Getting Beyond Routine Workout Routines

Estimated Time to Read: 2 minutes

Looking for workout routines is the first step in building a healthy exercise regimen. Most of the time people just try and make up a routine from the few exercises they know, and the results are typically either non-existent or are unwanted. Without knowing what muscles do what or how the body works, an exercise routine can become like trying to build a skyscraper by starting with the top.

For example, there’s a common misconception that working out a specific area of the body will reduce fat in that area. Because of this, you have a lot of women and men including sit-ups in their workout routines to reduce fat on their stomach. This will actually result in their belly looking larger.

This is because fat isn’t connected to specific muscles. Depending on the individual, fat is distributed to certain centers around the body (some people grow larger in their stomach while others carry fat on their thighs), and these centers of fat are accessed for fuel when the body encounters a need to burn more energy than it’s used to. Workout routines that don’t include some form of cardio don’t burn fat, so those sit-ups are building up abdominal muscle while not reducing fat. Eventually, those huge abs just sit under the table of fat, only pushing out the fat further, resulting in what is more commonly known as a “gut.”

This isn’t to say that sit-ups in workout routines don’t reduce fat. But the amount of fat burned doing sit ups is almost negligible compared to a brisk jog, because jogging uses more muscle groups (your legs, arms, diaphragm, heart, back, and abs), so it requires more energy.

Something else to consider when building workout routines is how often you use free weights, like dumbbells, in comparison to using machines. The difference between the two is that machines often allow for more weight to be lifted during specific movements because they allow for focus on particular muscles, giving attention to very specific parts. Exercises that use free weights require the use of stabilizer muscles, so the weight is often spread out to a wider range of smaller muscles, making it difficult to push or pull the same amount of weight as if you were using a machine.

While workout routines using a machine allow for directed muscle growth, using particular muscles and pushing them to their maximum ability, free weights often tone muscles with a more natural look because the benefits are spread evenly across muscles that would be used in everyday activity. Depending on what kind of look an athlete is after, the type of exercise and the type of movement becomes very important.

While the Internet is a great resource for discovering new techniques and ideas for developing a stronger, leaner, or all around healthier body, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how the body reacts to exercise. Even having a single consultation with a fitness trainer in the basics of exercise can do wonders for an individual’s understanding and allow him or her to create workout routines that aren’t based on myth or misunderstanding.

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