Most of us are pressed for time. And we especially want the biggest bang for our buck when it comes to spending time exercising. The good news is that the time you spend on exercise can be used more effectively and efficiently for faster results.
When you're thinking about which exercises to include in your routine, it is important to consider the type of movement involved. The simpler the movement, the fewer calories you’ll burn and the fewer muscles you will use. On the other hand, the more complex the movement, the more calories you will burn and the more muscles you will strengthen.
If time is an issue, exercises that use complex movements will deliver better results than exercises that use only simple movements. Complex movements recruit multiple muscles, some to stabilize and others to perform the movement. This process also keeps your heart rate higher than a simple exercise would, giving you a more intense workout.
What is a complex movement?
A complex movement is a multi-joint movement that recruits large portions of the body to complete the exercise. Let’s compare a "simple movement" leg exercise with a "complex movement" leg exercise:
The leg extension machine uses a simple, isolated movement to work the quadriceps. You’re in a seated position moving only your knee joint. There isn’t much involvement, if any, from other muscles and it doesn’t burn very many calories, but it's a great way to isolate and strengthen the quadriceps.
Now let’s look at a free weight walking lunge. You start by standing with your feet together and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides (or a barbell across your shoulders, or a medicine ball held at your chest, or even with no weight at all). You take a large step forward and lower your back knee, keeping your front knee at a 90-degree angle. Now you push off your front foot and pull your back leg forward, repeating the movement.
How many muscles did you utilize while performing the lunge?
You certainly worked your quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, calves, abdominals, supporting muscles in your shoulders, arms and back—just to name a few. You also raised your heart rate and kicked your metabolism up a bit. That’s what I call a great exercise. 🤩
Other ways to increase intensity
Using complex movements is just one of many ways to kick your workout intensity up a notch. Other ways include Super Sets and Compound Sets. To incorporate a super set into your workout, simply perform two exercises back to back with minimal rest, repeating for multiple sets.
Or how about a Compound Set? Perform one exercise, then perform an exercise using opposing body parts. To find exercises that compliment one another, choose ones that have similar but opposite motions such as a chest press and a back row.
These methods will help you to burn more calories, increase your metabolic rate, and will stimulate the production of more fat burning and muscle toning hormones.
Of course, there's more to getting in great shape than just great workouts.
Nutrition is a HUGE part of the equation, as is rest, sleep and recovery.
So what’s the best program for you?
Find out—call or email me today to schedule your no obligation consultation. Let's make 2022 a fit and healthy year for you!