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You may have heard that multitasking is bad for you, causing you to be unfocused and less productive. But multitasking during strength training is actually your ticket to a slimmer, leaner body. For starters, there are two types of strength exercises: isolated and compound. Isolated exercises (think biceps curls and leg extensions) target only one muscle group at a time, while compound moves, like squats and lunges, work several muscles at the same time.
While both are beneficial, it’s the compound moves that give you more bang for your buck. “You get to the fat-burning zone faster,” says celebrity trainer Jackie Warner, creator of this workout.
But it’s combining both the isolated and compound motions into one exercise that is really the secret to working efficiently and effectively — think adding a curl to a lunge, for example. “Because you’re working the upper and lower body at the same time, your heart is pumping harder, giving you cardio benefits as well,” explains Warner. Plus, because you’re working more efficiently, you can knock out a full-body workout in just 20 minutes — or less.
Warner has designed this routine with exercises that combine both upper- and lower-body motions to strengthen your body from head to toe. With the stunning (and fast) results you’ll get from this total-body workout, multitasking could be your new exercise M.O.!
Grab a pair of dumbbells — you’ll have to experiment to find the right weight for you, but in general, “you want to use a heavy enough weight so that by the last three to five reps, you feel a burn in the muscles,” Warner says — and do this workout three days a week on non-consecutive days. Complete three sets of 10 reps of each exercise (with the exception of the renegade push-up, which you’ll complete 20 times per set).
Want to earn a little extra credit? Between sets of each move, do an intense burst of cardio for one minute. For instance, run in place super hard, jump rope or do mountain climbers. “This gets your heart rate up and turns you into a fat-burning machine,” Warner says. And who doesn’t want that?
Wide Sumo Squat with Front Shoulder Raise
Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended towards the floor, and space your feet wide with toes pointed out. Raise your arms in front of you, palms facing down, then lower. Bend both legs to sink into a squat; do not allow your knees to jut past your toes. Stand to return to the start and repeat from the top.
Tip: Keep your hips shifted forward so you don’t arch your back.
Lunge with Biceps Curl
Stand with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in each hand and your arms at your sides with palms facing forward. Take a big step forward with your right foot and lunge until your right thigh is almost parallel to the floor. As you lower, flex from your elbows to curl the weights towards your shoulders. Return to the start and repeat. When your set is through, switch sides.
Tip: When you lunge forward, shift your weight to your front heel. “The focus should be on working your hamstrings and glutes,” says Warner, adding that you should step so that your front knee aligns over your ankle.
With a dumbbell under each hand, get into a push-up position on the floor as shown, so that your feet and hands are supporting your body. (If this is too difficult, drop to your knees.) Position your wrists under your shoulders and contract your core to prevent lower-back sag. Bend your arms to lower your chest until you’re about an inch or two from the floor. As you push back up, row one weight up alongside your body until the weight is beside your ribcage. Return the weight to the floor and repeat, alternating arms with each rep.
Tip: As you lower into the push-up, think about rounding your back slightly towards the ceiling. “This will help you avoid dropping your core and arching your back,” Warner explains.
Reverse Crunch to Chest Flye
Lie face up on a mat with your legs bent to 90 degrees and your feet lifted about one inch off the floor. Hold a weight in each hand and extend your arms out to the sides so they are in line with your shoulders, with palms facing up. Bring the weights together over your chest until they almost touch; at the same time, lift your knees to bring them towards your chest. Reverse to return to the start.
Tip: Keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the exercise, and try to lift your hips slightly as you crunch.