No matter your age or fitness level, you can benefit from adding more strength exercises to your routine. These moves target muscles that are essential to daily movement, helping you look and feel your best while minimizing the risk of injury. But when choosing which movements to add to your workouts, it’s important to remember that it’s not just the type of exercise that matters, but how well you do it. Poor technique can change an exercise, placing emphasis or even strain on different areas than intended. It’s important to seek the guidance of a professional — whether that be a personal trainer or someone at your gym who can watch your form and offer feedback.
Combination strength exercises, like dumbbell rows and biceps curls, are great choices because they work multiple muscle groups at once. They also allow you to cut your workout time down while still strengthening and toning your body.
When choosing the right exercises to do everyday, you need to focus on strength-training exercises that mimic the movements of your real-life activities, said Mark Lauren, a fitness expert and former trainer for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. For example, Lauren methodically exercises his shoulders, spine and hips, moving them through their full range of motion. This helps build strength and stability that’s useful for life.
Similarly, planks are an effective core-strengthening move that also stabilizes your back without placing the same kind of stress on your spinal discs as situps do. Pushups, lunges and squats are other good, efficient choices for working major muscle groups, including your legs, stomach, back and arms.
To keep your body looking and feeling its best, it’s also a good idea to incorporate flexibility exercises into your routine, such as stretching, yoga or Tai Chi, which help with posture and balance. And always, make sure to stretch your muscles when they’re warmed up and don’t hold a stretch so long that it becomes painful.
It’s no secret that a combination of resistance and cardio training is a great way to tone your entire body. But to maximize your results and reduce the amount of time you spend exercising, stick with a few key exercises that work the most muscle groups at once. Keeping it simple can also help you avoid boredom and exercise longer.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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