Build Metabolism-Boosting Strength
Eight classic moves to target all of your major muscle groups
Share This Article
Our appreciation for heavy lifting is crossing over from the weight room to the fitness studio. “Traditional strength classes tend to focus more on conditioning, using smaller weights that are 25 pounds, max," says group fitness instructor (and former Bachelorette contestant) Kupah James. Not anymore. "The beauty of our Pure Strength class is that it focuses on building true strength, doesn’t include cardio, and requires 30s, 40s and 45s,” he says. “Using heavier weights to build muscle will not only make you stronger, improving your ability to perform everyday activities, but it will also boost your metabolism and increase the amount of calories you’ll continue to burn throughout the day.”
During the class, created by Equinox Tier 3 trainer Dennis Rittenhouse, students are separated into four stations, each targeting a different major muscle group. You and a partner rotate between two moves—a primary exercise, which focuses on bigger muscles, and a secondary exercise, which offloads those muscles and serves as an active recovery—for six minutes straight, and then move on to the next station.
This total body sampler, curated by James, utilizes a similar set-up but doesn’t require a partner. Simply perform 8 slow and steady reps of the primary move, ‘recover’ for 45 seconds with the secondary move, and repeat. Complete six rounds of each combo before moving on to the next one. You’ll want to start with a weight that challenges you (at least 15 pounds) for 8 reps, but is light enough to perform all six rounds while maintaining proper form. Before you begin, do a 3- to 10-minute dynamic warm-up that increases your range of motion and gets your blood flowing.
1A) Primary Move: Pull-Up
Place hands on pull-up bar, palms facing towards you, legs together and extended. Keep abs engaged, shoulders down, and gaze forward as you slowly pull yourself up until your elbows are pointing to the ground and your chin is just above the bar. Lower back to start with control, moving straight up and down (do not swing body back and forth). Do 8 reps. (*Note: If you need assistance, attach a resistance band to the bar and your foot until you feel comfortable completing a stable pull-up on your own.)
1B) Secondary Move: Forearm Plank Hold
Start in modified plank position, with elbows under shoulders, back flat, and legs extended behind you. Hold for 45 seconds.
(Continue alternating between Pull-ups and Plank Holds for 6 sets.)
2A) Primary Move: Dumbbell Deadlift
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing body, arms extended in front of you. Keeping back flat and gaze forward, slowly hinge from your hips as you push your butt behind you, sliding dumbbells down in front of thighs to the tops of your feet. Squeeze your glutes as you slowly reverse movement back to start. Do 8 reps.
2B) Secondary Move: Dynamic Beast
Start on all-fours, with palms under shoulders, knees under hips. Come up onto the balls of your feet, so knees are hovering above the floor. Keeping core engaged and back flat, press through palms as you drive hips back toward (but not past) your heels, and then shift back to start. Repeat. Continue for 45 seconds.
(Continue alternating between Deadlifts and Dynamic Beasts for 6 sets.)
3A) Primary Move: Seated Shoulder Press
Sit on a bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand, with back tall, knees bent in front of you and feet flat on floor. Bring arms into a goalpost position, with elbows in line with shoulders, palms facing forward. Keeping shoulders down, press dumbbells directly overhead without locking elbows; slowly lower back to goalpost position and repeat. Do 8 reps.
3B) Secondary Move: V-sit
Sit on a mat with knees bent in front of you, feet flat on floor. Engage your abs, lean back slightly and lift your feet a few inches off the floor, balancing on your butt. Extend arms in front of you and hold for up to 45 seconds.
(Continue alternating between Shoulder Presses and V-sits for 6 sets.)
4A) Primary Move: Goblet Squat
Stand with feet more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out to the sides, gripping a kettlebell in front of chest, palms facing you, elbows bent by sides. Squat straight down, keeping back tall, weight in front of chest, and knees behind toes, until elbows are in between thighs, and then squeeze glutes as you return to start. Do 8 reps.
4B) Secondary Move: Superman
Lie face-down on a mat with arms extended in front of you, legs extended behind you. Keeping shoulders down and gaze forward, squeeze glutes and inhale as you lift upper and lower body toward ceiling. Exhale as you release and lower back down; repeat. Continue for 45 seconds.
(Continue alternating between Goblet Squats and Supermans for 6 sets.)