Most of us don’t enjoy spending all day inside the gym. If you want to torch calories and get a great workout in the shortest time possible, the key is compound workouts! These multifaceted workouts put multiple muscle groups to use in one exercise, dramatically increasing your calorie burn. With proper form, working several muscle groups at once saves time and builds more muscle! While these exercises are powerful and effective, it’s always of the utmost importance to listen to your body and if something feels wrong, don’t do it – you know your limits best. Here are some of our favorite compound workouts:
Instability is Key
When your body is slightly unstable, it actually works all sorts of smaller muscles that normally don’t get much use. Bosu balls are a great way to add instability to just about any standard exercise movement. You could complete your curls while standing on a Bosu ball so that you build your biceps and your abs at the exact same time. Or, try keeping one foot on the ground and lunging the other foot forward onto the bosu ball. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try a squat on a wobble board (just be sure you don’t forfeit proper form!). I like the Indo board and sometimes hop on during conference calls!
Namaste in Yoga Pants
Yoga is not just for zenning out, it’s a complete, full-body workout! Downward dog, one of the fundamental moves of yoga, is, in fact, a multi-functional exercise; it helps strengthen your shoulders and abs while simultaneously stretching muscles behind your legs and lower back. Just choose a class that offers balance instead of continuous downward dogs –which in excess can lead to overuse injuries. Even therapeutic yoga builds those little muscles that are often neglected! Experiment with different styles of this exercise, incorporating a wide range of poses and postures, until you find one you enjoy and feel excited to challenge yourself with. My favorites are Kundalini and Hatha. Maya Fiennes Kundalini yoga DVDs have been a favorite for years.
HIIT it Up
Everybody is buzzin’ over HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) which stands for high-intensity interval training because it has the potential to burn a ton of calories in a fraction of the time. Short bursts of high-intensity, maximum work are followed by quick periods of active rest to help your bod build up muscle, torch fat, and improve your overall performance. You actually burn more calories when performing HIIT than regular steady cardio, giving you the best shot at quick fitness. Try different moves like jumping jacks, sumo squats (with proper form), side lunges, step-ups (on a stool) and don’t forget to kick your butt with some butt kicks. Complete 15-20 reps of each movement continuously. When you finish all the movements rest for 60 seconds before completing 2 more rounds. Scale according to your fitness level!
Running is a complete full-body workout, but you can pump up the calorie burn by performing intervals. Sprint for one minute, followed by a two-minute walking recovery. As you improve, increase your work interval while decreasing your rest interval. Repeat ten times for a 30-minute workout.
If training multiple large muscle groups is uncomfortable for you, try circuit training instead. Alternate working opposing muscle groups with some aerobic exercises instead of resting between sets. Examples include:
- Bicep curls, tricep extensions, and jumping-jacks.
- Pull-ups (or lat pull-downs), push-ups (can be from knees), and jumping rope.
- Abdominal crunches, lower back extensions, and mountain climbers.
Just don’t lose your form! If you find yourself, losing form, cut back the weight or repetitions! Refer back to these awesome workout routines next time you’re pressed for time. You’ll never sacrifice a great workout or feel uncomfortable in your favorite jeans again! Join me on Instagram!