In order to keep a fitness kick on track you need to freshen up your gym routine regularly. Even the most determined person’s motivation starts to flag when faced with doing the same two or three workouts week in week out.
We can almost guarantee that the workout below will bring something new to your routine, unless you’re already routinely doing burpees-to-pull-ups and sumo-deadlifts-to-backwards-reptilian-crawls. So, if you’re looking for a new challenge (and this really is a challenge) try this seven-step session from personal trainer Russell Bateman, who is a founder of the internet-famous Skinny Bitch Collective, has worked with the likes of Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio and actor Chloë Grace Moretz, and recently launched his own supplement LYMA.
This circuit incorporates sport-specific movements into compound exercises, meaning that every station hits a high percentage of slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibres for faster physical results. Or, in other words, it’s going to be tough, but it’ll make you strong as hell.
Repeat the whole circuit four times with 90 seconds’ rest at the end of each circuit. Aim to do the session three times a week with a least one day of rest between workouts.
1 Resistance-band squat
Take an exercise band and double wrap it around your knees in a figure-of-eight. Set up in a wider than shoulder-width stance and bend at the knees and hips slightly to put tension in the band. Hold your arms straight out in front of you for balance.
Slowly bend at the hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground – this phase should take three seconds. Then power back up to standing. The band makes this bodyweight exercise a whole lot harder.
2 Resistance-band jump squat
Perform squats as in the previous exercise but as you rise back up, jump up so your feet leave the floor, pointing your toes down.
The lateral instability created by the band will mean you hit more muscle fibres in your glutes, and prepare your hips for the rest of the session by unlocking more power and increasing your range of movement in your lower body.
3 Press-up burpee to neutral-grip pull-up
Start in a press-up position underneath a pull-up bar with handles that let you take a neutral grip (palms facing). Perform a press-up explosively and jump your legs forwards to tuck your knees up to your chest, rock back into a crouch, and look up at the bar. Jump up vertically to grab the neutral handles. Pull yourself up as fast as possible, then lower slowly – the lowering phase should take four seconds. Then drop back to the floor.
Combining the explosive press-up burpee with the pull-up is tough because it engages your quads, lats, biceps, chest and core in every rep. One press-up burpee and one pull-up equals one rep. Head straight over to a barbell when you’re done.
4 Sumo deadlift
Stand in a very wide stance with a barbell in front of you. Bend at the knees slightly to take hold of the bar with your hands 10cms apart and avoid rounding your lower back. Extend your knees to pull the bar from the floor, pushing through your heels until your legs are straight. Your arms should remain fully extended and your shoulders back at the top of the movement. Return the bar to the floor –this phase should take four seconds.
5 Backwards reptilian crawl
After finished your sumo deadlift reps immediately hit the deck on all fours and get as close to the ground as possible without touching it with your chest or knees – the lower your centre of gravity, the harder you’ll work your abs. Crawl backwards in a controlled motion – think along the lines of Spider-Man in reverse. Tense your abs by sucking in your bellybutton and you’ll find this much easier.
6 Dumbbell hammer curl to overhead press with static lunge hold
Reps 6 each leg
Stand with dumbbells held by your sides with your palms facing. Lunge forwards with your right leg until your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your left knee is close to but not touching the ground behind. Hold this position.
Hammer curl both the weights up by contracting your biceps until the dumbbells touch the front of your shoulders. Now press the weights overhead with your palms still facing. Lower slowly and repeat, staying in the lunge position. Do all your reps on your right leg and then swap to your left with no break in between. You should tense your core for balance rather than moving the weights around.
7 Back extension to shoulder raise
Get into position on a hyper-extension machine, with your feet comfortably placed on the lower pad, and hold a pair of light dumbbells out in front of you with straight arms. Now “lift” your toes and raise your torso, keeping your arms and the weights as straight as possible, like Superman flying. Lower your arms – this phase should take four seconds – and then raise your arms, taking four seconds again. Focus on doing your reps slowly and moving your arms with a consistent tempo. Don’t jerk around – you’ll look silly, apart from anything.
This will increase your lower-back strength and shoulder mobility, which will directly lead to improved performance in your next session.
Russell Bateman’s LYMA supplement is available to buy at Net-A-Porter. LYMA costs £199 for a monthly starter kit containing 120 capsules.