Here's a fundamental law of exercise: If you want to burn more calories for the sake of losing weight, you have to constantly challenge your muscles to work harder. After all, if you're used to doing the same amount of work each and every time you hit the gym—whether it's the same amount of weight you're lifting or the same amount of reps you're doing—you're simply not going to burn those extra calories. In fact, your body becomes more efficient doing the same thing over time, and you may find that you end up actually burning less calories.
If you'd like to challenge yourself to do just a little bit for the sake of weight loss, you can try this one exercise trick that takes remarkably little time and will turbocharge your workout: Perform a plyometric exercise for 10 seconds before you work your way up to a heavier load.
Why? Well, performing plyometrics, which are powerful, explosive movements, help ramp up your central nervous system. They also allow your body to "wake up" so it has more power to move more weights. The goal here isn't to fatigue your body, but rather to get it to be explosive. If you'd like to give it a go, what follow are four terrific examples of plyometrics that I personally love to do before transitioning to heavier weights. (Note: Do the jumps before your lower body exercises, and the pushups and slams before your upper body movements.) In every case, you should perform 2-3 sets before going into your main routine. And for more great healthy living advice, check out these Simple Ways to Get Fitter That Aren't Exercise, Say Experts.
Squat Jumps for 10 seconds
Start by placing your legs about hip-width apart. Keeping your core tight, throw your arms and hips back at the same time. Swing your arms forward and jump up as high as you can. Land soft into a half squat before jumping again. And for more great workout advice, consider trying This 20-Minute Walking Workout to Get Fit and Burn Fat.
Jump Lunges for 10 seconds
Begin by being in a split-squat position. Jump up as high as you can and switch legs so you land with the alternating leg. Land soft with your knee tracking straight before jumping up and switching again. And for more great fitness routines to try, see these 5 Ways to Get a Perfect Butt.
Bench Plyometric Pushups for 10 seconds
To perform this exercise, position yourself with both hands on the bench. Lower yourself to where your chest touches the pad, then explode up as high as you can. Land softly with your hands on the bench, then perform another rep.
Medicine Ball Slams for 10 seconds
With your feet shoulder-width apart, grab a giant medicine ball. Raise it above your head, then slam the weight down on the ground, flexing your abs hard when you finish. Squat down with a straight back to pick it up again before performing another rep. And for more great exercise advice, see here for The 15-Second Exercise Trick That Will Change Your Life.