Focused attention is critical to getting the most out of your gym experience. The best personalized health regimen will deal first and foremost with a few key areas.
Consider them the building blocks for the best workout. Just remember to consult your doctor before beginning any new routine. Listening to your body is also critical, since pain or other difficulties are a sign that you should pull back or stop all together. If you’re unsure about form for any of these exercises, have a conversation with a pro at the gym.
These simple exercises tone muscles, particularly in the thighs and glutes, while burning lots of calories. Squats also tone your calves, abs and hamstrings. Begin by using just your own body weight, and then add a shoulder bar or free weights to increase resistance. Don’t let your knees extend beyond your own toes, and keep your back straight.
Get on your hands and toes, with your back straight, then raise and lower yourself to work biceps, deltoids, triceps, abs, pecs and glutes. As you become stronger, consider lifting an arm or leg off the ground. You can also put your feet on an exercise ball or bench. For less intensity, do pushups with your knees on the ground instead of your toes.
This is a related exercise, since you begin in a traditional push-up position. Place your arms and feet hip length apart, with your back straight, and hold the position for set periods of time. Difficulty levels can be increased by holding for longer, or lifting an arm or leg.
Whether using your gym’s free weights or dead lifting with a bar, lifting will do a great job of targeting your arms, back, legs and rear end. Form is critical to avoid sprains or other injury: Stand with your feel slightly wider than your shoulders, and keep your back straight.
While You’re There
Some parts of getting the most out of your work out are about function. Other things are more about form: Try listening to music, instead of mindlessly watching whatever is on the gym’s television. Instead of the same old stretching routine, join a class to get warmed up. Switch to interval routines to keep things interesting. And don’t forget to drink lots of water.