If I had a choice to do only one type of workout, it would definitely be strength training. Look, don’t get me wrong, I love cardio. And, love its efficiency in torching fat of the body. However, the problem with cardio is that it is one dimensional as long as workout objective is considered. It can only help in shedding weight. Of course, it is pretty efficient in it. But, in modern age, where the penchant for multi-tasking is valued the most, one dimensionally workouts are redundant. You need a workout routine that can check multiple criteria.
And, as long as we are talking about workout that can meet multiple fitness objectives, the strength training is perfect option. Along with building sexy muscles, it can help in shedding fat as well. It can improve your strength as well as flexibility. Although the cardio has a minor lead over strength training when it comes to weight loss, still strength training is no slouch. It can fire up your metabolism and can turn your body into fat torching machine that will keep on burning calories long after the completion of the workout.
The five strength training exercises listed in this article can help you torch loads of fat and at the same time will build all round physique. You can opt to do these exercises in a circuit that has to be repeated thrice. And, in case, you are squeezed for time, you can do any one. Either way, the results will be spectacular.
Overhead Barbell Squats
This exercise gives the classic barbell squats a small makeover to make it even better at burning calories. Also, this variation will engage your core even more as it will make maintaining balance even tougher that already it is. And, another great thing about this variation of squat is that it will engage your upper body muscles as well. However, you have to keep in mind that the weight plates on the barbell are firmly secured with a clip. Otherwise, it can lead to unfortunate and serious accident.
Grab a standard 45 pound barbell and hoist it overhead. Your hands should be spaced slightly wider than shoulder width. Now, the barbell should be directly over your head and your arms should be completely extended, but the elbows shouldn’t be locked out. Your feet should be placed shoulder-width apart and should be planted flat on the floor. Push your hips back and lower into a squat. Descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your hips are slightly higher than your knees. Pause for a moment and push through your heels to rise out of the squat. Remember the movement that brings you out of squat should be slow and controlled. At all times, during the exercise, your arms should be pointed towards the ceiling and perpendicular to the floor.
If you have an advanced fitness level and just a barbell isn’t challenging enough for you, you can load up the barbell to make it more challenging. However, refrain from adding too much weight to the bar as it can be very stressful for your back. Anyways, if you are doing the exercise with the right form, you won’t have to add much weight. It already is challenging enough.
The biggest flaw of modern workouts is that they don’t have enough bodyweight exercises. Yes, lifting weight is important to build muscles. But, you can’t deny the efficiency of bodyweight exercises in sculpting muscles and working them to failure. The bodyweight exercises coupled with standard weight lifting moves will work your muscle to complete failure, thus leading to bigger and better muscle gains. In this context, the inverted rows can take your back workout to a whole new level. The best thing is it removes the muscular imbalance in your body. Plus, it works multiple muscles, especially the core muscles that are engaged throughout the exercise.
Place the barbell in a squat rack at about waist height. Sit on the floor, under the bar and grab it with an overhand grip. Now, your hands should be placed shoulder-width apart, the arms should be straight and the legs should be extended straight out. The feet should be together and your heels firmly on the ground. By bending your elbows, pull your chest towards the bar. During the whole exercise, you have to ensure that your body is in straight line from your head to the heels. Stop pulling your body towards the bar when your chest is about four inches from the bar. Now, in a slowly and controlled movement, lower your body to the starting position. This is one rep. While maintaining the right form, do as many reps as your fitness allows.
Elevated Feet Push-up
As I was saying earlier, it is important to incorporate bodyweight exercises in the workout, especially when you are looking to sculpt lean muscles and burn fat at the same time. And, when it comes to targeting several different upper body muscles in a single movement, there are few exercises better than pushups. But, why you should do elevated feet push-ups instead of regular pushups? The reason is that this variation of push-ups targets more muscles. It lays more emphasis on delts. Also, the trapezius, lats, and rhomboids are worked harder in this exercise. Another benefit of doing elevated feet push-up over regular push-up is that it works shoulders and chests in a different way. This creates muscle confusion, a phenomena which occurs when you work muscles differently. This can easily break a muscle plateau and can build more muscles.
Place your feet in an elevated position. Placing them on the swiss ball is an ideal option. Your hands should be planted firmly on the ground, slightly wider than the shoulder-width. While bending your elbows outward, lower your chest until it is about four inches from the floor. Pause for a second in the position. Remember your body should be in straight line. Don’t lift your head up or look straight in this variation of push-up. You have to keep your head in alignment by looking straight down at the floor. Slowly, push yourself back to the starting position.
Squat and Press
The muscle building benefits of the squats are well documented. So, I don’t have to bore you by going on and on about its ability to build powerful lower body and to burn calories. The benefit of doing squat and press is that it lends explosiveness to your lower body, which by the way is very important for the athletes. Also, the press movement towards the end of the exercise makes it a compound exercise and adds couple of another muscle groups to be worked by the combination. And, more the muscles involved in the movement, more will be the calories burned. These two challenging exercises will take your training to the complete new level.
Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulder and stand with feet at hip-distance apart. Brace your core and stand with a long and tall spine. Your toes should be turned out slightly. Bend your knees, and sit down in a squat, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Remain in the bottom position for a second. Now, push through your heels to stand, and press the dumbbells overhead. Extend your arms fully so that the dumbbells are above your head and directly over your shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to your shoulders. This is one repetition.
Remember, you have to pull through your abs. To get the best results, you have to keep hip flexors out of the exercise. Do this exercise in a slow and controlled way. Avoid jerking your body to do the exercise. This will engage support muscles more and could lead to muscular injury.
What’s the use of burning fat if you aren’t going to sculpt a stunning midsection? The v-ups are an excellent exercise to target rectus abdominis, which is responsible for providing the famous six-pack look. It also works deep-seated transversus abdominis, which pulls your stomach in towards your spine and gives your stomach hard and flat look. Plus, this exercise also engages your upper as well as lower abs. On the whole, the v-ups are a complete abs exercise that will help in all round core development.
Lie on your back on a mat. With your feet together, extend your legs in front of you and at the same time, extend your arms overhead. Squeeze your abs and in a single smooth movement, pull your legs and arms towards each other, and touch your toes with fingertips. Exhale as you squeeze your abs and keep your feet together throughout the exercise movement. After a momentary pause, get your legs and arms back to the starting position. As soon as they hit the ground, contract your abs again and bring your arms and feet up.