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First and foremost, your routine needs to fit YOUR needs. That means you should train specific for your physique. If you carry more weight/muscle in your lower body, then don't train heavy in those places.

Use higher reps, or circuit training to cut down those areas that need to be a bit smaller. On the other hand, if you need to add fullness to a particular area, use heavier weight, harder resistance, and do fewer reps.

The key to a good competition figure is balance. Your back should V-taper from the shoulders to the waist, and then have small sweeps to the quads. Try to look at your body objectively; ask yourself what you need to do to create that structure, and then tailor your workout to meet your needs.

The judges at bikini competitions aren't looking for muscle density, so do 15-20 reps for toning and shaping. If you are looking to gain, do 8-12 reps. Oddo says to use independent machines and dumbbells; that way, each side of your body has to work hard to keep up.

As for cardio, remember the key word: balance. If you're trying to lose 1 pound per week, adjust your cardio to meet that goal. Use a heart-rate monitor. You want to be within 65-70% of your heart rate maximum. Stay in that range for the full duration of your cardio training.

If you have big legs, and you don't want muscle, don't do stationary bike or stairs. Try incline treadmill walking. Incline cardio digs into your butt and thighs. Think about where you need your body fat to come off: don't under-stimulate or over-stimulate.

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About the Author

Cassie Smith

Cassie Smith

Cassie Smith is a senior editor for Bodybuilding.com, as well as a weightlifter and sports performance coach.

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