March Madness is nigh! Women's Health's twist on the mega-popular NCAA basketball bracket ranks the contenders in the most debated fitness topics — abs toning, cal crushing — once and for all. Will you come out of this competition leaner, stronger, and even more badass? With the guidance of WH's elite experts, all bets are on.
Biggest Calorie Burner: The kettlebell swing is king! Studies show it can melt up to 20 calories per minute — and “because it’s a fluid, low-impact motion, the average person can do longer sessions of swings than they can burpees,” says Craig Ballantyne, founder of Turbulence Training.
Its most significant aerobic effect lies in the afterburn: You’ll build muscle and keep crushing C’s long after your workout. Form is everything: knees slightly bent, back flat, hips moving back (not down), and powering from your glutes (not arms). Learn how to perform a kettlebell swing here!
Best Workout Supplement: The quintessential supplement dominates. Studies have shown that whey protein can help rebuild muscle tissue after intense or long bouts ofexercise (about 90 minutes), and some suggest consuming it, like in oatmeal, may help control your appetite later in the day. But finding the right one can be tough — it’s often filled with junk. Look for a whey with as few ingredients as possible, says dietitian and exercise physiologist Samantha Heller.
Best Upper Body Exercise: The wide-stance pushup will tone your shoulders, biceps, triceps, and upper chest, plus help develop functional strength (which makes things like carrying your groceries in one trip much easier), says John Porcari, Ph.D., executive director of the exercise and health program at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse. Quality beats quantity: Keep your core tight, back flat, and glutes engaged. Learn more here.
To see the best butt and abs exercises, click here!