In the past, we thought our workouts were effective based on our heart rate “zones.” It turns out the hours spent hunched over a spin bike or acting like a hamster on its wheel on the treadmill is not only boring, but not the best way to lean out and look smokin’ hot.
Quick Workouts, Quick Results
Research has shown lately that the calories we burn can be increased with short bursts of anaerobic exercise (short and intense, and relying mostly on sources of energy other than oxygen). Examples? Lifting heavy weights or sprinting across a football field. Women who participate in resistance training at higher intensities (heavier weights and shorter breaks) sizzle more calories postworkout!
So what does this mean for you? A steady 45 minutes on an elliptical does not torch as many calories as a session spent lighting circuit weights. Since the total number of calories you burn is what is important (not the percentage that comes from fat), increase your intensity to get more “bang-for-your-buck” routines!
Hint: “Finishers” are high-intensity exercises done at the end of a workout. Do one or two rounds of finishers for a speedy stand-alone routine. Remember the key to success is keeping it peppy but controlled!
These two finishers blend body weight, free weight, and band exercises to improve upper body strength and definition. Add one (or both!) of these to your program when your metabolism needs a boost. The best part? They can be tacked on to the end of ANY routine!
Exercise Reps Rest
Seal Jump 60 seconds ALAP*
Incline-Bench Dumbbell Curl 8 ALAP
Barbell Overhead Press 8 ALAP
Walk-out Plank 8 30-60 seconds
Repeat circuit once.
*ALAP = as little as possible
Mountain Climber 60 seconds ALAP
Rolling Triceps Extension 8 ALAP
Push-Up Plus Just under your max ALAP
Band Face-Pull 8 30-60 seconds
Repeat circuit once.
Benefits of Finishers:
· Better at burning calories
· Enhanced fat loss while developing strength
· Improved aerobic (fueled by oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) fitness levels.
1. Seal Jump
Targets: whole body
Stand with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you; your palms should touch. Jump, bringing your legs out to the sides as if doing a jumping jack. At the same time, move your arms out to your sides. Land with your body in a “star” position, then jump your legs and hands together; repeat. TIP: Make your reps explosive and speedy!
2. Incline Bench Dumbbell Curl
Targets: biceps brachii, brachialis
Lie faceup on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells. Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, then lower until your elbows are semi-straight. Repeat. TIP: Don’t move your upper arms with each rep!
3. Barbell Overhead Press
Targets: anterior and lateral deltoids, triceps brachii
Hold a barbell, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forward. Keep your elbows pointed down while maintaining neutral wrists. Press the bar overhead; your arms should finish beside your ears. Lower to chin level and repeat.
4. Walk-Out Plank
Targets: scapular stabilizers, abdominals
Stand tall with feet together, then squat down. Walk your hands forward until the are in front of your shoulders. Carefully reverse, stand and repeat. TIP: As you walk forward, brace your core and squeeze your glutes!
1. Mountain Climber
Start at the top of a pushup position. Keep your elbows locked, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Quickly alternate bring one knee towards your chest, maintaining a neutral spine as you “climb.” Continue alternating for your entire set. TIP: Your back should remain flat as you move your legs forward and back.
2. Rolling Triceps Extension
Targets: triceps brachii
Lie faceup on a bench. Hold a dumbbell in each hand straight over your chest, with your palms facing each other. Without moving your upper arms, lower the weights towards your forehead. Roll your elbows behind your head, then reverse fluidly. Repeat. TIP: You’ll press up rather than extend your elbows if the weight is too heavy.
3. Push-Up Plus
Targets: pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior
Get into pushup position, with your hands slightly turned out and roughly shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, and keep your legs and feet together. Bend your arms, keeping your elbows slightly tucked, to lower towards the floor. Extend your arms, then protract, or press your shoulder blades away from each other; it will look like you are slightly rounding your upper back. Repeat. TIP: The rounding of your back is subtle, but you should feel it!
4. Band Face-Pull
Targets: rotator cuffs, posterior deltoids
Anchor a band at a point higher than your height. Hold one end in each hand, with your palms facing down, towards the floor. Pull the band towards your face, leading with your thumbs. Flare your elbows out and rotate through your shoulders. Finish with your hands near your head. Extend your arms to return to the starting position, then repeat. TIP: Don’t pull too low towards your chest because you will not externally rotate your shoulders, and you will lose the effect of the rotator cuff muscles.
Until the next step bloggers...