Building a Bikini Body Workout by Coach Mark Carroll

Building A Bikini Body Workout

Sep 1, 2022
Mark Carroll

Creating an effective workout is not just about turning up to the gym and hoping for the best. It involves intelligently balancing out exercises to complement a person’s goals. There are so many different exercises, machines, and of course, movement patterns you can perform in the gym. But what is best? What is a simple structure to creating an effective workout for yourself? 

When it comes to a “bikini body” I am talking about a woman who either wants to get on stage for a bikini competition or a woman who wants to train in a similar manner. They may not desire being on stage, but they do want to train hard and be their very best. 

So what am I looking for in creating an effective workout for a bikini client? 

First let’s look at what would benefit a “bikini physique” from a body part perspective: 

1 – Big glutes. Pretty simple. 

2 – Tight hamstrings and legs. These do not need to be huge bodybuilder legs but some muscle and shape here goes a long way to compliment the gluteus. 

3 – Shoulders! Nice shaped delts can always be a great addition to compliment a bikini physique.

Now, in order to then build up those key areas, we first need to think about what movement patterns can train those muscle groups. Building a bikini body workout comes from not one or two exercises. Bikini body building involves a collection of exercises to build the best bikini body workout. We have many options. This is why it is important to look at movement patterns as this is then the base of your exercise selection. 

The foundations of my bikini body workout creation is ensuring key movement patterns are being trained.

Let’s go over them. 

1 – Hip hinge – this is your hip extension movements such as a Romanian deadlift or 45* back extension.

2 – Knee dominant movements – exercises which train knee extension which also works hip extension – think squats, lunges, split squats, leg press.

3 – Thrusts / bridges – simple – your hip thrust movements.

4 – Horizontal presses and vertical presses – vertical l think any movement pressing overhead like a DB press, and horizontal movements such as a push up. 

5 – Horizontal pulls and vertical pulls. Horizontal pulls will be your rowing movements such as a seated row. Vertical pulls think pull ups or pulldowns. 

6 – Knee flexion – this is the bending of the leg from a straight leg to a bent leg. Hamstring curls! 

7 – Spinal flexion – rolling up your spine which will train your abs, e.g. a crunch or reverse crunch. 

8 – Abduction movements – for the lower body this is where we take our leg out towards the side of our body. This can be performed with a straight leg or a bent leg. Think machine abductions.

These are my staple movement patterns to effective bikini body building!

Movement patterns are the base of what I do. Now, when it comes to exercise selection. It is easy to choose exercises as you just need to choose an exercise which complements each movement pattern. 

Your base structure should be ensuring an exercise is utilised for each movement pattern over the course of the week.

The mistake people commonly make with bikini body building workouts is they can focus too much on exercises which train the same movement pattern over and over. Then not enough on ensuring all those movement patterns are trained. 

Now, let’s create a lower body workout which trains all of the above 4 lower body movement patterns I want in a lower body workout. 

  • A)     Knee dominate
  • B)     Hip hinge
  • C)     Thrust / bridge
  • D)     Knee flexion
  • E)     Abductions

That’s our movement patterns I want to choose an exercise for. I focus on the movement patterns. The exercises just need to fit into those movements. 

  • A)     Knee dominate – Barbell Squat
  • B)     Hip hinge – Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
  • C)     Thrust / bridge – Smith Machine Hip Thrust
  • D)     Knee flexion – Seated Leg Curl
  • E)     Abductions – Seated Machine Abduction

Do you see how simple that is? Choosing exercises to compliment a bikini body workout becomes very easy when you have that base movement pattern structure. All we need to do is choose an exercise which fits that movement pattern. Now, we have a simple base structure for creating an effective bikini workout.

Can there be more depth to programming? Absolutely!

But the first step of anything should be learning to create a base structure. This can help you visualise and simplify your exercise selection. Nothing worse than when people over analyse workouts and become totally stuck and fixated on 1%ers. 

I am a big believer that if you have a simple structure as a coach. It will allow you to make fast and smart decisions with your exercise selection.

If key movement patterns are being trained, I know that key muscles to complement a bikini body will be stimulated. 

Now that I have shown you a simple structure to effective workout design, let’s look at what you commonly see in programs where too much of the same movements are being trained over and over. This results in key movement patterns being neglected.

Here’s an example of a workout that’s not ideal: 

  • A)     Hip Thrust
  • B)     Lying Leg Curl
  • C)     Single Leg Glute Bridge
  • D)     Seated Leg Curl

This is actually a workout I saw on social media recently. Is there anything terrible with this? No, not at all, but what do you see here?

Four different exercises are being used which is good! But all in all, we only have 2 movement patterns being trained. Bridge/thrusts and also knee flexion. Both repeated. 

That results in other key movement patterns being missed. 

This is why I keep going back to my movement pattern structure. Have that structure set out, to create a bikini body workout which ensures all muscle groups will be trained effectively over the week.

Simple, yes! But simple is often the foundation to long term success!

Want to use my methods?

The Building the Bikini Body Series allows you to implement my methods and strategies on yourself!

Let’s build your bikini body!

Coach Mark Carroll