The 3-Move Workout For When You're Pressed For Time
If toning up a bit will help you rock your next beach vacation with confidence, just do it. Think it's impossible? Think again. Think you'll be in the gym all day, every day? Not a chance! Here are three essential exercises that will reshape your body in no time.
How does it work? Glad you asked! These three moves are compound movements that work multiple muscles with each rep so you do more with each movement than you would with endless hours of isolation exercises (think bicep curls). We selected the best moves and got all the info you'll need to do them right from Toronto-based personal trainer, Nathane Jackson, CSCS.
You probably think all lunges do is work your butt muscles, but lunges are great for your thighs as well. In addition to that, they also target your core by helping build stability and strength. If you add weight to the move by holding dumbbells in each hand, you can also get an arm pump — especially if you add a bicep curl with each step!
Jackson’s Trainer Tip: “The key to a good lunge is to maintain spinal alignment, for most of us can be attained by keeping a posterior hip tilt (aka small, very small tuck) throughout the movement and by pulling the neck back creating a double chin. Sexy, I know! Try to keep a vertical shin with this exercise but a light forward lean is OK as long as your weight is on the mid foot and heel.”
If you’re being honest with yourself, you might need to admit that this move isn’t in your typical workout. We get it. Aside from making you look like you’re training for some kind of manual lawnmower-starting competition, there actually are a lot of reasons you should do this exercise. When it comes to compound moves, there’s arguably no greater pick than the row because you’re going to target your middle back, biceps, lats and shoulders while also improving core stability.
Jackson’s Trainer Tip: “Since the muscle fibers of the lats travel diagonally, it is best to incorporate an arch with regards to the path the dumbbell travels. Start with the dumbbell underneath the shoulder but forward in line with the hairline. Pull the dumbbell back and up by retracting the shoulder blades first and then using the lats to bring the handle of the dumbbell to the top off your hip. The path the dumbbell travels should resemble a lazy letter ‘U.’ Return the dumbbell to the starting position by following the same pattern.”
Single-Arm Chest Press
Yes, a single-arm chest press — not a double-arm chest press. Why? Because aside from all the benefits of a typical chest press, performing this move unilaterally makes you really focus on form and harness your core strength as well. The single-arm chest press will hit your chest and triceps, making your bust perkier and your arm jiggle a thing of the past!
Jackson’s Trainer Tip: “Place the free hand on the rib cage to ensure it stays down and does not flare up throughout the movement. Also, on the descent, be wary of anterior shoulder flexion once the upper arm reaches the same plane as the body. Many of us don't have the prerequisite range of motion needed to move the upper arm beyond the body.”
With these three moves in your regular workout routine, you’re destined tone up all over. Remember to stay true to form on the movements so you get the most out of each of them and try to perform three sets of 10 reps each. If you’re finding it difficult to get to that range, either lower the weight or take longer pauses and focus on just doing the move right as you build up your strength and endurance.