You’ve probably heard loads of exercise advice over the years, some of it likely conflicting from various trainers, TV shows and gym buddies. To clear things up, we sought out top fitness experts to get their take. We asked them for game-changing tips and proven difference makers shown to keep your body safe while burning fat and building muscle. Here are their top 20 tips.
1 Trade Steady-State Cardio for Interval Training
The road to a leaner body isn’t a long, slow march. It’s bursts of high-intensity effort paired with slower, recovery efforts. Fifteen to 20 minutes of interval training performed like this can burn as many calories as an hour of traditional, steady-state cardio. And unlike the slow stuff, intervals can keep your body burning long after the workout ends.
2.Brace Your Core Before Every Exercise
Your core is much more than a six-pack of muscles hiding beneath your gut — it’s a system of muscles that wraps around your entire torso, stabilizing your body, protecting your spine from injury and keeping you upright. Fire these muscles before every exercise to keep your back healthy, steady your balance and maintain a rigid body position. You’ll get the added bonus of isometric exercise for your middle, which could reveal the muscles in your core you’d like everyone to see.
3.Trade Machine Exercises for Free Weights
Machines are built with a specific path the weight has to travel — one that wasn’t designed for you. If you’re too tall, too short or your arms or legs aren’t the same length, that fixed path won’t match your physiology, and you’ll increase the likelihood of injury and develop weaknesses. Trade your machine exercises for dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls to build strength in ways more specific to your body, while also working all the smaller stabilizing muscles that machines miss.
4.Tuck Your Shoulder Blades Down and Back
This tip is great for chin-ups, but it’s more than that. By sliding your shoulder blades down and back before an exercise — like you’re tucking them into your back pockets — can improve your results and protect from injury. It helps activate your lats for pulling exercises, work your pecs more completely in pushing exercises, keeps your chest up during a squat and can reduce painful impingement on your rotator cuff during biceps curls.
5.Increase Your Range of Motion
Add more work to each rep and increase the efficiency of your workout by increasing the range of motion — the distance the main motion of the exercise travels to complete the rep. Squat deeper. Drop the weight until it’s an inch or two above your chest. Raise the step for step-ups. Elevate your front or back foot on lunges. Get more from each move and your body will thank you.