Contrary to popular belief, cardio isn’t the only way to lose those extra pounds you may have packed on this winter. Strength training can actually be a better option to burn calories and build lean muscle. “It promotes gains in hypertrophy – strength and endurance through the breakdown and rebuilding of muscle tissue,” says Alexander Kaufman, personal trainer and founder of P.E.P.P.E.R fitness in New York City.
Strength training is one of the best ways to build a complete, balanced body and can be done both with and without equipment. Workouts should focus on adding both flexibility and strength. “When working without equipment, it can be hard to target smaller muscles and isolate them like you would at a gym,” says Kaufman. “Focusing on compound movements will drive your strength through the roof in all areas.”
Try this workout created by Kaufman that can be done almost anywhere. Each time you do this workout, add two more reps to each exercise to continue progression. Rest 30 seconds to one minute between exercises, and repeat the whole circuit one to three times through. Continue for six weeks.
Hindu (or Parkour) Push-Up
Targets: delts, triceps, chest, hips
With feet shoulder-width apart, bend forward, placing your hands fully on the ground in front of you, butt in the air, back straight. Leading with your head, dive your body down, one vertebrae following the other until your body straightens out, (like the bottom part of a pushup). Push into the ground and extend your arms fully, lifting your chest forward past your arms until your head is high. Reverse the entire movement. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
Targets: full body Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Keeping your right knee over your right ankle, core engaged, slowly squat down while simultaneously lifting your left leg and extending it forward. Your end position should be a deep squat with your left leg fully extended forward. Return to start position. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps on each leg.
Targets: anterior delts and triceps
Start with legs shoulder-width apart, reach down and place hands fully on the ground in front of you, fingers spread wide, arms fully extended, butt in the air, back flat, shoulders engaged, with heels remaining on the ground. Keeping everything in alignment, spine neutral, bend elbows outward and lower your head down to the floor. Push back up to start position. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
Targets: legs and cardio
Start with feet shoulder-width apart. Step your left leg forward and squat down so that your left knee is directly over your left ankle, right hip over right knee. Jump and reverse leg position so right leg comes in front, right knee over right ankle, and your left leg is now behind with hip directly over left knee. Jump and reverse again. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
Stationary Frog Hop*
Targets: triceps, thighs, hamstrings, glutes, core
Get on the floor on all fours, hands on the ground, toes tucked under pushing your weight into them so your shins are raised off the ground. Without moving your hands at all, push off your toes, kicking your legs up off the ground and outward into the air. Land back in starting position. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
Targets: triceps, core, glutes, hamstrings
Start in an upward pushup position. Lower your body down into the pushup, then quickly jump your legs forward and stand up tall. This should be an explosive movement. Drop back down into pushup position and repeat. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
Tight to Wide Jumping Squats
Targets: legs, glutes, hamstrings
Start with your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart. Keeping your back flat, lower your glutes and hips down until your hands touch the ground. Jump up, landing with your feet close together, standing fully erect. Jump your feet back out wider than shoulder width. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps.
By Amy Schlinger
*Some of these moves are considered advanced, so use caution.
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