women

Put down those light dumbbells! It’s time to boost your strength and blast some fat with this muscle-building workout

If you’re training like a trouper and reaping zero results, it’ s time to stop lifting 2.5kg dumbbells umpteen times and start pumping some iron. Here’s why: more weight builds more muscle, and greater muscle blasts hoards of calories all day long.

If your workout consists of 10 reps or more, aim to increase the weight, drop the number of reps and do more sets. Those in the weights world call this ‘progressive overload’, and it’s crucial for sculpting muscle. In fact, one study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that women who lifted heavy dumbbells for eight reps burned nearly twice as many calories as those who blitzed through 15 reps with light weights.

If your workout consists of 10 reps or more, aim to increase the weight, drop the number of reps and do more sets.

If your workout consists of 10 reps or more, aim to increase the weight, drop the number of reps and do more sets.

Want to try it? This workout, by trainer Katarina B, health mentor at Nuffield Health (nuffieldhealth.com), is designed to make you stronger and slimmer. Based around compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, presses and rows, the circuit promotes fast muscle and strength gains, as well as great fat loss.

‘These exercises will increase your strength, boost your metabolism at rest and make you look good,’ says B. ‘And, when you finish the workout, you won’t be able to do another rep!’ You have been warned.

Getting Started

For each exercise, estimate your one-rep max (1RM) – the most weight you can lift for one repetition and train with 75 per cent of that weight (75% 1RM).

Too complicated? Opt for a weight you think you can lift a few more times than the specified number of reps.

You need: A barbell, resistance band and skipping rope

Warm-up

Grab a rope and get skipping to prepare your body for exercise. Skip vigorously for 90 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and repeat three times.

The workout

1.    Deadlift

Reps: 6 at 75% 1rm

Sets: 3

·         Stand with your feet hip-width apart and the balls of your feet directly under the bar.

·         Looking ahead, bend at the hips and knees to grab the bar with an overhand grip. Your hands are shoulder-width apart and arms are straight (a).

·         Without allowing your lower back to round, stand up with the barbell (b). Pause momentarily and then lower back to the floor.

Deadlift

Deadlift

2.    Clean

Reps: 3 at 75% 1rm

Sets: 6

·         Stand with feet hip-width apart; balls of your feet under the bar. Squat down to grab the barbell with a shoulder-width grip (a).

·         Quickly straighten your legs and push your hips forward to stand up, keeping the bar close to your body as you rise (b).

·         Shrug your shoulders and lift the barbell to shoulder height. Simultaneously, drop your elbows and bend your knees to bring your arms under the bar. Stand up (c). Reverse the process to lower; repeat.

Clean

Clean

3.    Front Squat

Reps: 6 at 75% 1rm

Sets: 3

·         Start in the ‘clean’ end position with feet shoulder-width apart and the bar resting on your upper pectoral muscles (a).

·         Take a deep breath, arch your back slightly and bend at the knees to squat down. Push through your heels to maintain form (b).

·         Breathe out and return to the start position.

Front Squat

Front Squat

4.    Push Press

Reps: 3 at 75% 1rm

Sets: 6

·         Perform the clean move, as in exercise 2 (a).

·         Bend at the knees (b) before pressing the bar straight overhead (c). Keep your core engaged.

·         Return the barbell to your shoulders and repeat three times to complete one set.

Push Press

Push Press

5.    Barbell row to press-up

Reps: 5 (of each exercise) at 75% 1rm

Sets: 3

·         With feet hip-width, grab the barbell and get into bent-over row position (a).

·         Stick your chest out, flatten your lower back and pull the weight into your upper abdomen, sending your elbows back (b). Repeat this five times.

·         Immediately, put the barbell on the floor and grab a resistance band. Wrap the band around your upper torso, put a handle in each hand and get into a press-up position (c).

·         Engage your core, bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s nearly touching the floor (d). Pause and push yourself back up. Do five press-ups.

·         This whole sequence is one ‘superset’. Complete three supersets, increasing the weight for each round. Don’t rest between exercises; rest for 30 seconds between sets.

Barbell row to press-up

Barbell row to press-up

Post Work-put stretches

1.    Standing chest stretch

·         Stand tall and straighten both arms behind your back.

·         Place the back of one hand on the palm of the other – don’t interlock your fingers!

·         Lift your arms up until you can feel a stretch across your chest. Hold for 15 seconds.

Standing chest stretch

Standing chest stretch

2.    Kneeling quad stretch

 

·         Put one knee on the floor and bend the other leg out in front with the foot flat on the floor. Rest your hand on the front leg.

·         Grasp the ankle of the back leg behind you.

·         You should be able to feel a stretch in you quad. Lean forwards from the hips to increase the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

 

Kneeling quad stretch

Kneeling quad stretch

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