Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Get strong like a man but stay sleek like a woman—in 30 minutes or less

You're craving a kick-butt workout but you're short on time. Story of your life, right? You have to muster the energy to get to the gym and then conjure up a way to use those weights in an orderly fashion. If you're mentally tapped out, you'll likely fall into performing a worn-out routine at a lackluster pace. Yet this not only mitigates your gains but also dampens your motivation for your next gym visit. Sometimes slinging iron needs to be an all-out, heart-pumping, sweat-drenching release for both brain and body. Creating an intense workout requires that you keep your heart rate up and your rest time short to burn fat and calories. These three routines minimize the drudgery of moving between stations and loading plates on the bar by utilizing just one kind of equipment. Whether you use a set of dumbbells, a barbell or a weight plate, you can push yourself to the limit in just 30 minutes or less.  

Dumbbell Destruction
THE POINT: Tackle this routine to jack up your heart rate from start to finish, creating a high-intensity total-body interval program that'll improve your conditioning and attack bodyfat. Practice these novel moves with bodyweight only before attempting them in the gym.
HOW-TO: Choose a set of dumbbells that challenges you but isn't too heavy. Err on the lighter side at first. If you find the weight is too light or too heavy from one exercise to the next, grab an extra set of dumbbells and keep them nearby to save time. The goal is to complete the routine as a circuit: Do one set of each exercise without resting, rest 60 seconds, then perform the circuit again. Try to do three rounds. You can add a fourth circuit or more as you improve, or do two if three is too many.

POWER CLEAN/CURLSTART: Place dumbbells on the floor and squat down to grasp them, keeping your back flat.EXECUTION: Pushing through your feet, explode up and pull the dumbbells to chest level. Once you're standing erect and on the balls of your feet, quickly drop underneath the weights to catch them on your shoulders with your elbows out, palms facing up slightly. Drive through your feet to return to standing. Rotate your wrists so your palms face you, bring your elbows in and extend your arms. Perform a curl, then squat back down. That's one rep.

START: Sit on the floor holding a dumbbell with both hands in front of you. Contract your abs, lift your feet and lean back so you're balancing on your tailbone.
EXECUTION: Slowly rotate your torso to the right and hold. Return to center and repeat to the left. That's one rep.


START: Place dumbbells on the floor in front of you and squat down to grasp them, keeping your back flat.
EXECUTION: Extend your knees and hips to return to standing, keeping the weights close to your body. Continue the motion by pulling the dumbbells up to your shoulders and rotating your elbows underneath to press the weights overhead. Tighten your shoulders and core, and step forward into a lunge. Drive through your front foot to return to standing, then squat back down. Alternate legs every rep.


START: Lie faceup on the floor with a dumbbell in your right hand, your right knee bent and your left leg straight. Press your right arm toward the ceiling and focus on the weight throughout.
EXECUTION: Bring your left leg out to your side, tilt your hips and lean on your left forearm, then press through your hand to get into a sitting position. Swing your left leg under your body and come up on that knee. Press through your left knee and right foot to stand upright. Reverse the movement to lie back down. The dumbbell remains elevated throughout. Repeat for reps, then switch sides.

Treadmill Warm-Up 30-sec. jog/walk; 30-sec. sprint (5 min. total)
Turkish Get-Up 8-10 (each arm)
Snatch/Lunge 8-10 (each leg)
Power Clean/Curl 8-10
Romanian Twist 10 (each side)
Barbell Banging
THE POINT: You know those innocent-looking preloaded bars that the guys use to practice their "curls for the girls"? They can become your best friends.
HOW-TO: Pick a weight with which you can perform all the exercises, or load an empty bar. The key is to perform the routine circuit-style by doing the exercises in order without putting the weight down or resting. Rest 60-120 seconds between rounds, and aim to complete six circuits.


START: Grasp a bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip and bend at the hips and knees, lowering the bar to just below your knees. Your back should be nearly parallel to the floor.
EXECUTION: Keeping your knees bent and back slightly arched, pull the bar into your abs, squeeze your lats, then lower the bar to full arm extension.


START: Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the bar across your front delts and collarbones. Cross your arms to build a shelf for the bar, keeping your elbows high and your back flat.
EXECUTION: Bend your knees and hips as if to sit in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push through your heels to return to standing.


START: Place a barbell on the floor over your toes. Squat down to grasp it, keeping your back flat.
EXECUTION: Bring the bar to mid-thigh level and then explode up, pulling the bar to chest level. Once you're standing erect and on the balls of your feet, drop underneath the bar and catch it on your shoulders. Drive through your feet to explode up and press the bar overhead. Return the bar to the floor.


START: Stand erect holding a bar with an overhand, wider than shoulder-width grip at chest level, palms facing up.
EXECUTION: Bend your hips and knees to descend into a half squat, then push through your feet to explode up and press the bar overhead. Return the bar to your shoulders and immediately begin the next rep.

Clean and Press 6-8
Front Squat 6-8
Push Press 6-8
Romanian Deadlift 6-8
Bent-Over Row 6-8
Incline Push-Up (on bar) 12-15


START: Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a bar at mid-thigh level with a wide, overhand grip.
EXECUTION: Keeping your back flat and shoulders back, bend at the hips and knees to lower the bar to your shins. Pause, then extend your knees and hips to return to standing.
START: Place the bar on the floor, and get in push-up position above it using a shoulder-width grip.
EXECUTION: Keeping your back flat, bend your elbows to bring your chest toward the bar, pushing your elbows out to your sides. Press back up carefully to keep the bar in position.
Plate Propulsion
THE POINT: With this routine, you don't need a gym or fancy equipment to get a serious workout.
HOW-TO: Find a weight plate you can handle for each exercise and do them circuit-style, performing the moves in a quick yet controlled fashion. Rest 60 seconds between circuits and challenge yourself to complete eight rounds.
Bench Press 10-12
Squat 10-12
Standing Curl/Squat/Overhead Press 10-12
One-Leg Romanian Deadlift 10-12 (each leg)
Overhead Triceps Extension 10-12
Sit-Up 12-15


START: Stand erect with most of your weight on your right foot, holding a weight plate to your chest with both hands. Bend your right knee slightly, and keep your back flat and chest out.
EXECUTION: Lift your left leg straight behind you as you push your hips back, lowering your chest toward the floor. When your chest is past parallel to the floor, reverse the motion and return to standing.


START: Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight plate in front of your thighs.
EXECUTION: Curl the plate to your chest, then push it out in front of you and squat down. While holding the squat position, bring the plate back into your chest and press it overhead. Lower the plate back to your chest, push through your feet to return to standing and lower the plate to your thighs. That's one rep.


START: Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight plate with your arms extended in front of you.
EXECUTION: Keeping your arms out, bend your knees and hips as if to sit in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push through your heels to return to standing.


START: Lie faceup on a flat bench and hold a weight plate at your chest.
EXECUTION: Press the plate toward the ceiling until your arms are extended. Lower it back to your chest without letting it touch.


START: Stand erect holding a weight plate behind your head, with your elbows pointing to the ceiling.
EXECUTION: Extend your arms to press the plate overhead. When your arms are fully extended, slowly lower the plate back to the start. Keep your upper arms near your ears throughout.


START: Lie faceup on the floor, knees bent and feet flat, and hold a weight plate at your chest.
EXECUTION: Crunch your abs to bring the plate toward your knees. Return to just shy of your upper back touching.

LEUCINE: Big Bang for Your Buck

Forget diamonds, protein is a girl's best friend. But what if you don't have time to gnaw on lean meat all day? Just supplement your diet with the essential branched-chain amino acid leucine. This vital protein building block stimulates muscle growth, slows muscle breakdown and even facilitates insulin release (or at least mimics its powerful effects). (1), (2)
Leucine taken in high doses has been shown to decrease appetite by stimulating your brain's hunger control center (3) and may even help maintain your glucose levels in a low-calorie state, which is critical for preserving energy and lean muscle. This helps explain why research consistently shows that leucine increases lean body mass and strength in test subjects, and gives users the perception of having an easier workout. (1), (4)
To take advantage of leucine's benefits, add 3-6 grams to a 10-15-gram essential amino acid mixture or 20-30-gram whey protein shake immediately before and during resistance training. Post-workout, mix 16 grams of leucine with 30-35 grams of whey protein and also take in 50 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates. Get ready to feel stronger, leaner and less ravaged after lifting

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