Do This, Not That: Exercise Swaps for More Fun & Functionality

Hit more muscle groups with these efficient exercises.

Doing exercises that work only one muscle group is so old-school (unless you’re rehabbing an injury or strengthening weak muscle groups of your body). These days, each exercise should be done by as many muscles as possible. The more muscles that are used to perform an exercise, the better, since your workout becomes more effective and efficient.

Here are five common exercises that can transform and maximize your gym time for better results and athletic performance. You can perform these exercises one after the other (like a circuit).


PUSH-UP PLANK POSITION WITH ALTERNATING SHOULDER TAPS

PUSH-UP PLANK POSITION WITH ALTERNATING SHOULDER TAPS

DO THIS: PUSH-UP PLANK POSITION WITH ALTERNATING SHOULDER TAPS

Not that: FRONT PLANK

Why: Pushup plank promotes more stability as well as anti-rotation control.

How: Start in a pushup position, lift one hand and tap your opposite shoulder. Return to the starting position then repeat tap with the other hand.

Number of reps: 10 taps per shoulder

Muscle groups involved: Shoulders, triceps, abdominals


STABILITY BALL LEG CURL - Step 1

STABILITY BALL LEG CURL – Step 1

STABILITY BALL LEG CURL - Step 2

STABILITY BALL LEG CURL – Step 2

DO THIS:  STABILITY BALL LEG CURL

Not that: MACHINE LEG CURL

Why: The Stability Ball Leg Curl works the hamstrings while strengthening the glutes and promoting core stability as well

How: Lie on your back with the 65cm to 75cm stability ball on your heels. Lift your hip by contracting your glutes (butt muscles) while pulling the ball towards your body. Don’t let your hips drop as you curl your leg. Straighten your leg by bringing the ball back to the starting position without letting your hip touch the floor.

Number of reps: 6 to 10

Muscle groups involved: hamstrings, glutes, lower back


STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK - Step 1

STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK – Step 1

STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK - Step 1

STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK – Step 2

DO THIS:  STABILITY BALL KNEE TUCK

Not that:  CRUNCHES

Why: Promotes shoulder stability and strengthens the core

How: Lie facing the floor with the 65cm to 75cm stability ball on your tummy and your hands in a pushup position. Work your way forward until your feet are on top of the ball. Brace your core to keep your back flat. Bring your knees towards your chest while trying not to raise your hips. Straighten your legs back to the starting (pushup) position and repeat.

Number of reps: 6 to 10

Muscle groups involved: abdominals, obliques, triceps, and shoulders


ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP - Step 1

ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP – Step 1

ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP - Step 2

ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP – Step 2

ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP - Step 3

ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP – Step 3

DO THIS:  ONE DUMBBELL GOBLET LATERAL STEP-UP

Not that:  MACHINE LEG PRESS

Why: Promotes single-leg stability, works not just the quads but also strengthens the glutes, and promotes core stability as well

How: Hold one of the heads of the dumbbell up vertically between your palms and bring it against your chest. Stand beside a step board on your right side. Lift your right leg and place it on top of the step board. Perform a step-up motion and raise your left knee to your hip. Bring down your left leg back to the floor and repeat. Switch leg by placing the step board on your left side. For more challenge, use a higher step board or plyo box.

Number of reps: 6 to 10

Muscle groups involved: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core


CABLE FULL-KNEEL UNDERHAND PULLDOWN - Starting Position

CABLE FULL-KNEEL UNDERHAND PULLDOWN – Starting Position

CABLE FULL-KNEEL UNDERHAND PULLDOWN - in action

CABLE FULL-KNEEL UNDERHAND PULLDOWN – in action

DO THIS:  CABLE FULL-KNEEL UNDERHAND PULLDOWN

Not that:   BICEP CURLS

Why: Works not just your biceps as majority of the work is done by your latissimus dorsi muscle (the one just below your armpits), and it also targets other back muscles as well as your core.

How: With your hands facing your body, hold the handles (or bar) before kneeling in front of the cable machine and keep your arms straight. While contracting your glutes (your butt muscles) to engage your core, pull the bar down until the handles touch your chest. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Number of reps: 6 to 10

Muscle groups involved: back, biceps, glutes, and core

 




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