New and exciting variations to your basic squat, pushup or crunch are a great way to combat boredom in the gym. Here are some of the most common variations in three different exercises with each ranked in effectiveness!
The squat is considered the king of all exercises as it targets the strongest muscle in the human body – our glutes! The subtle difference between a parallel squat and plie squat is that the feet are turned out. So does turning our feet out make the squat more effective?
Yes! Since our glutes function to rotate our hips outward, this means replacing your parallel squat with the plie squat is going to burn the glutes even more!
Want to take your squat to a whole new level? Stand on one leg while squatting and you now require 2 other glute muscles – the gluteus medius and minimus. Single leg squats are one of the best kept secrets on getting gorgeous gams!
Since a single leg squat requires balance, when you start out you can hold onto a wall or chair. As your confidence improves, simply step away and do your single leg squats.
Targeting the chest and shoulders, the pushup is probably the most common upper body exercise in the group exercise setting. Whether the pushup is done on the knees or toes the pushup will get the arms and abs firing.
Although most people position their hands shoulder width apart, the challenge and effectiveness of the pushup actually increases when the hands are brought in closer and elbows are kept along side the body. This would be your tricep pushup.
Want to challenge the shoulders, chest and core even more? Bring your pushup onto the bosu!
Abdominal exercises are probably the most misunderstood of all exercises. Most gym goers resort to the traditional crunch or situp thinking they are getting the best results. When considering the function of the abdominals, it is actually the deeper abdominals that are the most important to target during your core training.
When compared to the crunch, the Pilates rolldown is a better exercise for strengthening the deepest core muscles. When performing this exercise the lower you are to the ground, the more you will be strengthening those abdominals.
If you had to choose one abdominal exercise, one of the most challenging yet effective exercises is the plank. Many variations of the plank can be integrated to keep the abdominals challenged and the workout exciting! When holding the plank go for intense 10 second bouts as opposed to trying to hold for 1 minute. Your return will be much greater.