Supersets save time. For example, you perform an arms exercise first. While those muscles rest, do an abs exericse. No second is wasted between sets. Additionally, these kinds of workouts keep your heart pumping, so you gain cardiovascular benefits. You can get in and out of the gym and actually have time to show off your body in that cute dress or pair of skinny jeans. Do each set of exercises twice through without resting, then move on to the next set of two exercises. It's the best way to multitask!
Perform supine triceps extensions. Lie on your back with a five-pound dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms upward so that you are holding the weights directly above your shoulders. Keeping your elbows in place, use your triceps muscles to slowly lower the weights behind your head. The weights will end up right beside your ears. Use your triceps to raise the weights back to starting position.
Perform crunches on the floor. Lightly support your head with your hands. Engage the front of your neck and your abs. Slowly, attempt to bring your breastbone and pelvis towards one another, feeling the intense contraction in all the ab muscles between those two points. This will be a very small movement. Use your ab muscles to resist the motion of returning to the start position.
Perform reverse pull-ups for your biceps and back. Place a 12-inch step below and slightly behind the pull-up bar. Stand on the step and jump up to the bar so you are at the top of a pull-up. Now, lower as slowly as you can, resisting with your bicep and back muscles. Avoid the step with your legs so you can lower until your arms are straight.
Perform hanging abs. Hang from the pull-up bar with straight arms. Create a 90-degree bend in your knees; attempt to bring your pelvis an inch toward your breastbone. Use your abs to lower an inch. This will be a very small, yet intense movement.
Perform a dumbbell shoulder raise. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and a five-pound dumbbell in each hand. Keep your arms straight and raise the weights out to your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly, return to the start.
Move into a plank. Position yourself like you are at the top of a push-up. Position your shoulders above your wrists, and lengthen the back of your neck. Bring your breastbone and pelvis toward each other and strongly contract your ab muscles. Hold up to one minute or longer.
- With pull-ups working your back and planks your chest muscles, this series is a complete workout. Perform this entire workout on three non-consecutive days each week for best results.
- The weights for triceps extensions and shoulder raises will vary from person to person. Choose a weight for each exercise that allows you to do a maximum of 12 reps with good form.
- Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program, and stop if you feel ill at any time.
Suzanne Reilley is a fitness professional with a BS in exercise science and more than four years of experience as a full-time ACSM-certified personal trainer. She has been featured in DailyCandy and "The Washington Post," and has taught at Rancho La Puerta, rated Top Destination Spa by "Travel + Leisure."