It's Time You Embraced The Clock Lunge

Ever since mankind learned to stand on two feet, we’ve been lunging – finding out how far our legs will stretch before toppling occurs. As an exercise it might not be the most glamorous, but its benefits are myriad, and the clock lunge would be a wise addition to any fitness routine.

The lunge is a very practical exercise, in that its benefits are felt in everyday life. Legs are the primary beneficiary, especially thigh muscles, while you’ll also be pleased by the improved rigidity of your derrière. Your core is engaged as it helps you keep your balance during the exercise.

Lunging also improves flexibility around the hips, something that’s particularly useful for men who spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk. Adding in the lateral lunge, which hits your inner thighs hard, and the backward lunge, increases these benefits, which really feel the squeeze. You also get a free mental workout chucked in to boot, as you test your willpower to exhaustion.

How To Do The Clock Lunge

Form is key to a good lunge. Keep your upper body straight as you move, with your chin up and your abs braced. Step forward and lower your hips until both knees are bent at right angles, with your front knee above your foot. Then push back up. That’s your basic lunge, and the first part of the clock lunge.

The second is a lateral lunge, where you move to the side, again keeping your upper body straight, and lower onto your leading leg. Round off a set by doing a backward lunge, where you mirror the movements of the forward lunge.

Do this all on your right leg, then on your left, only start with the back lunge on that side – you’re going round the clock, see? Then repeat, keeping your movements deliberate and focusing on good form. Do eight to ten sets on each leg, either as part of a wider workout, or by themselves in front of the TV in the evening.

If you’re really into the clock thing, you can add a lunge for every hour. Diagonal lunges. Whatever next!

If you’re not so committed to the timepiece, a more common way to make lunges harder is to hold dumbbells in each hand as you move, making your core work all the harder to keep you balanced.

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So You Want To Buy A Set Of Kettlebells

Training with kettlebells can be an excellent way to boost both your strength and cardio fitness (just check out this kettlebell workout guide) and, like dumbbells, they’re small enough and affordable enough for you get for home use. But don’t just splash the cash on the first one you see.

“Choosing the right kettlebell can be a bit overwhelming,” says trainer Jamie Lloyd, who was British Kettlebell Sport champion in 2014. “Just ten years ago there were very few companies that sold them. These days you can buy them at your local supermarket.” Here are four things to consider when buying your first kettlebell.

1. The Weight

“Start with one kettlebell,” Lloyd says. “There’s no need to get a whole set. Build up gradually and order several at a time as you progress. You will know when you are ready to start incorporating double kettlebells and heavier kettlebells into your programme – your body will tell you.”

If you’re a kettlebell novice, Lloyd recommends the following weights for your first purchase.

Feeling ready to commit? Then start with these three weights.

  • Men: 16kg, 18kg, 20kg
  • Women: 8kg, 10kg, 12kg

2. The Handle

Of course, there’s more to a kettlebell than how heavy it is. You need to pay attention to the handle.

“Kettlebell swings, cleans and snatches are repetitive actions, so if you have a rough handle or one with a seam going down the middle, you will soon know about it,” says Lloyd. “The seam needs to be filed down to leave an even surface to hold. Cheaper kettlebell manufacturers will make no real effort to remove this nasty, sharp seam and your hands will soon tear up like you’ve done a day on a building site.”

Lloyd recommends running your hands around the entire handle, especially underneath, before buying. If you’re already in possession of a kettlebell with a raised seam, sand it down so it’s smooth.

3. The Handle Size

That’s the handle’s surface sorted, but you also need to check that its diameter gives you a comfortable hold.

“This is especially important if you have big hands,” says Lloyd. “Slide your hand in and place the kettlebell in the rack position [holding the kettlebell up so it rests on your forearm, biceps and shoulder]. The kettlebell should sit comfortably in your hand and your wrist should be straight.”

“Decent kettlebells will have handle diameters that measure about 30-31mm, going up to around 38mm for the heaviest bells. My favourites are competition kettlebells, which generally have a uniform handle diameter of 33mm regardless of the weight.”

4. The Price

Be wary of cheap kettlebells, as the results will be far from cheerful. “You can tell if they are cheap as they will be covered in vinyl with a rubber bottom and a handle that looks ridiculous,” says Lloyd.

“Some kettlebells are even plastic. I can think of just a few uses for these and one of them is to hold the kitchen door open! Some cheap bells can have very narrow handles that are nearly impossible to hold on to during kettlebell swings, and feel awkward for snatches.”

Lloyd’s recommendation is Wolverson Fitness. “These are a bit more pricy, but if you want consistency, good progression and form then get kettlebells from Wolverson Fitness. I’ve been using them for ten years. If you are starting out and just want a home workout, get some cast-iron bells which have a smaller cannon base, but if you are more serious get some competition bells.” Kettlebells from £15, buy on

Browse kettlebells on

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Six Muscle-Building Moves You Should Be Doing

Build size with these muscle-building moves from the experts over at our sister brand Men’s Fitness.

Single-Leg Glute Bridge

Why: “This will boost your hip power and stability,” says David Arnot, PT and director of Evolve. “They’ll benefit anything that involves sprinting, jumping or squatting.”

How: Lie down with a dumbbell in your right hand and drive down through the heel of your left foot to raise your hips. Aim for four sets of ten reps on each side.

Barbell Lunge

Why: “This is a big player in the leg strength game,” says Arnot. “It’ll challenge your glutes, quads, core and back muscles throughout.”

How: With a bar across your rear shoulders, squeeze your core muscles and lower into a lunge. Keep your back upright, then drive off the front foot to stand. Aim to hit 50% of your squat one-rep max for five sets of five.

Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl

Why: “This move eliminates the bad arm curl habits that can stop your biceps from growing,” says Arnot.

How: Lie back on a bench set to a 45˚ incline, holding dumbbells in each hand. Keep your shoulders back as you slowly curl the weights through a full range of motion. Start light to get the form right and target four sets of 12.

Standing Cable Cross-Over

Why: “Your pec muscles get a far greater stretch and contraction with this flye-type chest move than the classic bench press, and that means they’ll grow quicker,” Arnot says.

How: Keeping your arms straight, bring both hands together in front of you, pausing for a second to really squeeze your pec muscles with each rep. Aim for four sets of 12.

RECOMMENDED: 5 Pectoral Exercises That Are Better Than The Bench Press

Straight-Arm Lat Pull-Down

Straight-arm pull-down

Why: “Control with this move is paramount for a strong back,” says Arnot. “Mastering it will bolster your lats, lower back and triceps and boost your max chin-up total.”

How: Hold the long bar attachment with a wide grip. Keep your body stable and pull down with straight arms, then slowly control the bar back to the start for four sets of eight.

Garhammer Raise

Lower abs workout: Garhammer raise

Why: “This move guarantees tension is fully on the abs and they aren’t being overridden by your hip flexors,” says Arnot. “The result is robust core control.”

How: Hang from a pull-up bar with knees together and thighs horizontal. Slowly raise your knees to your armpits, then back down. Continue until failure, rest, then repeat twice more.

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The Foam Roller 101: Self-Myofascial Release Explained

There are some things it’s impossible for a man to do: lick your own elbow, sneeze with your eyes open, or tickle yourself. But one thing you can do is give yourself a sports massage without having to pay a professional masseuse, thanks to the foam roller.

Foam rolling – or self-myofascial release, as it’s also known – is like getting a sports massage, except foam rollers come at a fraction of the cost of a masseuse and, unlike a masseuse, can be popped in a cupboard or under a bed to use again tomorrow.

Just two minutes of self-myofascial release increases your muscles’ range of motion by 10%, according to a study published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research.

Compared to stretching, the agony of rolling can feel like some kind of torture the exercise industry are inflicting on us as a joke, but it really does work. Applying pressure to trigger points, or knots, in your muscles boosts blood flow, helps them recover their elasticity quickly and sets you up to go again.

In addition, while giving yourself a massage might sound immeasurably less fun than lying down and letting a pro do it, the self-control offered by foam rolling allows you to control your recovery by applying the pressure to the precise locations that hurt the most.

How To Foam Roll

We spoke to personal trainer Barry Stalker ( to establish the proper rolling technique:

“Foam rollers are an excellent tool for anyone who works out and even those who don’t. The best and most basic way to use them is very simple. For example, if you were doing your quads you would lay the roller on the floor and gently place one leg over the roller, using your bodyweight to apply moderate pressure. Move slowly – an inch a second or slower – forwards and backwards on the roller.

“When you get to a spot that is very sore or painful hold it there for a few seconds and gently increase the pressure over 10-20 seconds. From there continue to move slowly up and down the roller and then repeat the process with the other leg. You can repeat this technique on all of your muscle groups.

“It’s best to do this as many times as you can throughout the week to keep muscle tissue healthy and reduce your chances of any injuries.”

Three Great Foam Rollers

GRID Foam Roller

The hard, hollow core of the GRID roller is encased with firm, high density EVA foam and covered in grooves and ridges to get deeper into the tissue. £49.99, buy on

The Rumble Roller

Sometimes called the king of rollers, this extra-hard foam torture tube is covered in flexible but firm bumps designed to mimic the thumbs of a physiotherapist. £19.95, buy on

The Lacrosse Ball

An essential in every roller’s arsenal, the lacrosse ball is used to target hard to get to areas on the body like the soles and arches of the feet. £6.98, buy on

Six Recovery Moves For The Foam Roller

Here are six of the best recovery moves you can do on a foam roller. 

1. Quads

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each leg Recovery session 3-5min each leg

Lie on your front, resting on your elbows with both thighs on the roller. Use your elbows to move your body forward and backward, rolling from just above your kneecap to just below your pelvis. To target one leg, bring your other leg to your side. For increased pressure cross your legs so all your bodyweight is on one leg.

2. Hamstrings

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each leg Recovery session 3-5min each leg

Sit with your hands on the floor supporting your weight and the backs of your legs resting on the roller. Start just above the knees and roll up to the top of your legs. Begin by rolling both legs, then cross your legs to target one at a time.

3. Glutes

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each side Recovery session 3-5min each side

Sit on the roller with your hands on the floor supporting your weight. Because the glutes are such large muscles they require increased pressure. Target one side of your glutes by crossing that leg over the top of your other leg and roll up and down the muscle. 

4. Calves

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each leg Recovery session 3-5min each leg

Sit down with your hands on the floor supporting your weight and the backs of your lower legs resting on the roller. Start just above the ankle and roll up to just below your knee. Begin by rolling both legs, then cross your legs over to target one at a time. 

5. IT bands 

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each side Recovery session 3-5min each side

The iliotibial band runs from your glutes down the outside of your thigh to your knee. Lie on your side, supporting your weight on one elbow. Roll from just above your knee to the top of your leg, using your other leg to take some of your weight if you need to reduce the pressure. 

6. Groin and adductors

Mobility session 5-10 rolls each side Recovery session 3-5min each side

Lie on your front, resting on your elbows with the inside of one thigh on the roller and the other leg on the floor to support some of your weight. Roll from just above the knee up to the area between your groin and hip.

NEXT: Foam Roller Exercises

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101 Ways To Lose Weight Fast And Get Lean In 2017

Short, sharp effort? Long-term goal? Whatever your fat loss timeframe, the way you achieve it doesn’t need to be complicated. Changing your habits and smartening up your training will get it done, so here are 101 expert tips from Coach’s sister publication Men’s Fitness

Train Smarter

By focusing your efforts on fat loss, you’ll shed flab in less time.

1. Have Fun

Hitting a heavy bag is one of the more fun ways of reducing yourself to a big sweaty mess. You feel great, you lose weight and, thankfully, they don’t hit back. Punch the bag with alternating hands as hard and fast as you can for 15 all-out seconds, then move around the bag for 90 seconds, shadowboxing at an easy pace. Do this routine at least three times. For a tougher session, go for six.

RECOMMENDED: Punching-Bag Workouts

2. Go Big

This isn’t the time for biceps curls. The more muscle groups you can involve in your workout, the more work you’ll do. Kettlebell swings hit almost every muscle: do three sets of 25 at the end of any session to finish on a fat-loss high.

3. Get Strong

It’s tempting to put the deadlifts on hold – that’s time you could be spending on a treadmill, right? – but the more weight you can lift, the more fuel you’ll burn. Spend some of your training time getting stronger and you’ll be able to do your other work at a higher level.

4. Be Inefficient

Expertise is overrated. “The more efficient you get at a movement, the less energy you’ll expend doing it,” says strength coach Dan John. Don’t just stick to one form of cardio finisher: rotate between the bike, rower and treadmill.

RECOMMENDED: Rowing Machine Workouts

5. Move Fast

Sprinting’s one of the simplest forms of high-intensity exercise, but don’t overdo it. “It puts your body through a ton of stress,” says trainer Zoran Dubaic. “Keep it simple and build up gradually.” Start with six 50m sprints with a 30-second recovery, and up it when you’re ready.

RECOMMENDED: Interval Training For Runners

6. Go Uphill

Hill sprints automatically force you into good running form – and they’re nastier than doing it on the flat. “Find a good 30-50m hill and aim for five sprints up – you can walk back down,” says trainer and author Mike Campbell. “It’ll force every muscle in your body to work, leaving you burning fat for hours.”

7. Hold On

Complexes – multi-move sets where you don’t put the weight down until you’ve finished all the moves – will jack up your metabolism so you keep burning fat long afterwards. Got a kettlebell? Do six cleans, six swings and six overhead presses with each arm.

RECOMMENDED: Try This Barbell Complex

8. Pair Your Moves

To do more work in less time, pair an upper-body exercise with a lower-body move: a press-up with a squat, or a curl with a lunge. It’ll up your heart rate without forcing you to stop when your arms or legs get tired.

9. Keep Rests Short

“The main difference between a muscle-building workout and a fat-loss one is often just your rests,” says Campbell. “Shorten them and keep them strict.” Stay between 30 and 60 seconds.

10. Finish Strong

Even if you’re focusing on muscle, you can keep your metabolism high with a burst of all-out effort to end your workout. A 500m row is perfect: short, nasty and low-impact. Sub-1min 40sec is the goal.

Up The Effort

With the basics covered, it’s time to be inventive. Coach-approved PTs explain their secret weapons.

11. Speed Up Cardio

Long, slow distance work is the enemy – it’s inefficient, and it’s hard on the joints. “Intense cardio is a much more effective way of losing fat,” says trainer Tom Eastham. “Hit the bike or the rowing machine for ten one-minute bursts of effort, giving yourself a 45-second recovery period between each effort. Be strict!”

RECOMMENDED: Exercise Bike Workouts

12. Get A Stopwatch

“It’s the easiest investment you can make,” says Nomad Way founder Andrew Tracey. “Having it in front of you forces you to keep rests strict.” And minimises the chance of a dropped dumbbell taking out your smartphone.

13. Get Up, Get Down

“Getting down and then up off the floor adds a metabolic effect you won’t expect,” says John. Do ten press-ups and ten kettlebell swings, then nine press-ups and ten swings and so on until you’ve hit one press-up and 100 swings total.

14. Carry On

“Loaded carries are among the best fat burners you can do,” says Results Inc founder Joe Lightfoot. “They’ll use every muscle in your body.” Finish your session with 200m of farmer’s walks, using the heaviest dumbbells you can.

15. Hit The Mill

One-speed treadmill plodding isn’t cutting it. “Change the resistance and incline for treadmill sessions,” says Barry’s Bootcamp London co-owner Sandy Macaskill. “Do 6, 7, 8km/h bursts of effort at a 3% incline, then drop the gradient and up the pace.”

16. Stick on 15

Less time can sometimes mean more effort. “I like a 15/45 work/rest split,” says Roko Health club trainer Rachael Atkinson. “Do as many chest-to-floor burpees as possible in 15 seconds, then rest for a full 45 seconds.”

Embrace (Weird) Science

Who are gastrophysicists? They’re the experts who study “multisensory perception”, or how environment and non-taste senses affect your perception of food. Harness their research to stay off the pies.

17. Eat Off Blue Plates

Scientists theorise that it’s because your mind doesn’t associate the colour with food. It genuinely seems to work – in a study carried out by Swiss researchers, subjects eating from blue tableware ate 40% less than a control group.

18. Keep It Upbeat

In a study from the Cornell Brand and Food lab, people who watched Solaris ate 55% more popcorn than people watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Goggling while dining is usually bad – it distracts you from how much you’re eating – but if you must, pick a nice bromance.

19. Take A Seat

Even if you’re grabbing a Pret lunch, get a table or a park bench rather than eating that Swedish meatball wrap (the only sane option) on the go. People who sit down to eat consume fewer calories than on-the-go eaters, according to a University of Toronto study.

20. …But Not At Your Desk

According to a University of Bristol study, eating lunch while you browse online will leave you distracted, less full, and more likely to snack in the afternoon.

21. Get Nicer Cutlery

Or at least, make it heavy. According to research by food scientist Charles Spence, it gives food higher perceived quality – yogurt, for instance, tastes creamier – and increases feelings of fullness so you eat less.

22. Eat With Friends

It’s the exception to the no-distractions rule – a spirited chat/row will give your brain time to register that your stomach is full, according to the Journal Of Physiological Behaviour.

23. Chew Slower

A University of Birmingham study found that focusing on the texture and flavour of food reduces hunger later. But taking the time to liquefy your food inside your mouth also aids digestion.

24. Hit Rewind

Tempted by the biscuit aisle? Think back to what you had for lunch. Psychologists at the University of Birmingham found that thinking about what you’ve eaten earlier in the day can reduce the urge to snack.

Change Your Routine

There are 168 hours in a week – if you spend four in the gym, you’ve still got 164 left to work.

25. Sleep Tight

Skimping on sleep messes with your brain’s ability to make decisions and exercise impulse control, and revs up reward-seeking behaviour. According to a study published in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, it increases high-carb snacking. Aim for eight hours a night.

26. Get Outside

Research suggests that exercising in sunlight boosts fat-burning potential by 20% by increasing your production of leptin, the hormone that controls your body’s fat stores. In the summer, it’ll also boost vitamin D.

27. Keep Water Handy

It regulates your body’s functions, helps appetite and improves your liver’s ability to metabolise fat. “Keep a glass within arm’s reach at all times,” says Brian Wansink, former president of the US Society for Nutrition Education and Behaviour. “You want to make hydration automatic.”

28. Get On Your Feet

You call it a lunchtime stroll; trainers call it low-intensity steady-state cardio, or LISS. Either way, it burns a handful of calories and helps to regulate stress while keeping fat-storing cortisol low.

29. Calm Down

Stress messes with tissue repair, leads to fat storage, ruins sleep and plays havoc with immunity. If it’s all getting too much, take a deep breath and blow it out slowly: it’ll activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system.

30. Shop Hard

“Think of shopping as your week’s most important workout,” says nutrition coach Josh Hillis. “Take an hour on Sunday to get it done.” Automate healthy choices by saving a shopping list on your phone or online, and keep the processed stuff off it.

31. Stay Busy

Not every fat-burning session has to be intense. “Active recovery is a nice way of burning calories without thinking about your diet or the gym. It could be a casual kickabout in the park – it’s better than lying on the sofa,” says Eastham.

32. Prep If You Can

If your weeknights get hectic, they’re not the time to chop veg. Chop onions and cube carrots while you’re listening to a podcast on Sunday: they’ll keep until at least Wednesday.

33. Change Your Patterns

If you’re used to stopping in Starbucks for a morning frapp, change your route to work. You “outsource” much of your behaviour to your environment, so making better associations will help.

34. Get Help

Partnering up will boost the chances of sticking to your resolutions, according to research from the University of Leeds. Friends not interested in fat loss? Sign up to to commit to the process.

Lift Big To Get Lean

In a 2013 study, high-intensity resistance training – or HIRT – beat traditional lifting by 450% for post-workout calorie burn. Use these rep/set schemes, and you’ll burn as you gain.

35. Rest-Pause

It’s a classic bodybuilding technique making a comeback. “Pick a weight you could lift for ten reps and do eight reps,” says Motus Strength coach Bruce Butler. “Rest 20 seconds and do as many reps as possible, then rest another 20 seconds and repeat.” Bench presses, rows, squats and overhead presses all work well.

RECOMMENDED: Muscle-Building Rest-Pause Training

36. Back-Off Sets

These “groove” your technique while taxing your muscles less than a rest-pause set. When you’ve finished your last set of bench presses, immediately strip 50% of the weight off the bar and do as many reps with the remaining weight as you can: 20 is the goal.

37. Cluster Sets

Cluster sets let you add volume with big weights. “Let’s say you can get four reps at 90% of your one-rep max weight,” says strength coach Ben Coker. “If you ‘cluster’ those sets by taking ten seconds’ rest after each rep, it’s likely you could manage six reps total. Across several sets that’ll make a huge difference.” This works better on moves with minimal set-up time – think deadlifts.

38. Drop Sets

In drop sets, you go until “technical” failure (the point at which you can no longer do the move with good form), reduce the weight, then get some more reps. Dumbbell moves are easiest, because using the rack lets you switch weights quickly.

39. 50-Rep Challenge Sets

“At the end of a leg day put 40% of your max on the bar and monster out as many squat reps as you can, resting at the top if you need to,” suggests Campbell. “Shoot for at least 50 reps in as few sets as possible.” Walking might be challenging, but you’ll be able to rest in the knowledge that you’re a fat furnace.

HIIT It Like You Mean It

Yes, it works – in a study from the journal Metabolism, a group doing 20 weeks of HIIT training lost nine times as much fat as a group doing traditional endurance. The catch? You need to do it right.

40. Ease In

Whatever you’ve heard, HIIT isn’t for beginners. If you’re unused to training, an aerobic session with intervals sprinkled in will offer bigger benefits with less stress. Do 20 minutes on the rower or bike, with three or four 30-second bursts of effort.

41. Warm Up

You can’t hit top speed by skipping all the lower gears. Spend five to ten minutes warming up at low intensity – either by doing the cardio move you’re going to use in your workout, or on a general warm-up like skipping, jogging on the spot or low-intensity burpees.

42. Stretch

If you’re sprinting it’s crucial; for most other things, it’s highly recommended. The slo-mo burpee is your ideal all-purpose dynamic stretch: from a press-up position, bring one knee as high as possible (ideally by your hand), then bring up the other to get into a low squat. Stand up, then reverse the movement into the next rep.

43. Cool Down

Flopping straight back on the couch post-workout won’t help recovery. After you’ve hit your intervals, spend five or ten minutes moving around to keep your blood circulating, cutting down on lactate build-up and minimising soreness for your next session.

Your Home Bootcamp

Having a kit-free go-to means you can lose fat anywhere, anytime. Trainer and Jimbag founder Anthony Bingham has your prescription: do each move for 30 seconds, rest for a minute, and repeat five times.

44. Narrow-To-Wide Jump Squat

“Alternate between narrow and wide stance, to a depth of 90°. Explode out of each squat with feet off the floor.”

45. Plank Pike

“Get into a low plank on your forearms. Lower your hips to the floor, then crunch your abs to move the hips as high as possible in a pike position.”

46. Tuck Burpee

“Go chest to floor. On the jumping section drive your knees up in a tucking motion. Use your hands as a measure to keep consistency of tuck height and really push your limits!”

Retrain Your Brain

Adopt better thought processes and you’ll make fat loss automatic. Here’s how it’s done:

47. Remember It’s 80/20

“The general rule is that for a fat loss-focused exercise plan, only 20% is down to exercise, with 80% down to diet, sleep and stress,” says trainer Sean Lerwill. “The way to see results is to come to the mindset that neglecting the non-workout stuff undoes all your hard work in the gym.”

48. Don’t Use Willpower

“Each of us makes more than two hundred near-subconscious food choices a day,” says Wansink. “And most of our environment nudges us to eat too much.” Don’t rely on willpower.

49. Focus On The ‘wills’

Focusing on what you aren’t going to do can lead to a “behavioural ironic rebound” – in studies, participants asked not to think about a Coke ad tended to dwell for longer than a control group. Instead of negatives, focus on positives.

50. Pride, Not Shame

In studies at USC Marshall School of Business, volunteers who focused on the pride they’d feel from sticking to resolutions reported less desire to break them than a group focusing on how ashamed they’d be to fail. Always think of the upside.

51. Not Now, But Later

It’s called “postponement strategy”. When you’re tempted by cake, promise yourself you’ll have it later in the week – it’s unlikely you’ll cave at some unspecified future time when the craving passes.

Start In The Kitchen

You might be able to out-train your worst habits – but why bother? Fixing your diet makes everything easier.

52. Be Inclusive

Instead of concentrating on what you’re going to stop eating, focus on adding foods to your diet. Gradually, the good stuff will push the bad stuff out.

53. Keep A Food Diary

…but only for a week. You might be surprised by how much sugar there is in innocuous-seeming foods, or how little protein you’re eating. Use MyFitnessPal to track everything you eat for seven days, then you’ll be ready to wing it.

RECOMMENDED: Healthy Eating Apps

54. Eat green

Vegetables should be the foundation of your diet – eat a wide range of colours with as many meals as possible. Apart from being packed with antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, they’re fibrous and filling.

55. Eat More Protein

It’s filling, so you’ll get hungry less, and it also has a mild thermogenic (fat-burning) effect. Eat protein-rich foods like meat, fish or eggs at every meal, aiming for roughly 2g per kilo of your target bodyweight per day.

56. …And More Fat

Counter-intuitive, but dietary fat’s not the enemy. “Increase your fat levels and drop your sugar intake by eating fish, avocado, oils, nuts and seeds,” says trainer Tom Eastham. “This’ll help to ‘teach’ your body to use its fat stores as fuel.”

57. Be Smart With Carbs

“Don’t overcomplicate things,” says strength coach Chris Burgess. “On non-training days, keep the carbs low – 60g or less – while upping your fat intake so that you’re getting enough calories to recover. On strength training or sprinting days, you can eat more carbs to help your recovery.”

58. Go For Taste

Eat more taste-intensive foods and you’ll need less of them to feel full. Dark chocolate, aged cheese and extra virgin olive oil all pack a flavour wallop.

59. Aim For Fibre

It aids digestion, improves gut bacteria and makes you feel full for longer. Vegetables are the best source.

RECOMMENDED: High-Fibre Foods

60. Eat For Your Bacteria

Fermented foods like natural yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut improve your microbiome – the makeup of bacteria in your gut that help to digest food and use it better. Eat a variety.

61. Don’t Drink Calories

It’s too easy to overdo it with sugary drinks. For serious fat loss, stick to black coffee, tea and water with lemon or lime. They can be acquired tastes – but they’re worth acquiring.

Fat Loss In A Glass

No more sugary shop-bought smoothies – this has everything you need:

62. Kefir

“As well as containing less sugar and more protein than yogurt, it’s packed with probiotics that aid digestion,” says nutritionist Christine Bailey. “That means better nutrient absorption and fewer hunger pangs.” How much? 250ml

63. Spinach

“It provides alkalising greens,” says Bailey. Swedish research also suggests that its leafy membranes can curb cravings. How much? 50g

64. Pineapple Chunks

“It contains a digestive enzyme called bromelain, which eases digestion.” It’s also an excellent source of vitamin B6. How much? 75g

65. Banana

Go underripe if you can – the resistant starch has a positive effect on body fat levels by helping to metabolise fats after eating. How much? Half a banana

66. Chia Seeds

“They add fibre to kick-start your digestive system in the morning.” And they’re the best plant source of omega 3s. How much? 1tsp

67 Lemon Juice

It helps stabilise blood-glucose levels, killing cravings, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C. How much? 1tbsp 

Rethink Your Spice Rack

Apart from making your food more exciting, the right combinations will jolt your metabolism into overdrive.

68. Cinnamon

It regulates blood sugar, though sprinkling it on your morning latte still doesn’t justify a muffin. It also reduces total cholesterol levels and triglycerides – helpful for health as well as fat loss.

69. Black Pepper

A substance called piperine in pepper blocks the formation of new fat cells. Bonus: it also increases the bioavailability of other nutrients, making the rest of your meal more worthwhile.

70. Turmeric

Curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, reduces the formation of fat tissue by suppressing the blood vessels needed to form it. It’s more effective in the presence of fat, so cook your curry with ghee.

71. Cayenne Pepper

Capsaicin, the compound that gives peppers their heat, triggers fight-or-flight hormones including adrenaline and norepinephrine, helping to regulate your heartbeat and breathing, and mobilising fat for your body to use.

72. Ginger

It’s been used as a digestive aid for centuries, with good reason: it steadies over-active stomach contractions, and aids protein digestion. Fresh is better, but dried still works. Use it in dressings, tea or smoothies.

73. Cumin

In a three-month trial, volunteers at Iran’s Shahid Sadoughi University dropped three times as much body fat as a control group by eating 1tsp a day mixed into yogurt – and also lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol. Add it to roasted veg, or put a dash in hummus or guacamole.

74. Cardamom

It’s been used in Indian cookery for centuries, and recent studies suggest that it’s a potent thermogenic. Smash the pods in a mortar (or a coffee grinder) and throw the result in curries and stews.

75. Mustard Seeds

Cook with the seeds, not the sauce. A study in the Asian Journal Of Clinical Nutrition found that eating them concentrated in oil lowered visceral fat in rats. Blitz them in a food processor with chilies for a paste that’ll add kick to your curries.

Supp Your Game

Time to streamline your supplement cupboard – you don’t need much.

76. Vitamin D

In a University of Minnesota study, subjects with adequate D levels lost weight faster than people who were deficient, even eating the same calories. The researchers theorised that it releases hunger-regulation hormone leptin – and you almost certainly aren’t getting enough. Supplement with a spray.

77. Fish Oil

Anecdotally, it’s worked forever, but now scientists are working out why: a 2015 study on mice suggest that it increased calorie-burning brown fat in the little chaps, as well as regulating their insulin and fasting glucose levels.

78. Creatine

It’s the back-up generator for muscle and lets you push harder in short, high-intensity efforts. Take the monohydrate kind – in studies, it’s performed better at increasing the body’s stores. The dose is 5g a day: it’s less grainy in hot water, so have it with green tea.

79. CLA

A naturally occurring fatty acid, CLA diverts calories you eat away from fat storage and into muscle tissue, reducing body fat and increasing the amount of fat used for energy. It’s non-stimulant-based, so won’t make you as jittery as other supps that claim to burn fat.

80. L-Carnitine

Research suggests it helps your body to mobilise fat stores as fuel, but there’s also evidence to suggest that it improves insulin sensitivity. Supplement with 500-2,000mg a day.

81. Magnesium

It improves sleep and insulin sensitivity – both helpful for fat loss – but a study published in Cardiovascular Drugs Therapy also suggests that it has huge benefits to aerobic activity, letting you train for longer.

82. Multivitamins

They may not torch fat stores, but a quality multivitamin will fill in any gaps in your eating plan, keeping your bodily functions online and helping your sleep, stress and training.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Supplements

Burn Fat Like A Pro

Forget needlessly complicated multi-stage recipes – for fat loss, all you need is to make simple foods taste better. With an MSc in nutrition science, cordon bleu chef Toral Shah has the recipe:

83. Beetroot

It’s low-calorie and high in iron and potassium. “Spiralise it or cube it and roast it,” says Shah. “You can eat it raw, but you just need to take the edge off. A bit of thyme works well.”

RECOMMENDED: It’s Official, Beetroot Juice Can Improve Your Endurance

84. Cauliflower

“It’s much more versatile than you think. Stir fry it with chili, garlic, cumin seeds and lemon.” It’s low in starch, high in fibre: you can also blast it in the food processor and sub it in for rice.

85. Tomatoes

“They can be really flavourless in the winter, when they’re out of season and get hothoused or imported. Slow-roast them at 160˚ for about 40 minutes to concentrate the flavour – do a load at once and you can use them in recipes through the week.” Cooking also releases more cancer-protective lycopene.

86. Peppers

“Roast up a whole bunch at a time, and keep them in a jar to use throughout the week,” says Shah. Try to eat red, green and yellow for an improved array of antioxidants.

87. Cabbage

“It’s so underrated. Slice up some Savoy or Asian Red in the food processor and stir-fry it for an Asian-style slaw.”

88. Kale

“Long before it was fashionable it used to be a British staple. Massaging it really does work: a bit of good-quality olive oil and lemon juice does the job, and it keeps as a salad for a couple of days.” Throw in some red onions and pine nuts if you’re feeling ambitious.

89. Squash

“Chop it into 2cm cubes and roast it for about an hour with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It’ll add bulk to anything.”

90. Meat

“You don’t need much. Buy less, buy good-quality – grass-fed is much better for your health – and bulk it out with lots of veg.”

91. Olive Oil

“It’s great, but if you’re trying to lose fat it’s easy to load up on calories. Buy the good-quality extra virgin stuff – you’ll be able to get away with using less, because the flavour’s so intense with even a little bit.”

Fat Loss Swaps

Clean out the cupboards – make these simple changes and you’ll switch fat loss to autopilot.

92. Swap Black Tea For Green Tea

The green stuff has two thermogenic compounds – caffeine and catechins – and in a 2009 study, it also reduced cravings in subjects on a calorie-restricted diet. Add a dash of lemon for improved insulin regulation.

93. Swap Salad Dressing For Apple Cider Vinegar

It’s ultra-low in calories by comparison, but also aids satiety and helps keep blood sugar under control. Mix it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and an optional dash of honey for an easy vinaigrette.

94. Swap Soft Drinks For Lime And Soda

Even “diet” drinks will trigger an insulin response thanks to their sweet taste, and can make you hungry by messing with your body’s perceived energy levels. Lime will keep your blood sugar in check, while fizzy water has a mild alkalising effect on your body.

95. Swap Cereal For Eggs

Heat the pan, add a dab of butter, crack the eggs, swirl them around until they’re nearly done, and take them off the heat for the last bit of stirring. It’s 60 seconds, tops, and gives you a hit of protein and omega 3s – plus feeling full until lunch.

RECOMMENDED: Healthy Breakfasts

96. Swap Peanuts For Brazil Nuts

They’re packed with magnesium and selenium, which aid the metabolising of fat. Have a handful with a piece of fruit for a mid-morning snack.

97. Swap Oranges For Kiwis

They’re lighter on fructose, but just as packed with vitamin C – 500mg a day will help you burn fat during workouts.

98. Swap Milk Chocolate For Dark Chocolate

Low in sugar, high in fibre and antioxidants, it’s also less moreish than your Dairy Milk, thanks to the intense taste. Cocoa solids at 85% or more is the golden rule: if it’s too bitter, a dash of salt (really) takes the edge off.

99. Swap Beer For Red Wine

There’s evidence from a Washington University study that resveratrol – a fruit polyphenol also thought to have anti-ageing effects – can improve the oxidation of fat by turning white fat to beige, which is involved in heat regulation.

100. Swap Muesli For Oats

They’re high in soluble fibre and help fill you up, and they’re also digested slowly to keep blood sugar under control. Cook them with almond milk, and throw in a scoop of protein powder to control hunger until lunch.

RECOMMENDED: Healthy Porridge Recipes

101. Swap Biscuits For Granny Smiths

All apples contain pectin, which regulate blood sugar so you’re less hungry. There’s also evidence that Granny Smiths specifically improve obesity-regulating gut bacteria.

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Build A Wrestler’s Core With The Sit-Out

The basic sit-out escape is an absolutely essential part of any wrestler’s arsenal, as it allows them to wriggle free from the perilous clutches of their opponent.

Now, most people are unlikely to ever find that particularly aspect of the sit-out especially useful (although if the occasion does arise, you’ll be delighted to have put in some training), but even so, the sit-out is a fine core exercise to incorporate into your workouts.

In fact, the sit-out is just about one of the toughest core exercises in town, due to the challenge to both balance and strength. Muscles all over the body take a hit, especially your abs and shoulders, and the unstable position you put yourself in during the exercise means you have to strain all the harder to stay upright.

How To Do A Sit-Out

Mobility training home workout, move four, sit-out

Start in an elevated plank position, but with your feet spread apart. Then lift one of your hands, and move the opposite leg inward under your body and extend it out to the side.

In the final position, you should be looking towards the ceiling and you should stretch your raised arm up as well. Both raised limbs should be extended fully.

Hold the final pose for a moment (not for applause, just to make the exercise a mite harder) then return to your starting position and repeat the exercise with the opposite arm and leg.

Keep your movements measured – you should feel the challenge of keeping yourself balanced throughout. If you do start overbalancing then stop, reset and slow down your movements.

This is a great interval exercise, meaning you work through as many as you can – while keeping your form perfect – in 30 seconds, take a break, then go again.

If sets are more your bag, you can also extend how long you hold at the final position to use the challenge. Try for sets of five sit outs on each side, holding the final position for five seconds each time.

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Build Muscle With This Full-Body Dumbbell Workout

Dumbbells may have a stupid name, but if you use them smartly they can be your secret weapon in adding lean mass to all your major muscle groups. The beauty of this five-move dumbbell circuit is that it’s both easy to follow and quick to do. And because it only requires a single dumbbell, which you might have knocking about your home, you don’t even need to brace the winter weather to get your workout in the bag.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Dumbbells For Home

All five moves in the circuit are challenging, working multiple muscle groups at once and raising your heart rate, because that’s the only way to build new muscle and burn belly fat so you make big changes to your body in the shortest possible time. Do this circuit three times a week, or once a week for a high-intensity session as part of a wider training plan.

Power Up

This workout has five dumbbell exercises that you perform in order in a circuit. You only rest – for two minutes – at the end of the final exercise. You’ll do four circuits in total. To make this workout as effective as possible, follow the form guides closely to ensure your muscles work hard. That’s the key to breaking down the maximum number of muscle fibres so that they grow back bigger and stronger. Pick a weight that allows you to perform all the exercises with perfect form (you may need a lighter one for move 4) and keep your abs engaged for the duration of the entire circuit.

1 Squat To Upright Row

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

How Hold the weight in one hand and squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Stand up and row the dumbbell up, leading with your elbow. Lower back into the squat.

Why This compound lift works your legs, lower back, abs, shoulders and traps.

2 Woodchop

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

How Hold the dumbbell in both hands, then squat down and take the weight out to one side. Stand up and raise the weight across your body until it’s above your head.

Why Another multi-muscle move that targets your legs, core and shoulders.

3 Romanian Deadlift to Overhead Press

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

How Hold the weight in one hand. Bend at the hips and lower it down your standing leg. Stand up and row the weight up to shoulder height, then press it directly overhead.

Why This lift hits your hamstrings and glutes, as well as your core and shoulders.

4 Overhead Pass

Reps 12 each side Rest 0sec

How Hold the weight up in one hand. Lower it to one side until your arm is parallel to the floor. Raise it to the top, then pass it to your other hand and lower it to the other side.

Why This move is harder than it looks because your shoulders work overtime to manage the weight.

5 Seated Russian Twist

Reps 12 each side Rest 2min

How Sit holding the weight in both hands with your torso upright and feet off the floor. Rotate the weight to one side then rotate back into the middle then out to the other side. Keep your heels off the floor for the duration of the set to keep your lower abs engaged, making them work far harder.

Why This will work your deep-lying core muscles as well as your upper, lower and side abs.

RECOMMENDED: Dumbbell Exercises For Your Best Ever Body

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The Gym Equipment You Need To Get Acquainted With


What they’re good for: Pure strength. “You’ll be able to lift more weight with a barbell than any other way,” says trainer James Crew. “Aim to master at least the basics: the squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press.”

What they aren’t good for: Cardio conditioning. Sure, it’s possible – multi-move barbell complexes are an option – but as a rule, the less co-ordination required, the harder you can work.

Key move: If nothing else, you should be able to deadlift your own bodyweight for five reps. Start with the bar on the floor and a double shoulder-width grip, and drag it up your shins, keeping a flat back.


What they’re good for: Improving body composition. “They’re ideal for moves that target specific muscles, like lateral raises and biceps curls,” says Crew. “But they’re also manageable enough to use in fat loss workouts.”

What they aren’t good for: Explosiveness. Snatches, cleans and swings are all possible, but much easier – and safer – using kettlebells and barbells.

Key move: The Zottman curl works your biceps, forearms and grip, with a twist on the traditional curl that’s impossible to mimic with other kit. Do a normal biceps curl, rotate your hands so your palms face downwards at the top of the move, lower slowly and repeat.

RECOMMENDED: The Best Dumbbells For Home

Medicine Ball

What they’re good for: Explosiveness. “You’d need to be training somewhere pretty tolerant to start throwing dumbbells around,” says Crew. “So you’ll lose some power in decelerating them, whatever move you do. With medicine balls, you can slam or throw them as hard as you like.” Maybe check with the gym staff first.

What they aren’t good for: Isolation moves: sure, you can make do, but the lack of a handle to grip when things get sweaty is pretty much a dealbreaker.

Key move: If your gym takes a dim view of slams, the wall ball is your full-body back-up. Squat, then drive up and throw the ball at the top, aiming to hit a wall or target. Catch and repeat.

RECOMMENDED: Medicine Ball To The Wall Power Workout


What they’re good for: Sports performance. “Plyometrics training will improve explosiveness in almost any sport,” says Crew.

What they aren’t good for Cardio. Box jumps are a popular fixture in high-intensity workouts, but by doing them repeatedly, for high reps, you’re increasing your chances of catching a shin on the box or blowing out an achilles tendon through fatigue. To minimise the risks, step – don’t jump – down.

Key move: The box jump is best, but if your box isn’t tall enough to test you, make it tougher: drop into a squat and pause before you explode up. You’ll remove the stretch reflex, making it more challenging.


What they’re good for: Fat loss and conditioning. “You can do full-body movements for ultra-high reps with kettlebells,” says Crew. “That means packing a lot of work into a very short timeframe.”

What they aren’t good for: Pure strength. Most gyms top out at 32kg: fine for a heavy goblet squat or swing, but not Olympic-calibre.

Key move: The basic swing builds explosiveness and cardio: stand with your feet slightly outside shoulder width, bend your knees slightly as you swing the bell back, then pop upright to swing it up to eye level. Don’t worry about the overhead version – if it’s getting too easy, grab a heavier bell.

RECOMMENDED: Kettlebell Workout Guide

Battle Ropes

What they’re good for: Upper-body conditioning. “Battle ropes are one of the few bits of cardio kit that work your pecs, biceps and triceps harder than your legs,” says Crew. “Use them as a finisher on chest day.”

What they aren’t good for: Planned progression. It’s difficult to quantify reps on the ropes – the closest you can get is making sure every “wave” reaches the anchor point – so there’s little incentive to push yourself to new heights each session. They’re best for the self-motivated.

Key move: The full-body wave. Bring both ropes up and down together, like you’re ending an exuberant drum solo. For extra effect, add a jump to each rep.

RECOMMENDED: Get Ripped With These Battle Ropes Workouts

Pull-Up Bar

What they’re good for: Building back strength. Pulling moves – from the pull-up to the muscle-up – are among the trickiest to do without kit, which is why there’s a case to be made that the pull-up bar is the most essential bit of kit in any gym.

What they aren’t good for: Isolation moves. By definition, almost any move you do on a pull-up bar will work a huge array of muscles – so if key body parts need attention, focus on them with dumbbells.

Key move: The pull-up – that’s palms facing away, not towards you – is a classic for a reason: it builds your back, biceps and core. Do it with hands shoulder-width apart, feet together, chin over the bar at the top.

RECOMMENDED: How To Master The Pull-Up

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Gym Ball Six-Pack Workout: Get Rock-Hard Abs In Just 20 Minutes

Try this challenging but rewarding six-move workout to sculpt a solid six-pack, from the experts at Coach’s sister brand Men’s Fitness.

In the pursuit of rock-hard abs a lot of people still think you need to bang out hundreds of sit-ups morning, noon and night. But the fact that so many people can knock out triple digits for the move, yet still don’t have impressive abs, shows that they’re doing little more than wasting time and energy. So what is the best approach? We’re glad you asked.

RECOMMENDED: Why Sit-Ups Don’t Give You a Six-Pack

The short answer is the following six-move abs workout. The exercises are divided into two tri-sets, which is when you do three moves in succession with only minimal rest in between. The first tri-set hits your upper, lower and side abs from multiple angles to work them harder than ever. The second tri-set is made up of three plank variations, which will further tax your abs as well as the deep-lying muscles of the core.

Hitting the entire muscle region in this fast, intense way will expose many muscle fibres to a huge amount of tension and workload. And because your abs are like every other muscle group, the more you make them work, the more reason they have to grow.

How To Get The Most Out Of This Workout

  • Tense before each tri-set: Before you start each tri-set take a second or two to inhale and fully engage your core. Starting with tension on your abs will make it easier to maintain this tension for the duration of the first move and the two moves that follow it.
  • Use a full range of motion: The moves in the first tri-set require a lot of side-to-side rotations. This will work your side abs harder, but only if you rotate back and forth through a full range of motion. Focus on form and keep the reps slow and controlled for maximum impact.
  • Keep your hips up: In the second tri-set all three moves are plank variations. It’s crucial that you keep your hips up and glutes engaged for the whole set. Letting your hips sag is bad form and disengages your core muscles, which need to be activated at all times.
  • Keep breathing: When the going gets tough during abs moves it’s tempting to hold your breath to grit it out. Don’t. It’ll send your blood pressure sky-high. Keep breathing deep and controlled.
  • Forget about pain: By the final move of each tri-set your abs will be on fire. That’s bad for you at the time, but means your abs are well out of their comfort zone. Ignore the pain – it’s only for a few seconds.
  • Only do good reps: With any exercise, only quality reps count towards building muscle definition. As soon as your form suffers, stop, take a breath, then go again, if you can do so safely.

The 20-Minute Abs Workout

1A Gym ball twist

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 2011 Rest 10sec

Lie with your upper back supported on a gym ball and feet flat on the floor. Use your abs to raise your torso. Rotate it to one side, then back down. Repeat to the other side and continue alternating sides.

1B Gym ball Russian twist

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 1111 Rest 10sec

Still on the gym ball, hold a weight plate above your chest with straight arms. Lower it to one side, back to the top, then down to the other side. Continue alternating sides.

RECOMMENDED: The Russian Twist

1C Gym ball jackknife

Sets 3 Reps 12 each side Tempo 2111 Rest 2min

Get into a press-up position but with your feet on the gym ball. Bring your knees to your chest, then to one side. Return to the start, then repeat to the other side. Continue alternating sides.

2A Gym ball decline plank

Sets 3 Time 30-60sec Rest 10sec

Start in the plank position but with your feet on the gym ball. Raise your hips to keep your body straight from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds.

2B Gym ball incline plank

Sets 3 Time 30-60sec Rest 10sec

Start in the plank position but with your hands on the gym ball. Raise your hips to keep your body straight from head to heels. Hold for as long as you can, up to 60 seconds.

2C Gym ball side plank

Sets 3 Time 30-60sec each side Rest 10sec

Start in the side plank position but with one elbow on the ball. Raise your hips to form a straight line from head to heels. Hold for up to 60 seconds then switch elbows.

RECOMMENDED: A Brutal 20-Minute Abs Workout

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The Best Dumbbells for Home

How We Tested These Dumbbells

To test these dumbbells, writer Max Anderton did a six-move (biceps curl, overhead press, hammer curl, renegade row, high pull and front raise), no-bench home workout – not just with the products below, but every type he could get his (callused) hands on.

Dumbbell Buyer’s Guide

A decent set needn’t break the bank – or your floorboards. Here’s what to look for.

Shape: Hexagonal dumbbells are the smart choice. They won’t roll away when you perform moves like the renegade row, or roll under your feet when you’re off-guard.

Features: As with any contraption, the fewer parts it has, the less likely it is to go wrong. Be careful with adjustable sets that can crack if used frequently.

Weight: Less is undeniably more here – both in mass and price. Too heavy and you’ll miss out on a range of worthy exercises, but with a lighter set you can always do more reps. A 12kg set will do the trick.

Material: Rubber-coated ends might not be as eye-catching as shiny metal plates but they’ll buffer any impact with your floor (or feet). Ridged or “knurled” chrome handles offer firm grip and easy cleaning.

RECOMMENDED: Build a Solid Core Using Just One Dumbbell

Three Types of Dumbbells Explained

Fixed weight: The classic as-seen-in-the-gym dumbbell that’s set at an unchangeable weight. Gym sets typically start at 2kg and go up in 2kg increments, and a single pair of fixed-weight dumbbells is the cheapest option. However, if you opt for these you will be restricted to using the same weight for all your home gym moves. That’s a problem because for some exercises it will be far too light (such as squats or lunges) and for others far too heavy (such as lateral raises and triceps extensions). You could buy an entire set of fixed dumbbells, but that’s pricy and takes up a lot of space.

Adjustable (standard): A far wiser choices for home weight training because you can simply add or subtract weight plates to each dumbbell quickly and easily to change the amount of weight you’re lifting for different exercises. This gives you a much greater range of lifts you can do at home safely, and you can always buy extra weight plates once you get stronger and need more resistance – although there is a limit to just how many weight plates you can stack on each side.

Adjustable (selectorised): The resistance of these higher-tech dumbbells are adjustable through the addition or subtraction of weight plates, followed by the simple turn of a dial when the dumbbell is resting in its stand. This means you can adjust the weight more quickly than with a standard set of dumbbells, and these models can typically reach a much heavier weight, meaning this might be the only set of home dumbbells you ever need to buy. That said, they’re by far the most expensive option – not to mention seriously heavy when moving them from one room to another.

RECOMMENDED: Dumbbell shoulder workout

The Best Dumbbells For Home

Quick Adjustable Dumbbells

For widely varying resistance with no need for a full rack

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Bodymax Selectabells (left), PowerBlock Sport 5.0 (right)

Pictured: Bodymax Selectabells (left), PowerBlock Sport 5.0 (right)

Swiftly switch weights up to a respectable 25kg at the click of a dial with Bodymax Selectabells (£160, buy on

Colour-coding makes selecting loads – up to 22.5kg in 2.25kg increments – easy with the PowerBlock Sport 5.0 (£305, buy on

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Bowflex SelectTech (left), Ironmaster Quick-Lock (right)

Pictured: Bowflex SelectTech (left), Ironmaster Quick-Lock (right)

A satisfying click rewards every weight change on the Bowflex SelectTech (£346, buy on Choose from 2 to 24kg.

The Ironmaster Quick-Lock (£547, buy on feels more like a regular dumbbell. It’s slower to change than the others but goes up to a whopping 34kg.

Floor-Friendly Rubber Dumbbells

For pumping iron without clanking metal

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Bodymax Deluxe (left), Body Power Rubber Hex (right)

Pictured: Bodymax Deluxe (left), Body Power Rubber Hex (right)

You can change weights on the Bodymax Deluxe (£32, buy on up to 15kg per dumbbell, while a rubber coating protects floors.

Our favourite for renegade rows.The flat sides and gripping rubber of the Body Power Rubber Hex (£43, buy on reduce the chance of slips.

RECOMMENDED HOME WORKOUT: Small Dumbbells Countdown Circuit

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Jordan Classic (left), Alex (right)

Pictured: Jordan Classic (left), Alex (right)

The Jordan Classic (£98, buy on lets you do abs roll-outs on a wood floor without sounding like a 1940s fighter jet taking off.

The 20kg Alex (update: no longer available) is pricy, but its high-grade polyurethane coating means you won’t damage the floor if you drop it.

RECOMMENDED HOME WORKOUT: Small Dumbbells, Big Shoulders

Shiny Chromeset Dumbbells

For weights so sleek you’ll keep them on display

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Pro Fitness (left), Body Power Chrome Ergo (right)

Pictured: Pro Fitness (left), Body Power Chrome Ergo (right)

Changing the six weight discs is slower than with the adjustables, but this 20kg Pro Fitness (£55, buy on set is cheaper – and works for abs roll-outs.

The 15kg Body Power Chrome Ergo (£91, buy on has a contoured handle that fits snugly in the hand and makes grip strength less of a factor.

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Marcy (left), York (right)

Pictured: Marcy (left), York (right)

This one-piece 9kg dumbbell from Marcy (£29.99, buy from won’t loosen over time. And before you scoff at its lightness, try high-rep sets of flyes with it.

We love the chunky wing collars on the York 15kg (£57, buy on, while the rubber-covered grips make long sessions less callous-inducing.

Classic Cast Iron Dumbbells

For weights so durable they’ll outlive you

The Best Dumbbells for Home: Confidence Fitness Pros (left), TurnerMAX (right)

Pictured: Confidence Fitness Pros (left), TurnerMAX (right)

Confidence Fitness Pros (£29.99, buy on are the bedroom workout classic. This 20kg set is perfectly fine for a full-body workout.

A carry case makes the 30kg TurnerMAX (£55, buy on easy to transport. Just don’t indulge any weird sniper-rifle fantasies as you slot the pieces into place.

RECOMMENDED: The Ultimate Dumbbell Workout for Bigger Arms

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