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20-minute workout: Pure Strength

The Pro: Mary Onyango, group fitness manager at Equinox Brooklyn Heights

The Workout: Every time you take Equinox’s signature Pure Strength class, you’ll hit at least four of the seven fundamental movement patterns. The routine below, which Onyango created using the same programming principles, covers five: horizontal push, vertical pull, knee-dominant, hip-dominant, and core. In turn, you’ll work major muscle groups and develop functional fitness.

“There’s also a focus on taking the muscles through their full range,” she adds, good for flexibility and mobility. “Your metabolism will improve because you’ll build lean muscle mass, which helps you burn more calories at rest.”

In each of the four blocks of work below, you’ll alternate between a bodyweight exercise and a loaded one, another pattern pulled from Pure Strength. “Pairing them increases the body’s ability to adapt to different stressors,” Onyango says. “There’s no traditional cardio, but there will be moments where you’ll be breathless and your muscles will feel fatigued.”

First, warm up with 1 minute each of side squats, hip-openers, jumping jacks, and narrow push-ups to Downward Dog. Then, start the workout below, using heavy loads for more strength, range of motion, and mobility benefits, Onyango says. She recommends 80 percent of your one-rep max for each exercise, within the 15- to 50-pound range for dumbbells and 35- to 80-kilogram for kettlebells. Do it twice a week for the biggest benefits.

Minutes 1 to 4: Block 1
  • Exercise A: Front-loaded dumbbell squat to reverse lunge

  • Muscles worked: glutes and quads

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than hips, toes turned out, and a dumbbell racked over each shoulder. Brace your core and lower into a deep squat, keeping knees behind toes and sinking your weight into your heels. From the low squat, step the right foot back into a lunge, maintaining a 90-degree bend in the back knee. Return to low squat, then rise back to start. Repeat on the left for one rep. Complete 2 to 8 reps (stop before your form is compromised), then quickly begin Exercise B.

  • Exercise B: Hip thrust

  • Muscles worked: glutes and hamstrings

  • Lie on the floor with legs bent, feet at hip width, and heels close to the glutes. Squeeze the glutes and thrust the hips upward. Hold for 1 second, then return to start for one rep. Complete 10 reps, then quickly return to Exercise A. Continue alternating for 4 minutes.

Minute 4 to 5: Rest
Minutes 5 to 9: Block 2
  • Exercise A: Chest press

  • Muscles worked: pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids

  • Lie back on a bench with feet on the floor, hips and shoulders on the bench, and elbows bent at 45 degrees with dumbbells just above the shoulders. Press arms up in a slight arc motion until they’re fully extended with a soft bend in the elbows. Slowly return to start for one rep. Complete 2 to 8 reps (stop before your form is compromised), then quickly begin Exercise B.

  • Exercise B: Alternating narrow and wide push-ups

  • Muscles worked: pecs, triceps, anterior deltoids, core

  • Get in a high plank with shoulders stacked over wrists, fingers spread, and elbows tucked tight against the ribs. Perform a push-up, lowering until your arms are bent at 45 degrees. At the top, walk the hands out until they’re slightly wider than shoulders and perform a wide push-up, then return to start for one rep. Complete 10 reps, then quickly return to Exercise A. Continue alternating for 4 minutes.

Minutes 9 to 10: Rest
Minute 10 to 14: Block 3
  • Exercise A: Kettlebell deadlift

  • Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, calves, lower back, core

  • Stand with feet at hip width, a slight bend in the knees, and a kettlebell between your feet. Hinge hips behind you, pressing the glutes back, lower your chest until it’s almost parallel with the floor, and grab hold of the kettlebell. This is your start position. Press your hips forward, raising your torso and lifting the weight to stand tall. Reverse the motion to return to start for one rep. Complete 2 to 8 reps (stop before your form is compromised), then quickly begin Exercise B.

  • Exercise B: Seated bicycle twist

  • Muscles worked: obliques and rectus abdominis

  • Sit on the floor with fingers laced behind your head, elbows back, knees bent at 45 degrees, and feet hovering above the ground. Leaning back but with chest lifted (keeping lower back off the ground), rotate your torso to tap the right knee with your left elbow. Return to start, then repeat on opposite side for one rep. Complete 10 reps, then quickly return to Exercise A. Continue alternating for 4 minutes.

Minute 14 to 15: Rest
Minutes 15 to 19: Block 4
  • Exercise A: Pull-up with knee tuck

  • Muscles worked: back, lower abs, rectus abdominis

  • Grab a pull-up bar with an overhand grip. (If you need assistance, secure a long resistance band around the bar and bend the right leg, resting the knee in the band.) Start in a dead hang, then draw the shoulder blades toward each other and pull your body up until your chin clears the bar. At the top, tuck the knees to your elbows. Return legs to start position, then lower back to a dead hang for one rep. Complete 2 to 8 reps (stop before your form is compromised), then quickly begin Exercise B.

  • Exercise B: High-low plank

  • Muscles worked: transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, glutes

  • Start in high plank with shoulders stacked over wrists. Lower onto your forearms to assume a low plank. That’s one rep. Return to high plank. That’s two reps. Keep hips as steady as possible, engaging core and squeezing glutes, throughout. Repeat 5 times for a total of 10 reps, then quickly return to Exercise A. Continue alternating for 4 minutes.

Minute 19 to 20: Rest

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