This routine is sculpting gold: eight super moves to build a body that won't quit
Abs tend to get all the attention in the gym because a sculpted set is undeniably sexy. But smart exercisers know not to stop there. When you strengthen your entire core—even smaller muscles, like the serratus anterior in the rib cage—you'll not only earn the flattest core of your life but also immeasurably improve the way you feel and move. Just ask Joshua Lipsey, a celebrity trainer and the creator of the 12 Weeks Slimmer workout and nutrition plan.
At the heart of Lipsey's signature Transcoremation formula is making sure you challenge your nervous system. Yep, the network of nerve cells and fibers that sends impulses around your body. Do complex and explosive movements, Lipsey says, and you'll light up your nervous system to alert many muscles to get to work, helping you to burn more calories and strengthen more muscles. "For example, if you do a single-leg burpee, you're not only training your core to withstand high forces applied at high speeds," he says, but the move itself also nails the sweet-spot combination of coordination, strength, and power that will challenge your muscles—and nervous system—to the max. (Did you know that exercise has all these brain benefits?)
Lipsey's incredibly creative, core-blasting exercises are true nervous system twisters—they call for you to move through multiple planes of motion, often one limb or one side of the body at a time. That means that unlike with a lot of other core workouts, you'll definitely feel this one all over, especially deep in your quads and hamstrings. (Speaking of core exercises that use your whole body, try this abs workout from a Barry's Bootcamp trainer.)
You'll focus on your lower body, then upper body, then core, and alternate doing a static move with a dynamic move. "This specific order serves to activate the nervous system and to work fast-twitch muscle fibers [the ones used to power you through quick explosive movements] simultaneously," Lipsey says. "This primes you for rebuilding strong, lean muscle and burning calories as fast as possible." As mentioned, your metabolism will be running hot during this routine, but if you want to turn up your calorie burn even more, earn it: Move quickly from exercise to exercise. Ready to give it a try? All (nervous) systems go.
How it works: Spend a couple of minutes doing active stretches to warm up—arm swings, walking lunges, butt kicks. Then do the moves in order for the time or number of reps indicated. You'll complete the entire circuit three times. Do this workout on alternate days, three or four days a week.
Total Time: up to 15 minutes
1. Butt-Lift Lunge
Start on floor on hands and knees. Straighten and raise right leg behind you as high as you can, then step right foot forward between hands.
Rise up into a long lunge with left leg straight and right leg bent 90 degrees. Reverse movement to start. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep.
2. Side-Lean Hop
Start on floor on knees with legs together and arms by sides. Open right hip, stepping right foot out to right side with knee bent outward; lean torso toward right leg.
Step right foot in front of body (leg is bent 90 degrees).
Then push into right foot to jump as high as you can with feet staggered. Land softly then immediately return to start position. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep.
3. Toe-Tap Squat Jump
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out and hands on hips. Squat, lifting heels to rise onto balls of feet to start.
Jump, tapping toes together in air. Land softly in start position.
Then extend straight left leg out to left side, tapping toes on floor. Return to start position. Switch sides; repeat. Continue quickly alternating sides for 1 minute.
AMRAP for 1 minute
4. Tabletop Butt Kick
Start on floor on hands and knees. Lift knees to hover off floor.
Kick heels toward butt, landing softly back in start position with knees lifted. Repeat quickly for 1 minute.
AMRAP for 1 minute
5. Side Plank Twist
Start on floor in side plank on right forearm with palm pressing into floor and left arm reaching straight over left shoulder.
Lower right hip to touch floor, then thrust it back to start position.
Rotate torso until shoulders are square to floor, reaching left arm under and through belly. Return to start. That's 1 rep. Switch sides; repeat.
6. Plank Tricep Extension
Start on floor in plank on forearms with palms pressing into floor.
Slowly straighten arms.
Rise into plank on palms. Slowly return to start. That's 1 rep.
7. Beggar's Plank
Start on floor in plank on forearms with palms facing up. Keep hips square and walk right arm as far forward as you can. Walk left arm out to meet it. Walk right arm back to start, then left. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep.
8. Single-Leg Burpee
Stand on left leg with arms by sides. Keeping right leg lifted, crouch and plant hands on floor. Jump left foot back to a single-leg plank.
Lower chest and thighs to floor. Push up to single-leg plank, jump left foot toward hands (if you need to make it easier, jump both feet up).
Then jump, clapping hands overhead. Switch sides; repeat. That's 1 rep.