Pairing up exercises that work opposite muscle groups (so they don’t compete with one another for recovery) burns more calories than traditional training with straight sets. For example, doing multiple sets of a chest exercise paired with sets of a back exercise shuttles blood back and forth between the working muscles, making your heart work harder. Increased heart rate means more calories burned, and training multiple areas of the body at once also leads to shorter, more intense, and more efficient workouts.
Science backs it up, too. A 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that noncompeting supersets led to greater energy expenditure relative to training time and subjects burned calories at an accelerated rate.
Want to take it up another notch? Pair up exercises that work the upper and lower bodies. Now you’re forcing the heart to pump blood from the legs back up to the torso and down again, intensifying caloric expenditure even more.
Remember to eat right, and watch the pounds fall away.
The following workout is a circuit routine made up of noncompeting exercises you can do mostly with bodyweight alone.
Perform one set of 8–12 reps for each exercise in sequence (for the battling ropes, perform reps for 15–30 seconds). Afterward, rest 60 seconds—that’s one circuit.
Repeat for three to five circuits. For the legs exercises, perform all reps on one leg and then immediately on the other before moving on to the next move.