Cardio and strength training are equally important in shaping the perfect body. But time is of the essence, and going to the gym twice a day (once for cardio and once for weight) may not be an option.
What’s the Best Way to Build Muscle and Burn Fat – All in One Trip to the Gym? Says IFBB Figure Pro Ava Cowan, “It’s about combining your basic bodybuilding-style movements with plyometrics and then going a step further using what’s called active breaks.” An example of an active break is doing abdominal exercises between sets so that your target muscle group can rest while working.
For example, start your squats for 8-12 reps, then immediately squat for about 20 reps to completely exhaust the muscle group, and then rest with an abdominal exercise. All three functions together ensure an intense, heartbeat training that makes you snort and puff for more. Essentially, you’re doing a circuit-style workout – which means your workout will be shorter in time and you will burn more calories than your basic workout without active breaks and plyometrics. You will kill two birds with one stone.
Go all-in and try this high-intensity, grueling workout. Your metabolism will be on fire by the time you’re done – guaranteed. You can even apply these principles to all other muscle groups on different days of the week. This way you hit all parts of the body and at the same time have the benefits of intense training.
SCULPT THE PERFECT BODY WORKOUT
Barbell Squats: Place the barbell on your shoulders with your hands in a comfortable position. Sit back as if looking for a chair behind you. Always keep your back straight, shoulders back and chest out, and make sure that your knees don’t bend forward past your toes. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push up from your heels. Tip: keep your chin up to avoid falling. Beginners can start with no weight, hands crossed on their chest.
Lunges: Hold the dumbbells against your sides with your palms facing inward. Step forward with one foot. Always keep your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders back. Slowly walk towards the floor so your knees can bend. The idea is to make sure that the thigh behind you is perpendicular to the floor while your leading thigh ends in a parallel position. Don’t let your knee touch the floor. Push back through your heels to the starting position. Repeat on the same leg for the reps you want or take turns. Beginners can start with no weight and arms crossed at their chest.
Hack Squats: When using the designated Hack Squat machine in your gym, be sure to follow the instructions on the machines. Always push off your heels and don’t let your knees bend past your toes.
Lying leg curls: Use the dedicated leg curl machine in your gym. Adjust the curling iron so that it rests on your ankles. Curl the bar toward your back end without the bar touching your body. Check the weight at all times and do not let your lower back lift off the cushion of the machine.
Romanian deadlift: Grip with hands that are wider than shoulder width. Stand with your feet approximately 4 to 5 inches apart. Keep your back straight, chest out, and shoulders back throughout the movement. With your knees slightly bent, slowly lower the weight towards the floor and bend only at the hips. Slide your rear end backwards like you’re sticking your butt out. You will feel a stretch in your glutes and hamstrings. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Leg extension: Choose a specific leg extension machine in your gym. Adjust the seat to your height. Put your feet behind the padded bar. The bar should rest on your ankles just above your shoes. Extend your legs towards the sky and slowly lower them, always controlling the weight. Don’t let weight control you. Do not let the panels hit the floor or rest on the floor of the movement. Immediately move on to your next rep.
Standing calves: Choose a specific device for standing calves in your gym. Adjust the equipment to your height and choose the appropriate weight. Stand with your feet about 3 to 4 inches apart. Keep your knees straight, but don’t lock them. Start the movement with your calves fully extended. Stand up to full contraction and straighten your heel all the way up, pushing through the balls of your feet. Slowly return to the full stretch, step your heel towards the floor and repeat the process.
Sitting calves: Choose the appropriate equipment and add the appropriate weight. Sit with your knees under the device. Keep your feet 4 to 5 inches apart. Perform the movement slowly as recommended for standing calves.
Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Cross your arms at your chest. Crouch down and explode up into a full jump, pushing off your heels. Land on your toes and immediately return to your squat and do more reps. Beginner – 10-15 repetitions; Intermediate – 20-25 repetitions; Intermediate – 30+ repetitions
Bank jumps: Stand in front of a box or a low bench. Keep your arms crossed at your chest or to your sides. Feet shoulders apart. Crouch down and jump on the bench. Return to the floor and do more reps. Beginner – 10-15 repetitions; Intermediate – 20-25 repetitions; Intermediate – 30+ repetitions.
Skipping rope: Use a suitable length skipping rope to make quick jumps in quick succession. If possible, don’t ricochet twice. Beginners – 20 turns; Intermediate – 30 turns; Advanced – 40+ turns.
Jumping Jacks: Just like when you were a kid. Make sure to fully extend your arms and jump as far apart as possible. Always keep your chest out, shoulders back, and back straight. Beginners – 20 jumps; Intermediate level – 30 jumps; Advanced – 40+ jumps.
Bicycle or other cardio machine: Do cardio for 1-5 minutes, the intensity depending on your fitness level.
Knee-ups: With the Roman chair, raise your knees to hip height, slowly lower them down, and repeat the process for repetitions.
Supported Straight Leg Raises: Use the Roman chair. Raise your legs to hip height, slowly lower them down, and repeat the process for repetitions.
Bank V-Ups: Grasp the bench close to your butt with a bench for stability. Bring your legs and trunk together, keeping your legs straight. Slowly lower and repeat for repetitions. Beginners can use a bent knee.
Incline Leg-Hip Raises: Lie down on the bench. Grasp the bench behind your head for stability. Raise your legs towards the sky and fully extend them, pulling your hips off the bench. Slowly lower to the starting position and continue for repetitions.
* For a more advanced movement, tilt your legs to one side on the eccentric movement (or all the way down) to target the slopes.
Incline Crunches: Lie on the bench with your feet behind the bar. Perform sitting with control throughout the movement. Beginner – cross hands across the chest; Intermediate level – rest your hands behind your head; Advanced – straighten your arms straight above your head with your hands folded towards the sky. Continue for repetitions.
* For advanced practitioners, move on to extra weight and hold the medicine ball above your head.
Cycles: Lie on your back with your hands behind your head. Bring the alternate knee to the opposite shoulder. Exhale when they come together. Perform for repetitions.