New Year fitness: Top workout tips

(Image credit: unknown)

Maintain good form
To get the most out of an exercise you must do it properly, which means maintaining good form throughout. Although form changes from one exercise to the next, bracing your core and avoiding jerky movements will help prevent injury whatever the move.
Mix it up
If you always do the same exercises your muscles will get used to them and will stop growing. Aim to change your routine every four to six weeks to give your body a new challenge. Doing new workouts will also prevent you from becoming bored and giving up.

Post-exhaust yourself
When you’re training one area of your body, such as your chest, the smaller secondary muscles (eg triceps) can become fatigued before the stronger primary muscles (eg pectorals) have been properly worked. But by doing sets of multi-joint moves, such as bench presses, followed by single-joint ones, such as chest flyes, you’ll effectively train the target muscle group without over-stressing the supporting muscles.
Use free weights
Unlike gym machines, which lock you into one plane of motion and restrict your range of movement, free weights, such as dumb-bells and barbells, maximise your muscles’ growth potential by hitting then from different angles and forcing them to stabilise your movements.

Progressively overload
In order for your muscles to grow, your workouts need to become gradually more difficult. By increasing your weight, sets or reps, your muscles will get bigger because you’re forcing them to adapt to the new stimulus.
Train with friends
You’re less likely to skip a gym session if it'll mean letting someone down. You can also make your workouts more exciting by addinga competitive element – there's nothing like beating a mate and/or close physical rival to give you a sense of accomplishment.

Do compound moves
Compound moves (eg barbell squats) work multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This means a workout with several such exercises is more effective at training your whole body than doing moves that only work one set of muscles at a time (eg calf raises).
Train at right the right tempo
To stimulate muscle growth, you need to perform your repetitions at the right speed. As a rule, make the exertion phase of each rep take one second, then pause at the peak of the contraction for one second. Returning to the starting position should take two seconds.

Next New Year guide: Things to check before joining your gym

Coach Staff

Coach is a health and fitness title. This byline is used for posting sponsored content, book extracts and the like. It is also used as a placeholder for articles published a long time ago when the original author is unclear. You can find out more about this publication and find the contact details of the editorial team on the About Us page.