Which Exercises Are Worth Our Time
There is a lot of information floating around out there regarding the ‘best’ ways to get strong and fit. And in the age of the internet, there is very little filter that separates the ‘good’ from the ‘bad’ information. At the end of the day, it can be impossible to know how we should be spending our precious energy and limited time at the gym; honestly, this conundrum in large part motivated me to pursue personal training; I was tired of sifting through so much vague, confusing, and false information.
And besides the actual exercises, there are the countless tools and toys to consider, all of which claim to provide the ‘key’ to our healthiest and strongest selves–Bosu balls, kettlebells, machines, etc. But which ones are worth our time and hard-earned money? It’s easy to become overwhelmed and discouraged when we see all of the exercises and equipment that we aren’t doing, and not knowing who to trust to give us the most objective and useful information.
Well, you can trust us! Let the elite personal trainers at Infofit guide you in the right direction when it comes to getting the most from your workout. We’ve seen it and tried it all–both on ourselves and on our clients–and these are the exercises that have stood the test of time and which continuously produce results. And all of these exercises use equipment that you can find in any gym!
I have compiled a list of the exercises and equipment most preferred by the Infofit team; hopefully, you will find this information useful and it will inspire you to take your training to the next level!
1) Maximize your cardio time
As a mom, personal trainer, and instructor, Kimberley often finds herself crunched for time. She prioritizes speed and efficiency in her workout. She likes to incorporate resistance bands into her spin bike cardio; she secures the tubing to her handlebars and performs a full-spectrum upper body warm-up: shoulder presses, lateral raises, rows, etc. “The upper body movements challenge my core and keep my heart rate elevated,” Kimberley says, “By the time I’m done I’m ready to jump into my heavier resistance training program.” You can watch Infofit president and founder Andre Potvin demonstrate a resistance band-cardio warm-up here!
2) Hit your upper and lower body at the same time!
Cathie, who has been a personal trainer for 15 years, specializes in clinical exercise and rehabilitation; her favourite exercise is the squat-press with dumbbells. “I like this exercise because it is a compound exercise that incorporates the hamstrings, quads, glutes and shoulders all at the same time which makes it time efficient!”
3) Think outside the treadmill
Andre, Infofit founder and president, has been a personal trainer for 33 years! One of his favourite pieces of equipment is the treadmill, which is a standard of any gym. But instead of jogging endlessly at a steady, monotonous pace, Andre recommends switching it up and walking backwards. For his own workout, he walks backwards at a 6% incline at 4 miles/hour. Incorporating this kind of exercise into your routine will forge new neural connections between your brain and your body; plus, your quads and calf muscles will be crying out for mercy by the end of it–which is exactly what you want for increased muscle growth and strength!
3) Hit different muscles back-to-back using the same equipment
Stan may be one of the newer members of the Infofit team, but he has been a long-time lover and devotee of fitness–for 40 years (since the age of 14!), Stan has been training and expanding his exercise repertoire. He prefers to use with his clients the leg press machine for its safety and versatility. He’ll have his clients perform three sets back-to-back on the leg press, and recruit different muscles by changing their foot positioning. They start with their feet low and close on the pad pressing through the balls of their feet to target their quadriceps, and then he gets them to do both straight-leg and bent-knee calf raises to target their gastrocnemius and soleus (the muscles that make up the calf). He finishes them off with their feet wide and high on the sled, and pressing through their heels to target their gluteus maximus. “It’s a very efficient use of time”, he states, noting that the calf press in the middle allows the major muscle groups to recover. He adds, “as always, proper form is most important”.
4) Get back to basics with bodyweight
As for myself, my favourite exercise to use in the programs of both myself and my clients is a classic: the push-up. I like its accessibility (you can do it anywhere–no excuses!) and its versatility; there are endless push-ups variations that will continuously provide challenge to different muscle groups, including the upper body and core. Right now, I’m enjoying the “renegade row” push-up (if “enjoy” is the right word…), in which you incorporate a dumbbell row at the top of the movement. The push-up is a great marker for strength-building too! Being able to complete ten push-ups when you previously couldn’t even one modified push-up is deeply satisfying. And seeing progress with my push-ups keeps me (and my clients!) motivated and excited for the next session!
So, do you have a favourite exercise? Is there a piece of equipment that you favour above all others? It’s important to note here that the Infofit training principles emphasize the importance of challenging yourself and adding variation to your training regimen; the body can adapt pretty quickly to a movement and training load, so it’s essential that you increase your load and switch up your movements. So, keep it fresh! Challenge is an essential component to fitness and that’s what keeps it fun!
If you are interested in a more in-depth and comprehensive education about different exercise modalities and protocols, an Infofit education will cut through the b.s. rampant in the fitness industry, teaching you the exercises and programs that will provide the results you and your clients desire–and which ones will only waste your precious time and energy. So, what are you waiting for? Contact Infofit today!
Written by Theresa Faulder, Master’s in English, Certified Personal Trainer (completing) and Infofit fitness blog writer.