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