Just getting to the gym can be difficult for many people, and just being able to maintain a regular routine can be an achievement. Once you get the hang of things though, you are going to want to get the most out of your workout for the time you are investing.
It is just like every other aspect in life, you want to get the most out of the time you are putting in, so it makes sense to apply the same type of thinking to your fitness routine.
If you are consistent in your training, you will inevitably reach a point where you feel like you aren’t making as much progression as you would like considering the time investment. At this point it is safe to say that your routine needs a freshening up and that it is time for a change of pace.
Here are some examples of common exercises people do at the gym, and what alternatives they can do to work the same muscle groups. Most of these exercises can be modified as well, making them something you can include in your routine for a long time throughout your progession.
Stop Doing Hip Raises-Switch to Lunges
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to their routines in the effort of saving time is that they are doing too many isolation exercises. Hip raises are one example of this. While they are great exercises to warm up the glutes to get them going, but that’s about all that they’re doing.
To get more out of the effort and time you are investing in to your routine, instead of doing hip raises do lunges. Lunges are not only going to work out those glutes but are going to work the hamstrings and quads as well, working the majority of the lower body.
Lunges are more demanding on the body as they require more recruitment from different muscle groups, thus burning more calories and fat in the process.
Ditch the Curls for Chin ups
Chin ups are one of the most forgotten exercises at the gym. Pull ups are arguably a better exercise for chest development, and many people are still under the impression that weighted exercises are superior to body weight exercises. Because of this they choose dumbbell curls or an ez curl bar as their preferred choice when it comes to bicep workouts and are missing out on chin ups.
Chin ups are not only going to really give the biceps a good pump, but are going to work out the lats, chest and forearms as well. Also this exercise really helps to improve grip strength as well, because of all the work gravity is doing in the opposite direction.
Stop Doing Leg Extensions-Switch to Squats
Leg extensions are one of the worst exercises you can do at the gym because of the compromising position it puts your knees in, and is notorious for causing knee injury. There just are so many better options out there when it comes to working the quadriceps, so if leg extensions are something you include in your routine, you may want to reconsider it.
One of the best exercises we can do to develop our quadriceps is the squat. There are also multiple viable squat variations out there you can do, so if the traditional squat is too intimidating you have plenty of other options out there.
Zercher squats, Bulgarian split squats with dumbbells, one legged squat with kettlebell, and hack squats are all excellent variations to the exercise when it comes to building up those quads.
Try Hanging Leg Raises Instead of Sit ups
Sit ups are another very common exercise you see being performed at the gym, one that can become too easy and boring very quickly. A better alternative to giving your abs an awesome burn are hanging leg raises, which are not only going to work your abs, but works your lats and forearms as well.
Not only will this exercise really help you to develop your entire core including your obliques as well as your abdominal muscles, but it can be easily modified to increase the difficulty once things get too easy for you. Just adding a slight twist or adjusting the grip can really alter the exercise making things more challenging.