If Short Motivation was a gambling website, we’d be inclined to put a bet that your New Year’s resolution was to lose a few pounds and get in shape, but ultimately failed. It’s now mid-May, when, hopefully, you’ve managed to smash your goals and are one step closer to the Summer body you’ve envisaged for yourself. No?
Well, you’re not alone and if you’re still in search of your Summer body then there’s not long left so we’ve compiled our top seven exercises (eight including accelerated cardio) to get you in shape for Summer and two super-quick ways to implement them.
First, the exercises.
At any gym, you’ll see people performing bicep curls and leg extensions. Why? They’re reasonably easy to perform and you can probably feel the right muscles working when you’re doing them. Sadly, to obtain Summer body, you do not have the time to waste on isolation exercises, especially if you’re on a tight schedule, so you need to make the most of compound movements to supercharge your workouts and fat loss.
Compound movements are exercises that use multiple joints. A leg extension is quadriceps dominant and uses little in the way of stabilisers because you’re seated, so the intention here is to swap this for a front squat and you’re still doing a quadriceps dominant movement but also engaging more muscle fibres.
Before you continue, please remember that you need to warm up.
If are are unsure about some of the terms used in this article, it’s worth having a quick read through our Glossary of Terms before you get started with your workout.
Back Squat. Click for full exercise
You’re probably going to be in a pair of shorts on your holiday, so let’s start with the legs. A lot of people disregard their legs for some reason but we believe it’s possibly the most important body part to build. Strong, powerful pins are a good base to the rest of the body. With this in mind, we are suggesting the good old back squat.
With a barbell placed across your upper back, feet hip-shoulder width apart, push your hips back and down, keeping your back straight and chest up. Go down so your thighs are parallel to the ground and then push back up.
Pull-Ups. Click for full exercise
Next, for that V tapered upper body we recommend wide grip pull ups. These are a great back exercise to enhance your upper body physique and work on back width. If you can’t do unassisted pull ups then try using an assisted machine or a resistance band to give you the push you need.
Bench Press. Click for full exercise
To chisel the perfect chest we’re going back to basics. The bench press is probably one of the most commonly used exercises in the gym, everyone tends to base their strength on how much they can bench. However, it is a very good exercise to do to sculpt your chest, just keep the bar steady, all the way down to your chest and then all the way to arms straight. Too many people either bounce the bar off their chest or only lower part way down, don’t be one of these people!
Overhead Press. Click for full exercise
Continuing to work our way up, next is the overhead press. To build impressive shoulders we prefer the standing barbell overhead press. This not only works your shoulders but your whole body as you have to stabilise the move much greater than if you’re seated. Starting with the bar in front of you push it straight up above your head and then lower it back down to the starting position.
Deadlift. Click for full exercise
Moving back down to the legs we like to add a deadlift. Not only is it a big powerful movement but it’s an excellent full body movement. Predominantly using your legs and back, but it also involves a tremendous amount of grip strength to and upper body shoulder strength to keep hold of the bar. Start with the bar on the floor and feet hip width apart. Hold with an alternate grip, keeping your back straight push through your legs, lifting the bar up to waist height whilst keeping your arms straight.
Bent over row. Click for full exercise
Bent over row
We’ve already highlighted upper body width, we can now move to upper body thickness. Having the combination of both thickness and width will give you the strong physique of your dreams.
For thickness we’ve picked the bent over row. The king of free weights rowing movements it will build you a strong and powerful back, not the mirror muscles some people chase but definitely something that you don’t want to overlook.
For this movement, grip the bar underhand just outside of your hips, adopt a partial squat stance, and pull your arms back to bring the bar to your belly button. Straighten your arms keeping the bar close to your legs whilst maintaining good posture.
Dumbbell flies. Click for full exercise
The last in our list are dumbbell flyes, these are brilliant to work the full length of your pectoral muscle. Leave the ego lifting at the door with this move, lower the weight and keep your arms as straight as possible, to keep the stress on your pectoral muscle. These will also really help the separation of your pectoral muscles.
Add squat jumps as an “accelerated cardio” exercise
That’s our list of the top exercises you must be performing to get in shape for Summer, within the quickest amount of time. You could add these to your current routine or add them together into separate workouts, either way you will reap the benefits of big compound movements.
We recommend either supersets (putting two exercises back to back with no rest) or accelerated cardio (performing one of the exercises in the list, followed by a high intensity interval, for example squat jumps or our pylometric box exercises workout).
Either of these methods would be effective to burn fat and build muscle in the shortest amount of time possible. We’ve left out any arm exercises because they’re not large muscle groups and are also worked whilst performing the other exercises. For the time left until Summer, there’s more effective things to be doing with your time.
Before you finish, remember that you should spend time cooling down.
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