This month's workout consists of two strength-training circuits. The first circuit is a lighter round more focused on higher reps, while the second circuit is a heavy round concentrating on higher weights. This way you can get a great cardio workout while building muscle at the same time.
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For this light circuit, you will perform 30 repetitions per exercise. Move through all three exercises with minimal rest in between.
Push-ups: Assume a push-up position with hands wider than shoulder-width apart. Tighten your core and make sure you have a straight line from shoulder to ankle. As you inhale, slowly bend your elbows and let your body drop down until you have a 90-degree bend at each elbow. Exhale as you push back to your starting point. If this is too challenging, you can perform the push-up from your knees. Repeat for 30 repetitions.
Prone dumbbell rows: Assume a push-up position with a light to moderate dumbbell in each hand. Pull one dumbbell up and back into a rowing position while squeezing your shoulder blade and keeping your core tight. Return that dumbbell back to the floor and repeat on the other side until you total 30 reps.
Partial squats: Begin with feet shoulder-width apart while holding a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height. Slowly squat down as you inhale, ensuring that your heels stay heavy, while pushing your hips back and maintaining the natural curve in your low back. Exhale as you stand back to the top, but pause when you get three quarters of the way up. At this point you should still have tension on the legs and the knees should still be bent. Drop back into the squat and repeat for 30 reps, never coming all the way up until the set is complete.
For this circuit you will choose a heavier weight that allows you to complete between 8 to 12 repetitions per exercise.
Dumbbell chest press: Grab a pair of dumbbells and take a seat on a bench. Lie back and push the dumbbells upward until they are positioned above your chest. Your arms should be straight and the dumbbells should be touching each other at this point. Bring the dumbbells outward and downward until your elbows reach 90 degrees. Extend your arms back to your starting point and repeat. Have a spotter available for this exercise.
Staggered one arm row: Take a staggered position with your left foot forward and your left hand braced on a bench. Take hold of a dumbbell with your right hand. Pull the dumbbell upward and back in a rowing motion as you squeeze your right shoulder blade and mid back. Control the dumbbell back down until your arm is extended and repeat.
Dumbbell dead lift: Assume a standing posture with feet hip-width apart while a holding dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Slowly squat down to a comfortable depth as you maintain the natural curve in your low back. Pause for a second at the bottom before returning to the standing position and repeat.
After running through both circuits the first time, repeat for two more rounds. On the second round, add five reps (35 total) to each exercise in the first circuit and 5 pounds to each exercise in the second circuit. On the third round, add an additional five reps (40 total) to the first circuit and an additional 5 pounds to the second circuit.
So take advantage of this workout's ability to burn fat and improve cardio endurance while tightening and toning your entire body. For a video of this workout, find us on Facebook or visit our blog at PushFitnessTraining.com.
• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at PushFitnessTraining.com.