The Powerful Four Strength Workout

By December 30, 2015Jenny Hadfield Blog

Push Up As we move into the heart of the year’s busiest season, time efficient workouts become a key strategy to navigating your way actively. Although we all love to run, walk and get in our calorie-burning cardio, investing in strength training pays off in caloric burn as well.

A new research study from Arizona State University on resistance training suggests we may be burn twice as many calories as we once thought. This is important because while most resistance-training exercises weren’t considered to be “vigorous” activities under the old energy-expenditure equation, the new one shows that most of these exercises should be considered just that, and the investment of time, whether short or long boosts metabolism similar to a high intensity interval workout.

If you’re already performing Bootcamp, strength training or resistance-type workouts – stick to it. Even if you have to cut the time in half to get in the session, it will work to maintain your strength and keep you on track into the new year (and burn off some of the holiday goodies too).

If you’re new to, or looking to start weaving in strength work into your routine, now is as good a time as any, and the good news is you can keep it simple and start with this simple, but effective workout.

The Powerful Four Strength Workout

This is a simple, four-exercise, total body resistance workout that you can adjust based on the amount of time you have to invest on the given day. Perform it after an easy effort run or cardio session or on its own. Aim to get in two sessions per week (and three if you find the time), every other one to two days (M – W – F or M – TH).

Think Push, Pull, Lunge and Hold. The combination of all of these movements works the entire body in one efficient workout. Perform 1-4 sets of each exercise with 30-60 seconds of rest in between.

Push = Push ups, Chest Press with weights, machine or bands

Pull = Row with weights, machine or bands

Lunge or Squats

Hold = Planks for 30-60 seconds

Start with the first exercise (push) and perform 12-15 repetitions aiming to fatigue the muscle within that range of reps. After 30-60 seconds of rest, move on to the next exercise (pull) and perform it to fatigue within 12-15 reps. After 30-60 seconds rest, perform single leg squats or lunges aiming to fatigue with 12-15 reps per leg and finish with planks.

If you can perform more reps, progress the intensity by adding weight or making it harder (slowing it down). If you have more time, perform multiple sets of each exercise, and perform the sets on each exercise before moving on (2-4 sets of push, 2-4 sets of pull…

The more you work to fatigue the muscle groups in sequence, the more muscle fibers you activate and break down along the way, and now we know, the more calories you burn along the way. The great part of this simple workout is you can tailor it based on the time you can invest on the given day. More time = more sets.

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