By The Editors
Photos Of Sarah Massaro By Arsenik Studios Inc.
While Einstein may have blessed man (and woman!) kind with a greater understanding of the fabric of the universe, calling him a groundbreaking exercise expert might be a stretch. Still, a quote that is accredited to him is often spouted in the fitness industry. You may have heard this gem: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Trainers everywhere have made it their personal maxim, and for good reason.
Dean Hodgkin, co-author of Better Body Workouts for Women and consultant to the UK’s award-winning spa Ragdale Hall, stands by that statement as it relates to physical development. “It’s important to think of different ways to target your muscles by stepping outside of simple up-down motions,” he says, noting that moving through more than one plane, like you do in the crossover lunge and Spiderman push-up, will lead to rounded muscular development and a reduced risk of injury.
But even slight alterations to your favourite moves can make a big difference. Take the feet-elevated push-up: by having your feet higher than your head, your centre of gravity changes, altering which muscles you hit. “The emphasis is on the strengthening of the upper chest and pectoral muscles,” explains Stefanie Kirchner, a holistic health practitioner and co-author of Total Knockout Fitness. “This type of push-up also activates the shoulder muscles and provides a more intense workout for the biceps.”
The thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to change all of your workout variables — reps, sets, exercises, length — with every single workout. One simple way to keep your body on its “toes” is to alter one variable each time you hit the gym floor — and these tweaks are an easy way to do that. Sub one for the classic move, and you’ve immediately provided your body with a new challenge.