Anytime I see a headline like “Things Trainers Hate,” I am automatically zeroed in. The truth is, I often wonder if I am alone when I decide that I hate a certain exercise. It isn’t as though I conduct daily polls with other trainers or anything.
Yes, I regularly read Men’s Health magazine. It is actually one of my favorite magazines because I like to read about strength training from a man’s point of view. On a side note, I tire of the women’s strength training point of view. The women’s magazines tend to feature women holding teeney weeney weights that match their outfits. It just screams wimpy…However, the MAN’s guide is always full of ripped, attractive men holding weights as heavy as I am. It isn’t just impressive, it is downright hot. So, yes, I flip through the magazine without shame.
What do trainers hate? Well, according to the April, 2013 issue, we hate triceps dips and leg press machines. I don’t actually hate triceps dips, but I agree, proper form is key and I also modify these for shoulder injury. (Note: apparently we also hate two other exercises, but I am only going to mention these two for my blog today.) Instead of dips and presses, the magazine suggests two exercises to replace them. Below, I will describe the replacements.
1) The close-hands pushup for triceps: Yes! I love this exercise…if I could only actually, um….do it. I have to be honest, most women can’t do a pushup from their toes in proper form anyway. In fact, it has taken me years to be able to do pushups correctly. If you move the hands closer, this is a disaster (and a nose dive waiting to happen). Instead, I advise that women try a wall ‘close hands’ pushup. Wall push-ups are sooooo much better than pushups from the knees because I can make sure to keep the back straight and hands/arms in proper alignment. It also takes off pressure from the shoulder joint.
2) The Bulgarian Split Squat (for glutes…and the whole lower half): I can’t say that I hate leg presses. For some populations, this is the only way that I am going to be able to get someone to squat. However, if you can do a squat with good form, you should try the Bulgarian Split Squat. This is what I like to call the ‘booty shaper’ squat. Not only does it require balance work (which works all of those muscle stabilizers), but it forces your squats to become glute-dominant, instead of thigh-dominant. This photo is a great demo, but I would add some 10-12 lb weights in each of her hands, preferably purple. 🙂
Whether you are a woman or a man, I hope you try each of these exercises soon! They will help you get stronger and ready for swimsuit season. Yes, I just said the S word… Thanks, Men’s Health, for not only entertaining this trainer, but for introducing these two great exercises!