Sculpt those mus­cles and see a mon­u­men­tal shift in your strength by tap­ping into your rest time.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

Get that sleek, sculpted look you’ve al­ways wanted with this kick­ass strength en­gth work­out.

When it comes to lift­ing weights, you hear a lot about the mer­its of go­ing big in CrossFit or us­ing baby ’bells in barre class. But the mid­dle ground – choos­ing which hand weights to hoist for your ev­ery­day sets – is where you can re­ally de­ter­mine how sculpted you get. “Grab­bing a weight that’s a lit­tle heav­ier than you might nor­mally go for is important be­cause you need to stim­u­late the mus­cles to build. That’s how you get toned, strong, and lean,” says Radan Sturm, founder of Liftonic, a group weight train­ing stu­dio in New York City.

We’re not talk­ing dou­bling the size of your dumb­bells but about break­ing any rut you’ve got­ten into with your sets and reps. “In my ex­pe­ri­ence, peo­ple typ­i­cally se­lect a weight about 25 per cent un­der what they could safely do,” Radan says. The sig­na­ture Liftonic work­out has ex­er­cises that work mul­ti­ple mus­cle groups while you grad­u­ally in­crease kilo weights to push your­self to go harder – whether that’s lever­ag­ing your body weight for de­cline push-ups or adding dumb­bell weight to a side plank. In the to­tal-body rou­tine Radan cre­ated for Shape, you’ll do su­per­sets of dumb­bell ex­er­cises al­ter­nat­ing with ac­tive re­cov­ery moves.

“It’s best to wait at least 45 sec­onds be­fore tar­get­ing the same mus­cle again, but that doesn’t mean you should just stand there,” Radan says. “Do­ing things like Su­per­mans and oblique twists as ac­tive re­cov­er­ies al­lows you to cap­i­talise on that down­time.” The idea is to give you just enough rest so you can not only do a sec­ond set but ac­tu­ally in­crease your load as well. That means you may do your first set with 4kg dumb­bells, per­form the sec­ond with 5kg ones, and fin­ish with a third set us­ing 6kg dumb­bells.

Why the mount­ing chal­lenge when the nat­u­ral in­stinct is to go lighter as your mus­cles are closer to cry­ing un­cle? “When we cue peo­ple to think about whether they could try for a heav­ier weight as they ap­proach another set, most find they ac­tu­ally can,” Radan says. “The point is to get your mus­cles to re­ally fa­tigue so they then firm up.”

Ap­ply the Liftonic lit­mus test as you do each 12-rep set of this rou­tine: If you can per­form the last four reps at the same speed as you did the first eight, it’s a sign that those mus­cles aren’t suf­fi­ciently fa­tigued. Reps typ­i­cally be­come slower as your mus­cles get tapped out, Radan says, so reach for a heav­ier weight on the next set.

You’ll stay aware of how fast or slow your reps go be­cause each move has a spe­cific tempo built in. For some, like the kneel­ing side plank snatch, you’ll lift on a count of one and lower for three counts; for oth­ers, like the re­verse lunge press, you’ll steadily lift and lower on a count of two. “We do this to pro­long a mus­cle’s time un­der ten­sion and there­fore squeeze more strength­en­ing from

each rep,” Radan says. But don’t worry if you fall slightly be­hind the beat on those last four reps – that just con­firms that you’re hold­ing the right amount of heavy metal.

As you trade up for heav­ier weights over time, it’s easy to see that you’re mak­ing real strength gains, which is em­pow­er­ing. And all that new­found mus­cle you’ve added means you’re also revving up your me­tab­o­lism. The more mus­cle you have, the more en­ergy your body needs to op­er­ate day to day, so you’ll burn fat with greater ef­fi­ciency.

Do this work­out twice a week, with three days be­tween ses­sions to al­low those mus­cles to re­pair and build. And stick with it! You’ll love the truly sleek, sculpted look you get by go­ing out of your our com­fort zone, plus that price­less ess boost in body con­fi­dence. Says Radan: “There’s just noth­ing quite like feel­ing strong and pow­er­ful.” ow­er­ful.”

Dumb­bells don’t lie. “With weight train­ing, you can ac­tu­ally plan your progress and see that you’re im­prov­ing by chart­ing your strength gains,” Radan says.

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