5 exercise swaps for faster toning
High intensity interval training is where it’s at in the world of fitness – better results, in less time. It’s a no brainer right?
So, what’s all the fuss about? F45 (short for Functional 45) is a cardio and strength training circuit, with exercises that spike your heart rate for 30-40 seconds at a time, with 10-20 second rest periods, for 45 minutes. Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?
Michael Mischefski of F45 South Melbourne, says the reason F45 is proving so popular is because it’s fast, efficient, and gets results.
“For 45 minutes you don’t have to think about what workout to do. Every day is different – there are never two workouts the same. F45 is designed so you can train six days a week knowing every day will be different.”
It’s proving a hit with gym junkies bored with their routines and not seeing results, says Michael:
“We’re seeing physical changes within a week, females think they’re not strong bet when pushed they’re shown how much their strength can increase.”
- Workout at F45 for free on Bodypass
Like the sound of more muscle in less time? Here are Michael’s tips for five exercises you can swap for faster toning:
1. Skip instead of running
Skipping incorporates the entire body – your core, glutes, back and leg all have to stabilise, contract and relax constantly so your muscles are working a lot more efficiently and creating neuro muscular pathways from your brain to your muscles, which helps increase blood flow to increase muscle fibres, whereas most workouts and exercises use the same muscle fibres over and over.
2. Dead lift instead of machine based leg weights
Machine based leg weights usually involve sitting down, so your core isn’t activated, which restricts movement to a range of motions, but when you do deadlifts you have to go from full stretch to full contraction, and your core has to activate or you collapse in a heap.
Dead lifts can be performed with bar bell, dumb bell, kettle bells or sand bag. Bend over and hold the piece of equipment, stand with your knees behind the bar and treat your hips like a drawer, moving them backwards and forwards not up and down as you would when you squat. Grab hold of weight, squeeze your shoulder blades together, push your hips forward and that will drive your shoulders towards the roof. Standing into an upright position making sure you’re crunching your abs and not stretching them.
3. Push up instead of bench press
Most people bench press badly or don’t do full range. Push-ups are a resistance and cardio exercise rolled into one, which helps sculpt, tone and lose body fat more quickly. And it doesn’t matter what level you are, whether you’re on your feet or your knees.
Start lying completely flat on the ground, bring your hands into your armpit – this will ensure you are predominantly chest in triceps not shoulders, for the movement. Once you’ve established your hand position, lift your hips lightly off the floor then use your hips and arms to your push chest and body off the ground. Keep your abs engaged on and don’t arch your back – this is better for toning because it increases power and endurance and enables you to do more repetitions more effectively, meaning more output and more muscle.
4. Squat jumps instead of calf raises
Squat jumps incorporate your lower and upper body, activates your core and accelerates your heart rate so you’re improving power and cardio endurance at the same time.
You want to do a full range squat, shifting into your pelvis not your heels – this tells your hamstrings to lengthen and prevent you from getting power out of them when you want to jump. Every time you increase your force against gravity the last thing to leave the floor should be your toes, which stretches your calves forcing them to generate more power and range. Stabilising without collapsing when you land forces your calves to contract and relax, and following through with a squat helps activate abs and glutes so you don’t fall over back wards.
5. Pull ups instead of lat pull downs
This explosive movement activates all your muscles and resistance against gravity gives more toning too.
The best way to learn to do pull ups is using a resistance band because it uses every muscle you’ve got – calves, abs, glutes, quads. Stretching through your toes will activate your calves and crunching your abs will initiate your body’s natural response to improve explosive power. Because it’s an explosive based movement this isn’t one you should knock yourself out trying to do for long periods of time. Putting as much effort in as you can as you contract, for a shorter period will increase power by 10%. Even when you do 2 or 3 heart rate goes through the roof.
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