Bored with the treadmill? Had it with the elliptical? Sick of pedaling to nowhere on the bike in your quest to burn fat? If you’re up for a change of pace, Suzanne Bowen, a Florida-based personal trainer and the creator of BarreAmped, has an answer in the form of a unique routine you can do in 30 minutes or less.
“This simple, compound-move-based workout leaves no muscle un-torched,” Bowen says. “It’s a great cross-training routine for those who normally lift heavy weights, made up of high reps in full-range-of-motion exercises.”
Your list of implements is short: a mat, stopwatch (or smartphone app) and two sets of hand weights. (The size depends on your strength levels, with beginners advised to use 2s and 5s.) You may want to perform this in an area where you have something stable to hold onto at certain points for balance.>
Start with a five-minute warm-up — a brisk walk, light jog, jump rope or similar activity — then launch right into the following sequence of exercises, working through them two to three times total:
1. Lunge With Lateral Raise (quads, glutes, middle delts)
Grasp the hand weights, stand with your arms at your sides and step forward into a deep-lunge position, lowering your hips toward the floor as you bend your front knee. Simultaneously raise the weights out to your sides to a point parallel with the floor. Reverse the motion to return to the start. Repeat for one minute, switching the lead leg each rep.
2. One-Legged Romanian Deadlift With Bent-Over Lateral Raise (hamstrings, glutes, rear delts)
Assume a standing position, then put one leg straight out slightly behind you, keeping the knee of the planted leg soft to allow for a deeper range of motion. With your hips square, core tight and arms at your sides with your palms facing back, slowly hinge at the hips as your back leg raises and your torso lowers downward. As you hinge, raise your arms out to your sides. Reverse the motion to come to a standing position. Repeat for reps for one minute before switching legs.
3. Wide Tiptoe Squat With Biceps Curl (quads, adductors, anterior deltoids, biceps)
Holding a weight in each hand, arms outstretched in front of you, open your legs outward and raise yourself up on your toes, keeping your inner thighs in line with your feet and your spine in a neutral position. Bend down deeply at your knees as you curl one weight toward the same-side shoulder, then extend your arm as you straighten your knees. (The nonworking arm stays outstretched in front of you.) Continue for two minutes, switching arms on each descent. If you can’t stay on your toes, practice first by keeping your feet flat and work up to the more advanced position over time.
4. Plank With Knee Pull (shoulders, pectorals, abs, quads)
Assume a plank position on the floor, body aligned from head to feet. First, inhale, and as you exhale slowly, bring one knee in toward your chest. Return the leg to the plank position as you inhale. Repeat with the other knee, switching back and forth under control for up to two minutes. Throughout, do not let your belly or head sag.
5. Superman With Lat Pulldown (erector spinae, glutes, lats, middle back)
Lie facedown on a mat holding a set of hand weights — for this particular move, Bowen recommends no heavier than 2 pounds each. Extend your arms in a slight V position from your shoulders, palms facing down, arms slightly off the floor. Your legs should be turned out and placed wider than hip width. Inhale while pulling your abs in and up. On the exhale, bend your arms at the elbow as you lift your upper body and feet up, keeping your legs in contact with the mat, being careful not to hyperextend your lower back. Inhale and return to the start. Repeat the sequence for up to two minutes.
Check out suzannebowenfitness.com for a selection of DVDs and online streaming fitness classes.