Hitting the gym for a great summer physique? Taylor Studniski offers a look at her favorite exercises and gym options for the major muscle groups.
Summer fitness goals are always worthy, but the heat can take the steam right out of the best intentions and workout plans. When the mercury rises, Taylor Studniski, a fitness enthusiast, takes her workout to the gym to ensure only a safe sweat is achieved while gaining and maintaining an enviable summer body.
While most gyms feature a wide assortment of highly specialized machines, there is no need to jump in head first with a machine for each muscle. Instead, start with the basics and add on weight using the dumbbells, free weights, kettlebells and other equipment on hand in the gym. As the routine evolves, add on a machine or two when ready and mix up strength training with cardio to maximize fat burn and muscle tone.
Taylor Studniski breaks down top moves
For a fun twist on sets, Taylor Studniski recommends switching up moves for the same muscle group across a workout. When time is limited, this technique can also ensure more individual muscles are worked in a tight timeframe.
It is easy to kick off a squat routine featuring a basic squat, a plié squat and a closed leg squat. Other variations that can be incorporated into three sets are a closed leg squat, single-leg squats and weighted squats.
For an additional challenge at the gym, use a step to add elevation on one leg for half of a set or use a Bosu to create a slightly unstable surface and activate more muscle. As time goes on, standard gym equipment such as the leg press or a cable machine can help target the glutes with heavier weight and more targeted moves.
Lunges and Lifts
After the glutes, it’s time to zero in on the quadriceps and hamstrings. Lunges are awesome for the thighs, and three variations easily incorporated in sets of 12 or 15 are the classic backward lunge, a forward lunge and a side lunge. When any exercise gets too easy, adding on a few reps is OK but increasing weight is best.
As with squats, the use of a step or Bosu can elevate lunges to the next level by shifting more of your body weight to the load-bearing leg. When equipment starts to feel appealing, a leg extension machine is ideal for the quadriceps, according to Taylor Studniski.
For the hamstrings, consider a series of deadlifts. Start with two legs and then switch to one-leg deadlifts to up the ante.
For the arms, consider a dumbbell routine that incorporates traditional bicep curls, hammer bicep curls, one-arm rows, tricep kickbacks, chest flys and the overhead press. A solid push-up series, such as one incorporating traditional push-ups and tricep push-ups is also key.
The gym provides a great opportunity to navigate weight increases and use benches and support equipment to help promote safe lifting, per Taylor Studniski.
When using a Bosu and step for various strength routines, the abdominals are already in play. However, it is still a good idea to target the region with specific moves a few times per week.
Basic crunches, bicycles and planks are always solid options, but Taylor Studniski also recommends taking in any specific training sessions at the gym or trying new options like a Pilates class or boot camp to keep the muscles challenged and workouts fun.