In the first of a new series of workouts from top PT's, trainer Amy Darch offers a time-saving, total-body workout
Do you seem to spend hours in the gym and still not see the benefits?
You need to take your workout back to basics with a more targeted approach. Enter Amy Darch, trainer at London’s W10 Performance Gym (w10fit.wpengine.com) a personal-training studio that creates functional fitness programmes for athletes and exercises who are serious about meeting their goals. ‘Looking sexy doesn’t mean training sexy,’ says Darch. ‘Exercise is often overcomplicated and things get thrown into the mix without any real purpose. Workouts should be based on the fundamentals, focusing on good form and gradually increasing intensity over time.’
‘MY TOP TIP’
‘Do exercise you enjoy and set yourself a performance goal – you’ll be more likely to stick to a plan and see results.’
Darch, who has designed and taught classes at Gymbox, Reebok and her own project the SweatBox Sessions at Boxpark, knows how important it is for a workout to give you results. ‘I’ve always loved being active and, most recently, I’ve been focusing on competing in the OCR (obstacle course racing) world championships,’ she says. ‘I love that it combines all elements of athletic performance, and having an event to work towards provides purpose for my training and gives me more body confidence and drive.’
Now the trainer has designed a super-effective but simple, full-body workout for you, based around the six key movement patterns: hinge, squat, single leg, upper-body push and upper body pull. ‘Working multiple muscles at the same time, these moves will get you lean, strong and burning lots of calories,’ says Darch. ‘Don’t be scared to outlift the guys – you won’t get the shape you’re after by picking up little weights!’
DB ROMANIAN (8-10 REPS)
BENEFITS: A hip-dominant move that strengthens
muscles on the back of your body (lower back, hamstrings and glutes).
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and both dumbbells touching your thighs, hands shoulder-width apart (A).
- Inhale as you send your hips back and let the dumbbells track down your legs, keeping your back straight, your chest up and your shoulders back (B)
- Keep going until your hips won’t go back any further, then exhale as you squeeze your glutes and return to the start position.
DB BENT-OVER ROW (8-10 REPS)
BENEFITS: This upper-body exercise strengthens your entire back and creates great core stability.
- Hinge your hips back, getting your chest as close to parallel with the floor as you can with your back straight. Your arms should be long, your chest up and your shoulders back, maintaining tension through your upper back (A).
- Row the dumbbells up to your hips and think about driving your shoulder blades back and down (B).
- Squeeze at the top of the movement and lower back to the start position with control.
OFFSET KB SQUAT (8-10 REPS)
BENEFITS: Develops strength in your lower body (glutes, quads and hamstrings), plus offset loading puts greater emphasis on your core.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Hold a kettlebell in a front rack position, as shown (A).
- Inhale as you sit back with your weight in your heels and lower with control, keeping your knees over your toes until your thighs are parallel to the floor (B).
- Exhale as you press up through your heels, keeping your chest up and bringing your hips up to standing position. Do your reps, then repeat with the other arm.
TEMPO PRESS-UP (8-10 REPS)
BENEFITS: This works your chest, arms and core really hard.
- Start in a tall plank, hips in line with your shoulders and hands wider than shoulder width, core tight and glutes squeezed (A).
- Keeping your body straight, lower down with control for three seconds, with your elbows relatively close to your body (B).
- When your chest hits the floor, press up as hard as possible back to the start. If you can’t do a full press-up, focus on the lowering phase and, when your body reaches the floor, put your knees on the floor to help you push back up.
SPLIT SQUAT (8-10 REPS EACH LEG)
BENEFITS: Builds lower-body strength, mobility, core strength and improves muscular imbalances.
- Place one foot on a step behind you with your shoe laces facing down and hold a dumbbell in each hand (A). Your front foot should be positioned so your back knee stays fairly close to the step when you lower.
- Lower your body until your back knee almost reaches the floor (B).
- Driving through the front heel, push up to the start position.
- Complete your reps, then repeat on the other leg.
HOLLOW BODY HOLD (45 SECS)
BENEFITS: Builds core strength and tone.
- Lie flat on your back with your lower back pressed into the floor. Lift your arms and legs into the air at the midline of your body, palms facing forwards (A).
- Lower both arms and legs as close to the floor as possible, while still keeping your lower back pressed into the floor. Brace your core and take slow, deep breaths as you hold this position for 45 seconds (B).
- Exhale as you release your arms and legs back to the floor.