Train Smarter NOT Harder

Sadly I see some very bad things…

In the gym that is.  gym fail

I was squatting the other day and the fella beside was doing something, well, I’m not quite sure what it was. I believe he felt it was a squat, but it looked like a cross between a squat and a good morning…I cringed as he added more and more weight to the bar.

What should I do? I mean, I didn’t know the guy and who am I to say anything? I’m just a quiet woman in the next squat rack doing my thing. I’m sure he never even noticed me as I always just fly under the radar in the gym. I put my ear buds in and push on with my workout.

But I considered dropping my chiropractor’s card by his squat rack 😉

He was going to need it.

Part of the issue was ego. He couldn’t squat the bar with correct form let alone one plate, then a plate and a half, then two plates. Man, those were some ugly squats.

The key to success in the gym, and I’m talking LONG TERM success, is impeccable exercise form. People ask me how I continue to train like a beast at age 51: it comes down to checking your ego at the door and TRAINING SMARTER NOT HARDER

Why do 20 sloppy reps of something, when you can do 10 perfect reps of the same exercise? If you do the exercise PROPERLY, there’s no need to do a million reps and your workout time can be cut back. It’s the ‘minimum effective dose’ that will bring you consistent results.

Your body will wear out and basically fail when you do too much, especially when form is poor. Failure can lead to injury and who wants to be sidelined? Not me.

If I were to give you my #1 secret to longevity in training, it’s precise exercise form.

With that in mind, I have a few instructional videos here for you. Often times in my fitness boot camp I’ll tell a client how to do an exercise, but it’s not until they do the exercise in the mirror that they truly see the ‘error of their ways’.

No one means to ‘cheat’ when doing a move but the body will always find the path of least resistance once fatigue sets in. Training needs to be INTENTIONAL, you need to think about what you’re doing to get the most out of your workout and remain injury free.

These videos are bodyweight exercises, but you’ll be surprised how effective they are when done correctly.

Take a look at the videos, practice in the mirror and then put the together in the workout at the end…

The mountain climber is an excellent core strengthener. It also works the triceps and shoulders. Keep the hips braced and abs tight. The glutes should be tight each time the legs come back into a plank position. The shoulders need to stay directly over the hands and head remains in neutral with the ears in line with the shoulders.

This exercise isn’t in the workout that follows, but I wanted to share it because it’s one of my favorites:

The ‘get up’ is brilliant for hitting the triceps, but also the core. Make sure to keep the hips square and control hip rotation. Get the hand right under the shoulder and keep alternating the hand that you push up on first.

The basic squat is under rated. Make sure to practice the squat in the mirror to ensure that you’re bending at the hips first, that your chest is high and that the knees track over the toes. Weight each foot evenly and instead of thinking ‘stand up!’ consider that you’re pushing the floor away from you. The head controls the spin so keep your eyes on something high. I always try to focus on where the wall and ceiling meet. The prisoner position engages the upper back. Keep the hands behind the head and the elbows back. This is a great way to hit the upper back in addition to engaging the lower body.

The push up is actually a ‘full body’ exercise when you do it properly. Make sure that you tighten the quads and glutes. Imagine that you’ll be punched in the belly so that you keep it tight. Keep the elbows in fairly tight along the sides to protect the shoulders. Focus the eyes directly in front of you keeping the ears in line with the shoulders.

The reverse lunge is often done incorrectly which can cause knee pain. The reverse lunge is actually two movements: a step back and a lowering down. Ideally you’ll get the back knee close to the ground as you step back up onto the heel of the front foot. I prefer the reverse lunge to the forward lunge as it helps keep the emphasis on engaging the hamstrings of the front leg.

Here’s a great alternative to the burpee:

This is a heart pounding non-impact exercise. Do a quarter squat then forcefully throw the arms up and extend the body fully to stand up onto the toes. Keep up a rapid pace.

Let’s put a few of these exercises together:

You’ll do 5 minutes, 5 reps of these 5 exercises:
push up shoulder touch
mountain climber (each leg)
prisoner reverse lunge (each leg)
prisoner squat

This is an AMRAP set. This means you’ll repeat these 5 exercises ‘as many rounds as possible’ in the 5 minutes.

Now, if you can, repeat this AMRAP set 2-3 more times, with a one minute rest between. Count how many rounds you get each set and try to match or beat your rounds from the previous set.

You get a full body, heart pounding workout in small space, a short time and with NO equipment. I’d say you have NO excuse NOT to do a workout when it’s as simple as this.

And that’s that. Bodyweight exercise done right.

If you like this workout, then you’ll love the My Bikini Belly series. You’ll train along side me and My Bikini Belly fitness girls, rep for rep and set for set with follow along videos.