Normally you’d tally your sets, reps and rest periods, but in this workout, based on a famous Japanese study called tabata training, you’ll time your sets instead of counting them.
This eight-set system has you alternating between 20 seconds of all-out kamikaze-style effort and 10 seconds of rest. The research on this, published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, proved that it increases aerobic (endurance) capacity and anaerobic (quick power) capacity – not an easy task because one usually comes at the expense of the other.
As well as improving performance they found that it cut body fat faster than a sushi chef’s knife. So as the old saying goes: timing is everything, and it’ll prove to be a whole lot more than that in your quest to say sayonara to your outer sumo.
What to do
Complete this workout three times a week. On each move do eight sets lasting 20 seconds of flat-out effort after which you should take 10 seconds of rest, then take a minute’s rest before you move onto the next exercise.
Use weights 60–70% of what you’d use for typical sets of 10 reps. It’s quick, but not easy. There’s pain but there’s also reward. So hop to it, it’ll only take you a meagre amount of time so you can slot it into your lunch hour.
1. Squat press
i) Position a barbell two inches away from your ankles, feet shoulder width. Squat down and grip the bar with an over-hand grip. Use your glutes to push your hips forward and stand up while pulling the bar upward.
ii) Keep the bar close to your body, use the momentum gained from your lower body. Once the bar is at shoulder height rotate your elbows and hands around it. You should end up with the bar resting across the front of your shoulders with an underhand grip.
iii) Bend into a full squat and in one quick movement straighten your knees, rise up onto your toes and drive the weight above your head in a shoulder press. That’s one rep, do eight then lower the weight behind your head onto your shoulders to perform a good morning.
2. Incline bench dumbbell chest press
i) Lie on an incline bench set to between 30 and 45 degrees. Place your feet flat on the floor and hold a dumbbell in each hand above your chest. Keep your head, torso and hips pressed onto the bench.
ii) Lower the weights to your sides. Straighten your arms to press the weights up so they finish above your chin. Do not completely lock your arms at the end of the movement.
i) Begin in a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
ii) Kick your feet behind you so that you are in a press-up position.
iii) Return your feet to the squat position then leap up as high as you can, throwing your arms above your head. Land with soft knees then go again.
4. Dumbbell deadlifts to bicep curls
i) Place two dumbbells on the ground in front of you, feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at your knees and hips to bring your upper body towards the weights and take hold of them with an overhand grip.
ii) Use your thighs to raise the weights so your legs become straight, then bend your elbows to curl the bells to your shoulders. Slowly lower back to the start. Keep your back straight throughout everything.
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