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Make Your Workouts Smarter, Not Longer!

We have a been conditioned to think our workouts should be an hour long, and if we don’t have time to get that hour in, we don’t think it is worth it. Not true! Your workouts can be short, smart and efficient and it’s one way to get a great total body workout within a short period of time.

WARM-UP

Out with the old…

Your old school warm-up may have been jumping on the treadmill, elliptical or bike for 20 minutes at an easy to moderate intensity which was enough to break a sweat and raise your heart rate a bit. On the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion), you were working at a level 3-4 on a scale of 1-10.

In with the new…

Your new warm-up is functional, short and relates to your workout. Spend 3-4 minutes going through dynamic range of motion exercises to warm-up your muscles. Try body-weight squats, reverse lunges, knee tucks, bottom kickers, arm circles forward and back, and inchworm. Complete some rehearsal moves for the exercises you plan to do in your workout. For example, if you are going to do weighted squats or jump squats for your workout, do some body weight squats in your warm-up.

CORE

Out with the old…

Waiting until the end of the workout when you are exhausted and you drop to the floor to do crunches and core work.

In with the new…

Arguably, a strong and stable core is the foundation by which your workout should be built. Why wait until the end of your workout when you are tired and not as focused to give your core the attention it deserves? Start with some active core exercises! It sets the tone for your workout and helps turn on your stabilizers before you begin to add weight/load or power. Examples: standing torso rotations (rotating opposite elbow to knee), inchworm into a plank hold, mountain or Everest climbers, superman’s, wood-choppers, and reverse lunges with a torso rotation.

WORKOUT PLAN

Out with the old… doing cardio and strength separately

We use to hop on a piece of cardio equipment for 30 minutes, then do strength training and hit the weights for 30 minutes. But this takes time, isn’t efficient and can be boring!

In with the new… HIIT workouts

For your cardio and strength workouts let’s do a mash-up and piggyback some big compound movements with some power or cardio sets. Follow this with some active recovery for a dynamic, efficient and always exciting workout!

For example, my clients know that my all-time favorite move is a squat to an overhead press. With this compound movement you work your quads, gluteals, hamstrings, shoulders, triceps and core. The time it takes to do this exercise is a fraction of what it would take to work each muscle group separately. Now let’s be clear, if your goal is hypertrophy, you will need to isolate muscle groups, but for the purpose of creating a short and efficient workout, this is a great way to go.

To keep this workout short and simple, after each strength-based movement stick in a cardio or power move. Our bodies love and CRAVE variety, so after each strength exercise, do a completely different cardio or power move. Use this as your time to go crazy, have fun and vary the exercises. Stick in some sprints, jumps, high knees, burpees, jacks or split lunges. I would set my timer for 30 seconds of effort and 15 seconds of recovery and increase your intensity to an RPE of 7-9.

CREATING THE WORKOUT

Out with the old… workouts that focused on one body part at a time

Depending on your goals it may be very important to focus a workout on chest and triceps, but for a quick and total body workout, let’s put our focus on push and pull exercises to balance our bodies.

In with the new… balance your push-pull exercises

We want to create balance for the right and left sides of our bodies as well as the front and back. We tend to focus on the front of our bodies with chest presses and crunches, but many of us really need to work on strengthening the back to maintain proper posture, a strong core and muscle balance. For example, for every pushing exercise, do a pulling exercise. Continue to make it interesting by throwing a little twist into the exercise to keep the variety. Instead of just doing a push-up, add a side plank or two mountain climbers before you push so you can work more parts of your body with one exercise. Balance your push-pull movements by doing a bent over row after your complete the push-ups. You can add a balance element with a single leg deadlift while you complete the bent over rows, working on stability and dynamic balance as well.

Let’s bring these concepts to life for a quick IN WITH THE NEW workout. Here are 12 exercises that can be done for…

1. Time: 30 second intervals of work/15 seconds of recovery, OR
2. Repetitions: 12 repetitions of each exercise and can be completed in under 15 minutes for a total body workout

1) Wood Chop (Right & Left)

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2) Sprints

3) Squat to Press

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4) Kettlebell Swing

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5) Reverse lunge with bicep curl

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6) Squat Jumps

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7) Push-ups with a side-plank option

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8) Mountain climbers

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9) Seated rotations (Russian Twist) – Option 1 is basic, Option 2 is advanced

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10) Bicycle abs

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