These are not your standard workout circuits. Created by Brian Neale, C.S.C.S., a performance coach in Westchester, New York, workout, these 3-move routines will help you get lean and pack on muscle mass at the same time.
Each one starts with a heavily-loaded, total-body exercise that challenges your entire system. Instead of resting afterward, you’ll perform two less-taxing movements that hit new muscle groups and your core. The selection of exercises and fast-paced speed of the circuit will increase muscle all over, rev your metabolism, and burn a ton of calories, says Neale.
Want to give it a shot? Add one of the circuits to your regular routine, or do them as a quick, stand-alone workout if you’re short on time.
For each circuit, perform the exercises in the order listed, resting as little as possible between each one. Once you’ve completed all three movements, you’ve finished one round. Do 4 rounds total.
Circuit 1: Leg Day Demolition
1. Barbell deadlift
Load the barbell with a weight you can lift 12 to 15 times. Roll it against your shins. Bend at your hips and grab the bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be just beyond shoulder-width apart.
Without allowing your lower back to round, pull your torso back and up, thrust your hips forward, and stand up with the barbell. Pause, and then reverse the movement to lower the bar. That’s 1 rep. Do 12.
2. Dumbbell alternating chest press
Grab a pair of moderately-heavy dumbbells and lie on your back on a flat bench, holding the weights so they’re nearly touching your chest.
Press the weight in your left hand over your chest. Lower the weight and repeat with your right arm. That’s 1 rep. Do 12 reps total.
3. Swiss-ball plank with alternating knee tuck
Grab a Swiss ball and place your hands on it so they’re shoulder-width apart. Assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels.
Brace your abs as if you’re about to be punched in the gut and raise your left knee to meet your left elbow. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Alternate legs with each repetition. Do 12 reps.
You can keep this movement slow and controlled, or speed it up for an extra metabolic burn.
Circuit 2: Upper-Body Builder
1. Barbell push press
Load a barbell with a weight you can strictly press for 8 to 10 reps. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, and hold it at shoulder level in front of your body.
Brace your core to keep your back flat, and bend your knees slightly. Explosively push up with your legs as you press the barbell over your head. Pause, then slowly lower the bar back to chest level. That’s 1 rep. Do 12.
2. Glute-ham raise
Position yourself on a glute-ham station and hook your feet under the leg anchors. Bend your knees so they form a 90-degree angle and cross your arms in front of your chest.
Lower your upper body until your torso is parallel to the floor. Pause, then use your glutes and hamstrings to pull your body back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 12.
3. Swiss-ball rollout
Kneel in front of a Swiss ball and place your forearms and fists on the ball.
Slowly roll the ball forward by straightening your arms without allowing your lower back to arch or bow. Use your abdominal muscles to pull the ball back to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Do 12.