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Need to kick your training up a notch? We know, your schedule is already jam-packed and there’s no way to squeeze in another workout. But the beauty of this program is you don’t have to.
Each of these carefully selected exercises targets multiple bodyparts, which means you’ll be attacking your muscle fibers in numerous ways during each repetition. “Multi-joint functional exercises use more muscles, which means more energy is required,” says Lori Harder, Oxygen cover girl, personal trainer and founder of The Bliss Project, noting that this is especially true when you work your legs and glutes, the largest muscle groups in your body. She adds, “You get the bonus of an increased metabolism for hours after your workout, which adds up to a whole lot of extra calories being torched!” If that doesn’t make you want to sign on the dotted line, using the cable machine for the majority of the exercises also requires rock-solid core stability, so you’re getting a killer abs workout at the same time!
How To Do It
This workout is a circuit, meaning you will move as quickly as possible from one exercise to the next (leaving enough time, of course, to readjust the cable station or move to another area for your next exercise). You’ll move through your multi–bodypart exercises, then end with a finishing move meant to deplete you before your next round: box jumps. Rest for 60 seconds before repeating from the top.
Beginners, try doing this workout once or twice through. If you’ve been exercising for at least six months, aim to complete two to three rounds. But if you are a fitness veteran — or really want to put the proverbial pedal to the metal — try to tackle three to four rounds. No matter what your fitness level, select a lighter weight than you would normally use, as you will be completing a higher range of repetitions than you may be used to.
Complete this routine three times per week on nonconsecutive days, supplemented with a solid cardio program (see “Don’t forget about cardio!”) for an even larger slimming effect. (How’s that for an oxymoron?)
Cable Squat With Row
Target Muscles: latissimus dorsi, gluteus maximus, quadriceps
Set Up: Stand facing a cable station with a V-handle attached at waist height. Grab the handle and step backwards with arms extended in front of you, until you feel tension in the cable.
Action: Bend both knees to squat, aiming to bring your thighs parallel to the ground. As you extend your legs to stand, pull the handle towards your stomach, keeping your elbows tight to your sides. Repeat for a total of 15 reps.
Split Squat With One-Arm Cable Press
Target Muscles: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, anterior deltoids
Set Up: Stand in front of a cable station with a D-handle set low. Hold the handle in your left hand just in front of your shoulder, and take a big step back with your left leg.
Action: Bend both knees, stopping when they form 90-degree angles. Press through your front heel to stand; at the same time, press the handle upward until your arm is straight but unlocked. After you have completed 15 reps, switch sides and repeat.
Tip: A wide stance will emphasize your glutes.
Target Muscles: rectus abdominis, anterior deltoids, quadriceps
Set Up: Stand sideways to a cable machine with a D-handle set at the lowest setting. Grab the handle with both hands, turning your upper body to face the weight stack.
Action: Extend your legs to stand as you draw the handle across your body and upwards as shown. (Your arms should remain straight throughout the entire motion.) Return to the start, complete 12 to 15 reps, then repeat facing the other way.
Tip: Pivot your feet on the floor to assist with the motion.
Thumb-Up Cable Lateral Raise
Target Muscles: lateral deltoids
Set Up: Attach a D-handle to the lowest setting on a cable machine. Stand sideways to the weight stack and grab the handle with your oustide hand, palm facing forward.
Action: Keep a slight bend in your elbow as you raise your arm up and out to the side. Carefully return to the start, and perform a total of 12 to 15 reps before switching sides.
Cable Cross-Body Pull
Target Muscles: lateral, anterior and posterior deltoids, triceps brachii
Set Up: Stand sideways to a cable station with a D-handle attached at chest height. Hold the handle in your outside hand with your arm extended in the direction of the stack.
Action: Pull the handle across your chest, then extend from the elbow to straighten your arm. Reverse to return to the start. Do 15 reps, then switch sides.
Tip: You’ve found the right weight if you can pause in between the pull and the extension.
Tip: If it’s hard to remain vertical when you extend your arm towards the stack, reduce your weight.
Get Hip To It: Cable moves like the lateral raise and the cross-body pull require you to engage your abdominals for support. Monitor your hips throughout your set: they should remain facing forward at all times.
One-Legged Medicine-Ball Curl
Target Muscles: hamstrings, gluteus maximus, transverse abdominis
Set Up: Lie on a mat with one heel on a medicine ball. Raise your other leg towards the ceiling, and lift your glutes.
Action: Bend your knee to roll the ball towards you, then extend it to return to the starting position. Complete 20 reps, then switch legs and repeat.
Tip: Your leg should point to the ceiling throughout the move.
Target Muscles: gluteus maximus, quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius
Set Up: Find a high box or sturdy bench, and stand with it about six inches in front of you.
Action: Sink into a squat , then extend your legs and explode upward, swinging your arms to help you gain height. Land on top of the box with soft, unlocked knees, then hop off and return to the floor. Complete 10 to 15 consecutive reps in total.
Tip: Intimidated? Start with an exercise step with two risers, and work your way up. It’s all in your head Most people can jump higher than they think; once you land your first jump, you’ll wonder why you were ever worried!
Don’t Forget About Cardio!
Increase your chances of success by adding cardio to your program. “The best cardio workout to do is the one you enjoy the most,” stresses Sandra Koulourides, founder of both Fuel Plus Fitness and Horizontal Conditioning in Birmingham, Alabama. “That way you will look forward to your workouts.” Select two different types of cardio – like running and spinning – and do each twice per week.
One more tip: Incorporate intervals into two of your four weekly sessions for a banging bod in minimal time!