The Only 12 Exercises You Need to Get in Shape

It’s easy enough to make the decision to work out, pull on your favorite active wear and head to the gym, but the idea of putting together a series of actual exercises can be daunting. Which moves should you do? Which muscle groups should you target? What works and what’s a waste of time? Is one move more effective than others? All of the uncertainty could be enough to send you bolting back to the couch—but not so fast!
The good news: Fitness doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might seem. With the right multitasking, hard-working moves, you can maximize your results in the least amount of time. For those days when you don’t have the time or creativity to plan complex workouts, some of our favorite trainers came up with a dozen tried-and-true moves. These 12 powerful exercises target all the major muscle groups while also incorporating some heart-pumping cardio.
The next time you have the motivation to exercise but not a whole lot of mental energy, try this basic—but very effective—series. Do the whole dozen at once, or split them up across multiple workouts if you have limited time. Shoot for three sets of 12 to 15 reps, modifying as needed.

The 12 Moves of Fitness

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Julia Buckley

The Move: Get into a plank position, with your palms down on the ground directly below your shoulders and your arms straight. Move your legs in a running motion, bringing alternating knees up to your chest and straightening the leg again. Keep your abdominals pulled in throughout the move to protect your lower back.
Why it Works: Mountain climbers are a great total-body workout in a single “do anywhere” move. With the core activated to keep the body in position as you power your legs in and back out behind you, you’re sculpting several muscle groups all in one fluid motion. These are hardcore, but if you want to burn body fat, they’ll definitely get you ignited!

2. Pushup

Recommended by: Fitness trainer and Fit Armadillo founder Catherine Basu

The Move: Start in a high plank position, on your toes with your palms on the floor below your shoulders, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Bend at your elbows to lower your body toward the floor. Then, press down through your palms while engaging your chest muscles to return to the starting position. If necessary, you can modify by resting the knees on the floor or placing your palms on an elevated surface.
Why it Works: The classic pushup targets many muscle groups at once—chest, triceps, shoulders and core—effectively activating a greater calorie burn, even at rest. The move is both a great toner and a metabolism booster.

3. Squat

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Rachel Straub

The Move: Place your feet shoulder-width apart or wider. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or stop beforehand if pain occurs or if flexibility is limited). Push through your heels to stand back up.
Why it Works: Although the squat is generally classified as a lower-body exercise, it is also a core exercise, as it strengthens the largest core muscle in the body (the gluteus maximus). You likely do squats daily (assuming you get in and out of a chair), but you should be doing squat-specific exercises (at home by simply holding onto a chair, or at the gym using weights). Inability to squat can be a sign of poor lower-body strength or poor mobility in the lower back, hips, knee and ankle. >

4. Lunge

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Cheryl Russo

The Move: Stagger the legs hip-distance apart with one in front and one behind, keeping enough distance between them so that when you bend the legs, your knees don’t extend beyond your toes. Keeping your chest open, hips tucked under and core engaged, bend both legs at a right angle so that your front quadriceps (thigh) and back shin are parallel to the floor. The back heel should raise as you push off the front heel. There are many variations of standard lunges, including split lunges, alternating forward lunges, alternating rear lunges and plyometric (jumping) lunges.
Why it Works: All lunge variations work the muscles of the legs, glutes and core, while simultaneously improving balance. Since you are lifting your body weight, it can increase the heart rate, especially when performing the plyometric option.

5. Burpee

Recommended by: Personal trainer Ashley Pitt

The Move: Start standing with your feet hip-width apart. Do a squat to send your butt and hips back and down, then put your hands shoulder-width onto the ground and jump your feet back into a strong plank. Brace your core before jumping your feet back up toward your hands again and return to standing. From there, you can jump into the air or stand up on the balls of your feet and reach your hands up. Repeat this a few times and you’ll feel your heart rate skyrocket. For beginners, modify the move by stepping your feet into a plank one at a time, rather than jumping them back. If you want a more advanced move that incorporates additional muscle groups, add a full pushup after you plank!
Why it Works: The burpee is a full-body movement, which has a little bit of strength in the plank (and the pushup, should you choose to add it), some plyometric power in the jumps and, of course, heart-pounding cardio. You’ll work your legs, glutes, core and shoulders. Try doing sets of 10 at a time during your workout in between weighted moves for an extra explosive burn.

6. Deadlift

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Tyler Spraul

The Move: Start out standing tall with feet about shoulder-width apart and a single dumbbell standing on end between your legs, just slightly in front of you. From there, bend at the hips to get low toward the floor, almost like you’re trying to push your butt out behind you. Once you’re down low enough, grab the top of the dumbbell with both hands and stand up tall while squeezing your glutes and pushing your feet into the floor. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor and repeat as needed. Make sure you learn the movement and have it down pat before adding a lot of weight.
Why it Works: The deadlift engages multiple muscle groups—including the glutes, hamstrings and posterior chain—meaning you have to stay strong and tight from top to bottom. It’s an efficient way to get a total-body workout, and also a functional move that you can use to perform daily tasks.

7. Plank

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Julia Buckley

The Move: Begin by lying flat, face down on the floor. Position your hands directly under your shoulders and then push your body up so both your arms and your back are straight. Pull your abdominals in tight and hold this position for a minute—you may start to wobble! Hold for 30 seconds to begin with if you are finding it too difficult.
Why it Works: The plank is one of the best exercises for tightening the tummy because it works the entire midsection, including the deep abdominal muscles. It’s also great for improving posture, balance and core strength to help you perform many other exercises.

8. Bridges

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Julia Buckley

The Move: Lie flat on your back and bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Push your heels into the floor to slowly raise your body so your weight is in your feet and upper body, with your bottom and lower back off the floor. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the move and keep your knees parallel. Keep your body straight and hold this position for a count of 10, then release and repeat.
Why it Works: The gluteal muscles commonly get lazy from the amount of time we spend in a sitting position. This move effectively fires them up and helps stretch out the front of the hips, while also working the abdominal muscles.pagebreak>

9. Jumping Jacks

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Tricia Brouk

The Move: Jumping jacks offer a full range of motion. To perform, hop your feet apart as you simultaneously bring your arms from your sides in the lateral plane up and over your head, meeting at the top. Next, reverse that action so the feet come back together and the arms return to the sides. In the modified version, you can step one foot out at a time and your arms only go up to shoulder height. This is a great modification for an older adult or someone with shoulder impingement.
Why it Works: Jumping jacks elevate your heart rate and burn extra calories, while helping to improve bone strength.

10. Bent-Over Rows

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Kristy Stabler

The Move: Grab a set of dumbbells or a resistance band. With the feet hip-width apart, bend over from the waist keeping your back flat and you shoulders rolled back. Engaging your core, pull the dumbbells or handles toward your chest, pushing your elbows straight back. Pretend you have a pencil between your shoulder blades that you need to pinch together and hold at the end of the movement. Slowly return hands back to the starting point.
Why it Works: This exercise helps to counteract all the sitting and computer work so many of us do every day. We tend to roll our shoulders forward, which can lead to pain in our backs and necks. Standing rows will improve your posture and decrease pain. Muscles strengthened include the erector spinae in your lower back, the trapezius, rhomboids and latissimus dorsi. Your shoulder muscles will also benefit from adding this move to your routine.

11. Jump Rope

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Tyler Spraul
The Move: This one is pretty straightforward, especially for anyone who’s spent any time on a playground at recess: Grab the jump rope handles, swing the rope around you as you hop and don’t let it hit you! Jumping rope can be done just about anywhere, so there’s no excuse not to get in a good cardio workout.
Why it Works: Jumping rope is a simple, but extremely effective way to train your cardiovascular system. It will ramp up your heart rate in no time, and is simple to execute. It’s very easy to adjust the intensity to meet your fitness level, and it’s easy to stop and take a break as needed.

12. Wood Chop with Medicine Ball

Recommended by: Fitness trainer Tricia Brouk

The Move: While standing with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged, hold a medicine ball above shoulder height on your right side. From here, twist away and downward toward your left leg, making a chopping action with the arms while keeping them straight and pivoting your opposite leg just slightly. Repeat 15 times, then switch to the left side.
Why it Works: The chop works your obliques and rectus abdominis, but also uses the rhomboids and scapula as stabilizers. It’s also a great way to tone your midsection and work on your torso’s range of motion.
When you have just enough time to suit up and show up, you can’t go wrong by sticking to these 12 proven exercises. Blending strength and cardio, they’ll hit all the major muscle groups while torching some serious fat and calories.

A strong body does more than give you bragging rights at the gym, although that’s a definite side benefit. You’re less likely to be injured when you get strong, you’ll also fatigue a lot less quickly, and stand with better posture. Plus, strength and shapely muscles often go hand in hand. What’s not to love?

While there are thousands of exercises out there, many are variations on a few basic moves such as squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses. The foundation of any strength workout is compound movements, which involve multiple joints of the body and, therefore, multiple muscles.

Certain exercises allow you to lift more weight, which speeds your strength gains.

“It’s best to combine a couple of moves to get most bang for your buck,” says Jeffrey Yellin, DPT, CSCS, area manager and regional director of Professional Physical Therapy in Long Island/Queens. “Focusing on multijoint compound movements elicits the greatest muscle fiber recruitment,” he says.

Here’s how that works: Muscle fibers may be one of three types: type 1 (slow twitch oxidative), type 2a (fast twitch oxidative), and type 2b (fast twitch glycolytic). The slow-twitch muscle fibers are activated for slow, low-intensity, low-resistance movements. As you lift heavier loads, the body begins to recruit the fast-twitch fibers to create greater force. The more muscle fibers you recruit, the greater potential for improvements in strength, endurance, and hypertrophy (muscle size). “ allows you to move the most weight possible for your current strength levels,” therefore recruiting more muscle fibers, Yellin explains.

Examples of multijoint exercises include squats, which bring into play the hip and knee joints, and push-ups, which employ the elbow, wrist, and shoulder joints.

To keep your workout balanced, it’s important to include pulling exercises, like rows, and pushing exercises, like presses.

Another key part of any quality weight-lifting workout is pushing and pulling exercises. “Breaking up your exercise routine into pushing and pulling ensures that you maintain good muscular balance and hit all the important muscle groups,” Yellin adds.

For example, rows, a pulling motion, recruit your back and biceps muscles. A chest press hits the chest (pectoralis) muscles and triceps. If you were to skip the pulling motion and only do the chest presses, you’d be at greater risk for injury over time due to uneven pulling on the joints, Yellin says.

Some examples of pushing exercises include squats, standing barbell presses, weighted push-ups, weighted dips, bench presses, barbell box step-ups, and weighted bridges. Common pulling exercises include rows and pull-ups.

Here’s how to put this all into practice if you’re trying to get super strong.

If your main fitness goal is to get strong, “you need to ensure you are utilizing high-intensity movements, but incorporating sufficient rest intervals between sets,” says Yellin. In general, you should use a weight you can lift for about six reps per set with high-intensity effort and proper form. (We’ve noted some exceptions in the workout below.)

Give yourself two to five minutes of rest between sets to allow sufficient recovery for your nervous system and muscles. Otherwise your next set will be greatly affected and you will not be able to maximize your effort and intensity on the subsequent set, says Yellin. This may sound like a lot of rest if you’re used to following other programs, but it’s actually fairly standard for a workout that’s focused specifically on gaining strength.

Perform one to three sets per exercise if you’re a beginner. Perform three to five sets for each movement as you become stronger. Allow 48 hours of recovery (that is, no other heavy lifting) between workouts.

Without further ado, here are the seven exercises that’ll get you strong as hell. Whitney Thielman1. Squat

One of the purest tests of strength, the squat incorporates almost all the muscles in your legs and core, says Yellin. The gif above shows a body-weight squat, which is a good way to nail down your form. Once your form is solid, you can add weight by holding dumbbells or a bar in front of your shoulders (a front squat) or resting a barbell on your back (a back squat).

The Only 4 Exercises You Need to Get in Crazy-Good Shape

Around-the-world plank

Planks are pretty much the perfect exercise for developing core strength, and the around-the-world plank variation ramps up the intensity by requiring greater core engagement, particularly of the stabilizing muscles of the shoulders and hips. You can do this exercise on your toes or your knees, in a high-plank or low-plank position.

  • Set up in a high- or low-plank position, either by balancing on your forearms and toes or your palms and your toes. Either way, check to make sure your palms or elbows are directly under your shoulders and that your body forms a straight line from heels to head. Don’t allow your hips to sag or creep up toward the sky.
  • From your plank, lift one arm from the ground and reach it out as far as you can to the side, tapping the ground before returning it to its starting position
  • Now lift one foot from the ground, reaching it out as far as you can to the side, tapping the ground before returning it to its starting position
  • Repeat the lift-reach-tap-return motion with your other foot and arm, and continue the exercise

Alternative exercises: Plank up-downs, plank jacks

Workout #1: Tabatas

Time: 20 minutes
Perform four four-minute Tabata routines consisting of eight rounds of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. Rest for one minute between Tabatas. (Tip: download a Tabata timer to your phone to track the intervals for you.)

  • Tabata #1: Alternate between push-up burpees and squat press (you’ll perform each exercise four times)
  • Tabata #2: Alternate between push-up burpees and deadlift row (you’ll perform each exercise four times)
  • Tabata #3: Alternate between push-up burpees and around-the-world plank (you’ll perform each exercise four times)
  • Tabata #4: Rotate between all four exercises — push-up burpees, squat press, deadlift row, and around-the-world plank (you’ll perform each exercise twice)

Workout #2: Straight Circuit

Time: 25 minutes
Perform each exercise for 60 seconds. After performing each exercise, rest for one minute. Repeat the circuit five times through.

Workout #3: Core Killer

Time: 30 minutes
The key to this workout is an added dose of planking to ramp up your core engagement. You’ll hit the floor for an around-the-world plank after performing each of the other exercises, as described. Rest for two minutes after each full circuit, repeating the circuit four times through.

  • 60 seconds push-up burpees
  • 60 seconds around-the-world plank
  • 60 seconds squat press
  • 60 seconds around-the-world plank
  • 60 seconds deadlift row
  • 60 seconds around-the-world plank
  • Two minutes rest

Workout #4: The Round Robin

Time: 23 minutes
This workout’s a bit of a doozy. While each circuit is set up the same way, you’ll start each circuit with a different exercise, performing the first exercise for the longest period of time, the time diminishing with each subsequent move. Rest for one minute between circuits.

Circuit 1:

  • Two minutes push-up burpees
  • 90 seconds squat press
  • 60 seconds deadlift row
  • 30 seconds around-the-world plank

Circuit 2:

  • Two minutes squat press
  • 90 seconds deadlift row
  • 60 seconds around-the-world plank
  • 30 seconds push-up burpees

Circuit 3:

  • Two minutes deadlift row
  • 90 seconds around-the-world plank
  • 60 seconds push-up burpees
  • 30 seconds squat press

Circuit 4:

  • Two minutes around-the-world plank
  • 90 seconds push-up burpees
  • 60 seconds squat press
  • 30 seconds deadlift row

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Laura Williams is an exercise physiologist and fitness writer who actually loves burpees. Share your disgust with her on Twitter: @girlsgonesporty.

5 Essential Fitness Exercises

There are five exercises that are essential for functional fitness. Functional exercises are those that allow a person to perform the daily activities of life with optimum ease. Everyone needs to do them, beginners, seniors and the best athletes, in order to perform at our best. They are compound exercises that work all of the major muscles groups in the body and you can do them anywhere.

1. Squats

Squats are a simple exercise, but often performed with poor form. Here’s how to do them correctly:

  • Start with your feet hip distance apart.
  • Keeping your knees over your ankles, bend your knees, moving your butt back as if to sit in a chair.
  • Your knees and lower leg should form a 90 degree angle (if you can’t get to 90 degrees without compromising your form that’s OK).
  • Make sure your knees do not go over your toes.
  • Raise up and start again.
  • Do 10 reps, three sets, two to three times a week.

2. Lunges

  • The working leg should be forward, the back leg hip distance apart, and in a split stance. The heel of the back leg should be up.
  • Bend your knees, keeping the front knee over the ankles. The end point is when both the front leg and the back leg make 90-degree angles.
  • Rise up and start again.
  • Do 10 reps, three sets, two to three times a week.

3. Pushups

  • Start in a basic plank, hands slightly wider than your shoulders and your palms on the floor.
  • Keep your back straight, don’t let your lower back sag. Keep your head and neck in alignment with your back.
  • Slowly bend your elbows, bringing your chest towards the floor.
  • Push against the floor and straighten your arms, returning to the starting position.
  • Do 10 reps, three sets, two to three times a week.
  • Modifications: you can perform this exercise on your knees or place your hands on a bench.

4. Pull-ups

  • Stand under the bar, palms on the bar, hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Activate your core.
  • Pull yourself up so that your chin reaches the bar. Keep your posture straight.
  • Slowly lower yourself down, so that your arms are straight and your feet do not touch the floor or bench.
  • Start with five reps, two sets, two to three times a week, increase slowly.
  • Modifications:
    • Machine assisted—Most gyms have an assisted pull up machines. This is the one machine where the more weight you use, the easier it gets.
    • Lateral pull up—Most playgrounds have a bar that is close to the ground (monkey bars). The position of your body will be the exact opposite of a pushup. To make it easier you can bend your knees.

5. Rotation

Every human motion and sport requires rotation of same sort.

  • Stand tall with good alignment. Hold a medicine ball or a weight, (that’s challenging but not enormously heavy), in front you with arms straight.
  • Rotate the ball from side to side, as much as your range of motion allows. Maintain good posture.
  • Modifications: Exercise BandsWrap the band around a stationary pole. The tension of the cord will try and pull you in. Don’t let it. Rotate, maintaining good posture

These exercises form the basis of any good exercise program. They’ll keep you fit and healthy for a long time.

NY Endurance Sports Examiner Ann Karine is a personal fitness trainer and a USATF certified running coach.

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5 important exercises women should do every day

How many of these do you do?

By Contributor • 2 years ago • HEALTH & FITNESS

As a female, it’s important to ensure that we cover all bases when training. Of course, it’s great to feel and look good, but just as it’s important to us to train what we can see – it’s important for us to train what we cannot! My top five daily exercise musts for women to do every day are:

1. Transverse Abdominal (TA) Activation – Lying Toes Tap

Transverse abdominal strength is so important in women to help protect the lower back, flatten the lower stomach, but most importantly (and quite often over looked) protect the pelvic floor. The TA is like a corset that is a deeper layer of muscle underneath what you generally see as visible. Without training the TA, you can jeopardise your pelvic floor muscle through over activation of the rectus abdominals, leading to potential incontinence issues when performing high impact exercises, pregnancy, or heavy lifting. The lying toes tap is a great exercise for activating the TA and all you need is a mat or the floor!

How to do the lying toes tap:

  • Laying on your back, prompt your body by tilting your pelvis back in to the ground to achieve neutral spine position.
  • Lift legs to a 90 degree angle, and slowly reach leg out to tap toe on ground while maintaining spinal position.
  • Bring leg back and alternate for 10 reps. Ensure movement is slow, and focus it on drawing in through the lower abdominal region, rather than over activating the recuts abdominals.

2. Glute Activation – Booty Banded Clams

Glute activation is a must for maintaining a strong posterior chain, and for many, an essential for building that tight, round butt you’ve always wanted! So many people do rep after rep, day after day, squat after squat, without the glutes actually firing – which leads to hip imbalance, tightness through the hip flexors and quads, and in many instances, lower back and knee injuries.
Strong glutes will not only give you an aesthetic enhancement, but it will also improve athletic performance if you love to run, cycle, or even swim!

How to do a booty banded clam:

  • Pull the resistance band up around your knee, it should be just above knee height. Lay on your side, and place your hand on the top corner of your glute to get a sense of where you should be activating.
  • Bend your knees to a fetal like position, and whilst keeping feet together, slowly open your knees apart from each other, but starting with a contraction of the glute. Only go as far as you can feel the glute reach its full activation, before you start to engage other muscles, or feel your body position start to shift.
  • Slowly lower back down and repeat 10 times on each leg.

3. Torsion Bar Hip Thrusters

This is THE ULTIMATE booty-strengthening and sculpting exercise to help restructure the glutes – making your butt rounder, tighter, and more importantly, stronger! As a result, it helps to reduce hip flexor inflammation and lower back pain and can improve your posture and lower the risk of knee injuries from other exercises.

How to do a Torsion Bar hip thruster:

  • Position yourself on the floor, with your shoulders and shoulder blades against the bench. Again, if they don’t reach the bench when you are sitting on the floor you can raise your butt a little bit off the floor. Place the torsion bar directly over your hips.
  • Put your elbows on the bench and your hands on the bar to steady it. It is very important that your body is aligned and your spine is neutral.
  • Take a deep breath in, then exhale all the air out through your mouth and brace your core.
  • Drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips (and the torsion bar).
  • Come down smoothly, with your core still braced.

4. Plank Hold

The plank is a very basic, but also very effective way to stimulate full core control. The best part? There are so many variations based on your ability and the area of focus you are wishing to target. Having a strong core is essential in your everyday life, hence why it is a great exercise to easily include in your day. Try getting out of bed first thing in the morning and doing 5 x 30-60 second holds, or whilst you are watching TV at night.

How to do a plank:

  • Laying face down to floor, rest on elbows (in 90-degree angle with elbow to shoulder joints).
  • Lift your hips off the ground so you are supporting yourself on the knee and elbows. From here ensure you are drawing in through your lower abdominals, and your hips are not sinking as this will cause pressure through the lumber spine.
  • Once comfortable in this position lift one knee off the ground at a time in to a plank so you are parallel to the floor on elbows and toes. Keep glutes, and core activated, whilst maintaining your breathing.

5. Skipping

Skipping is a great way to incorporate cardio into to your day. All you need is a rope, a timer, and find a flat surface and you can do it anywhere! Start with tabata based intervals of 20 seconds effort 10 seconds rest for 8 sets. This will take 4 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes. Repeat for 4 sets.

Why skipping?

• Improves heart rate
• Tones muscles in lower and upper body.
• Best tool for weight loss.
• Keeps a check on osteoporosis by improving bone density.
• Helps attain balance, coordination and agility.
• You can do it ANYWHERE.

Words by Camilla Bazley, personal trainer and ambassador for AUSFIT Torsion Bars

Connect with Camilla
@coach_camilla | www.ausfittorsionbars.com.au

4 must-do Pilates exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor

Why you need to add skipping to your workouts

4 reasons why women should train differently to men

You can do this 10 minute ab workout anywhere, any time

Main images: iStock
Other images: supplied

Related tags

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If you feel like you are only getting so-so results from your workout program, it’s time to take a much closer and deeper look at your approach.

Are you doing absolutely everything you could be to see optimal returns from your efforts? Or are you falling short when it comes to exercise selection?

Are you going through your workout mindlessly, without really focusing on what exactly it is that you’re doing? If so, you need a change of pace.

What you do in the gym is going to directly influence the results you see – this is a no brainer.

Yet, so many people think that just getting to the gym is enough.

Let me tell you about the top five things you should be doing in the gym for optimum results.

Understanding The Why’s…

But before I get to the five movements that you should be doing in the gym, I want to talk to you about why you should be doing these exercises.

What makes them so great? What benefits do they hold?

First, whenever you’re in the gym, you want to be doing exercises that are going to best mimic every day movements. The more the exercises you do in the gym look like something you’d do in daily life, the more transfer of benefits you’ll receive.

These are known as ‘functional exercises’ because they do just that – they increase your functional ability in daily life.

These top 5 movements are also ones that will work the greatest total number of muscle fibers at once because they hit more than one muscle group in the body.

This is why they are typically referred to as ‘compound movements’.

General Rule of Thumb…

As a general rule, the more muscle fibers you work, the greater the strength gains you see and the more calories you burn.

Clearly this is what you’re after, so perform movements that use more than one muscle!

Lift as heavy as you can while keeping good form.

You can play with the rep ranges but the most muscle building stimulus will occur at the 8-12 repetition range.

This is due to the amount of time you are placing your muscles under tension.

Let me now show you the exercises…

The 5 Exercises…

Below are the five exercises that are a must-have in your workout routine. If you are not doing these right now, it’s time to start.

1) Squat

Often called the ‘king’ of exercises, the squat will work not only your entire lower body, but your core as well.

You’ll rev your metabolism and get a boost of testosterone flowing through your body, which will help to significantly increase your lean muscle mass and strength. This means you will burn more calories & increase fat burn.

Top tips:

Go as far down to the ground as you can while doing these to see optimal benefits, as full depth squatting increases recruitment of your quads (thigh muscles). The more you work them the more they grow, the more they grow the more calories you burn, the more calories you burn the more fat you are likely to burn – you get the point!

2) Bench Press

If you want a firm and strong upper body, this is the move. You’ll hit your chest, shoulders, triceps.

Top tips:

Try varying the angle of the bench – incline, flat & decline. This will recruit different areas of these muscles & stimulate progression. Also try various grip patterns – close grip, reverse grip, and wide grip to change up the stimulus and bust through plateaus.

3) Row

While the bench press hits the front of the body, the row hits the back.

This move is a great compound exercise for working your back and biceps, while also hitting the core as it acts to stabilise your body.

Top tips:

Make sure that you avoid momentum while doing this movement, as that is the number one mistake that most people make.

Use a slow and controlled movement pattern for optimal results.

Vary the exercise using dumbells, bars or cables.

Vary the speed of your movement over time. Use a slow consistent speed for each rep. 2 weeks later use a moderate pace concentric movement (shortening of the muscle), with a slightly slower eccentric phase (lengthening of the muscle).

4) Pull-Up

Pull-ups are a go-to for home workouts and will work the back in a different manner than the row. While the row hits you on a horizontal movement pattern, the pull-up works the body in a vertical movement pattern.

This move is great for increasing your back thickness and creating the illusion of a slimmer waistline as well.

Top tips:

Use an assisted machine to vary your rep range, occassionally performing up to 20 reps per set.

You can also do the opposite & weight your pullups if can perform 8 or more body weight repetitions with good form.

5) HIT Cardio

HIT stands for high intensity training and is where you will alternate brief bouts of all exercises with active rest periods in between.

While these workouts are short and sweet, they are high on results as they’ll not only improve your cardiovascular fitness level far more than those steady state sessions you were doing, but they’ll burn fat far faster.

In one study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers noted that when two groups of women, one performing high intensity intermittent exercise and another performing steady state exercise for a period of 15 weeks, the group that did the intermittent exercise lost substantially more fat overall, namely from the leg and trunk region.

So if it’s a slimmer waistline, lower body fat and firmer physique you want, this is the form of cardio to do. Plus, it takes far less time to complete, so will work best with your busy schedule.

Time To Compare…

There you have five things you must be doing in the gym. How does your current workout stack-up?

Do you need to change some things around?

Always remember, your time is limited and if you are going to spend some of those precious moments of your day in the gym, it’s a must that you are getting the absolute best results for each minute you invest.

If your current workout is not delivering that, isn’t it time you looked for a new one?

16th May 2015

Only exercises you need

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