It’s human nature to avoid the things we don’t enjoy. We do it in all aspects of our lives from going to the dentist to filing our taxes, even in our workouts (*cough* burpees). But according to personal trainer and Wellness Director for Collective Wellness Group, Dan Conn, this is one of the biggest mistakes we can make.
When it comes to strength training, Dan says there are a few exercises women typically neglect. And it’s these exercises that can make quite the difference when trying to build a lean but strong body. So what are they? He’s shared the big four below.
Scroll down to find out how to perform them and you’ll never ignore them again.
This exercise often gets put in the “too hard basket” because of technique, effort or knowledge, says Dan. But it shouldn’t. While it’s a movement that can be tricky—with barbell placement, finger grip placement and the squat stance—once mastered, it’s a great addition to any workout.
“Front squats zone in on the quads and upper back, while back squats focus more on the hips, glutes and lower back. Girls that work on front squats, as well as back squats and deadlifts, will find their overall strength goes through the roof!”
“With the barbell being held at the front of the body, instead of behind your neck, there is a tendency to drift forward bringing the weight to the toes when hitting down phase, instead of driving through the heels,” says Dan. To prevent this and ensure perfect form, he recommends:
- Keep your elbows up
- Open your hips by pushing your knees out, pointing your toes out can help you achieve this
- Drive through the heels to activate those glutes!
“You can place 2-4cm weight plates under heels to give you a better range of motion while maintaining balance and correct posture.”
While simple, this one is effective. Dan says it will deeply activate glutes, and strengthen your knees. “The downward motion of step up is done at a slow pace: 1 second up and 3 – 4 seconds on the down phase. If you have a bad knee, slow the entire process as a way to rehabilitate them.”
“Reverse Hyper works your hamstrings, glutes and lower back all at once. You can do this anywhere, by laying face down on the floor and bringing your legs off the ground. Alternatively, you can use a GHD machine or bench for a wider range of motion. For the advanced among us, you can use a stability ball to engage smaller muscle fibres as they fight to stabilise you.”
“From the low plank position, replace your elbows with your hands as you go up into a push-up position. You may find that your hips rock from side to side as you perform this action. Keep them still and stable, with your pelvis squarely facing the ground. If you are having trouble stabilising, take your feet wide apart for balance. As you become stronger, you can bring your feet closer and closer together. Stable hips engage your core while you work your upper body! Add the stabiliser ball for advanced core burning!”