Cardio (a.k.a. aerobic exercise) is no longer the King of Exercise. Research now shows that you can lose fat, improve your heart health, increase your quality of life, and reduce your risk of disability with resistance training.
Sure, you can get some benefits by using machines at your local health club. But total-body “functional” exercises (like squats, push-ups, and bodyweight rows) are even better. And resistance training doesn’t mean barbell bench pressing with heavy weights. You can use dumbbell free weights or a variety of creative bodyweight exercises at home.
An extra benefit of bodyweight or free-weight exercises is that they give you the ability to complete a total-body workout in less time. For example, if you do a bodyweight or dumbbell squat, you will replace the need for the leg extension and leg curl machines in a health club. Push-ups or dumbbell chest presses replace the chest fly and triceps extension machines. And chin-ups replace the need for machine-aided pulldowns and biceps curls.
In three or four “functional” moves, you can complete a total-body workout. Do each exercise two to three times for 8 to 12 repetitions per set. Rest one minute between sets. You can do your exercises in a circuit (all exercises done back to back without rest) or in supersets (two exercises done back to back without rest) to cut even more time from your workout. Aim for three total-body strength-training workouts per week.[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is an expert consultant for Men’s Health magazine and a contributing writer for ETR’s brand-new natural health e-letter. Every week, he and our team of medical, fitness, and health experts will give you practical strategies and real-world scientific discoveries that can help you melt off the pounds, pack on muscle, and eliminate the underlying causes of disease.
And if you’re looking to quickly step into the body you have always wanted with just three workouts each week, check out Craig’s fat-loss system, Turbulence Training for Fat Loss.]