A great rule of thumb to follow whenever you’re exercising is to engage in as many compound exercises as possible. Compound exercises are movements that work multiple muscles or perhaps muscle groups, rather than just one isolated muscle. Think of it as getting more bang for your buck. You only have an hour in the gym, so you might as well work out as much of your body as possible.
One great and simple compound exercise is the push-up. Luckily, you can do this anywhere, anytime. Another great one is the lateral pull down (Google this, so you can recognize the right machine in your gym). Do three sets of ten of both these exercises, and you may as well have done four or five different exercises.
Another great thing to remember is that the stronger your core, the stronger the rest of your body. If you can strengthen your core, you’ll be better able to engage in many other exercises and get stronger faster. You’ll also be less likely to fall prey to injury. Make sure to include things like planks, hang cleans, and snatch in your work out. Planks are static exercises that work your abdominals or obliques through balance. Lie face down and then try to emulate a plank—straighten your body completely as you rest on your elbows and toes. Lift one limb at a time, but don’t lose balance. Do this same thing on your sides—your body will be a diagonal plank. Again, Google these for proper form.
Snatch and hang clean are two exercises that are both compound AND core strengtheners, so you should definitely do each once a week. They are incredibly exhausting, but wonderful for building strength. If you’ve never heard of them, you’re again going to want to Google them, but snatch involves holding a barbell in both hands and raising it straight above your head as fast as possible, and holding there for a few seconds. Hang cleans involve doing the same motion, but bringing the bar only up to your shoulders and holding it there.
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