7 Tricks To Burn More Calories

Here’s the thing. If you’re bored with your same old workout routine, your muscles probably are, too. Lunges? Boring. Planks? No thanks. But if you want to see results, you’re going to have to shake things up.

“Your body adapts to the same old routine,” says Liz Neporent, MA, a New York-based exercise physiologist. “New routines help shake things up both physically and mentally.” Take your go-to exercises to the next level and you’ll torch calories, break through a fitness plateau, and burn fat even faster.

Instead of…side lunges
Try: Plyometric side-to-side jumps (a.k.a. ski jumps). Ski jumps add intensity, work the deep muscle fibers and add an element of balance and coordination, says Neporent.

How to do it: Place a jump rope or other divider on the floor next to you. Imagine you’re a skier doing moguls, and quickly jump side to side over the divider, taking care to land each time with your feet hip-width apart. Start with 50 jumps (25 per side).

Instead of…lunges
Try: Weighted step-up. This move uses weights (start with five- to eight-pound dumbbells) for greater glute and core activation than lunges, says Guy Andrews, MA, CSCS, executive director of Exercise ETC, Inc., a provider of fitness education programs based in Florida.

How to do it: Place your right foot on a four to six inch step or curb. Push off with the left leg to raise your body onto the step, placing the left foot next to the right foot. Slowly shift your weight to your right foot and lower your left foot back to the floor and completely step off platform by following with your right foot. Repeat 10 to 15 times, alternating lead legs.

Instead of…push-ups
Try: Push-ups on a Bosu ball. The unstable surface of a Bosu ball makes muscles work harder to maintain balance, says Neporent.

How to do it: Flip the Bosu over onto its dome, flat side up. Grip the sides of the platform or place your hands on top of it and perform a push-up. Keep your body in a straight line and keep your core engaged the entire time.

Instead of…planks
Try: Medicine ball planks. Adding a medicine ball under your feet (harder) and/or hands turns a ho-hum move into a power workout, says Andrews.

How to do it: Perform a traditional plank exercise but start with your feet and/or hands on a sturdy medicine ball; keep your body aligned without allowing your hips to hike up or sag. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds.

Instead of…pull-downs
Try: Inverted rows. The inverted row is super effective for the lats (back), and requires major core activation but with minimal shoulder stress, says Andrews.

How to do it: Lie on your back under a fixed horizontal bar (or a broom handle anchored on propped up on the seats of two sturdy chairs) and grasp the bar with a wide grip. Keep your body straight as you pull yourself up towards the bar; slowly lower yourself to starting position and repeat.

Instead of…squats

Try: Chair squats. The slow descent of this move works the glutes and quads (thighs) and takes stress off the knees, says Andrews.
How to do it: Hold onto five- to eight-pound dumbbells and position yourself in front of a sturdy dining room chair. Keeping feet shoulder width apart, abs engaged, head up and eyes looking forward, slowly lower yourself by bending at the knees and hips, until you sit on the chair. Pause for only a second (do not bounce) and then slowly return to starting position without locking knees.

Instead of…dumbbell chest presses
Try: One-arm chest presses on a fitness ball. This one-armed press on a fitness ball provides core stability and strengthening, with less stress on the shoulders than you get with a flat bench press, says Andrews.

How to do it: Start by sitting on a fitness ball, holding on to a five- to eight-pound dumbbell in one hand. Walk out and allow the ball to roll out until you’re in a stable, table-top position, hips and thighs parallel to the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle and head and neck supported by the ball. Holding on to the dumbbell, and with your other arm across your midsection for balance, bring the dumbbell out to the side with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, wrist stacked directly above your elbow. Push up and slightly towards the center by extending your arm; slowly return to starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times and switch arms.

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