The Right Way to Workout
The Right Way to Workout Blog Post

By Ed Shepherd CHC, CPT

Here are the 7 WORST things to do:

Mistake #1 :

Doing Isolated Exercises

Doing most isolated exercises like leg extensions will NOT get you any significant results and may in fact do harm. These one-muscle-at-a-time moves simply do not stimulate enough muscle fibers to build lean muscle or expend enough energy to maximize your calorie burn.Quads are generally stronger than hamstrings; this reinforces the problem. Also, quads and glutes should be used as a pair. In this case, they are not being used effectively. You need to perform exercises that stimulate as many muscles and expend as much energy as possible at the same time. Using these types of exercises will dramatically accelerate your results.

Mistake #2 :

Working Out With Machines

Fancy machines may make the gym look high-end, but the fact is that machines alter the way your body naturally moves and restrict your range of motion. This severely limits your ability to fully activate all of your muscles fibers – that means less fat burning and less muscle definition. Worse yet, machines can cause excessive strain on your joints, leading to nagging injuries down the road.If you want fast results, it’s critical that you incorporate exercises that allow your body to move naturally with full range of motion so you can ramp up your metabolism and tone your entire physique. Free weights allow for three-dimensional movement, which helps build functional fitness and prevent everyday injuries, and free weights are more versatile than machines.

One of the reasons many athletes like to train with free weights over machines is that they require more balance, coordination and utilization of stabilizer muscles. For example, if you’re doing a standing dumbbell shoulder press, you’re not only working your shoulder muscles but also your abdominals and leg muscles to stabilize your body. Research shows that you can even burn more calories doing weight training activities.

Mistake #3 :

Doing Long Bouts of Cardio

You need to do cardio if you want to lose weight and burn fat, BUT there’s a right way and a wrong way to do your cardio workouts. If you’ve been pounding the pavement or the treadmill with little to show for it, you already know it takes a lot of effort to get results.

Mistake #4 :

Doing Crunches & Sit-Ups To Get 6-Pack Abs

If you want washboard abs, doing traditional ab exercises like crunches and sit-ups WILL NOT get you a six pack. In fact, doing any exercises that target your abs won’t get you a six pack either! They don’t make your abs get any more defined and they definitely don’t burn any fat. The key to getting sculpted abs is to burn off that stubborn layer of belly fat that’s hiding them!In order to effectively train your core, you must incorporate a variety of stabilization, functional, and traditional exercises. Core exercises, specifically abdominal exercises, must be done in a variety of ranges of motion, in different angles and positions, in order to engage all muscles. Effective exercises include standard crunch with rotation, which incorporates your internal and external obliques; functional work using stability balls; hanging leg raises; and pushups, which actually work your core and abs if done correctly.

Mistake #5 :

Repeating The Same Workouts Over & Over

Repeating the same workouts over and over will slow results. We’re creatures of habit and we tend to stick to things we’re familiar with and good at. But when it comes to your workouts, if you want to keep making progress and keep seeing changes in your body, you’ve got to start switching things up.

You see, your body has an amazingly ability to adapt quickly and when it does, that’s when you hit the dreaded plateau and you stop making progress. Change up your workout routine so you can keep your body guessing to accelerate the results process.

Mistake #6 :

Thinking No Pain No Gain

Exercise shouldn’t hurt. Period. If your trainer uses that cliche’ to motivate you, please find someone else for your fitness advice. Pain is your cue to stop. The body is equipped with a sophisticated nervous system that alerts us to potential damage.

Muscle soreness is different and is to be expected after a good workout. It’s part of a muscle strengthening process in which you stress your muscles just enough to cause micro tears that your body quickly repairs. This soreness normally happens 24 to 48 hours after exercise. Refuse it with ice, elevation or compression, and take ibuprofen only if necessary.

Mistake #7 :

Doing Long Workouts

Longer workouts do NOT equal better or faster results. If you’ve been slaving away at the gym and your body isn’t visibly changing, you can’t do more of the same thing and expect a different result.

When it comes to getting lean and fit, your body responds to quality over quantity. This simple, yet overlooked method is the single fastest way to getting lean and ripped while cutting your workout time almost in half. INSTEAD DO FULL BODY WORKOUTS Your workouts should be based on full-body exercises that involve all of the fundamental movements that make you functionally strong and powerful.

Seven Phenomenal Full-Body Exercises Here are seven of the best full-body exercises using free weights or bodyweight.

  1. Goblet Squat: This is a squat done while holding a weight in front of you (like a goblet), which adds more of a workout for your core and legs.
  2. Renegade Row: The renegade row is a multi-purpose, multi-joint exercise that increases strength in the back, shoulders, triceps, and biceps. This two-in-one exercise will also actively engage the core throughout the range of motion.
  3. Dumbbell Row: The dumbbell row helps to develop a strong back, arms, and core. Plus, because it works your lats, traps, and rhomboids, it supports proper posture by pulling your shoulders back and helping to stabilize your spine.
  4. Push-Up: Push-ups are a deceptively simple functional movement that works your upper-body muscles while engaging your core and allowing you to use the full range of motion in your shoulder blades.
  5. Walking Lunge: The Walking Lunge exercise is a great strength training exercise. It works the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, and core. Walking Lunges are a core part of a lower body routine.
  6. Sumo Jump Squat: This is a combination full-body exercise that primarily works the legs and midsection – specifically, the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, abdominals, quadriceps and calves – by alternately stretching and contracting the muscles.
  7. Hip Extension (Glute Bridges/Hip Thrusts): This exercise helps to train your glutes, which are often underutilized if you sit for long periods each day. For a more intense glue and hip workout, I like the Kettlebell Swing.

While it’s never too late to start exercising, the earlier you begin and the more consistent you are, the greater your long-term rewards. Having an active lifestyle is really an investment in your future well-being. While diet accounts for the majority of the health benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle, exercise can be viewed as a “force multiplier” and leveraging agent. Interestingly, strength training has been found to have a beneficial impact on your gene expression — not only slowing aging but actually returning gene expression to youthful levels in seniors who start using resistance training.

I believe that, overall, high-intensity interval training really helps maximize the health benefits of exercise, while simultaneously being the most efficient and therefore requiring the least amount of time. Circuit training gives you both the benefits from weight lifting and the benefits from high intensity exercises, making it a truly optimal workout for most people. That said, ideally, you’ll want to include a wide variety of exercises for a well-rounded fitness regimen.

Photo credit: Crossfit Paleo Diet Fitness Classes on Visual hunt / CC

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