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Results in less time: The S-P-S workout

Posted Jan 08 2012 6:28pm

You exercise. You want to see results! And fast! The truth is results, whatever that means for you, take time and commitment. However, there are proven ways of training that can give you more in less time.

Since time is what we all don’t have, an exercise program aiming to help you lose weight must maximize the caloric expenditure while working out, immediately after finishing the session and while at rest.

Jumping on the treadmill or the elliptical will make you burn calories while working out. Depending on the intensity, to some extent, you’ll continue to burn calories immediately after having worked up quite a sweat. However, when you do resistance training (again, it all depends on the exercise routine) you can burn calories in all three stages: during, immediately after working out, and at rest.

Workout maximized

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (November 2011) that compared energy expenditure between large- and small-muscle-mass exercises while performing the moves and at rest, using different recovery time protocols, showed that:

a)     Large muscle moves (such as leg exercises) induced about twice peak Vo2 compared to small muscle moves (such as some upper body exercises) regardless of the resting intervals used (in the study, the rest periods used were 1 vs. 3 min).

b)    The exercise post oxygen consumption net (EPOC) – meaning the aftermath caloric burn out- was influenced by the exercise type but not by the resting intervals used.

There’s no question that your exercise program should have a good bunch of complex resistance moves when trying to make the most out of your gym time. But I’m sure that you too want to work specifically on gaining a toned and shredded upper body. For us women, nothing saggy behind the arms is a goal. Guys want to have square, rounded shoulders to frame their suits. So how can we have the best of both worlds?

This is where my S-P-S program comes in. This routine will focus on working 1 strength move, 1 plyometric move and 1 strength move. Regardless if the strength moves target big or small muscles, the plyo exercise in between will take care of the rest. Plyometric refers to movements that involve a rapid shortening and lengthening of the muscle such as hopping, jumping, catching, bounding among other exercises that will make you “reach maximal force in the shortest possible time” as defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Usually, they are considered a high intensity training modality because they involve many muscles working at the same time (with an emphasis on acceleration and power) .

The S-P-S workout guidelines

  1. Each set has three moves: two for strength and one for power.
  2. Perform each tri-set for 2-3 times, 12-15 reps before jumping to the next one.
  3. Rest accordingly to your fitness level, anything between 1 min to 3 min. The less you rest, the higher the VO2 consumption and also the fatigue. However, this seems to happen just when doing big muscles moves, not small ones.
  4. Stay in the low range if you’re a beginner.
  5. Do this routine three times a week, alternating days.
  6. Always perform a warm-up with dynamic stretches. Cool-down with static stretching.
  7. You’ll need dumbbells or barbells and a bench. If you don’t have a kettlebell (KB), substitute with a dumbbell and if you don’t have a Bosu ball, substitute with a medicine ball.

And to keep firing your metabolism have a whey protein smoothie with fresh fruit and milk to nourish the muscles and decrease the fat.

1. Tri-set

Dumbbell chest fly: Don’t let your arms go more than 90 degree angles.

Mountain climber on bosu ball: Keep the back straight and core tight while you quickly bend the knee in, using the abdominals.



















KB swings: From squat position, using your hips and never your back, lift up your body in one rapid and controlled movement.

2. Tri-set

Bicep-curl to shoulder press: Keep your core tight and don’t rock your upper body.


Burpee with bosu ball: The burpee is a rapid and controlled move. Straighten the legs out from the squat position. Drive them in and jump while you lift up your arms.




















Pulley back extension: Keep the back straight and chest out. Don’t bend at your waist. Using the lats, bring the bar to your thighs. This exercise works mainly the back, but also the triceps.

 3. Tri-set

Squat jump: From squat position jump all the way up. Land softly in a squat position and rapidly jump back up.

KB wood chop down up: The twist should come from the abdominals and the hips.

Bulgarian split squat: Bend the knee up to 90 degree angle, keep your chest up, back straight and don’t let the knee pass the toe.


Photos by Andrew Meade Photography, Inc.; Clothing by Lululemon Athletica; Location Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach

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