If you’re on a diet and can’t lose that troublesome last half stone, this four-week exercise programme is guaranteed to shift it.

If you’re on a diet and can’t lose that troublesome last half stone, this four-week exercise programme from the Times fitness guru James Duigan is guaranteed to shift it. You alternate daily between resistance circuits, where you move smoothly from one exercise to the next, and core and cardio programmes. The cores will strengthen the stomach muscles, while the cardios will get your heart and lungs working. Combine this with some focused tweaks to nutrition and you will soon see positive results.

Week 1

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Resistance circuit

1 Squat

2 Push-ups

3 Split squats

4 Tricep dips

5 Squat jumps

Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise, doing 12 split squats on each leg.

Aim to do 3-4 circuits, ie, all those exercises 3-4 times, with a rest of 90sec after each circuit is completed.

Tuesday/Thursday

Cardio and core

Cardio intervals

1 Warm up: brisk walking

2 2min jogging (during which you could still hold a conversation), then 30sec sprinting; perform

5 intervals = 12½ min 3 Cool down: brisk walking

Core programme

1 Single-leg hip extensions12-15 reps each leg

2 Prone bridge series (front/side/side) 30-45sec each

Aim to do 3-4 circuits with a rest

Week 2

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Resistance circuit

1 Squat

2 Push-ups

3 Squat jumps

4 Split squats

5 Tricep dips

6 Split squat jumps

7 1-2 min with skipping rope

Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise, and for your split squats do 12 on each leg. Aim to do 4-5 circuits, with a rest of 60sec after each set of exercises is completed.

Tuesday/Thursday

Cardio and core

Cardio intervals

1 Warm-up with brisk walking

2 2min of jogging (where you could still hold a conversation) and then 45sec of sprinting; perform

7 intervals = 17.15min 3 5min of brisk walking

Core programme

1 Standing tube around knees 12-15 each leg

2 Standing Y + T

3 Prone bridge series (front/side/side) 45-60sec each

Aim to do 3-4 circuits with a rest

Week 3

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Resistance circuit

You’ll need a dumbbell or additional weights

1 Push press

2 Legs raised push-ups

3 Squat jumps

4 Split squats to curl

5 Dumbbell rowing

6 Dynamic lunges

7 Burpees

8 2min skipping rope or jumping jacks (star jumps)

Perform 10 reps of each exercise; for exercises 4 and 6 do 10 each leg. Aim to do 5 circuits with a rest of 60sec after each set of exercises is completed.

Tuesday/Thursday

Cardio and core

Cardio intervals

1 Warm up with brisk walking

2 2 min jogging (during which you could still hold a conversation), then 1 min sprinting.

Perform 8 intervals = 24 min

3 Cool down with brisk walking

Core programme

1 Standing, tube around knees, 15-20 each leg

2 Standing, dumbbell Y + T

3 Prone bridge series (front/side/side), 60sec each

Aim to do 3-4 circuits with a rest

Week 4

Monday/Wednesday/Friday

Accelerated fat-loss programme

This programme has the same exercises as week 3, but with a change in the amount of reps and sets.

Dumbbell or additional weights

1 Push press

2 Heels elevated push-ups

3 Squat jumps

4 Split squats to curl

5 Dumbbell rowing

6 Dynamic lunges

7 Burpees

8 2min skipping rope or jumping jacks (star jumps)

Perform 15 reps each exercise; for exercises 4 and 6 do 15 each leg.

Aim to do 6-7 circuits, with a rest of 60 sec after each set of exercises is completed.

Tuesday/Thursday

Accelerated fat-loss programme

Cardio intervals

1 Warm up: brisk walking

2 2min jogging (during which you could still hold a conversation), then 1min sprinting; perform 8 intervals = 24min

4 Cool down: brisk walking

Core programme

1 Standing tube around knees 15-20 each leg

2 Standing dumbbell Y + S 12-15 each

3 Prone bridge series (front/side/side) 90sec each

Aim to do 4-5 circuits with a rest

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