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Save time, get fitter faster

Save time, get fitter faster
Keely-Ahrold

Working out is already a challenge – no one wants to hear that they’re actually wasting their time while they’re at the gym. We asked fitness trainers the moves that you can skip so that you can get the most out of your exercise time.

Crunches

Crunches
COURTESY DORIEL KOBLENZ

There are plenty of ways to get better abs without doing crunches. Here’s another reason to avoid the exercise: “I believe that doing crunches in order to strengthen your core can be a huge waste of time. It’s much more effective to incorporate core exercises that target your full body to maximise effectiveness and time. A great example is a plank along with a one-legged push-up (see photo). Remember to keep your core activated the whole time.” – Doriel Koblenz, personal and group fitness trainer.

Bicycle crunch

Bicycle crunch
COURTESY AMANDA REY

“The bicycle crunch can be a very effective move, but there are a lot of parts to coordinate and this is where some people run into trouble. Most times I see people moving through the motion too fast, just kicking their knees into their chest without any kind of core engagement or twist of their torsos. They miss all three parts of the abs that this movement is supposed to target. (The rectus and transverse abdominis along with the external obliques.)

To execute an effective bicycle crunch, lie on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your fingers or hands behind your head with elbows bent to the sides. Press the lower back into the ground and lift the chest up; the shoulders elevate just off the floor, engaging the core without dropping the chin to chest. Extend the left leg and, while the lower back stays connected to the floor, twist the torso to bring the left elbow and the right knee together. Repeat with the opposite limbs while the shoulders remain off the floor, the chest lifted, and the neck is long.” – Amanda Rey, master instructor at SLT.

Bosu Ball

Bosu Ball
COURTESY NOAM NEIMAN

“I often cringe when I see people do exercises on a Bosu ball. There’s been this craze of trainers trying to be inventive and ‘groundbreaking’ with their clients’ routines. I’ve seen everything from kettlebell swings to heavy barbell squats done on Bosu balls, under the guise that it helps train stability. All that it really does is up the risk of injury. The remedy is to put your feet on the floor. Training on a stable surface, you’ll be able to properly perform the exercise and increasingly get stronger at it by adding more resistance and/or upping the reps.” – Noah Neiman, founding trainer of Rumble Boxing.

Now check out these 17 butt exercises that are better than squats.

Light weights

Light weights
COURTESY NOAH NEIMAN

“Many women erroneously believe that lifting heavy weights will bulk them up, make them look fat, and/or old, so they do things like arm circles for 45 minutes until their shoulders get numb. It’s very important to understand that to develop a lean body you should not fear weights. Muscle, not fat, is inherently lean. To develop the muscle, we must perform exercises with proper form and adequate resistance. Weight training also helps reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Instead of circling your arms with half kilo weights, do shoulder presses, lateral raises, front raises, and upright rows with adequate resistance.” – Noah Neiman, founding trainer of Rumble Boxing.

Elliptical

Elliptical
COURTESY JERA FOSTER FELL

“It’s easy to think you’re getting in a decent workout on the elliptical when in reality it’s unchallenging both physically and mentally. You’ll burn calories on it, you’ll probably break a sweat, but there’s so much more you could be doing. An alternative is high intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill or stationary bike. You’ll reduce exercise time but increase intensity of training. After warming up, try going all out for 30 seconds and then lowering your intensity for 30 to 60 seconds; repeat the pattern for a total of 10-15 minutes.” – Jera Foster-Fell, SoulCycle instructor Tired of running?

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Swinging bicep curls

Swinging bicep curls
COURTESY MATT WILPERS

“I’m not a fan of completing bicep curls using a swinging motion with the weight. The swinging motion creates momentum from the bottom of the curl and helps propel the weight upwards versus lifting the weight up with the biceps. Also, generating the force needed to swing the weight up can cause injury to your shoulders and/or back. Instead, try doing standing two-arm hammer curls with your back against the wall. Stand with feet hip-to shoulder-width apart and pointed straight with knees slightly bent and back and rear pressed against a flat wall. Arms at the sides of the body, a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back and hips pressed against the wall, draw in the core and curl both dumbbells up to the shoulders, keeping thumbs up and palms facing the body as if swinging a hammer. Lower to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.” – Matt Wilpers, instructor at Peloton.

Here are 5 daily habits that make your muscles strong, even if you’ve never used weights before.

Lat pull behind your head

Lat pull behind your head
COURTESY MATT WILPERS

“Trying to improve back strength by pulling the lat bar behind your head is not a great idea. That decreases the activation of the target muscles and places more stress on the shoulder joints and rotator cuffs. Instead do a lat pull in front of the head. Set the machine at an appropriate weight, sit upright with feet flat on the floor. Grab the handles or bar and pull toward the chest by flexing the elbows and depressing the shoulder blades. Maintain a neutral spine through the exercise. Upon reaching the end of your range of motion, slowly let the bar go back up to the starting position in a controlled manner. A great way to activate the target muscle even more is to think about squeezing your shoulder blades down and together.” – Matt Wilpers, instructor at Peloton.

Pelvic tilt

Pelvic tilt
COURTESY KEELY AHROLD

“The pelvic tilt is a great exercise for your glutes and hamstrings, but I often see people confuse it with a shoulder bridge (which is a stretch for your upper back/hips/shoulder). Here are a few things to keep in mind when performing the pelvic tilt: the spine is always straight. The tailbone curves to the knees and the hips point up to your chin. When you tilt the pelvis this way the abs engage. This move is usually done in fast quick motions and you can add leg movements. If the spine is in an arch, this can cause major lower back pain.” – Keely Ahrold, instructor at modelFIT.

Overhead holds

Overhead holds
COURTESY KAIAFIT

“Lifting anything overhead can be tricky. Repetition with poor form will increase the likelihood of impingement and possible tears. Instead, do an overhead hold with a lighter weight and add a curtsy lunge. Allow your shoulders to sink into the shoulder girdle. Keep your biceps close to your ears. This will allow for longer holds, increased mobility in the joint and allow you to progress towards heavier weights and longer holds using proper form. Place one foot behind your body so you can see it in the mirror and lunge down so your back knee hovers above the ground. You will work not only your glutes and legs, but your abs will be engaged in order to maintain stability.” – Nikki Warren, founder of Kaia FIT.

Want to transform your body? Try sneaking in these 60 second exercises.

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