Intense conditioning circuit for fat loss and strength endurance. Do this workout with a dumbbell or a kettlebell!
Diet is the most important thing when losing fat (no amount of exercise will help you if you eat more than you consume), but to get the "athlete look" you need to do some intense conditioning work.
Cardio can be great for fat loss (due to the increased energy consumption), but it won't necessarily give you the defined and "toned" look.
You can clearly see the difference between a bloated bodybuilder and the physique of an athlete. It's not just about diet - it's also about how they have trained their muscles.
Muscles have different fibres and density. Size is only one of the many attributes of the muscles - you can also develop the "depth" of your muscles and this happens by versatile and comprehensive training.
An athlete whose muscles are fine tuned for explosivity (fast muscle fibres) and strength endurance (not purely slow twitch fibres but not pure fast either) will have a very different muscle consistency than a person who has only focused on heavy lifts.
If you want to be a complete athlete, you should be capable of both raw strength and sustained performance (strength endurance).
This is where strength endurance and conditioning come necessary. In the last article (3 Exercises for Strength Endurance and Conditioning) the better athlete is not really the one who is the "strongest", but the one who is capable of sustaining a high level of performance the longest.
The left A-athlete can sustain a good performance of 70 for a long period of time. The right B-athlete reaches a higher level of performance of 100 in the start but his overall performance is a lot worse.
Apart from the pure strength sports like olympic weightlifting and arm wrestling, most sports, martial arts and physical activities you can participate in are about strength endurance.
To get the athletic physique and develop depth in your muscles, you have to do conditioning circuits. Cardio also matters and your diet is one piece which cannot be overlooked.
Workout Circuit for Fat Loss
Here is an intense workout circuit for fat loss, conditioning and strength endurance. Light weights should be used because the purpose here is not to develop raw strength.
The workout is done with a kettlebell, but a dumbbell can also be utilized for all of these exercises. Instead of the diamond push up you can also do the regular push up (or any other push up variation you like, just pick a variation that is not too difficult).
One massive mistake people make in their circuit workouts and conditioning training in general is that they hurry their repetitions.
People often sacrifice their form in order to finish the repetitions and this is what you don't want to do! You want to work the muscles as much as possible.
Although this is a circuit type of workout, the exercises can still be done with normal pace and control. In fact, you will notice that the circuit will be a lot harder this way.
Conditioning Circuit for 3 Rounds
Kettlebell swing: 3-5 sets x 5 repetitions per round
Goblet squat: 3-5 sets x 5 repetitions per round
Diamond push up: 3-5 sets x 5 repetitions per round
Rest 1 minute between rounds. No rest between sets or exercises.
In the kettlebell swing you take a wider than shoulder width stance and swing the kettlebell between your legs. Your legs are slightly bent but quite straight.
The benefits of the kettlebell swing:
Kettlebell swing will dominantly develop the lower back, glutes and hamstrings but your entire back area also needs to work hard to stabilize the posture.
John Grimek, one of the greatest pioneer bodybuilders from the 30s believed the swing was one of the best exercises you can do for your erector spinae muscles (string-like muscles around the spine).
The important cue is to hinge from the hips and let the explosion of the hips move the weight. You only hold onto the weight and keep the scapula stable.
In the goblet squat you hold the weight next to your chest and perform up-and-down squats with an upright posture. Place your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart and point your feet 45 degrees outwards.
The biggest difference compared to the traditional back squat is that you are not sitting back, but you are sitting down similar to the front squat.
The benefits of the goblet squat:
A lot of people find the goblet squat very comfortable to do and can often perform it with a good depth.
Goblet squat is a fantastic leg exercise for the lower body (your core also needs to stabilize hard) but it's still just one among many different squat variations.
There is no one squat variation that is better than another because they will all train the body in different ways. The only mistake you can do with squats is to do only 1 variation and never change it!
DIAMOND PUSH UP
In the diamond push up you take the narrowest arm width you can take and do push ups. Your hands can be in the diamond shape on the floor or placed on a weight as seen in the picture.
The benefits of the diamond push up:
Diamond push up is the push up variation that emphasizes the triceps the most and done right can be brutal.
Similar to all push up variations, you should also focus on core stability - push up is basically a moving plank position. Keep the core tight and feel the abdominals contract.
Core stability is one of the most important areas to master regarding athletic ability and push up is a perfect exercise to develop this.
Doing all of these exercises with good control and execution will provide the greatest benefits - there are no shortcuts!
Train hard, stay safe.