The concept of lifting weights one day and doing cardio and abs the next is outdated. Instead, metabolic training that harnesses the power of high-intensity intervals and total-body resistance drills is the new standard for torching calories both during and after your workout.
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Metabolic training fuses whole-body strength, cardio, power, endurance and mobility work all during a shorter workout. That means you have the ability to burn fat, build muscle and boost metabolism in 30 minutes or less. These 17 awesome afterburners deliver everything you need for total fitness.
How to Do This Workout
Perform each of these exercises for 30 seconds at a time to begin with and gradually build up to 60 seconds by adding five to 10 second increments as your metabolic conditioning improves. Keep your heart rate high and your rest periods between exercises at 30 seconds or less.
Alternate between sets of "non-competitive" moves — i.e. switch between exercises that work your upper body and lower body or front and backside. Doing so will minimize fatigue and help you keep up the intensity throughout the workout.
1. Ground Zero Jump
The ground zero jump strengthens your hips and core more than traditional cardio and crushes calories like few moves can. It also targets fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have the biggest effect on your metabolism, athleticism and heart rate.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, knees slightly bent.
- Hinge at your hips with a flat back and reach your arms behind you.
- Explosively push your hips forward and jump up just a little (this isn't a full squat jump).
- Land with knees slightly bent and repeat.
2. Predator Jack
If you've ever seen the movie Predator, you've seen this mighty metabolic mobility move in action. In a minute or less, it fires up neural pathways that link your brain and muscles, and mobilizes tight areas in your ankles, hips and upper back — making this quite possibly the world's quickest warm-up.
- Stand with your feet together and hold both arms straight in front of you, palms together.
- Jump your feet apart, push your hips back, bend your knees and lower into a squat while pulling your arms apart and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Shift your weight over your right leg, and then your left leg, then right and left again before returning back to center and standing back up.
- Gradually increase your speed and range of motion throughout the set.
3. Skater Jump
If you want to work your legs in a hurry, you can't go wrong with skater jumps. This dynamic move heats up your hips without causing as much stress to your knees as other jumping drills. The movement trains your hips in the often-neglected side-to-side plane of motion.
- Start with your weight on your right leg with your knee bent.
- Bent your left knee so your foot is slightly off the ground.
- Push off your right leg and jump to your left, landing softly and holding that position for one count, keeping your hips back and down throughout.
- Reverse the movement and repeat, gradually increasing your speed and range of motion.
4. Blast-Off Push-Up
This is probably the best push-up you've never done. It works your entire lower body while sculpting a set of superhero shoulders and sending your heart rate through the roof.
- Start in a high plank.
- Push your hips back without arching your lower back until your knees bend to about 90 degrees.
- Pause for a beat, then explosively extend through your knees, ankles and hips while also pulling with your upper back as you lower into the bottom of a push-up.
- Keep your elbows tucked into your sides to protect your shoulders.
Skip the push-up and just maintain a hold if you need it to be easier.
5. In-and-Out Squat
In-and-out squats will put you on the fast track to leaner, more toned legs. The exercise recruits your body's biggest and strongest muscles, which causes a metabolic disturbance significant enough that you'll be burning calories even after you stop doing it.
- Bend your knees, ankles and hips, keeping your feet close together.
- Jump your feet outward, landing softly and sticking it for a count, without letting your hips rise.
- Jump your feet back in.
- Keep your head and hips down throughout the movement as you repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Low Box Runner
Low box runners give you all the weight-loss benefits of plyo without sore or achy joints. By moving your feet and arms quickly, you'll boost the elasticity of your muscles.
- Place your left foot on a stable low box or step (even a sturdy phone book will work). Hold your right arm forward.
- Quickly alternate which foot is on the box and which is on the ground from side to side.
- Stay on the balls of your feet throughout the movement.
Perform the move at a slower, more controlled tempo at first, focusing on nice, clean exchanges of your hands and feet, and gradually increase your speed over time.
7. Low Box Burpee
The burpee might be the best exercise on the planet, because it involves your whole body — and torches belly fat. But it's also one of the most frequently botched exercises. To avoid that, try this variation.
- Assume a wide sumo stance with your feet farther than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly with a low box or a step in front of your toes.
- Drop your weight into your heels and lower your hips until your palms reach the box or step without rounding your lower back.
- Jump your feet back into a plank.
- Reverse the movement and repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.
8. Bucking Hop
The bucking hop is a total-body exercise that challenges your shoulders and core to the max. It trains hand-balancing, bulletproofing your shoulders. And if you're training for a mud run or other obstacle race, master this move.
- Assume a modified plank with your elbows slightly bent and your knees bent at 90-degree angles.
- Hop your feet up and down while landing softly.
- Then hop your feet to the left, then back to the middle, then to the right, and back to the middle again — all while keeping your palms firmly planted on the floor.
9. Isometric Towel Row
It can be tough to target your upper back if don't have access to equipment like dumbbells, resistance bands or a pull-up bar. The good news: You can use a towel to create resistance. This move improves your posture, promotes healthier shoulders and helps sculpt an enviable V-shaped back.
- Start with your left leg forward and your right leg back.
- Place your left foot onto one end of a towel and grab the other end in your right hand.
- Pull the towel as hard as you can without holding your breath.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.
If you can’t maintain the hold continuously, break it up into shorter five- to 10-second bursts with brief one- or two-second rests in between.
10. Power Step-Up
Power step-ups are a lower-impact version of lunge jumps that are easier on the knees. The movement trains both knee and hip extension, which is critical to proper running mechanics and overall athletic performance.
- Place your right foot onto a stable box, bench or step with your knee and ankle aligned, heel loaded and shin vertical.
- Drive through your right heel and swing your arms overhead as you switch your legs mid-air, landing softly on the other side.
- Perform for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.
11. Frog Push-Up
Frogs have powerful legs from their hops, and this modified dynamic push-up can build your leg strength, too. The movement also strengthens your core while opening your hips, ankles and upper back and firing up your thighs.
- Start in a high plank with your hands underneath your shoulders.
- Jump your feet outside your hands and drop into a deep squat position, pushing your knees out and keeping your feels flat on the floor while pressing your chest open with your hands.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
12. Bear Crawl
As they say, you must learn to crawl before you can learn to walk. The main benefit of this primal movement is working your entire body (with a specific emphasis on your shoulders, core and quads).
- Start in a bent-knee push-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees bent at 90-degrees, feet underneath your hips.
- Step your left hand and your right foot forward and continue to crawl forward so that your opposite hand and foot are moving together.
- Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds.
13. Crab Walk
Where the bear crawl hits the entire front of your body, the crab walk attacks the whole backside. The motion mobilizes your hips and shoulders and builds your glutes, hamstrings and triceps.
- Start sitting with your palms loaded, hands underneath your shoulders and knees bent at 90-degrees with your feet underneath your hips.
- Raise your hips so your butt hovers above the ground.
- Move your right hand and left foot forward.
- Continue this opposite-hand, opposite-foot pattern as you crawl for 30 to 60 seconds.
14. Monkey Lunge
This dynamic exercise is an amazing way to open up your inner thighs and hips. If you've ever experienced groin pulls or tightness, this move is exactly what the doctor ordered. Your shoulders will feel pretty smoked, too.
- Step to your left and lower your body into a lateral lunge, placing both hands on the floor.
- Without moving your feet, lift your hands and hips and shift your weight over your right foot, so you end up in a right-side lunge.
- Alternate back and forth for 30 to 60 seconds.
To really kick up the burn, turn this movement into a monkey shuffle by simultaneously loading your hands, lifting your hips and shuffling your feet side-to-side between right and left lunge positions.
15. Kick Through
Need an easier (but still challenging) Turkish get-up? This is it. Kick-throughs will make you feel like you're break-dancing your belly fat away. Plus, you'll improve shoulder strength and stability and feel the burn through your hips, obliques and abs.
- Start in a bent-knee push-up position with your palms underneath your shoulders and knees bent at 90-degrees.
- Kick your right leg in front of you so you're balancing on your left foot and right hand.
- Hold for one count, then reverse the movement and repeat on the other side.
16. Squat Walk
Walking squats and lunges elevate your heart rate more than traditional squats or lunges alone, resulting in more cardio conditioning and greater calorie burning per training session. Squat walks hammer your quads but also teach you how to shift your weight properly from hip to hip when in a staggered stance.
- Start in a staggered squat position with your right leg forward, heel flat, and your left leg staggered behind on its toes, so that the front of your foot is aligned with your right heel.
- Push your hips back and down as far as you can while staying upright throughout the movement.
- Walk forward taking short, choppy steps for 30 to 60 seconds.
17. Reverse Lunge With High Knee
Lunges target your entire lower body, and this variation also improves your core strength and balance.
- Start standing with your feet together.
- Step your left foot a few feet back and lower down into a lunge.
- As you return to standing, swing your left leg through and bring that knee up in front of you so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Set your left leg back down behind you to do your next lunge.
- Work for 15 to 30 seconds on one leg, and then switch sides.