The Power Half-Hour (cont.)

Hurry Up and Weight

Sep 1, 2001
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Marcus Swanson

Frequency: one or two times weekly
Fitness Prerequisite: none
Duration: 20-30 minutes

Dan Riley, strength coach for the NFL's Houston Texans expansion team, and formerly with the Washington Redskins, says the rote three-sets-of-ten lifting regimen isn't the only road to fitness gains: Single sets done to heart-pounding failure can suffice. After a five-minute warm-up, move through the circuit of lifts below. (Add neck exercises with extensions and flexions over the edge of a bench.) Lift enough weight so that you can complete only eight to ten reps (more for leg press); increase the weight slightly when ten reps are easy. "If every rep is as productive as it can be," Riley says, "you've gotten all the possible benefit from that exercise."

LEG PRESS Place your feet about hip-width apart on the foot platform, with your toes pointing slightly inward. Move deliberately through the entire range of motion; don't lock your knees on the extension. 14 to 16
HAMSTRING CURL Lie face-down on a leg-curl machine so that the edge of the bench is just above your knees and the pads are just above your ankles. Keep your stomach and hips flat on the bench, pull your heels up to your butt, then slowly lower them. 8 to 10
SUPERMAN Lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs off the floor by contracting your back muscles. Hold a beat, then lower. 8 to 10
ABDOMINAL CURL On your back with knees bent, curl your shoulders toward your chest, keeping your lower back pinned to the floor. 8 to 10
SHOULDER PRESS Adjust the bench-press handles to rest at about shoulder level. Slowly raise and lower the weight through a full range of motion. Look straight ahead, and keep your lower back glued to the backrest. 8 to 10
LAT PULLDOWN Sit with your stomach tight and back straight, grasping the bar with your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your eyes up and shoulders back, slowly pull the bar to your chest and return to the starting position. 8 to 10
CHEST PRESS With the weight bar just below your armpits, push out until your arms are almost straight. Slowly return to the starting position. 8 to 10
TRICEPS EXTENSION Stand with a dumbbell in each hand and raise them directly above your head. Slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head until your elbows are bent 90 degrees, then raise the weights slowly until your arms are fully extended. 8 to 10
BICEPS CURL Stand holding two dumbbells flat at your sides. Raise the weights, rotating your wrists so that your palms face your shoulders, until your fingers touch your upper arms. Slowly lower the weights to the starting position. 8 to 10

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