Exercise done well is better than doing hours of exercise. This expert fitness trainer shares how to do it right.
The most common training related questions I am asked is what’s a good exercise for the chest or a good exercise for biceps? And so on. However, what is more important a question is to ask HOW to do an exercise? What I mean by this is that the execution of a particular exercise is more important than the exercise itself. You don’t have to do the latest or trending exercises to get results. You may do common or regular exercises but with an uncommon attention to detail, and that’s the key to faster results.
Execution is the most important thing, then comes exercise selection, then repetitions and lastly load. In fact, when you master your form, you wouldn’t need to lift tons of weight to get an effect. Your muscle engagement will be far superior with even lighter loads. Here I have listed out some frequently done exercises. I will share three tips on how to make each of them more effective by implementing certain execution cues. Not the number of reps or the weight, but other intentions to make them work better. After all, we don’t just want to do a variety of exercises, we want to get the desired results — build muscle!
Body weight push-ups or dips
1. While pushing up, try to push the palms inwards towards each other. Think you are trying to fold the floor by sliding the hands towards each other. Your palms won’t actually move, but you need to create that inward tension to pre-activate your chest muscles. When you do this correctly, you should feel your chest muscles tense even before you start the repetition.
2. Whatever speed you push-up with, go down with half that speed.
3. Exhale as you push-up in such a way that you have no air in your system at the top part of the rep.
Bodyweight chin-ups or pull-ups
1. As you pull up, try to pull the bar apart. Think you want to make the bar longer by pulling it apart.
2. Flare elbows out backwards. Like you want to touch a wall behind you with your elbows.
3. At the bottom of the rep, make sure you allow a full stretch and let your scapula open up.
Stick over and backs
This can be done using a stick or a band. Grab the stick as narrow as possible. It won’t be easy. Keep your elbows locked, and try to get the stick over your head and behind your back. Do this for 10-20 reps, three to four sets at least once a week for great shoulder health.
Side laterals or dumbbell side raises
1. Keep your elbows locked throughout the movement.
2. At the top of the rep, turn your wrist downwards. Like pouring water out of a jug.
3. Lean slightly forward from the waist during the entire exercise.
With all upper body training, the most common injury is to the shoulders. So I want to include one exercise that I feel should be a part of any gym goers’ insurance plan.
1. With the dumbbells in your hands and palms facing forward, hold the inside end of the dumbbell, the end that’s closer to your body.
2. At the top of the rep, twist the dumbbells outwards.
3. Keep your elbows slightly ahead of your body when you bring the dumbbells down. Pull them back while curling the dumbbells up.
— The writer is a celebrity fitness trainer, who has trained the likes of Ranbir Kapoor and Rana Daggubati.