Do More to Get Lean
Resistance Training – sometimes referred to as Strength Training – is the single, most effective way to achieve a lean, fit body. It burns calories during the workout, maintains and builds lean muscle tissue and therefore increases the metabolism.
If your goal is to GET LEAN – you need to work as many muscle groups as possible in every training session and with an intensity that will leave the metabolism burning for several hours post workout. If you don’t challenge it, you wont change it! Training outside your comfort zone is the best way to change your body.
Here are my Top 4 exercises to achieve an all over body workout.
Perform 4 sets A-D of 8-10 reps at the highest level of intensity you can, in a circuit style workout, with as little rest as possible between exercises. Focus on squeezing as much time under tension in each working muscle as possible, and full range of movement over speed.
EXERCISE A. SINGLE LEG STEP UP
No need for the stepper machine here! If you can lift your own body weight onto a step then you don’t need a machine for buns of steel. The higher the step, the harder the exercise – you can also increase the intensity of this exercise as your gain strength by adding load (hand weights/dumbbells/kettlebells).
Stand facing a box, step or bench and place one foot on top.
Push through your foot to lift your body up.
Do not allow the trailing leg to touch the step, and lower under control back to the floor.
Repeat 8-10 reps on the same leg.
EXERCISE B. INCLINE PUSH-UP
No more push-ups from the knees. Incline push-ups are a perfect progression towards doing a full push up off the toes from the floor and are a great full body exercise. As you increase in strength, you can lower the incline until you are on the floor.
Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width onto a box, bench or wall in the traditional prone push up position, with your hands flared slightly out towards ten-to-two.
Bend at the elbows and lower your chest and stomach towards the box/bench/wall, keeping your body in a straight line and everything squeezed firm.
Aim to drop until your shoulders push forwards of the hands and below the elbows. If you struggle to achieve the full range of motion without arching your back or sticking your hips in the air, increase the incline until you are able to.
EXERCISE C. BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
Perhaps one of the most challenging but effective exercises to lean up the legs and bottom! Its one of those “hate me now but thank me later” exercises! If you want to up the intensity of this exercise as you get stronger, add some dumbbells or a barbell.
Stand in front of a bench and place your left foot behind you on top of the bench.
Hop forward until your right foot is directly below your right knee and shin vertical in a modified lunge position with your torso upright and shoulders back.
Bend your front knee until the rear knee is grazing the floor, keeping your weight on the front leg. Pause at the bottom of the movement before returning to the upright position.
Repeat on the same leg until the number of reps has been completed.
EXERCISE D. INVERTED ROW
Another simple but very effective total body exercise, with a focus on the back muscles. You’ll find that the legs, core butt and upper body all get challenged in this rowing movement.
Lie on your back under a bar at a height slightly above your arms reach, chest directly under the bar and legs out straight.
Grab the bar with either an overhand or underhand grip and lift your hips, heels down, toes up and keeping your whole body in a straight line like an upside down push up. (If this is too challenging at first you can bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor to decrease some of the load form your arms).
Pull your upper body towards the bar until your chest touches, keeping your body totally flat throughout the movement. Eventually as you gain strength you can progress to a band assisted pull up!
Stella Bartram is a fitness trainer based in Glasgow and owner of Stella Bartram Fitness, a strength and training facility providing fun and effective group training.
Facebook: Stella Bartram Fitness