5 Calorie-Burning Strength Moves
We all understand that resistance training can play an important role in everything from weight loss and maintenance to building lean mass and overall fitness. Resistance training is often broken down into two categories: isolation and compound exercises.
While isolation exercises employ movements that involve a single joint, like a biceps curl, compound exercises require the use of multiple joints, like a squat to overhead press, done in one fluid movement. For this reason alone they offer a greater total-body workout in less time.
Even better, these exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home with a simple set of dumbbells. Done 2–3 times per week in conjunction with some cardio training, research shows that you can both shed fat and gain muscle simultaneously, something that cardio workouts alone can’t do as efficiently.
1. SQUAT TO OVERHEAD PRESS
Works: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, core, biceps, shoulders, upper back
Complete: 8–12 reps
How: Hold a weight — either a kettlebell or dumbbell held vertically — at chest height. With your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees and lower your backside down into a squat. Keep your knees in line with your feet and your abs pulled in. As you stand back up, press the weight over your head in a smooth movement before returning it to your chest.
2. BIRD DOG
Works: Abs, lower back, hips, glutes
Complete: 8–12 per side
How: On your hands and knees, situate your knees beneath your hips and your hands beneath your shoulders. Pull in your abs as you raise and extend your right arm out in front of your body. At the same time, raise your left leg and extend it directly behind your body. After extending, bring your right hand and left knee to meet beneath your torso and repeat. Then switch sides.
3. LUNGE TO CURL
Works: Quads, biceps
Complete: 8–12 per side
How: Standing with a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, step forward with your right leg, and lower your body down until your left knee nearly touches the ground. As you return to the starting position, curl the dumbbells up toward your chest. Bring them back down to your sides, and repeat on the other side.
4. BICYCLE CRUNCH
Works: Abs, obliques, lower back, quads
Complete: 15 per side
How: Take the position you would for a normal crunch with your hands resting lightly behind your head. Be careful not to pull on your head and neck during this exercise. Take your feet off the floor and bend your knees to 45-degree angles. As you lift your head and shoulders off the ground, engage your core and draw in your right knee toward your chest, meeting it with your left elbow in a slight twisting motion. Bring that leg and arm back to the starting position, and alternate sides.
5. BEGINNER BURPEE
Works: Quads, hamstrings, abs, deltoids, pecs, triceps
How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, put your hands down on the floor and step back into a push-up position. Do a push-up and then step your feet back to your hands one at a time. As you come back to the starting position, jump up into the air and then repeat the entire sequence in a continuous movement.
Start out with one set of this routine and graduate to 2–3 sets as you get stronger. Remember that you should finish each exercise feeling somewhat tired but not so fatigued that you can’t maintain proper form. If you think your technique is suffering, reduce either the dumbbell weight or the number of reps.
Another thing to remember is that your Handstand Trainer will help with form and bring over everything you'll need.