You don't need to do several sets and reps to challenge your body. This week, singer and Equinox member Jason Derulo proved it by posting an intense one-rep routine on Instagram.
Equinox trainers and coaches also experiment with this style of training. "One-rep workouts increase the recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers," explains Wendel Galdamez, Tier 2 trainer at Equinox Flatiron in New York City. Plus, they build extra strength by forcing you to exert all your energy at once.
But single-rep routines can turn risky if you're not careful. Here, the rules Galdamez suggests you follow when performing them.
The practice increases blood flow to loosen the muscles and allow for better range of motion. Preparing your body for movement in this way reduces injury risk and makes for better form—for example, by giving you the ability to lower into a deep squat rather than cutting the movement short.
Before you start, make sure you clear enough floor space to perform each exercise in your routine. That means no stray dumbbells, towels, or water bottles nearby.
Always do a one-rep routine before your main training session. Attempting it afterward can lead to injury since form suffers when fatigue hits.
Follow the above guidelines and try Galdamez's one-rep workout for yourself.
Pull-up with knee tuck and leg extension
Grab the bar with both hands and perform a pull-up. At the top of the movement, tuck your knees to your chest, then extend your legs so they're parallel to the ground. Reverse the motion in a slow, controlled manner.
Hanging lateral leg raises
Start in a dead hang from a bar, then pull your body up until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Maintain the hold and kick one leg at a time to the right so they're parallel to the ground. Hold for 3 seconds, then repeat on the left side and return to start.
Kneeling kettlebell squat jumps
Begin in a kneeling position with your body in a straight line from head to knees and a kettlebell about two to three feet in front of you. Using only your arms for momentum, jump forward, landing in a squat with the kettlebell between your feet. In one motion, grab the kettlebell with both hands and perform a high jump.
Get in high plank position, with feet resting on a low box and each hand on a parallette bar. Do a push-up, then perform a swing through by threading your legs under your body, between the bars, and extending them in front of you so they're parallel to the ground. Repeat on the right side by rotating your body and extending each leg out to the right, one on either side of the bar (so your right hand is between your legs). Do the same on the left side, then return to center.
Push-up to L-sit
Get in high plank position with a low box (or a step propped up with five risers) to your left and right, just outside your hands. Lower yourself until your elbows are bent at 90 degrees, then push up powerfully and jump your hands onto the boxes (or steps). Immediately tuck your knees to your chest, hold, then extend your legs in front of you so they're parallel to the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower to the ground.