The Power Half-Hour (cont.)

Hurry Up and Weight

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 PRESSPlace 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 CURLLie 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
SUPERMANLie 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 CURLOn your back with knees bent, curl your shoulders toward your chest, keeping your lower back pinned to the floor.8 to 10
SHOULDER PRESSAdjust 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 PULLDOWNSit 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 PRESSWith 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 EXTENSIONStand 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 CURLStand 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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