I hate to break it to you, but spot reduction or the idea that you can tone specific body part is a myth perpetuated by pop culture taking over the fitness industry. It sounds cooler than what the science actually says. Stop believing the hype, and start training smarter. Learn how below!
Do these sound familiar?
"Tighten up your waistline with these 5 exercises."
"The secret moves that will melt your muffin top."
"Get tank top arms with these 5 moves."
....it goes on and on and on....
*Now I have to be honest, years ago when I first started in this business, I fell into the trap of wanting people to read my stuff and coming up with little workouts like this. For that I am sorry because now...
Seeing posts like these show up in my news feed drives me nuts.
It’s setting us all back.
It seems like all marketing toward women is about “spot reduction” & “toning” a specific body part.
It’s all perpetuating a MYTH and feeding into what you want (not what you need!).
You want to tone your inner thighs or that spot in the back of your arms or your tummy and there are thousands of workouts available online tell you it’s possible if you work just those muscles out just the right way.
Truth is these are the exact WRONG things to do. Working small areas burns only a small amount of calories. The “softness” you are trying to get rid of is fat. Ultimately a calorie deficit is necessary to burn more calories. Of course building muscle gives you that “toned” look but you can do it a lot more effectively.
So what should you do?
When it comes to training your muscles you should:
To accomplish this more effectively, concentrate on larger movements that incorporate multiple muscle groups. That way you can build lean muscle while burning more calories. Bonus: these movements are more functional movements (exercises that have you moving in ways your body is designed to move).
Additionally, the muscles in your body all work together. Training them in isolation, is dangerous. If a movement pattern is missing in a workout, you are failing to train your entire body. If a pattern is consistently missing from your workouts, you are setting yourself up for muscle imbalances and inevitably injury.
As outlined in my Plug and Play Workout Template, these movements fall into 6 categories plus core (more on core below): horizontal push, vertical push, horizontal pull, vertical pull, quad dominant and hip/hamstring dominant. In order to efficiently and effectively workout your whole body, you must include movements from all the categories.
Ok, so how?
Focusing on movement patterns kills two birds with one stone (aka. is the most efficient way).
Below is a list of my 6 go to moves that both ensure I am effectively training my whole body AND focusing on the, more efficient, compound movements. Sometimes I do variations on these basic movements, sometimes all in one workouts, sometimes spread out between two or three different workouts. Either way, these 6 exercises are the foundation of all good workout plans.
Horizontal Push - Chest press (or pushups): works chest, some shoulders and triceps
Vertical Push - Overhead press: works shoulders and triceps
Horizontal Pull - Rows: works back and biceps
Vertical Pull - Pull ups (or Lat pulldowns): works lats and biceps
Quad Dominant - Squats: works quads and glutes
Hamstring Dominant - Dead Lifts- works hamstrings and Glutes
Note above that you get plenty triceps and biceps in with the compound movements. Therefore, working those muscles independently is not necessary for general fitness goals.
What about core?
You don’t need to be doing as much abs work as you think you to do to flatten your tummy.
That being said, having a strong core (if done right) is important for so many things:
Stay tuned next week for the the best ways to strengthen your WHOLE core....
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