?This 30-Minute Workout Hurts So Good

via Marissa Gainsburg, Women's Health

You might complain when your body is can’t-get-off-the-toilet sore, but deep down, you know you love it. That's 'cause that hurts-so-good feeling is evidence that you’ve successfully initiated change on a muscular level, as your torn up muscle fibers work hard to repair themselves into bigger, more defined studs.

Problem is, as you get fitter, you have to crank up the challenge to produce that kind of soreness. Which is where this killer workout from certified personal trainer Nancy Newell, a strength and conditioning coach at Cressey Sports Performance, comes in.

Following a technique called contrast training, this workout involves starting with heavy lifting, then decreasing the resistance until you’re using just your body weight.

“As a result, even though your muscles are actually more tired by the last round, you feel lighter and can perform more work,” explains Newell. Bonus: Even though you’re repeating the same circuit of moves for each round, your emphasis changes each time, helping you stay in the moment—and helping the 30-minute session fly right by.

Perform these moves as a superset: Starting with the first pair, complete all the reps of the first exercise, repeat, then move immediately into the second exercise. Rest up to a minute, then move on to the next superset. After completing all three supersets, rest for two minutes, and move on to the next round in the same format.

Pair One: Dumbbell Goblet Squat + Dumbbell Floor Press

Pair Two: Dumbbell Walking Lunge + Side Bridge

Pair Three: Dumbbell Farmer’s Carry + Wall Press Flutter Kicks

Round 1: Use heavy dumbbells (say, 20’s or 30’s if you're used to 10's), and perform five reps of each exercise (five per side for unilateral moves). Hold the side bridge for five seconds and the wall press flutter kick for 10 seconds.

Round 2: Perform the same circuit, but decrease the resistance for each dumbbell exercise, and complete 10 reps of each exercise (10 per side in all cases but the squat). Your focus? Moving the weight explosively. Hold the side bridge for 10 seconds and the wall press flutter kick for 20.

Round 3: Perform the same circuit, but this time, lose the weights and work with just your body. Do 22 reps of each exercise, completing them as quickly as possible (but never skimping on range of motion—for example, your knee should still almost touch the floor in your lunge). If you’re doing well on time, add a third set to each exercise. Hold the side bridge for 22 seconds, the wall press flutter kick for 30, and enjoy a basic walk for the farmer’s carry.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width, toes slightly turned out. Hold a dumbbell with both hands from the top at chest level, then push your hips down and back to lower your body toward the floor. Reverse the movement to return to start, and squeeze your glutes.


Lie faceup on the ground and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your elbows at a 45-degree angle from your chest on the floor. Push the dumbbells up toward the ceiling without letting your shoulders rise up toward your neck.


Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your torso tall, brace your core as you step one foot forward and bend your knees until your back leg nearly touches the floor. Press through your front foot to return to stand.


Lie on one side on the floor, and place your bottom elbow under your shoulder, palm down. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips to create a straight line from your head to your feet.


Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand. Squeeze the dumbbells as hard as you can, pushing them slightly away from your body, then walk forward. Slightly lean forward with your torso if you feel any tension in your back.


Lie on your back in front of a wall, and extend your arms behind you to press against the wall, elbows slightly bent. Engage your core and press your back into the ground as you raise your heels five to eight inches off the ground, then alternate kicking them up and down.


For more help with these exercises check out:


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