September 3, 2017 8:00 am

8 exercises personal trainers do on the daily

Goodbye crunches! Personal trainers share the eight exercises they do every day.

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Sometimes finding the best exercise routine can be a little daunting.

There are options of styles, classes and professionals available across the country, and while personal training is often the most practical plan, it can get a little pricey.

And exercise trends, like any trends, are also changing. According to Health magazine, some of the biggest fitness trends of 2017 include body weight training, HIIT and group training.

READ MORE: 8 no-equipment exercises you’re probably doing wrong

Below, we asked four Canadian personal trainers to share some of their favourite exercises and how they benefit our bodies overall. And before you try any of these, consult with a trainer on proper form to avoid any injuries.

Bench burpee with a push-up

bench push-up The expert: Alistair Hopper of Flex Fitness in Winnipeg

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How to do it: Facing a bench or a sofa at home, start by standing close to it and jumping in the air. When you land, go down into a push-up position with your hands on the bench (if you are using a sofa, make sure it doesn’t slide), and feet on the ground behind you. Do a full push-up and jump forward back into the standing position. If you want to make things more challenging, swap out the bench and use the floor instead.
Why it works: This exercise is a great full-body exercise and includes both a cardiovascular and strength training component.

Leg lift cross crunch

The expert: Kalev Jaaguste of Kalev Fitness Solutions in Vancouver
How to do it: On your back, keep one leg extended straight just off the floor, the other knee bent with hands at temples. Lift the straight leg up (like a leg lift), and bring the opposite elbow across to touch the knee in a crunch motion, keeping your hands at the temple.
Why it works: This exercise works a number of muscles in your core and anterior flexor chain, and it is more dynamic than a regular crunch or leg lift.

Pledge plank

plank

The expert: Amanda Thebe of Fit & Chips of Toronto
How to do it: Start in a straight-arm plank position with the body in a straight line from your ankles to your head. Driving your supporting hand into the floor, take your other hand to the opposite shoulder, like a shoulder tap. Keep hips perfectly still and brace the core, creating a tension throughout the body. To make this a little easier, try placing the feet a little wider and the arms narrower, this will keep you stable.
Why it works: Adding dynamic movement that requires you to create extra stability throughout your core and glutes is the best way to progress a plank. By keep your hips still during the movement, activating all those smaller muscle groups that can atrophy with age.

READ MORE: Ottawa researchers target ‘exercise’ protein to help people with right-side heart failure

Dumbbell squat into bicep curl and shoulder press

dumbbell squat The expert: Alistair Hopper of Flex Fitness in Winnipeg
How to do it: Stand feet hip-width apart and squat down like you are going to sit in a chair. Make sure the knees don’t go past the toes, and keep the dumbbells hanging to your sides with your head up and core tight. As you stand up from the squat, exhale and do a bicep curl with the dumbbells into a shoulder press over your head.
Why it works: This exercise focuses on improving leg, core, biceps and shoulder strength, as well as strengehtning your balance.

Body weight squats

best exercises personal trainers The expert: Matt Mombourquette of One Up Fitness in Halifax
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward. Arch your back, pull your shoulders back, raise your chest and look straight ahead. Slowly start to bend your knees and stick your bottom out behind you, as though you were going to sit in a chair. Ensure that you keep your knees behind the vertical plane of your toes, otherwise you risk straining your them. Continue squatting until you feel as though you can no longer hold the arch in your lower back and/or you reach a 90-degree angle with your knees. Pause for two seconds and then slowly start to press yourself back to a straight leg position. During this time, try to press the majority of the force through your heels and attempt to squeeze your buttocks muscles.
Why it works: For those who don’t have access to equipment, this is a great alternative for a leg press. It addresses all of the musculature of the lower body — hips, buttocks, thighs and even calves. It is also a great mobility exercise for hips and knees.

WATCH: Are you using your exercise equipment properly?

Lunge jumps

The expert: Kalev Jaaguste of Kalev Fitness Solutions in Vancouver
How to do it: Start in the lunge position with one knee almost touching the floor (left leg in front), driving your arms into the air as you extend up launching yourself into the air. While in mid-air, switch leg positions (right leg in front) and then land into the lunge position cushioning your landing.
Why it works: This exercises works out a number of lower body muscle and core, while challenging your balance.

Kettlebell deadlifts

The expert: Amanda Thebe of Fit & Chips of Toronto
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, with a slight bend in your knees, and keep your back straight and core braced. Start to take your hips back as though they were on a train track, feeling length along the back of your hamstrings. Take hold of a moderate to heavy kettlebell placed between your feet on the floor. Grip the handle tightly and imagine breaking the handle in half to create engagement of the lats, which will, in turn, help support your lower back. With a driving dynamic movement, push the hips forward so you end up in a tall standing position, actively engage your glutes at the top of the movement. For the duration of the exercise ensure your arms are straight but that they are not too relaxed, actively hold onto the kettlebell. When looking down at your shins, they should be at a 90-degree angle to the floor at all times.
Why it works: This is a hip hinge exercise should not be confused with a squat. Start with a lighter weighted kettlebell until you have mastered this movement. The purpose of the exercise is to activate both the glutes and hamstrings.

READ MORE: 5 stretches to do after exercise

Compound row

The expert: Matt Mombourquette of One Up Fitness in Halifax
How to do it: This will depend on the equipment you have, however the basic idea is to squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the handles towards your chest. Keep your back straight, chest proud and head and neck in a neutral position. Preferably, the handles will be in a slightly pronated position (hands are turned slightly towards the floor), and your elbows stick out to your sides at roughly a 35- to 40-degree angle. You should keep your back straight and motionless during the set to ensure you don’t strain your lumbar muscles. This is not a “rowing exercise” as you see in the cardio section of the gym and therefore should not be performed as such. This is best performed in as slow a manner as possible to ensure safety and increase the challenge. It is also important to breathe freely and consistently. Aim for right to 10 repetitions and build up to training yourself to muscle failure (not being able to complete the final attempted repetition).
Why it works: This exercise machine is available at almost all gyms, so it’s easy to find. The exercise addresses all of the major muscle groups in your back, rear and middle shoulders, biceps, forearms and grip strength.

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

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