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4 Great Exercises You Need to Try

If you are a regular at the gym, you are probably familiar with the standard dumbbell curls and leg presses. You probably also know that, after a while, doing the same exercises can get monotonous. It can even cause your progress to stall or plateau, leaving you frustrated and at a loss of what to try next. Below are four different types of exercises that can help you get out of your rut or put your muscles to a new test.

Compound Exercises

Many of the standard exercise movements and weights machines that are found at a gym focus on isolating and working one muscle group. However, a great way to push your strength to new highs is by combining exercises to work multiple muscle groups together. For example, simple movements like dumbbell rows work your upper arm muscles as well as your back muscles and your stabilizing core muscles. A bent-over row will also work your forearms and legs. One-legged squats challenge your quads, glutes, and core muscles. Combining lunges with dumbbell curls gets your biceps working in tandem with your legs. These are great ways to get a different kind of workout in. 

Mixing Cardio and Strength

There are many great ways to combine weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise. Burpees are one example of a move that can get your blood pumping and your muscles burning in just a few repetitions. By dropping down into a push-up and standing back up quickly, you engage your muscles. By popping into a jump and then dropping right back down into push-up position, you increase your heart rate. Other exercises that work in similar ways include mountain climbers, squat jumps, and skaters. Try your hand at one of these the next time you hit the gym!

Swimming

One of the best exercises you can do for your body is swimming. Taking to the water combines resistance training, as you pull your hands against the water, and cardiovascular activity all in one. The act of swimming works almost all of the major muscle groups in the body–from the back, neck, and shoulders to the core, legs, and feet–all while offering you an excellent aerobic challenge. There is no other exercise that requires your body to move in quite the same way as swimming. There are even multiple strokes you can try to work your muscles in a completely unique way. If you have never swam before, taking lessons in stroke technique or joining a beginners swimming class for adults is a great way to develop a strong foundation. Start by swimming a few lengths of the pool several times a week and increase your laps as your fitness improves.

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves performing a movement for, say, 30-60 seconds before switching to another movement and continuing this pattern for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. For example, you might do jumping jacks for 30 seconds before switching into weighted squats for 45 seconds, then run in place for a minute before doing push-ups for another 30 seconds. The goal of performing HIIT exercises is to get your heart rate up in a consistent, dynamic way. You can burn a higher amount of calories in a fairly short amount of time and the combination of movements can challenge you to push your body in new ways. Try an HIIT workout and you may never go back!

There is no reason why your workout routine has to become dull or why you should have to stick to the same exercises. One of the best ways to stay engaged with your fitness regime and keep yourself interested in going back to the gym week after week is by adding variety to your movements. From HIIT exercises to compound movements, there are a ton of ways to mix up your usual workouts and challenge your body in new ways.