The Right & Wrong Ways To Work Out

From Pilates Platinum’s Heather Dorak

So many people work out the wrong way – and even worse, think they work out the right way. Those that think they work out the right way are wasting so much time and hard work, when they could be much more effective in their workouts. For a lot of us, it comes down to time. How much time do I have for working out and what can I get done in that amount of time? Ideally you only need to save an hour of time to get a workout in that is super effective.

If you utilize each and every one of these tips listed below, you are bound to have quicker, more effective results.

1. Think about the muscle you are training.

Really do it! I know it may sound silly, but a lot of the time our minds wander when we are working out. This can mean that your body is just going through the motions, using whatever muscles are the easiest to use to do the work. For example, if you are doing a biceps curl, think about your biceps while performing the exercise. You may find that the moves are more challenging than before because you are concentrating on the isolation of using that muscle.

2. Form is your friend

Form is something I can never encourage enough. Not only it is a great way to not get hurt, but it makes the exercise more effective. Think about this – if a car is going up hill, it’s going to have an easier time getting up the perfectly straight angle than if the hill had a dip in it. It takes more energy to get through something that has slight defects to it than one that is perfectly in align.

3. Keep your heart rate up

When it comes to limited time, it’s important to keep the heart rate up as you are strength training, since you most likely don’t have time to do cardio after your strength training session as well. An extra bonus is that an elevated heart rate will burn more calories. Some ways to keep the heart rate up are to allow minimal rest time. Keep moving between exercises – superset exercises, do jumping jacks or jump rope, burpees or high knees in between sets.

4. Lay off the steady state cardio

If your goal is to gain strength and become more fit, steady state cardio is not your friend. It is important to burn the calories, yes, but slow steady cardio will kiss your muscles goodbye. Incorporate interval cardio or HIIT [High Intensity Interval Training] into your workouts to keep them short sweet and effective.

5. No need for stability balls or other similar equipment

Can it work on your balance? Absolutely. Will it make you stronger? Sure, but the return is much slower than if you nixed the ball all together. For example, let’s say you like to do chest press while laying on a stability ball. Well, since you are having to balance and concentrate on not falling, you are most likely not able to lift as much weight while having to stabilize the ball as well. Save the stability ball for ab exercises and balance, not for trying to add a challenge into your weight lifting.

6. Count Reps Out loud

So often we simply aren’t breathing. Breathing is necessary for muscles to work; they need oxygen to function. Counting out loud will keep you in check with your breath, since you have to breathe while being vocal. You can also use this as a monitoring system to see if you are breathing too heavily or not. If you can’t get the numbers out then, your heart rate it up too high. If you can count like it is your job, then bump up your pace or weight a bit!

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