Sunday, October 12, 2008

Four minute fat loss circuit

This four-exercise, minimal-equipment gem was put together by Vince Del Monte of could go on and on about grail quests and spiritual versus physical perfection and how the one seems to have replaced the other and so forth, but I'll spare you for now.)

The workout focuses on your body's push muscles (shoulders, chest and quads). There's a companion workout focusing on the pull muscles (lats, glutes and hamstrings) that I'll describe in another post.

And, FYI, the circuit only takes four minutes to complete, but you're meant to repeat it 4 or 5 times so it's really a 20-25 minute workout. If you add on some high intensity cardio as I recommend, it'll take your total workout time to 40-45 minutes. Still, that's not bad, especially since you can do the workout at home with a pretty minimal investment in equipment, which will save you the time you otherwise would've spent traveling to the gym.

So, here it is:

Alternate arm dumbbell chest press
Dumbbell squat
Box jump
Alternate arm dumbbell military press

Perform each exercise for 1 minute, using weights heavy enough to take you to fatigue by the end of the minute. Rest 1-2 min between circuits. Perform 4-5 circuits depending on your fitness level. Finish with 20 minutes of high intensity cardio if desired. If you don't have any cardio equipment at home and you're not a runner, I suggest performing the following bodyweight cardio circuit:

100 jumping jacks
50 prisoner squats
50 pushups
50 forward lunges (25 per side)
50 mountain climbers (25 per side)
50 squats
50 close grip pushups
100 jumping jacks

You can thank Craig Ballantyne of for that little 500-rep monstrosity. The idea is to get through the darned thing as fast as possible. Most women will need to break up the pushups, especially the close grip pushups at the end, into multiple sets, and that's fine.

Give it a shot, and let me know how you did.

Edited to add:

Yikes!!! This workout kicked my butt. My first time through the circuit I totally overestimated my endurance and leg power. I used 20 lbs for the chest press and barely made it through. 20 lbs for the dumbbell squat was doable, but jumps onto a 14 inch box were just not happening, and by the time I got out my 10 inch box it was already time to move on to the overhead press ... but my 10 lb dumbbells were nowhere to be found and I didn't think I could make it through an entire minute using 12 pounders, not without my form going all to heck. The lesson learned: have all the equipment you think you might possibly need right there where you can get at it quickly.

So, anyway, what I ended up doing was 4 circuits using 15 lbs for the dumbbell chest press and squat, a 10 inch box for the jumps, and 10 lbs for the military press. I rested a minute between circuits, and followed up with the bodyweight cardio circuit described above, which I managed to complete in 15 minutes although my close grip pushups were pretty ugly toward the end. After about 25 reps I had to go to my knees and even that didn't help much.