By Bronwen Bartlett
Two simple exercises that destroy flab
Many of us live a pretty sedentary lifestyle – sitting in front of computer screens most of the day, sitting or laying in front of the television all night – and it plays havoc with our belly muscles, causing stubborn flab, even for those of us with a healthy weight, Is it possible that this flab and jiggle can be combated with just two moves and just one pieve of equipment? Alwyn Cosgrove seems to think so, and he explains why in this excerpt from Women’s Health Magazine.
A couple of month’s ago, Men’s Health asked Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S. – one of the world’s top trainers – to create a cutting-edge fat loss program for Men’s Health. And, of course, he obliged. But a curious thing: One of the workouts in the plan featured just two exercises.
That’s right: When asked to create a super-effective, calorie-torching routine, Cosgrove gave us a workout that had readers do only a dumbbell swing and a squat thrust. This confused some folks, who wondered, “How can you lose fat with just two exercises?”
Cosgrove’s response: “Running is just one exercise, but no one questions that when it comes to burning fat.”
He makes a good point. And in fact, once you understand the philosophy behind Cosgrove’s routine, you start to see why it works so well. But first, an explanation of the actual routine itself.
Here’s how it works: You do 15 repetitions of the kettlebell swing (you can also use a dumbbell for this), followed immediately by 15 reps of the squat thrust. (See below for descriptions of both exercises.) Then, without resting, do another 14 reps of the swing and another 14 reps of the squat thrust. Continue this pattern until you complete only one rep of each exercise. This is called a countdown workout.
Sure, that’s just two exercises, but do the math: If you complete the entire routine – from 15 down to one – you’ll do 120 repetitions of each exercise. That’s 240 repetitions. And these aren’t just any exercises: They’re movements that challenge your entire body.
They’re also done at a fast pace. On average, it’ll only take you about three seconds per rep. So you’ll do those 240 reps in just 12 minutes or so. That’ll light your muscles on fire and have you gasping for air (in a good way).
An important note: This isn’t a complete workout program, but it is a great routine that you can do almost anywhere, anytime. And it’s a fantastic substitute for 15 minutes on the treadmill.
Kettlebell (or Dumbbell) Swing
Bend at your hips, and hold a kettlebell (or dumbbell) with both hands at arm’s length in front of you. Now, rock back slightly and “hike” the kettlebell between your legs. Then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the weight to shoulder height. Allow momentum to swing the weight – you’re not trying to actively lift it with your arms. Reverse the movement, so that you swing the kettlebell between your legs again. Make sure you don’t round your lower back at any time; it should stay naturally arched when you bend at your hips. Continue to swing back and forth. Watch this video to see fitness expert David Jack show how to do the kettlebell swing with perfect form:
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Bending at your hips and knees, squat down and lower your body until you can place your hands on the floor. Kick your legs backward—into a pushup position—and then immediately reverse the move and quickly stand up from the squat. That’s one rep. To make the exercise even more challenging, you can jump up from the squat instead of simply standing up quickly. Watch this video to see strength coach David Jack do the squat thrust:
- A. (2014). “Lose Your Belly with Just Two Exercise Moves”. Women’s Health.
- Kettlebell (dumbbell) swing video
- Squat thrust video
Bronwen Bartlett is a freelance writer, children’s book author, virtual agency director and performing bellydancer from South Africa. When she isn’t bent over a keyboard, frantically crafting articles and stories, or touting the benefits of moving away from traditional offices into virtual spaces, she can usually be found hiking a mountain with her partner and their dogs, or trying to master rib-cage isolation patterns. You can follow her personal blog or her company blog. Her first published children’s book, Callum and the Tiger, can be found on Amazon.