For the busy man on the move, short, sharp, hell-for-leather workouts can provide the time-efficient solution to fitting exercise into an over-stretched schedule. Disclaimer: this is not one of those workouts.
Because while lung- and leg-busting AMRAPs and high-intensity circuits can be invaluable for torching through calories and forging a cast-iron mindset in double-quick time, your body will also appreciate – and your muscles will respond better to – a slower, more controlled approach to working out.
This session – created by fitness coach Danny Osborne – is divided into six blocks: a warm-up, legs and push, push and pull, fat-burn, accessory movements, and a core-focused finisher. In total, you’re going to complete 18 exercises, ticking off six essential movement patterns – squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge, twist – in the process.
As such, this workout is about more than simple muscular gains – though we guarantee everything from your chest to your calves is going to be singing once you’re done. Instead, the focus is on training your body to move as nature intended, improving mobility, strength, proprioception, and core stability in the process.
Complete the moves in the first block back-to-back with minimal rest. These are low-impact exercises designed to stretch out and open up, ready for the weighted work to come.
Then, for blocks two, three, four and five, you’re going to adopt the EMOM (every minute on the minute format). Simply start the first exercise at the beginning of a minute, complete the prescribed number of reps, then rest for the remainder of the minute. Once the next minute begins, so does the next exercise, and so on. Once one round is complete, rest for 1 minute, and repeat twice more.
To finish, a simple (simple, not easy) superset provides some direct ab work. Rest as needed (90 secs max) between sets, and shoot for 3-4 in total.
MOBILITY WARM-UP (x 2)
1a. Walk-Out to Shoulder Tap x 10
- From standing, fold forward to place your chest on your knees and your hands on the floor.
- Slowly walk your hands out until you’re in a high plank.
- Brace your core to keep a steady torso and tap one hand on the opposite shoulder.
- Repeat with the other hand.
- Now walk your hands back until you’re in the forward fold position.
1b. World’s Greatest Stretch x 5 (each side)
- In a high plank position, step your right foot towards the outside of your right hand.
- Move your right elbow inside towards your right foot, then rotate and reach for the ceiling.
- Return to the start and repeat on the other side.
1c. Deep Squat x 5
- Stand with feet hip-distance apart and slightly turned out.
- Inhale, and place your hands in a prayer position.
- Exhale, and lower, bending your knees as if trying to sit on a chair.
- Keeping your chest and shoulders open and your knees apart, lower your hips down further until your torso is between your knees.
- Separate your feet as much as you need to keep your ankles on the floor (you might need to turn them out a little more) and sink your heels into the floor.
- Press your elbows against your inner thighs and your hands together in prayer position.
- Hold for 5 seconds, stand up, then go again.
1d. Band Passover x 5
- Stand tall and hold a light resistance band between your hands.
- Maintain this position as you raise both arms overhead.
- Now pull the band apart further to allow you to move your arms behind your back, finishing just above your bum.
- Reverse the movement to complete 1 rep.
LEGS & PUSH BLOCK (EMOM x 3)
2a. Dumbbell Front Squat x 10
- Hold a pair of dumbbells on your shoulders.
- Keeping your back straight and chest up, lower into a deep squat.
- Drive through your heels to stand.
2b. DB Push Press x 10
- Hold a pair of dumbbells at shoulder height.
- Instead of pressing them straight overhead, drop into a quarter squat, then drive back to standing.
- As you do so, use the momentum to help press the weights up.
- Lower back to shoulder height and repeat.
2c. DB Thruster x 10
- Hold a pair of dumbbells on your shoulders, with your hands in a neutral position.
- Do a deep squat, keeping your back in good alignment.
- Drive up through your heels and punch the weights straight up in the air.
- Drop down into the next squat and repeat the process.
PUSH & PULL BLOCK (EMOM x 3)
3a. DB Single-Arm Bent-Over Row x 12
- Bend your knees, press your hips back, keep your chest up and your shoulders down. This is your starting position.
- Row the weight up to your side, turning your hand as you go and keeping your elbow tucked in.
- Pause at the top, then return to the start.
3b. Hand-Release Press-Up x 12
- Assume a press-up position, with a straight line from head to heels, and core braced.
- Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, lower until your chest touches the floor.
- Now, instead of pressing back up immediately, put all your weight onto your torso and lift your hands an inch off the floor.
- Place your hands back beside your chest and press back up to the start.
3c. Dumbbell Front Raise x 12
- Stand holding a dumbbell or weight plate in both hands.
- Maintain a straight back and tight core as you activate your shoulders, to raise the weight up, then overhead.
- Reverse the movement.
FAT-BURN BLOCK (EMOM x 3)
4a. Kettlebell Swing x 15
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing.
- As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back.
- When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell up.
- Don’t worry too much about how high the kettlebell gets – the snap at the hips and drive through the glutes is more important than air time.
4b. KB Goblet Reverse Lunge x 15 (total)
- Stand holding a kettlebell upside down, with the base between both hands.
- To maintain balance, keep your gaze fixed on a spot on the floor just in front of you.
- Now lift one leg behind you and drop both knees into a lunge, until the back knee almost touches the floor.
- Drive through your front heel to return to standing, then repeat on the other side.
4c. KB Russian Twist x 10 (e/s)
- Sit on the floor.
- Hold the kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands and bring your legs off the floor.
- Brace your core to keep your balance, and slowly twist to one side, then the other, without letting the weight or your legs drop.
ACCESSORY BLOCK (EMOM x 3)
5a. Diamond Press-Up x 15
- In the press-up position, bring your hands together, with your index fingers and thumbs forming a diamond shape underneath your chest.
- Slowly lower yourself down until your chest touches the backs of your hands.
- Slowly press back up to the start position and repeat.
5b. DB Biceps Curl x 12
- Standing with a dumbbell in each hand (palms facing up) and your elbows slightly flexed, curl the weights up to shoulder height.
- Squeeze at the top of the move, then return with control.
5c. DB Reverse Flye x 12
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then hinge at your hips until your torso is almost parallel with the floor.
- Hang the dumbbells straight down from your shoulders, with your elbows slightly bent (not fully straight) and palms facing each other.
- Keeping your core tight, your chest up and your back in alignment, pull your shoulder blades down and back, then raise your arms out to the side until your elbows are at shoulder height.
- Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.
CORE FINISHER (x 3)
6a. Alternating V-Up x 15
- Lie on your back with legs out flat and your arms extended overhead.
- Keeping your arms close to your ears, contract your abs to press your lower back into the ground.
- Point your toes and, squeezing your quads and glutes, lift your legs and upper back off the ground, while reaching your hand forward to meet your opposite foot.
- Keep your core engaged as you slowly lower to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
6b. Hollow Hold x 1 min
- Lie on your back with legs and arms extended.
- Squeeze your abs, quads and glutes, then lift your legs and shoulders off the ground. Keep your head in a neutral position so you’re not straining your neck.
- Your legs and the middle of your back should both be off the ground. Only your lower back and hips should be in contact with the ground.
- Hold this position.
Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Model: Danny Osborne