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Build functional strength

Build functional strength
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First Published: Mon, Aug 22 2011. 10 21 PM IST

1.Stand tall, with shoulders pulled back and arms straight in front of you; Keep your legs slightly wider apart than shoulder-width, with toes pointing outwards
1.Stand tall, with shoulders pulled back and arms straight in front of you; Keep your legs slightly wider apart than shoulder-width, with toes pointing outwards
Updated: Mon, Aug 22 2011. 10 21 PM IST
1.Stand tall, with shoulders pulled back and arms straight in front of you; Keep your legs slightly wider apart than shoulder-width, with toes pointing outwards
Too many people focus on just isolation exercises at the gym—doing dozens of sets of dumb-bell curls, tricep push downs or leg curls week after week. While isolation exercises, which target only a specific muscle during the exercise, are good to build strength and definition, they are not the most efficient way to work out. The most obvious problem is that people focus on certain muscles —like the biceps—much more than on others, giving them a skewed physique (thin legs and massive arms, for example) that’s neither healthy nor appealing. Isolation exercises also don’t do much in terms of burning calories, and they aren’t very practical either—you’ll hardly ever do a movement outside the gym that uses just one muscle in isolation. The solution is to do what athletes do—compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, make the whole body stronger and burn calories, all at the same time. The caveat: You need to be reasonably fit to begin these, and need an experienced trainer to guide you.
Dumb-bell squat with overhead press
Stand in an upright position, with a neutral spine and feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumb-bell or weight in each hand, with arms down and straight in front of you, palms facing towards you.
2. Keep your back in a straight line, bring the arms down in front of your body, with palms facing inwards as you squat; Squat as if you are sitting on a chair, with your hips pushed back
Squat to 90 degrees at the knee, pushing your hips back like you are about to sit on a chair. Keep your back straight, and make sure your knees don’t extend beyond your toes.
Stand up while raising the dumb-bells towards the knees. Once your arms are at, or slightly above, the knees, rotate your arms outwards (so that your palms face forward) while simultaneously pulling the dumb-bells up. Get the dumb-bells up in one smooth motion till they extend above your head.
Reverse the shoulder movement under control (in a slow, controlled fashion) to prepare for the next repetition.
Try doing three sets of 10-12 repetitions, depending on how heavy the weights are—but only use weights that you can control completely.
Your quads, glutes, core and shoulders all get a thorough workout.
3.(L) Both dumbbells should be at shoulder length in a straight line; pull the dumb-bells up in one smooth motion towards your shoulders. 4. Keep your knees slightly bent on standing up (don’t lock the joint); Push the dumb-bells up over your head in a smooth, controlled movement
Every fortnight, experts show you the perfect way to execute the most functional exercises that give your body the maximum benefit.
Source and model: Karen Venter, master trainer, Ozone Fitness and Spa, New Delhi.
Photographs b: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Coordinated by Rudraneil Sengupta
Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com
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First Published: Mon, Aug 22 2011. 10 21 PM IST
More Topics: Health | Exercises | Gym | Body | Push Ups |