For the gym rats looking to get shredded for summer, a fitness coach has revealed the exercises you can cut from your routine.
Popular YouTuber and fitness guru Alain Gonzalez, who boasts more than 800,000 subscribers, is helping gym-goers maximize their movements.
“With the bit of time we have to train, we want to choose the best movements to maximize our gains,” he said in a video posted to his channel.
Front raises, intended to enhance the appearance of the front deltoid muscles, could lead to overdeveloped and unsightly muscles in that area and could even be “detrimental to your overall physique and your posture.”
According to Gonzalez, isolating those front delts in the arms isn’t necessary — we already activate them when we hunch over our keyboards or phones and engage them in other exercises that include pressing movements.
Dumbbell rotator cuff exercises are also “a waste of time,” he continued.
While strengthening the cuffs, located in the shoulders, is vital to avoid injury, exercises that involve dumbbells specifically are inefficient.
That is because, when holding dumbbells and standing upright, there is resistance from gravity. However, to strengthen the rotator cuff, resistance should be coming from the sides, not from below.
“The way to make this exercise effective with a dumbbell is to lay on your side,” he said, adding that a cable machine or resistance bands can also be a viable alternative.
Similarly, dumbbell kickbacks that isolate the triceps at the back of the arm are also ineffective.
“At the bottom of the dumbbell kickback, there is little resistance on the tricep,” he said, advising the use of a cable machine. “Ultimately, only half of the range of motion places tension on the tricep, so half the time spent doing the exercises isn’t doing anything for the tricep.”
While machines and free weights are equally as effective at building muscle, from a “functional perspective,” Gonzalez argues that more control and balance are necessary with free weights.
Smith machine squats, he said, are one example of that. While they have some benefits, performing squats with free weights is preferable.
“If there’s no reason for you to not perform free weight barbell or dumbbell exercises, the majority of your lifts should be performed with them,” he said, noting that machine exercises should wait until the end of the workout.
Lastly, side bends with a heavy dumbbell in one hand can add unwanted bulk to the abdomen, Gonzalez said, and have a short range of motion.
Instead, he advises incorporating rotational movements to strengthen the spine, while also mimicking natural movements found in real life.
Side planks, he added, are another option that protects the lower back from injury.
“The more we understand about muscle anatomy and biomechanics, the better our exercise selection will be for training targeted muscles,” Gonzalez concluded his video. “Small adjustments made over time will lead to major improvements in the long run.”