Jennifer Garner's New-mom Workout

UPDATED 07/12/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/12/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

She had to get back to work busting baddies on Alias just two months after the arrival of baby Violet on Dec. 1. But actress Jennifer Garner took a moderate approach to shedding the baby weight. "The first month she did nothing more than walk," says trainer Valerie Waters. "Childbirth is serious, and the body needs recovery time." By week five, Garner eased into the following workout. (Women who undergo C-sections should hold off on serious exercise until week seven.)

the routine

Circuit training, which requires moving from exercise to exercise without stopping, is fast and effective. "Some of Jen's workouts were only 15 minutes and totally doable in a new mom's schedule," says Waters.

target area

"A nursing mother needs to strengthen her back and work large muscle groups," says Waters. An effective exercise for Garner? Squats. "I look for ways that Jen can burn the most calories and exercise more than one muscle at a time. A squat works your butt, your hamstrings, your quads and your core."

the circuit

At first, Garner did each set only once, then worked up to repeating them three times.

squats
12 reps

chest presses
12-15 reps with 5-lb. dumbbells

reverse lunges
6 reps on each leg, alternating

bent-over rows
12 reps

shoulder presses
10 reps with 5-lb. dumbbells

biceps curls
10 reps with 5-lb. dumbbells

kick-backs
10 reps with 5-lb. dumbbells

crunches
2 sets of 10

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