It turns out, however, that endless hours spent slouched over a stationary bike or leaning over the stepper are not only terribly boring but also not the best way to lean out, tone up, and look sexy. Steady-state exercise, such as 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer, does not torch as many calories as would a session of similar length spent lifting weights in a circuit.
Since the total amount of calories you burn is what’s important (not the percentage that comes from fat), you should increase your exercise intensity with routines – like the exciting finishers we’ve provided for you here.
A finisher is basically a circuit done at the end of a regular workout. These two finishers mesh body-weight, free-weight and band exercises to improve upper-body strength and definition. Add one (or both!) of these to your programme when your metabolism needs a boost; the best part is, they can be tacked onto the end of any routine.
Target Muscles: whole body
- Stand with your feet together and your arms extended in front of you; your palms should touch as shown.
- Jump, bringing your legs out to the sides as if doing a jumping jack.
- At the same time, move your arms out to the sides.
- Land with your body in a “star” position, then jump your legs and hands together; repeat.
Tip: make your reps explosive and speedy!
Incline-Bench Dumbbell Curl:
Target Muscles: biceps brachii, brachialis
- Lie face-up on an incline bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward.
- Bend your elbows to curl the dumbbells.
- Squeeze your biceps hard at the top, then lower until your elbows are semi-straight.
Barbell Overhead Press:
Target Muscles: anterior and lateral deltoids, triceps brachii
- Hold a barbell, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart and your palms facing forward.
- Keep your elbows pointed down while maintaining neutral wrists.
- Press the bar overhead; your arms should finish beside your ears.
- Lower to chin level and repeat.
Related article: 6 Exercises To Beat Bra Bulge And Target Your Awkward Armpit Area
Target Muscles: scapular stabilisers, abdominals
- Stand tall with feet together, then squat down as shown.
- Walk your hands forward until they are in front of your shoulders.
- Carefully reverse, stand and repeat.
Tip: As you walk forward, brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
Target Muscles: abdominals
- Start at the top of the push-up position.
- Keep your elbows locked, with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Quickly alternate bringing one knee towards your chest, maintaining a neutral spine as you “climb.” Continue alternating for your entire set.
Tip: Your back should remain flat as you move your legs forward and back.
Related article: The 4 Minute Solid Abs Blast Workout For A Tighter Toned Tummy
Rolling Triceps Extension:
Target Muscles: triceps brachii
- Lie face-up on a bench.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand straight over your chest, with your palms facing each other.
- Without moving your upper arms, lower the weights towards your forehead. Roll your elbows behind your head in the bottom position, then reverse fluidly. Repeat.
- You’ll press up rather than extend your elbows if the weight is too heavy.
Target Muscles: pectoralis major, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior
- Get into a push-up position, with your hands slightly turned out and roughly shoulder-width apart.
- Brace your core, and keep your legs and feet together.
- Bend your arms, keeping your elbows slightly tucked, to lower towards the floor.
- Extend your arms, then protract, or press your shoulder blades away from each other; it will look like you are slightly rounding your upper back.
Tip: the rounding of your back is subtle, but you should feel it.
Related article: A 20 Minute Indoor Cardio Workout For Losing Fat And Shaping Up
Target Muscles: rotator cuffs, posterior deltoids
- Anchor a band at a point higher than your height.
- Hold one end in each hand, with your palms down, facing the floor.
- Pull the band towards your face, leading with your thumbs.
- Flare your elbows out and rotate through your shoulders.
- Finish with your hands near your head.
- Extend your arms to return to the starting position, then repeat.
Tip: Don’t pull too low towards your chest because you will not externally rotate your shoulders, and you will lose the effect on the rotator cuff muscles.