Consistently exercising is one of the best ways to prioritize our overall health, but establishing a workout routine can be a little overwhelming. With so many different options and recommendations available to us, how do you know the best exercises to incorporate into your everyday routine? Although there are numerous types of workouts you can explore, here are some of the three best exercises to add to your workout routine.*
*Always speak with your healthcare provider before beginning any new fitness routine.
Planks are a highly beneficial exercise to add to your workout routine, as they can strengthen your core, improve posture, enhance balance, and increase flexibility. This exercise is highly versatile as it comes with a range of variations, from easier to more challenging poses.
The most common plank variation is the forearm plank. You can perform a forearm plank by resting your weight on your forearms and positioning your body parallel to the ground with your back straight. Other types of planks include:
- High plank
- Walking plank
- Single-arm plank
- Scorpion plank
- Reverse plank
- Side plank
Since planks are a bodyweight exercise, you can do them from the comfort of your own home or anywhere else you prefer.
Squat exercises are another valuable movement to incorporate into your workout routine. Squats primarily engage your lower body, particularly your glutes and quadriceps. However, squats can negatively affect your spine and knees over time if they are not performed correctly. To ensure proper form for a squat, try the following:
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart
- Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, keeping them behind your feet
- Keep your chest and head upright
It may help to practice squatting in front of a mirror to ensure that your knees do not push outwards or buckle inwards. Squats have over 40 variations, from bodyweight and plyometric to weighted and equipment-based squats. If you are a beginner, first try squatting your bodyweight to practice correct form before moving on to more advanced techniques.
Pull-ups target almost all of the major muscle groups in your upper body, from your shoulders and pecs to your forearms and abs. In addition, pull-ups greatly enhance your grip strength and your back strength. To properly do a pull-up, stand underneath a pull-up bar, and with your palms facing away from you, grab the bar. Next, engage your muscles in your arms and back and raise your body until your chin is over the bar.
Though highly beneficial for your health, pull-ups can be quite difficult. If you believe you may be unable to perform a pull-up, you are not alone, as pull-ups can be a challenging goal to achieve. Due to their challenging nature, they can also be a great source of motivation.
If you are working towards a pull-up, try adding these progressive variations into your workout routine first:
- Dead hangs: with your palms facing away, simply hang down with your arms completely straight
- Flex-hangs: with your palms facing towards you, hold the top position of a pull-up with your chin over the bar and elbows completely bent
- Negative reps: involves only the downward part of a pull-up, starting in the same position as a flex hang, slowly lower yourself in a controlled descent until your arms are completely straight
- Chin-ups: same movement as a pull-up but with your palms facing towards you
Pull-up bars are an amenity in almost any weight room, and they are also frequently seen in public parks and along running paths.
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