When it comes to exercise, nothing is a total waste of time. There is, however, better ways to use your time in order to get the most out of your workout. One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is doing isolation exercises or choosing a low intensity option rather than focusing on compound movements or pushing out of their comfort zone.
Here are 5 common exercises that are popular in the gym and some suggested swaps to help you get more bang for your buck.
SWAP: LEG EXTENSIONS
Leg extensions are a great exercise to isolate your quad muscles. To get more out of your leg day I’d swap these out for a good old squat. Squats are a functional compound movement that work more than one muscle group and really give you a good leg and booty burn. There are also so many variations to ensure you never get bored and you’re always challenged. Goblet and sumo squats are two of my favourites.
SWAP: TRICEP PUSH-DOWN
FOR: TRICEP PUSH-UPS
Don’t get me wrong, I do like a tricep push-down however I believe there’s a better way to work your triceps that incorporates other muscle groups in the process. Swap your tricep push-down for a close grip tricep push up. This will recruit more muscles as your body works to stabilize your core and support your bodyweight.
FOR: FUNCTIONAL SLED PUSH
Sure, the elliptical is a great low-impact way to get in a good cardio workout at the gym. But can you use your time more effectively when working up a sweat? Definitely. Seen the prowler at the gym? Stack those plates up and make like Salt ‘n’ Pepa. (Push it..for those who didn’t quite get my dad joke)
SWAP: BICEP CURLS
FOR: CHIN UPS (ASSISTED IS FINE)
Bicep curls are great for sculpting your… biceps. Again, these are an isolation exercise that really focus on one muscle group. If you just want great biceps, go for it, but if you’d rather get good arms and a strong shapely back then I’d opt for a chin-up. If you’re not quite the king or queen of upper body strength just yet, don’t worry. You can do assisted chin-ups using either a machine or a resistance band. Make sure you have palms facing you to maximise that bicep burn .
FOR: SIDE PLANK
A side crunch is a good way to isolate those love handles but to really get functionally strong and stable in your obliques and deep glutes you want to go with a side plank. Make sure you have nice alignment through ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and ears. Challenge yourself and see if you can do 45 seconds each side.
So there you have it, 5 simple swaps to really get the most out of each and every session.