This combo exercise is super-effective.
This one move combines two powerhouse exercises: one for back, shoulders, core, and posture; the other for butt, legs, core, and calves. Recruiting all of those muscles at once makes your body work mega-hard on a cellular level.
How does that help you burn fat? The effort required to do a compound move like this one spikes your heart rate up, and your body responds by improving the quality of the mitochondria in your muscle cells. If you need a science class refresher, the mitochondria are the small-but-mighty engines of your cells where fat is burned. When you improve their function, your whole body becomes more proficient at burning fat and using it for energy! (Psst... here are 4 anti-aging secrets for every cell in your body.)
The Move: Scaption with Split Squat
Scaption, done alone, will seriously tone your shoulders and upper back (plus, improve your posture). Split Squats, done alone, will effectively sculpt your legs and glutes. Merged together, these two moves work most of the muscles in your body! Here's how to do each separately, and how to combine them for best results:
Part 1: Scaption
- Hold a set of light dumbbells. Stand with feet hips-width apart and knees slightly bent (this creates a stable base). Hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs, slightly tilted out to about 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock.
- Raise your arms out to a “V” position. Stop the movement and hold the position momentarily, when your arms reach shoulder height. Make a concerted effort to really squeeze in your upper back “posture” muscles (if you cannot do this, your dumbbells are probably too heavy).
Part 2: Split Squat
- Hold a set of dumbbells by your sides. Stagger your legs where one is strong and stable in front and the other is propped in the back, like a kickstand. Make sure to create enough space between the two feet that when you bend your knees (coming up in Step 2), your front knee will line up right over your ankle.
- Bend both knees and drop your body to hover the back knee within a few inches of the ground. Hold the position momentarily, then extend your knees to return to starting position. (Here's how to do squats and lunges without killing your knees.)
FUN FACT: The difference between a “split squat” and a “lunge” is that the former holds the contact points stationary (the feet don’t move) and the latter involves movement (i.e. foot steps back then forward). Although often used interchangeably, they should not be.
Try this reverse squat with a triceps squeeze to tone all over:
Merging the two: Scaption with Split Squat
- Assume Split Squat stance with arms by your sides. Hold light dumbbells, slightly turned out.
- Bend both knees and drop to the bottom of the Split Squat, keeping both arms by your sides.
- Rise to top of the Split Squat and lift the arms to a “V” as in Scaption, squeezing your upper back muscles tightly. Hold momentarily, then repeat Steps 2-3 for a total of 15 repetitions.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Rest for 45 seconds, then perform an additional two sets on each leg.
TRAINER TIP: To make this workout harder, place the dumbbells on the ground after completing the set on the first leg. Perform 15 plyometric lunges to switch to the other leg. Then pick up the dumbbells and perform the set on the other leg. Rest for 45 seconds, and repeat two more times.
Gallery: 8 basic exercise moves you've been doing wrong your whole life