Healthy Byte: The Big Four to Getting Stronger

Originally Posted HERE

Bodybuilding is great. Weight training is great. Crossfit, Pilates, plyometrics–they’re all great.

But some people just want to get stronger and fitter in a useful, “everyday life” kind of way. They don’t want to spend hours at the gym learning new exercisesand new routines.

If that’s you, here’s a foolproof workout plan that is guaranteed to work — as long as you stick with it.

The key is to focus on four basic exercises, and follow one simple principle.

First the exercises:

  • squats;
  • push-ups;
  • dead lifts;
  • pull-ups.
Yep: The big four.

Squats increase leg and core strength. Push-ups increase chest, shoulder, and triceps strength. Dead lifts increase lower back, glute, and core strength (not to mention seemingly every other muscle in your body). And pull-ups increase back, shoulder, and arm strength (or you can reverse your grip and do chin-ups to engage your biceps more than your shoulders).

Do these four functional exercises and you’ll target the major muscle groups and build the kind of strength that makes everyday life easier. And, oh, yeah: Over time, you’ll not only be fitter, you’ll look fitter.

Now the guiding principle: Stick to just these exercises, and always do a little bit more each time you work out.

Why? Your body is superb at adapting. Do 100 push-ups a day for three weeks straight, and at first you will definitely get stronger, but eventually your body will decide that 100 push-ups a day is the new normal–and you’ll stop getting stronger. Do the same thing long enough and your body adapts. That’s why following the same routine, no matter what the routine, eventually results in a plateau.

To avoid a plateau, instead of changing exercises, the key is to change the loadyou put on your muscles.

Of course, you might be thinking that the cure to plateaus is to constantly vary your workouts. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with mixing up exercises on a regular basis, if you’re just trying to improve your functional strength, that’s the wrong way to go. Constantly changing your workout may seem less boring, but constantly doing new exercises doesn’t force your body to adapt–and get stronger–nearly as quickly.

Again: The best way to avoid a plateau is to follow a system that forces your body to adapt.

Let’s use push-ups as an example. Say you’ve been doing 10 sets of 10 push-ups, with a 45-second rest between each set. Next workout, increase one aspect: Do one more push-up per set, or rest for only 40 seconds between sets, or place a 10- or 25-pound plate across your back to add weight to the movement. Then, the next time you work out, do more push-ups per set, or maybe do one additional set of 10, or maybe rest even less. You get the point.

Follow the principle of progression — by always adding a little more — and you can avoid plateaus and slowly but surely get stronger and fitter.

Just make sure you strategically change up the more. For example, you may start out doing seven pull-ups per set, then eight, then nine, then 10, but then, no matter how hard you try, you can’t do 11 pull-ups in a row.

No problem. Increase the load by doing fewer pull-ups per set while wearing a weight belt with a 10- or 20-pound plate attached to add resistance. Work on pulling up more weight for a week or two — and doing more reps each workout — and then go back to doing bodyweight-only pull-ups. I promise you’ll be able to do more than 10 reps per set because you will have forced your muscles to adapt and get stronger.

Just like life finds a way, your body will also find a way. As long as you force your body to find a way.

And while you may someday run into a wall that you just can’t overcome, that’s actually a good thing, because it means you’ve pushed your body close to its potential.

And then you can try doing some different exercises, and start the process all over again.

Try it: Do squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and dead lifts at least twice a week, preferably three times a week (until you’re doing so much that you need more time to recover). Stick to that schedule; if you don’t, your body won’t be forced to adapt.

In terms of reps, sets, and weight, begin however you want. If you start out too light or too easy, don’t worry–as time goes by and you add weight, reps, etc., your workouts will soon get hard.

Log each workout you complete, but more important, plan each workout ahead of time. Decide what you will do, and then do it. If you fail, fine. Try again next time. But don’t let “I’ll just do as much as I can today” be your plan. Decide exactly what you plan to do each workout. Then do it.

Think of it this way: Your long-term goal is to get stronger, but your immediate goal — your real commitment — is to complete every workout as planned, on schedule.

Healthy Byte: 15-Minute Strength Training

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for women strength training

Consistently hit up the gym: Check! Crank out multiple strength training workouts weekly: Check! See results over time and feel like a total badass: Check and check! If you’re checking all these boxes, it’s time to officially take your fitness regiment to the next level, and get the most bang for your workout buck. How exactly? With a technique that works your muscles as they lengthen in addition to when they contract, called “eccentric training.”

What it is: Emphasizing the lowering portion of a rep. Also known as “negative training,” the technique increases the time your muscles are under tension, which helps boost muscle fiber activation.

The benefits: Higher calorie burn both during and after exercise; fewer injuries, as it strengthens tendons and helps muscles absorb high-impact stress (like running); and a new study says it can help you break through strength plateaus in five weeks.

When to do it: Once a week, swap out one of your three strength-training workoutswith this routine. Complete the circuit in order, moving from the first exercise to the next and resting as needed in between. Repeat once for two total sets. After three weeks, take one week off, then continue with heavier weights. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women’s Health’s 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)

Your trainer: Exercise physiologist Joel Seedman Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta

Deadlift to Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Deadlift to Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

BETH BISCHOFF

Squat to grab a barbell with an overhand grip (a). Thrust your hips forward as you rise to stand (b). With your right knee slightly bent, lift your left leg behind you, hinging at your hips and lowering your torso until it’s parallel to the floor (c). Reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep; do three or four, then switch sides and repeat.

Negative Pullup

Negative Pullup

BETH BISCHOFF

Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

BETH BISCHOFF

Stand with the top of your right foot on a bench behind you and hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (a). Keeping a tall chest, take three to five seconds to bend both knees to lower your body as far as you can (b). Pause for three to five seconds; return to start quickly. That’s one rep; do six to eight, then switch sides and repeat.

Negative Skull Crusher

Negative Skull Crusher

BETH BISCHOFF

Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and lie on a bench with your arms reaching toward the ceiling (a). Slowly bend your elbows to bring the weights to the sides of your forehead (b); pause, then, with elbows bent, lower arms to bring the weights above your chest (c). Press weights up to return to start. That’s one rep; do six to eight.

Healthy Byte: Quick Circuit

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for leg circuit trainingour leg workout should be more than just heavy loaded structural barbell moves. As good as they are at building muscle and strength, back squats and deadlifts alone won’t cut it if you’re looking to develop a truly balanced body. You cant just smash your glutes and quads all the time—you need to include accessory exercises, too.

Trainer Charlee Atkins, C.S.C.S. knows that, and that her busy clients are much more likely to be able to take on circuit workouts that only require one piece of equipment and some space to move around. She designed this lower body blaster to focus on the overlooked muscles (think hamstrings, adductors and abductors, and general stability and balance) by adding a twist to some of those commonly performed leg moves: deadlifts, squats, and lunges.

“If you’re looking to add some accessory exercises to your daily workouts that target different parts of the leg, here you go,” says Atkins. “In these exercises, all we are doing is adding minor deviations and different angles of a load to a few core exercises (squats, lunges, deadlifts).”

You can add this circuit to a larger leg workout with one of those heavy loaded barbell moves, or try it as a standalone routine. All you need is a dumbbell or kettlebell for a load. Check out this adjustable dumbbell set if you need one to do this at home.

Perform 8 to 10 reps of each exercise, with little to no rest between moves

  • Lateral Squat – Good for promoting flexibility in the adductors and movement for athletes who are always in the sagittal plane.
  • Sumo Squat – Another exercise promoting adductor flexibility with an emphasis on the outer hips.
  • Single-Leg Deadlift – The best exercise for the posterior chain: glutes, hamstrings, adductors). By focusing on one leg over the other, we’re able to get a very hip dominant exercise (less quad, more glute/hams), challenge balance, and encourage stability through the hip, knee, and ankle joints.
  • Curtsy Lunge – Opposite of the sumo squat, but also challenges balance, adductor strength, and abductor stability.

Add the circuit to your workouts by performing 3 sets all the way through. Want to learn more moves from Atkins? Check out our series full of her workout tips, Try Her Move.

Healthy Byte: Better for Weight Loss – Cardio or Strength Training?

Originally Posted HERE

Image result for lose weight

When it comes to losing weight, should you head to the treadmill or make gains in the weight room? In the long-standing debate, cardio enthusiasts say you’ll burn fat by torching calories when you increase that heart rate. Weight lifters, however, believe excess fat is best shed by increasing muscle mass because it causes you to burn more calories throughout the day.

So which is best?

Both arguments are true, according to Dr. Andy Galpin, PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT and Associate Professor at California State University, Fullerton.

You burn more calories when you’re heart rate is elevated, explains Galpin. You also burn more calories every second of the day when you have more muscle. However, the difference won’t be significant for most people, says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D, C.S.C.S..

Ultimately, there isn’t just one “right” exercise,

“Fat loss for most people is simply a product of work,” he says. “The best exercise you ever do for fat loss is the one that you’re most consistent with.”

It makes sense that you’re less likely to lace up for that jog if you detest running. “Adherence and effort will determine a huge percentage of the fat loss pie,” says Galpin.

Galpin admits the answer isn’t satisfying, but claims most people won’t notice a huge difference in fat loss by choosing one type of modality.

There’s no need to spend hours on your deadlift if you’d rather run, but Galpin believes changing your routine has benefits that go beyond weight. It’s natural to get bored of the same spin class. Trying something new, like kickboxing or weight lifting, will feel less monotonous and improve your adherence, he asserts.

You also open yourself up to injuries by continually stressing the same muscles–especially if you have bad form.

“Over time it will catch you,” says Galpin.

Plus, losing weight shouldn’t be the only reason you work out.

Aerobic activities have long been praised for making your heart stronger, lowering blood pressure, and yes, burning calories. But studies show that regular cardiovascular activity may help lower stress, improve sleeping habits, and reduces joint stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Strength training is also beneficial because it increases bone density, lean muscle mass, and metabolism, Mayo Clinic reported.

That said, working out won’t change the number on the scale if you’re living on pizza and fries. Earlier this year, researchers found that people who began an exercise plan ate about 90 more calories each day. This isn’t much, but it was enough to stall weight loss, according to the paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think. For example, an 180-pound man who jogs a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes burns about 400 calories, according to ACE Fitness. To put this into perspective, a supreme slice from Pizza Hut contains 330 calories. That run likely wont negate extra calories from indulgent meals.

Unless you’re Rich Froning, chances are you won’t exercise away a day filled with pizza, french fries and donuts. Low calorie (but highly nutritious) foods that contain protein and fiber are important in a well-balanced diet.

“Fiber-rich foods provide a certain level of satiety and fullness,” Bethany Doerfler, MS, RDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwestern University, previously told Men’s Health.

And you don’t have need to exercise to notice a difference in your waist size, says Schoenfeld.

“One of my suggestions is to just get off your butt,” he says. “Try to be as active as possible.”

Your body burns calories 24-hours a day–not just when you’re in the gym. Calories burned from taking a walk at lunch, standing throughout the day, and even cleaning the house all add up, he explains.

When it comes to planning your fitness routine, Schoenfeld says you should focus on more than just the numbers on the scale.

Think about your goals: Do you want to build muscle? Or would you prefer to work on endurance training?

If you simply want to feel and look better overall, include both cardio and strength training.

“Ideally both are beneficial,” says Schoenfeld.

Healthy Byte: Lifting is Better than Cardio After 60

Originally Poster HERE

Image result for weight training after 60

For many of us, life gets better — easier, even — as we get older. We get more comfortable and confident in our own skin. But unfortunately, some things, like losing weight, don’t get easier with age. In reality, dropping unwanted pounds can feel harder than ever.

Whether it’s a busy schedule or stiff joints that’s holding you back, you might be less inspired to go to the gym. Those 10 pounds you gained in your 40s can become an extra 20 pounds in your 50s and 60s. But experts agree that it’s important to focus on achieving your healthy weight at any age.

“Excess fat is something we shouldn’t ignore no matter how old we are,” says Robert Huizenga, MD, an internist and associate professor of clinical medicine at UCLA. The good news is that while losing weight in your 60s is much harder, women actually won’t find it more difficult to lose weight than men. Dr. Huizenga says, “There has actually been no difference in the amount or rate of weight loss in individuals of either sex who are over 60 years old versus those who are younger.”

Michael Spitzer, a personal trainer and author of Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond, agrees, adding that “the true path to weight control and fitness after age 60 isn’t that much different than it is at any other stage of life.” However, there are certain factors that need special consideration.

What to consider before you start your weight loss journey

For starters, it’s important more than ever to actually talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. “Medical problems, such as heart disease and metabolic disease, become more common after age 60, so it’s much more important to have a medical checkup before attempting a fat loss plan,” says Dr. Huizenga. Then there’s the fact that over the age of 60, your oxygen intake may be reduced by as much as one-third of what it was when you were 25. This might make it a tougher time to take deep breaths while you’re exercising. That’s why it’s crucial to ease into a new exercise routine.

This is also the decade when your hips, knees, and other key joints are more likely to develop arthritis, which means that your go-to running or aerobic workouts may need to be swapped for swimming and/or gentle walking plans.

With that said, there are steps you can take to make your weight loss journey more manageable. Here are expert-approved tips that’ll help you clean up your diet, lose excess weight, and set you up for better health in your 60s, 70s, and beyond.

1. Focus on fat loss, not weight loss.

During this decade, you want to focus on building more muscle instead of decreasing the number on the scale. “At advanced ages, you cannot afford to lose muscle, organ tissue, or bone mass,” says Dr. Huizenga. Lifting weights is important as you get older because you lose a percentage of muscle every year. This affects your metabolism and ability to get rid of body fat. With age, your bones also become weaker, especially if you’re post-menopausal, which is due to lower estrogen levels — the hormones responsible for maintaining bone mass. But by creating pressure on your joints through weight-bearing exercises, you can actually help build stronger, healthier bones. So instead of focusing on what the scale says, turn your energy and attention into adopting a new strength training routine, which brings us to our next point.

2. Add strength training to your workout routine.

Muscle loss equals a slower metabolism, which explains why you’re more likely to put on — and hold on to — those extra pounds. But lifting weights can help rev up your metabolism by building muscle mass.

If you don’t have a consistent weight training regimen, you’ll want to start slowly. It’s also worth working with a personal trainer who provide a personalized strength training plan. By easing into a new plan, it will give your body time to adapt without placing too much strain on your muscles or joints and help you avoid injury, says Dr. Huizenga.

But don’t get too comfortable with an easy resistance-training program. It’s important to gradually increase the amount of weight you lift. “It’s critical that significant resistance exercise be incorporated into any fat loss plan over age 60,” he adds. Once you can do 10 to 12 reps with a five-pound dumbbell and feel like you could keep going, it’s time to upgrade to an eight-pound weight, and so forth. “You know you’re lifting the right amount of weight if you can just barely make it to the end of your repetitions before needing to rest,” he says.

3. Stay hydrated.

Of course, this is a tip for anyone trying to lose weight and boost her overall health, but it’s especially important as we get older. That’s because as we age, the hypothalamus, which controls our hunger and thirst, becomes desensitized, dulling our thirst signals, says Matt Essex, founder of ActiveRx Aging Centers in Arizona. “Plus, many older people avoid drinking water so they can avoid running to the bathroom constantly,” adds Christen Cooper, RD, a dietitian in Pleasantville, NY. “This is especially true for men with prostate issues and women with bladder limitations.”

Since water is key for digestion and metabolism, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough. Our bodies can easily mistake thirst for hunger, which causes us to eat more than we actually need. Consider purchasing a water bottle with a timeline tracker to remind you when you need to take swigs throughout the day.

4. Load up on protein.

If ever there was a time to focus on getting enough lean protein, it’s now. “There is some evidence that older adults need more protein,” says Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, senior director of worldwide nutrition education and training at Herbalife. Aim to get roughly 30 grams of protein at each meal, and more if you tend to crave carb-rich foods.

“In my practice, I notice that dietary patterns tend to shift somewhat with age, and as people get older, the calories that were once spent on lean protein might now be spent on carbohydrates or fats,” says Bowerman. Not only does adequate protein help support muscle growth and repair, but it’s also more satiating than carbs and fats, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks, Bowerman says.

5. Be patient.

While it’s just as possible to reach your healthy weight in your 60s as it is when you were in your 20s, it might take a little longer. You might not be able to push yourself as hard as you’d like to during your workouts, leading to a lower-calorie burn. Or, you may not be as strong as you once were, prompting you to lift lighter weights (also lowering that calorie-burn number you see on your fitness tracker). “Keep your focus on the healthy behaviors you’re adopting in order to achieve your goal, rather than your frustration if it’s not happening right away,” says Bowerman. If you stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan, your weight will take care of itself over time.

6. Stretch often.

The more flexible you are, the more you will enjoy any physical activity you do and the less chance you’ll have of injury, says Rami Aboumahadi, a certified personal trainer based in Florida. And at 60 years old, a less active lifestyle and an increase in aches and pains can make your flexibility plummet. Consider taking a yoga class or simply adding a few stretches to your day, particularly after you’ve taken a walk or warmed up your muscles in some other way.

7. Think positive.

If you’re constantly thinking, “gaining weight is part of the aging process” or “everybody my age is overweight” on repeat, it’s time for new weight-loss mantras, says Cooper. “It’s important to avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight,” he says. Find a community of people who want to get fit and stay that way so that you surround yourself with as much support as possible. Perhaps you can find a walking group, take a group fitness class, or talk a few friends into joining you for water aerobics at the local pool. “Too often, what limits us from achieving our weight-loss goals is all psychological,” says Cooper.

Healthy Byte: Gaining Fat or Muscle?

Originally Posted HERE

Most of us have gotten the memo: strength training is a must for women who want to improve their health, feel fit and strong, and lose weight. But lifting weights can be an intimidating thing if you’re new to the game. When they first start strength training regularly, some women say they gain weight or feel themselves getting bigger, which can be a turn-off. If that sounds familiar, don’t go anywhere. We chatted with two experts who will explain exactly why that happens and what you can do to prevent it.

“As you demand more from your muscles with weight training, it develops microscopic tears in your muscle,” Joel Freeman, Beachbody Super Trainer, told POPSUGAR. “Then your muscle [is] going to regrow bigger. So with that, it’s going to be heavier.”

“Even though we know muscle weighs more than fat, we see the number creeping up and you definitely freak out.”

 This helps to explain why muscle has a greater density than fat, so if you compare the same volume of muscle and fat, muscle would likely weigh more because it takes up less space than an equal mass of fat. If you went from doing zero weightlifting to doing a few sessions a week, the scale will show an increase in weight, because even though your body is becoming leaner, you’re putting on extra muscle where fat used to be. “Even though we know muscle [is denser] than fat, we see the number creeping up and you definitely freak out,” Joel said. “Even my wife deals with it, and she’s been in fitness her whole life. She’s a former gymnast and lifts heavy. Acording to her BMI, she’s borderline overweight, but she is anything but — it’s muscle!”

Don’t let this discourage you! It’s all part of the process. As you build up all that muscle, you’re also revving up your metabolism, which will help you burn more fat in the long run.

“If you’re getting too big, it has nothing to do with your training in the gym. It’s what you eat.”

Magnus Lygdback, a celebrity trainer who has worked with Alicia Vikander, Gal Gadot, and Katy Perry, also chimed in on this topic. “If you’re getting too big, it has nothing to do with your training in the gym,” he told POPSUGAR. “It’s what you eat.”

It’s that simple. If you feel like your body is getting bigger, rather than leaner, as you’re lifting weights, Magnus insists this has nothing to do with your workouts. It’s all about your diet. Easier said than done, we know, because the bottom line is, you get hungrier when you do more strength training.

“It is really easy to be hungry,” Joel confirmed. “That’s how your body reacts when you’re strength training, so it really comes down to making sure that your macros are measured out. Today it’s so easy to measure your macros using apps.”

He recommends following the very simple formula of eating 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 30 percent healthy fats. This should keep everything balanced and help prevent any extreme weight gain.

“It is really easy to be hungry. That’s how your body reacts when you’re strength training.”

 “Food is a big part of life, and it should be enjoyed,” Magnus told POPSUGAR. “I hate the ‘cheat day.’ Seventeen out of 20 meals should be on point, and you should enjoy life three out of 20. So it’s up to you when you want to do those three meals out of 20, but that’s my philosophy.” And it seemed to work for Alicia, because she looks lean AF in the trailer for Tomb Raider.
To sum it all up, if you feel like you’re not getting leaner from strength training, don’t panic. You will inevitably see a little weight gain on the scale, but eventually you will start slimming down. And if you don’t, look closely at what you’re eating, because it’s so easy to overeat when you’re lifting weights. But sticking to your personal macros and following Magnus’s 17/20 rule will certainly get you to where you want to be.

 

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: The Mighty Six

Originally Posted HERE

Trimming the fat — that’s what fitness is all about. But taking the very notion of slimming things down and applying it to all aspects of your life can be equally as difficult, and equally as satisfying, as becoming more fit and muscular. Imagine if you could trim the proverbial fat from your workday, commute, or any other number of responsibilities? Chances are, you’d reclaim a good amount of time, and be a lot happier.

 For the uninitiated, playing the architect and devising a fitness routine can be difficult — so difficult that we’ve trimmed things down to six simple exercises that can get you started on the path to success.

1. Squats

man performing bodyweight squats on a track

Squats will always be a workout staple. | iStock.com

 We discuss squats a lot — and for a good reason. Squats are basically the founding lift or exercise that everything else builds on top of. Squats not only help you build a powerful lower body, but also work your abs, back, and really to some extent, your entire body. You’ll become stronger, faster, improve your range of motion, and your balance as well. There are many, many reasons why squats are integral to a balanced workout, so be sure to get them in.

This is why they tell you not to skip leg day.

2. Pull-ups

man doing pull-ups

Chin-ups and pull-ups are the ultimate display of strength. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Think of pull-ups as the squat of the upper-body. It’s an exercise that incorporates nearly every muscle in your personal northern hemisphere, and forces everything to work in conjunction: your back, chest, abs, and arms. Hell, you’ll even get a little cardio going. Of course, there’s a steep curve for pull-ups, as a lot of people can’t even do one. But that shouldn’t deter you — do what you can, focusing on form. Before you know it, you’ll be busting several out over a few sets.

3. Power cleans

bodybuilder power cleans

This lift works your entire body. | Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The clean is an excellent lift, with the only potential downside being they require access to barbells and gym space. Even so, this is one of those lifts that, similar to squats, will get your whole body into action. Not only will you be using your lower body to get a powerful lift off, but you’ll need your back and core, and finally your arms to handle the weight once you get it above your waist. You’ll develop explosiveness and definitely build a lot of muscle by incorporating cleans into your workout. There are substitutes, like rows, but if you can, get your hands on a barbell and some plates for the full experience.

4. Planks

man doing planks while a woman times him

Planks will give you the abs of your dreams. | iStock.com

Here’s an exercise that can be done in a barren fitness center, devoid of any equipment, or even in a hotel room or airport. Planking is so much more than just a passing internet video fad — it’s one of the better exercises that can be adopted into your regimen. Planks will give your core and upper legs a real workout and even help sculpt your abs. And there are a ton of variations you can throw into the mix as well to ensure you don’t get bored.

5. Lunges

man doing a dumbbell lunge

Lunges are great for your booty. | iStock.com

As if we haven’t given your lower body enough of a run-through, we’re going to add lunges to the list. Lunges, like planks, can be done in a much more convenient setting, and only require a set of barbells — or anything weighty that can be carried, really. Lunges will train your glutes and quads, helping you build explosive muscle that will also help with cleans, squats, and deadlifts. Use them in addition to your other lifts, or if you can’t do anything else, use the simplicity of lunges to your advantage.

6. Burpees

man in the bottom phase of a push-up in an empty room

Burpees are tough, but they’re seriously effective. | iStock.com

Yes, the exercise you probably hate the most is, indeed, one of the most effective. Burpees are the whole package — they raise your heart rate with the jumping movement and offer strength gains with the squat, plank, and push-up positions. If you’re unfamiliar with how a burpee works, you begin by jumping up and then immediately lowering to the ground to perform a push-up. Once the push-up is complete, hop your feet back in, and jump skyward once more. This is just one rep — do as many as you can in a minute to complete a set, or try out one of these difficult variations.