Gym – Use Time Effectively 

Part 1:

Everyone has his or her favourite exercises when it comes to working-out. When 98% of people do not achieve the results they want from their efforts in the gym we need to look at what they are doing. The problem is that most of these people spend their precious workout time on exercises that are, generally speaking, a waste of time.


I’m not talking about exercises that may not be appropriate for certain individuals based upon their conditioning level or training goals. I am talking about exercises that, pretty much regardless of how much you do them, will not make significant changes in ”tone”, strength, or body composition. Here are five of the biggest time wasters:


#1. Chronic Cardio: It’s a known fact that long bouts of cardio training at a high intensity (‘chronic cardio’) can be counterproductive for fat loss and health.

The problem is that most people realise that they are unhealthy and need to do something about it. So they hit the cardio… hard! Exercise is a stress on the body, therefore, people must WORK-IN before WORKING-OUT, so that their body is healthy internally and can then cope with the stress of exercise

The common method people undertake when attempting to achieve fat loss is to think that the more calories they burn the better. Hence, they run for as long as they can as hard as they can. However, frequent medium to difficult sustained efforts over a medium to long duration (aka “Chronic Cardio”) = over-stress, fatigue, burnout, injury, accelerated aging & increased disease risk.

Resistance training improves androgen (rejuvenation and repair) levels, FACT! Introducing resistance-based training about 3 times per week into your routine will help reduce the stress factor associated with long aerobic cardio training. If you must do Cardio then a better form of this would be to do energy system training (interval training for example).

#2. Triceps kickback: Although it is one of the most included and used exercises for the back of the arms the triceps kickback is a real time waster. The reason being that the triceps are only placed under stress through a small range of the total motion, meaning that the triceps are only contracting in the last 10-15% of the movement. Much better alternatives to create shapely arms are the cable triceps pushdowns or a decline bench French press.


#3. Donkey Kicks (or kneeling hip extensions): The donkey kick exercise should be considered an exercise that works core stability, in particular the Transversus Abdominis (TVA). The general mistake is to think that this exercise works the glutes. However, there is no resistance applied, so the glutes will not be overloaded sufficiently to cause significant “toning”. It’s like trying to tone the biceps by simply bending the arm at the elbow. Where as, the TVA is placed under considerable load, the weight of the moving leg, when performing its role of stabilising the lumber spine and pelvis. There are many better and much more functional exercises that will give you a lot more “bang for you butt” such as lunges, 1 leg squats and weighted glute bridges.




Part 2:

Last month I discussed the time wasters that are Chronic Cardio, Triceps Kickback and Donkey Kicks. I am now probably going to upset a number of you with the 4th exercise in the list, as these machines tend to be one of the most used, especially by women…


#4. The ABDuctor & ADDuctor machine: In my opinion these two machines are simply oversize paperweights taking up valuable space on the gym floor. The ADDuctor machine only works the short adductor muscles, which will actually result in a bulky upper inner thigh. Likewise, the ABDuctor machine fails to deliver its promise of toning the glutes. The actual muscles being worked by sitting in the abduction machine are the Piriformis and tensor fascia latae… I expect these are not the muscle you where hoping to tone. Furthermore, the adductor machine starts with your legs in a stretched position, making it easy to strain these inner thigh muscles.


These two isolated exercise machines don’t cause your body to burn much fuel, which will limit their effect on fat loss. It is much more effective, and safer, to work the inner and outer thighs with compound exercises. Side lunges, step-ups, Bulgarian squats, pile squats, for example.


#5. Front Raise: The anterior deltoids get plenty of work with pressing exercises, so there is rarely any need to do any additional work for them. Plus, like the triceps kickback, the muscle is only stressed during a small portion of the strength curve, reducing its effectiveness. Furthermore, one requires very good scapular/shoulder stability to avoid injury by over working the muscles that stabilise the shoulder girdle, instead of the anterior deltoid. Better exercises to focus on are the military press and incline bench press.


#6. The iPhone Curl: This is technically not an exercise but if you’re on your phone in the gym you are wasting time! You are at the gym to achieve a goal… socialise after your workout. Intensity is one of the most important components of your workout, getting distracted by your phone, resting too long means less results and taking up space when someone else could be exercising in your space.


Although any exercise you do in the gym has some benefit (and of course doing something is better than nothing), but these six exercises are on the “if I have nothing better to do than waste time list”. Train smarter by choosing the most effective and efficient exercises for your workouts this year and make 2015 the year of the “Lean Machine”.