When I was 17 and just started lifting weights, I remember that I used to do one set of squats and wait around two minutes or so to do the following set. Now days, I don’t waste any minute at the gym. Why?
a) You burn more fat: A study from Spain and Australia where they compared the adaptations to lifting weights with a 35 second active recovery (High Resistance Circuit) to the traditional strength training workout with a 3 minutes of recovery, both groups increased lean mass, but only the HRC decreased significant body fat.
b) You burn more calories after finishing your workout: A study from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, showed that in the absence of recovery periods between sets, the exercises promotes an increase in the magnitude of the Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) which means that your metabolism stays on fire after you are done.
c) Increase Growth Hormone: We have the misconception to think that this hormone has to do with men. It has to do with everyone! If you want to look lean, young, and strong and keep the body fat in control, you need to keep the growth hormone active, something that inevitably decreases as we age. No wonder, some consider it the fountain-of-youth hormone. A study from Iran shows that short rest intervals elevated greater increase in GH concentration compare with 120 seconds of rest.
d) Cut back your exercise time: And finally, if you work at higher intensity, you’ll need to work out for less time.
Next time, that you’re at the gym or at home doing your strength workout, make sure that you incorporate some exercises that work almost every muscle at the same time. You should expect an increase in your heart rate to where you can barely sustain it for 30 seconds. By doing this, you are also incorporating another very popular way of training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
These exercises are to be performed right after every set of any muscle that you are working. I recommend sticking with one for a group of sets and a different one for another round, but if you want to alternate them, go ahead and do so. The goal here is to keep moving! In addition, these moves work the core so there’s no need to add more abdominal exercises.
Every exercise should be perform for 30 seconds so select a weight that allows you to do the exercises in a explosive but in-control way. You want to tackle strength and speed at the same time (power). If you don’t have a kettlebell, you can use a dumbbell. But I suggest that you get a kettlebell as it’s one of the best pieces of the equipments that you can have.
(Photo credits: Andrew Meade Photography, Inc. Location: Canyon Ranch Hotle & Spa Miami Beach Clothing by: Lululemon Athletica)
Kettlebell wood-chop down and up: Keep you abs tight, arms straight and use your core to explosively propel the kettlebell up and back down, like you are chopping wood.
Kettlebell swings: Use the power of your hips, not your arms, to propel the kettlebell to about eye level.
Mountain climber with bosu ball: Keep your body straight and move your legs back-and-forth quickly, but under control.
Medicine ball overhead throw side-to-side: Focus on working the abs. Keep the arms extended. Turn to your side by using the abs, not by moving the hips or the whole body. Throw it and catch it right away then repeat on the other side, keeping the power and the rhythm.
Burpee with bosu ball: Crouch down and shoot your legs out behind you to form a straight line as if you were getting into push-up position. Bring your legs back underneath you. From this power position explode into the air bringing the bosu ball towards the sky. Land gently and repeat.