Unless you are already lean, at least part of your reason for exercising is that you want to burn fat and get ripped. For many people, this means doing more cardio. For others, cardio is kind of dull and is contradictory if you are trying to gain or maintain muscle.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to turbocharge your weights workouts and burn more fat without resorting to traditional cardio.
1. Upper body/lower body supersets
Strength training workouts invariably involve more resting than they do exercising – not a good way to burn a lot of calories. For every exercise you perform, you probably rest the same amount of time or even longer.
You can make better use of your time and burn more calories by arranging your workout into upper body and lower body supersets:
– Bench press and lunges
– Lat pull-down and step ups
– Overhead press and squats
The second exercise will elevate your heart rate and burn more calories during the time you would normally be resting but without adversely affecting your ability to perform the first exercise. Of course, you are free to turn this system on its head and do lower body/upper body supersets which are equally effective.
2. Metabolic resistance training
Most workouts are performed horizontally which essentially means you do all your sets of your first exercise before moving onto the second. This is an effective way to train but not great for calorie burning.
Metabolic resistance training, also known as circuit weight training, involves performing your workout vertically i.e. you do one set of each exercise in turn without resting until you reach and complete your last exercise. This a) saves time b) allows for an increase in workout volume, and c) cranks up both your heart rate and calorie expenditure.
3. Cardio between exercises
The transition period between exercises provide great opportunity to sneak in a burst of high intensity cardio without having to spend so long doing it you get bored. For example:
– Bench press 4 sets of 8 reps
– 5 minutes rowing machine
– Incline dumbbell press 3 sets of 10 reps
– 5 minutes exercise bike
– Cable cross-overs 3 sets of 12 reps
– 5 minutes step machine
– Dips 2 sets of as many reps as possible
– 5 minutes jump rope
Push the pace during each cardio burst; you are, after all, only doing five minutes. However, at the end of the workout, you will have accumulated 20 minutes of high-intensity cardio which will play a big role in losing fat.
4. Active recovery time
As mentioned earlier, rest periods between sets of strength training exercises are a waste of valuable time, albeit very necessary. Recovery time tends to be passive: you sit or stand around waiting until it’s time to do your next set.
Instead of resting passively, make your rest periods active by doing some form of cardio. Good examples include:
̄ Grab a jump rope and crank out some
̄ rope turns as fast as you can
̄ Do kettlebell swings
̄ Pump out ten burpees
̄ Do a set of 20 step-ups – ten on each eg
̄ Punch a heavy bag for 30-seconds
̄ Pick up a set of dumbbells and do a farmers’ walk
Anything that gets you up and moving between sets will increase the number of calories you burn and help you lose fat faster.
5. Add a finisher to your workout
Once you have finished your workout, your blood glucose and muscle glycogen stores are depleted, and your body is primed for fat burning. However, you probably don’t have time to hop on a treadmill and do a whole lot of cardio.
Thankfully, you don’t have to; you can do a high-intensity finisher instead.
A high-intensity finisher should take no more than 10-15 minutes but if you do one after each and every workout, you’ll clock up an impressive 40-60 minutes of extra calorie-burning exercise per week.