It's exciting to start a leaning-out cycle because you probably have an image in your mind of what the results will look like: a tight, muscular physique, one that enables you to wear whatever you want without worrying about how it fits. How awesome will that be?
Then reality sets in. You think about the endless hours of treadmill work that it will take to reach your goals. And your motivation begins to fade.
Is there a better way? Yes. Use weight training to not only build muscle but also burn off a layer or two of body fat. By pushing yourself to crank out more reps, your heart rate goes up, your body temperature rises, and you'll burn more calories than you ever thought possible.
This 28-minute workout has precisely that goal in mind. It's based on a lifting concept called AMRAPs, short for "as many reps as possible" done within a specific period of time. One reason this workout is perfect for shedding body fatis that it works most of your body. You've likely read about full-body workouts and the benefits they offer. Work more muscles in less time, and get a more complete workout than a standard split. Full-body workouts can help you burn more calories before and after your workout. Here, you'll start with the big muscle groups of the lower body and work your way up.
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Performing the Workout
For each move, select a weight that you'd normally do for 20-25 reps before failure. Perform each exercise for 5 minutes straight. Once you're ready, start the clock and begin repping. Remember, this is a timed workout, not a "for time" workout, so do not sacrifice form by letting speed take over. Once you reach failure, rest a few seconds until you feel you can go again, whether that's in 5, 10, or even 20 seconds.
The goal is to push yourself to do as many reps as you can before the five minutes is up. Once time runs out, rest for 2 minutes and move to the next exercise. Repeat this 5-minute protocol and 2-minute rest period for all four exercises. By the end, you'll have performed a 28-minute, full-body HIIT session.
Do this workout once or twice a week in place of whatever you would normally do for cardio. In just a few short weeks, you'll be totally shredded and ready to go.
Exercise Selection and Technique Tips
Here's why I chose each exercise, along with a few tips on how to perform them as effectively as possible:
Machines help you maintain form and minimize injury risk, both of which will be important with a heavy, high-volume workout like this. The leg press puts more emphasis on the quads, which are the bigger, more powerful muscles in the legs. Place your feet at a height on the sled that helps you best isolate your quads.
Lying Leg Curl
Whenever you train quads, balance that effort with hamstring work. Maintain constant tension on your hamstrings throughout the set.
This exercise targets your lats, rear delts, and biceps—basically every "pull" muscle in your upper body. Don't be afraid to pull heavy; if you need straps to help with grip, go for it. If you want to work on grip strength, leave the straps in the gym bag and push through without help—or rather, pull through.
The incline press attacks the pecs, front delts, and triceps. An incline machine offers more control than free weights, allowing you to lift heavier and for greater volume. If you don't have access to one, load up a Smith machine and slide an incline bench under the bar. If you don't have access to a Smith, use dumbbells. I don't recommend the barbell version because by now you'll be tired and you might get stuck. Even with a spotter, don't risk it with a workout like this.