Nobody walks into the gym hoping to waste their time with no guaranteed results. Our time-saving alternatives will make every rep count and you`ll get far more from your time and effort.
1. The Stationary-Bike Warm-Up
According to Dean Maddalone, (CSCS, director of the Professional Athletic Performance Center in New York), your typical 5 minute warm up on a stationary bike isn’t doing much. Why? Because in order to warm up properly you need to increase your heart rate and break a sweat. Your heart rate should go at least 60-65% of your maximum rate so always aim for 120 or higher if you can.
Better alternative: Quick body exercises are a great way to warm up in less time. Here is what Maddalone recommends:
- 30 jumping jacks
- 30 bodyweight squats
- 15 mountain climbers
- or 10 to 15 burpees,
… this is how you break sweat and get your heart pounding.
2. Machine Leg Presses
Nature attended our legs to move in all directions (site to side, forward and backwards and up and down) but the leg-press machine turns what should be a multi plane exercise into a sing-plane (up and down). The stabilizer muscles are not getting anything from this and we end up with only a small portion of the muscle building or calorie burning process.
Better alternative: Sometimes nothing beats the basics, in our case the squats. They develop the overall trunk stability and not just the legs. Maddalone suggest you start with body-weight squats and work your way to goblet squads with a dumbbell at your chest for added resistance. Just make sure you always lower your torso until your thighbone levels to the ground and keep your weight in your heels.
3. Smith Machine Shoulder Presses
What we have here is a very similar situation as the machine leg presser. When you work-out on the Smith machine you only need to push it up and down because your weight path is fixed. In essence this machine works fewer muscles in every rep because our weight is stable.
Better alternative: Use less weight and combine shoulder presses with a set of dumbbells. You`ll get a better workout, better burn and eventually a better set of shoulders 🙂
4. Kettlebell Swings
John Rowley (The director of wellness at the International Sports Sciences Association) says that the most common kettlebell exercises (swinging a kettlebell between your legs and then up over your head) uses a lot of momentum and less muscles.
Better alternative: If you use this exercise in order to tone your legs and the frontal deltoids (as most people do), than use squats or lunges for your legs and controlled dumbbell front raises for your front deltoids.
5. Weighted Side Bends
According to the certified group fitness instructor Angles Burke when it comes to working the oblique many people (especially woman) prefer to stand tall with a dumbbell at one side and crunch towards repeatedly. What they don`t realize is that these kind of crunches (especially with combination of heavy weights) will make those muscle inappropriately bigger. Also, the side bends don’t stimulate the rest of your core and your internal obliques. If you practice sports than you should know that these areas are critical.
Better alternative: Bicycles, side planks and Russian twists. Besides your external obliques they will also work the deeper abdominal muscles – the true powerhouse.
6. Machine Leg Extensions
Sean M. Wells, (DPT, PT, CSCS, a bistroMD fitness expert) says that because of the isolated movements this machine will only strengthen the upper tights muscles and nothing more. And what`s most important they cannot provide maximum calorie burning, essential for maintaining your general health and form.
Better alternative: As before squats rule! Wells says that they’ll strengthen the front and the back of your legs involving multiple joins, the butt and you`ll build more strength and burn more calories in the same time. Moreover squads are more functional because you mimic everyday motions. You can add lunges and step-ups which are great quad-strengthener, but most important they will work the rest of your legs.
7. Hip Adduction/Abduction Machine
The glute muscles have a harder time staying active when your body is positioned in the seat, so without even realizing you are destroying your chance for maximum results. That’s why Rowley suggests a different exercise that works on variety of muscles.
Better alternative: If you really want to work on your outer thighs than do sides lunges and try squats. By doing these exercises you`ll get an awesome calorie burn, better work your abductors and adductors and recruit your glutes, calves, quads and hamstrings in the process.