Learn from the dumbbell queen herself
What do you do after you've whipped half of America into shape (or at least sounded the wake-up call for it to get off the couch?) If you're Jillian Michaels, you certainly don't downshift. She's stayed at the top of her career game, and that speaks for her workouts as well. (Get the low-down on her weekly routine in this excerpt from our July/August issue.)
Michaels has created a way to duplicate the benefits of big-equipment weight training with one easy-to-use item you probably already have at home and definitely have at the gym: the dumbbell. But instead of using it like a one-trick pony for steady lifts, you'll be doing explosive, powerful reps of dynamic exercises.
"Dynamic resistance training like this is an extremely metabolic workout that challenges the body with nearly every modality of fitness," she says. "Because it's explosive and requires tremendous power, it torches calories and conditions muscle."
If it sounds a little intense, that's because it's supposed to be. But the good news is that the routine is compact—about 20 minutes and you're done with both your cardio and strength for the day—efficient, and effective.
How it works: Warm up with five minutes of dynamic stretches. Then do the moves in order for the time indicated, moving as quickly and powerfully as you can with proper form. Repeat the circuit two more times. Do this workout three days a week on alternate days for six weeks.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Split-Lunge Jerk
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand with hands by shoulders, palms facing each other and elbows bent down to start. Bend knees slightly, shifting hips back.
Then powerfully jump left leg forward and right leg back into a lunge with both legs bent 90 degrees as you push weights straight overhead (biceps should be in line with ears). Step right foot forward, then left foot back, and lower weights to return to start. Repeat quickly for 30 seconds.
2. Sumo High-Pull
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart with toes turned out, holding a weight in each hand with palms facing each other, arms long, and weights between thighs. Keeping chest lifted, squat until weights hover just above floor to start.
Powerfully come to standing, pull- ing weights up to and outside chest, bending elbows out to sides. Lower to start. Repeat quickly for 30 seconds.
3. Ape Snatch
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a weight in each hand with palms facing thighs to start. Keeping chest lifted, squat until weights hover just above floor.
Powerfully come to standing, rising onto balls of feet as you pull weights to chest height, bending elbows out to sides.
Without pausing, rotate forearms upward as you drop back into the deep squat, then stand to press weights overhead, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and with palms facing forward. Pause, then return to start. Repeat quickly for 30 seconds.
4. Halo Slash
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a single dumbbell with both hands at one end at chest height, elbows bent, to start. Rotate weight toward left and around back of head.
When weight is directly beside right ear, squat, forcefully drawing weight down your midline toward floor. Return to start. Switch sides; repeat. Continue, quickly alternating sides, for 30 seconds.
5. Low Lateral Chop
Stand with feet wider than hip-width, holding a single dumbbell with both hands at one end at chest height, elbows bent, to start. Squat, pivot on right foot to rotate left and extend arms out to left at shoulder height. Remaining low throughout, pivot on left foot as you rotate toward right, powerfully drawing weight across body and out to right. Continue, quickly alternating sides, for 30 seconds.
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, hold- ing one weight in right hand with palm on front of left shoulder, elbow bent, to start.
Bend knees slightly, and hinge from waist to lower torso until it's parallel to floor as you swing right arm down; pull slightly bent right elbow out to side at shoulder height. Swing arm and stand to return to start. Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides; repeat for the second round.
7. Speed-Skater Pendulum
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding one weight in right hand with arms by sides. Jump right foot to right, bending left leg and crossing it behind right to land in a deep lunge with right knee bent 90 degrees and on ball of left foot, weight outside right leg to start.
Immediately jump left foot to left as you draw weight across body in an arc, passing it to left hand at the midpoint.
Bend right leg and cross it behind left to land in a deep lunge with left leg bent and on ball of right foot, weight outside left leg. Switch sides; repeat. Continue, quickly alternating sides for 30 seconds.
8. Long-Jump Swing
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding one weight at end in right hand, arms by sides. Squat, drawing weight behind you.
Immediately jump as far forward as you can, swinging weight forward and up to shoulder height to pass weight to left hand, then land in a deep squat, swinging weight down and back to left side of body. Continue, quickly alternating sides for 30 seconds.