9.26.2011

Personal Trainers share which exercises work best…and those to avoid.



Time is precious so why spend your valuable time on exercises that yield little results or even worse, can be damaging?  While looking for the best exercises to incorporate into fitness routines, some advice that was offered included:

Mix up your cardio routine.  Unfortunately some people tend to do the same exercise over and over again.  Although this is better than being sedentary, you will quickly cap out your level of fitness.  Instead, use a variety of exercises to get your heart rate up.  Also, instead of doing one long continuous cardio effort, incorporate intervals of intense efforts to challenge your body.  

Want well defined arms?  Focus on the tricep.  Too many people spend countless hours doing bicep curls with dumbbells.  The bicep is a very small muscle and there is really only so much you can do for it.  However working the tricep, the group of three muscles that connect to the bicep, you maximize the whole group of the upper arm.  Also, instead of doing those dumbbell curls, do pull-ups.  Pull-ups are difficult at first, however you can still achieve tremendous benefits with assisted pull-ups – either with a partner or on a machine.

Do planks rather than crunches.  It’s easy to revert to bad form when doing crunches.  Not only can this be an ineffective use of your time, it can cause injury.  The plank works the abdominal, back and stabilizer muscles.  To perform a correct plank, lie on the floor face down with only your forearms and toes touching the ground.  This exercise may appear easy at first but depending on your level of fitness, you’ll feel the strain in 20 seconds to a minute.  Do three sets and focus on holding a steady form while breathing in a relaxed manner.   Set a goal to increase your time in the plank pose over time.  Also keep in mind that if your goal is to have well-defined abdominal muscles, your diet plays a huge factor in the results.  You can perform ab exercises all day long but if you are not fueling your engine with high quality nutrition, you will not get the results you desire.

I hope you find these tips helpful.  I think we can all agree that avoiding exercises that provide little value while focusing on those that are fun and work entire muscle groups are the best for all.