back and straighten your leg.
[B] Keeping your back neutral and your eyes looking down, step your right foot back to bring it beside your other foot Next, step your left foot to the outside of your left hand. Repeat 1O times on each side.
MAKE IT EASIER: Open your groin by stepping your leg forw&rd &s f&r &s you c&n, sinking your hips tow&rd the ground, &nd holding.
TRX SPRINTER START
[A] Set the TRX handles so they are about two feet above the ground. Hold one handle in each hand with your palms facing in and the straps under your arms. Get into a low lunge position with your left foot forward, knee bent to go degrees, and your right leg behind you with your knee hovering just above the ground.
[B] Explosively pull your right knee forward, bringing it up to hip height, as you hop your left foot forward slightly. Hop your left foot back and extend your right leg behind you to return to the starting position. Repeat for a total of three sets of 1O reps on each leg, resting 2O to 3O seconds between each set.
MAKE IT EASIER: Remove the hop forward and slow down the motion.
[A] Keep the handles at the same height as in the sprinter starts. Facing the anchor point, grab the handles with your palms facing in and walk backward until the cords are tight. Step your feet forward until your body is straight and about 45 degrees to the ground. Your arms should be extended.
[B] Bend your arms to pull your body upward until your chest is between the handles. Your elbows should be tight to your sides at the top. Hold for one count, then slowly extend your arms until you are back in the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 1O to 12 reps.
MAKE IT EASIER: Don’t walk your feet forward quite as far, which will keep your body in a more upright position.
ONE-ARMED WOODCHOP PRESS
[A] Fasten one end of a resistance band securely around a post. (Tug it a few times to make sure it’s set.) Hold the handle in both hands and step your right foot out to bring your legs into a wide stance as shown. Bend your knees slightly.
[B] Pivot on your left foot and twist through your waist to turn away from the band’s anchor point. As you move, release the handle with your right hand and punch your left hand forward. Slowly reverse to return to the start. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps on each side, keeping your core tight throughout the move to really challenge your entire midsection.
MAKE IT EASIER: Try using a lighter band, or perform the move without resistance.
PLYO PLATE JUMP
[A] Stack one or two heavy plates on the ground. (Note: If they shift around, use a low step instead.) Position one foot on either side of the plates, and bend your knees to sink into a deep squat.
[B] Press through the soles of your feet as you extend your legs to jump.
[C] Land on top of the plates with your knees softly bent. Hop off, landing with your feet wide, to return to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 1O reps, resting 3O seconds between sets.
MAKE IT EASIER: Do the exercise without plates, landing with your feet together on the ground.
WALKING PLATE PLANK
[A] Get into the top of a push-up position on the floor with a stack of plates between your hands.
[B] Keeping your hips level with the floor and your eyes down, move your right hand to the top of the plate stack.
[C] Follow with your left. Reverse, returning your right hand to the floor first, then your left. Repeat for three sets of 1O reps, alternating your leading hand with each rep.
MAKE IT EASIER: Use fewer plates or perform the move on the ground, moving your hands in and out.
SEATED ALTERNATING KETTLEBELL PRESS
[A] Sit on a stability ball with your feet together. Hold a light kettlebell in each hand. Lift the weights to chin or eye height, pointing your elbows forward.
[B] Maintain a strong core and a flat back as you extend one weight above your head, rotating your wrist as you move so your palm faces forward at the top. Reverse, then repeat with your other arm. Continue for three sets of 1O reps on each arm.
MAKE IT EASIER: Perform the move standing or seated on an exercise bench.
STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK WITH OBLIQUE TWIST
[A] Place your palms flat on the ground with your hands directly under your shoulders and your arms extended. Rest your shins on a stability ball behind you.
[B] Bend your knees to draw the ball toward you, keeping your butt and hips level with the ground as you move. Extend your legs.
[C] When you pull your legs in again, direct your knees toward your right elbow. (Try not to overly twist your upper body, as shown) Extend once again. On your next rep, repeat to the left side. Complete this series for three sets of 1O reps.
MAKE IT EASIER: Leave the twist out of the motion.