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Five quick workouts to ignite your metabolism, torch fat and build the body you’ve always wanted.
1. TABATA TORCHERS
Why It Works Tabatas (brief, high-intensity interval workouts named after Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata) can burn about 60 kilojoules a minute, say scientists at the University of Wisconsin. But instead of doing them with just one exercise, choose two – an upper-body exercise and a lower-body move – and alternate between them. That way you can keep the intensity high throughout the session and push for longer than just 4 minutes.
How to Do It Pick an upper-body move and a lower-body move and set a timer for 4 minutes. Do the upper-body exercise for 20 seconds; rest 10 seconds. Then do the lower-body exercise for 20 seconds, again resting 10 seconds. Continue following this pattern until your time’s up. Afterwards, choose different exercises and repeat.
2. METABOLIC BURNOUTS
Why It Works Taking longer rests earlier in a workout lets you warm up with an intense first circuit, helping you reach your “oxygen threshold”. Then, for each subsequent circuit, you have to work even harder, with less rest, progressively digging yourself deeper into “oxygen debt”. So your metabolism will still be cranking to replace your oxygen stores long after you’ve hit the showers, up to 39 hours later. The bigger your debt, the more kilojoules your body burns, during and after your session.
How to Do It In any timed circuit, decrease your rest each round. For your first round, you might start with 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. But each round thereafter, you’ll take 5 seconds off your rest until eventually you have no rest between your 30-second bouts of work.
3. VARIABLE-TEMPO TRAINING
Why It Works If you change up the speed of your repetitions, you’ll tap into a totally new muscle-building stimulus. (Let’s face it, you’ve probably lifted at just one speed your entire training career.) Taking longer to lift and lower the weight – or simply pausing at certain points during the lift – is an old-school bodybuilding secret that works different fibres, increases the time your muscles spend under load and can help you pack on mounds of lean muscle.
How to Do It Start by taking 3 seconds to lower the weight or 3 seconds to raise it. Or hold the midpoint for 3 seconds. Then get creative! Once you feel comfortable, you can mix in different tempos. For example, take 5 seconds to lift, pause 3 seconds at the top and take 4 seconds to lower it back down.
4. FIVE-MINUTE SHRED SETS
Why It Works In a typical 3-sets-of-10 workout, your muscles spend only about 90 seconds under load. That’s why simply doing as many reps as possible in a given time is so powerful – you end up doing far more than your standard 30 or so reps. Which means your muscles spend significantly more time actually working, triggering renewed fat loss and muscle gains.
How to Do It Select an exercise, and grab a weight that you think you can lift about 20 times in a set. Now do as many reps as you can in 5 min- utes. You probably won’t be able to work through the full 5 minutes at first. But try to increase your total reps over time. Pro tip: in the beginning, aim to crank out a specific number of reps (for example, 12) every minute, on the minute.
5. SIX-PACK SUPERSETS
Why It Works This six-pack hack wakes up your key muscle groups, creating a mind-muscle connection that should help you “feel” and better activate your abs and glutes in every exercise of your workout. So each exercise you perform thereafter – whether it’s a squat or a bench press – will work your abs and glutes even harder. As a result, you’ll be better able to recruit and build more muscle and incinerate more calories.
How to Do It Before you perform a total-body move – such as a squat, deadlift, or bench press – do 30 seconds of a core or glute exercise. Rest 15 seconds; then go directly into your big-lift set. For example, prior to your next bench set, do hip thrusts. Pre-engaging your glutes will help you “drive” the bar off of your chest with more force.