If you want to shift your spare tyre, it’s sometimes tempting to over-complicate matters by trying to be too clever with your training. But as with most things in life, simplicity is the secret to getting real results. And that’s the case with these fat-burning circuits – a 15-minute barbell complex, a three-minute finisher and a 12-minute kettlebell circuit.
15-Minute Barbell Fat-Loss Workout
There isn’t one way to lose fat. You could go for a really long slow run – that would help you lose fat, but you’d lose a fair amount of time too. Or you could try aqua aerobics –that would also help you lose fat, but you’d lose a fair bit of dignity too. Our suggestion is that you should pick up a barbell and do this circuit. It starts by you putting the bar on your back and it, er, finishes pretty much the same way. In between you do five different moves that will get your heart rate up, which forces your heart and lungs to work harder. You’ll also work pretty much every muscle in your lower body and a fair few in your upper body too, which means you’ll add strength and size while you get leaner – and it’ll only take about 15 minutes. So, go ahead and give it a try. You have nothing to lose but that spare tyre.
How to do the workout
Do the five exercises in order, sticking to the reps detailed, without resting until you finish all the reps of the fifth and final move of the circuit. Rest for two minutes, then repeat the circuit. Do three circuits in total. As you progress you can add another circuit or add weight to the bar.
1 Reverse lunge (right leg)
Reps 8 Rest 0sec
Stand up straight with the bar on your back. Take a big step backwards with your right leg until your back knee is just above the floor and your front knee is bent at 90°. Push through your front foot to return to the start.
This is a real test of co-ordination so to help keep your balance, make sure you keep your head still and your eyes looking forwards.
2 Behind-neck push press
Reps 10 Rest 0sec
Hold the bar across your back with a double shoulder-width grip. Lower into a quarter squat, then push up explosively to press the weight directly overhead. Lower the bar back to the start and repeat the move without pausing.
3 Back squat
Reps 10 Rest 0sec
Rest the bar on your upper back, then bend at the hips and the waist simultaneously to lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ensure that your knees remain in line with your toes. Then press back up to the start.
If you’re struggling to go deep in the squat that’s a sign of poor hamstring flexibility. Do some mobility work and stretching to help you get deeper into the move.
4 Reverse lunge (left leg)
Reps 8 Rest 0sec
Stand up straight with the bar on your back. Take a big step backwards with your left leg until your back knee is just above the floor and your front knee is bent at 90°. Push through your front foot to return to the start.
5 Good morning
Reps 8 Rest 2min
Start with the bar on your back. Bend your knees slightly and push your backside back to hinge at the hips and lower your torso until you feel a strong stretch in your hamstrings. Then return to the start and squeeze your glutes at the top of the move.
Three-Minute Fat-Burning Circuit
Here’s the fat-burning finisher that fitness model and online PT Alex Crockford uses to get in cover star shape. The moves work your entire body, drawing on strength, power and conditioning moves that’ll make every muscle fibre twitch and keep your heart rate high enough to keep burning calories for hours after you’re done.
How to do the workout
Set a timer for three minutes. Do all the reps of exercises 1-4, and then as many reps as possible of good-form burpees until the time is up. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the whole process for between two and four sets. Keep a tally of the total number of burpees you do. Next time around, beat it.
Hold the bar with an overhand grip. Retract your shoulder blades to engage the muscles in your upper back. Brace your core and pull up until your chin is over the bar. Lower under control. Struggling? Jump to the top position, then lower slowly
2 Box jump
Lower into a quarter squat, then explode up to jump and land on the box. Bend your legs to cushion your landing. Stand up, then step back down.
3 Barbell Thruster
Squat down, keeping your chest up, back straight and the weight on your heels. Drive up powerfully and press the weight overhead.
4 Kettlebell swing
Drive your hips forward 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 powerfully.
Drop to a crouch. Jump your feet back into a press-up position. Jump your feet forwards again, drive up and jump. Pro tip: Breathe in on the way down and out as you jump back up.
12-Minute Kettlebell Fat-Loss Workout
A kettlebell offers phenomenal fat-burning options that will get your muscles moving the way they were meant to – as one, for real-world functional strength. This circuit will help you move better and look great too.
This workout couldn’t be easier to follow, takes just 12 minutes, will send your heart rate soaring, and makes your body burn away fat stores for hours after you’ve taken off your trainers.
This circuit starts with three multi-joint compound lifts to work your major muscle groups, especially your legs, glutes and core, and get your heart rate sky-high. Then come two unilateral (single-arm) moves to increase the workload on your shoulders, chest and arms with the aim of building lean muscle mass. The result? A bigger, stronger and leaner you.
How to do the workout
Use a kettlebell that’s light enough for you to complete all reps of all moves with good form, but still heavy enough to provide a challenge. A 12kg bell is good for beginners, or 16kg if you’re more advanced. Do the five moves in order, sticking to the reps detailed. At the end of the circuit rest for 90sec, then repeat for a total of four circuits. For balanced gains, use your left arm to do the unilateral moves in circuits 1 and 3, and your right arm in circuits 2 and 4.
Drive your hips forwards to push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower the bell, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, allowing the kettlebell to rise to head height.
2 Goblet squat
Using both hands, hold the kettlebell by its handle in front of your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in close to your body. Keep your chest up as you lower into a squat, keeping your knees wide. Drive up to stand.
3 Alternating lunge with chest press
Reps 10 each side
Hold the bell by its handle close to your chest and take a big stride forwards into a lunge. Lower your back knee until it’s just off the floor and, as you do so, press the bell forwards so that your arms end up parallel with the floor. Reverse the move to the start. Alternate legs.
4 Clean and press
With the bell in one hand, swing it in a similar way as with the two-arm swing but as it passes eye level on the way up, draw your elbow into your body, bend your legs and “catch” the weight on the top of your forearm at shoulder height. Now drive up and punch the bell overhead. Complete all the reps with one arm, then swap sides in the next circuit.
5 One-arm swing
After the last clean and press, continue into the one-arm swing, driving your hips forwards to generate the momentum to raise the bell to eye level. Again, do all the reps with one arm then swap sides for the next circuit.