While cardiovascular activity is important for overall health and function, it’s important to also incorporate resistance training for the sake of your metabolic rate, performance and muscle development.
In any average gym, you will walk in to see room upon room of machines, weights, and freaky looking gadgets. Which ones are good and which ones are pointless?
The gym is really similar to the grocery store. There are a lot of packaged and processed things you want to stay clear from, for the sake of your body and health. The gym is no different. Every year, new machines are created that promise the hope of “better” abs, stronger legs or bigger arms. The truth is, the tried and true exercises for optimal muscle growth and/or strength development have not changed.
The same lifts that were done in the very first gym known to man are probably the same three lifts I’m going to suggest you do for optimal performance. Being a competitive bodybuilder, Certified Health Coach and all-around-fitness geek, I have three main lifts I will never stray from. Take into account that I do not know about your personal body, so not all of these will be optimal for every single person. With that said, use your own judgment, and let’s roll.
With the correct stance and appropriate weight, squats will give you the most bang for your buck. Squats challenge your glutes, quads, calves, core, back and pretty much all the tiny fibers in your body you don’t consciously think about. On top of that, studies have shown that squats can increase testosterone levels (ladies…don’t let this deter you) and can help with overall muscle development. Squats create round glutes, a firm core and, might I say, a challenge!
Deadlifts have multiple forms, all of which are great. You can do traditional, straight-leg, one leg, Romanian, kettlebell, dumbbell and so on. The important thing to remember is to keep a flat back (rounding the back is what causes injuries short-term and long-term), holding the correct grip and keeping a level head. This exercise can be tricky because doing too many lifts consecutively can cause improper form and technique. When doing the deadlift, it’s important to push yourself but not to the point you get sloppy. Exert great force on every pull and watch your strength sore!
While this may look like an old school exercise, pull-ups are a great exercise for working your arms, back, chest and abdominals. There’s a reason it’s been around for so long! Whether you’re doing pull-ups or chin-ups, you can continue to challenge yourself by increasing the number of reps or adding a weighted belt. This exercise is challenging especially for women because of the way they (we) are built, but that’s not to say we can’t work hard and accomplish this awesome feat. The important thing to remember with pull-ups is to stick out the chest, focus on engaging the lats (back muscles) and to keep the shoulders back. So many people unintentionally round the shoulders forward but this is the fastest way to injury and incorrect form.
If you’re not looking to spend much time in the gym, or if you want a few exercises to incorporate into your routine daily, start with these great movements. Staying consistent will result in tremendous strength improvements!
And of course, after a strenuous workout, always remember to fuel up! Skoop B-Strong will supply you with the alkalizing, plant-based protein you need for optimal recovery, digestions and absorption!