Phase 1: Furious Fat Loss
YOU’VE HEARD THE ADVICE: SWITCH UP YOUR ROUTINE EVERY FOUR TO SIX WEEKS TO AVOID PLATEAUS. BUT WITH SO many exercises to choose from, this can easily become an exercise in frustration – unless you start with the moves below. Pepper them throughout your workouts or combine all 10 for the ultimate total-body circuit. Either way, you’ll enjoy the same payoffs: more muscle, fewer injuries and a body that seems tailor-made for slim-fit shirts.
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PERFECT THIS MOVE: DUMBBELL SINGLE-LEG STRAIGHT-LEG DEADLIFT
Most exercises have two things in common: “They take place in one plane of motion and they keep both your feet on the ground,” says Robert dos Remedios, head strength and conditioning coach at California’s College of the Canyons. The dumbbell single-leg straight-leg deadlift ups the ante by adding an element of instability, forcing your core to work overtime to keep you balanced. “That’s why it’s such a powerful exercise and a difficult one to master,” says Dos Remedios. Here’s how to do it with perfect form.
Point Your Foot Down
Keep your back leg in line with your torso and point your toes at the floor. “That will help you maintain stability and control,” says Dos Remedios. “If your toes point out, you’re going to start opening your hips and tipping over.”
Keep Your Head Up
“If you drop your eyes, your shoulders will round,” says Dos Remedios. “That in turn will cause you to lose the arch in your lower back and increase the stress on your spine.” Keep your chest up for the same reason.
Aim for Your Toes
As you lower, keep the weights close to your leg. “This ensures that you hinge forwards by pushing your hips back instead of bending at the waist,” says Dos Remedios. “If I were to put my hand 20 centimetres behind your butt, you should hit it.”
Don’t Touch Down
Unless you feel yourself falling, don’t let the toes of your rear foot make contact with the floor. “That will force the leg you’re standing on to work harder for balance,” says Dos Remedios. The harder your muscles work, the faster they grow.