Fitness Hacks For Men: 11 Scientifically Proven Hacks!
Muscles don’t just grow –you need to exercise to achieve the body you want. More than just a physical activity, there is a science behind getting the best results in the shortest amount of time.
With so many workouts you can choose from, it’s hard to create a list. To help you consider which workouts would fit in with your goals, here are four sets of scientifically-backed routines to target different muscle groups.
- Streamline Your Biceps Routine to Yield Better Results
When you start working out, the common goal is usually to have rock hard abs and attractive biceps. Given how important bicep appearances are, it’s not surprising why there are tons of workouts targeting this particular area in the body.
Due to the number of workouts designed for the biceps, it’s hard to know which ones will work for you. A study conducted by the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, had interesting findings as to the best workouts for the aforementioned muscle group.
Based on the results, here are the top recommendations for the best workouts to develop the best bicep muscles.
- Triangle Pushups
Otherwise known as the diamond pushups, this variation of the traditional push up also helps your triceps develop.
This pushup should be in your routine, not just because of the research above. Diamond pushups help build your upper pecs, and it is also easier on your body.
When you are working towards a beach perfect body, this pushup should be on your workout schedule. To do diamond pushups properly, here are some guidelines.
- Assume the pushup position
- Place your hands flat on the floor, thumbs should be inward and almost touching creating a triangle shape.
- Tuck your elbows close to your side as you lower your body two inches from the floor.
- Hold your position for a second.
- Push your body to the starting position
If doing the normal diamond pushup is too tough on your body, you can do it on your knees.
Kickbacks are perfect for those who want to see ridges on their triceps. This workout helps in making the arm muscles look toned and strong.
This workout is most suitable for beginners. This can serve as the base of more complicated workouts targeting the triceps.
You will need a low bench for this workout.
- Place a hand and a knee on the bench.
- Hold a dumbbell in your other hand at a 90-degree angle
- Bend forward at your waist.
- Extend the hand holding the dumbbell until it is a few inches above your back.
In this exercise, make sure you observe the proper form. Only the forearm should move, the upper arm from your shoulder to elbow must remain stationary at all times.
Another exercise that will require a low bench is the dip.
- Sit on the bench.
- Place hands on either side of your hip. Palms should rest on the bend but fingers should hang over the edge.
- Put your feet together, extend, and plant them firmly on the floor.
- Slowly move your buttocks off the bench while keeping your hands in place.
- Lower your hip as much as you can by bending the elbow backward.
In this exercise, your arms should be the one doing all the work. Do not sit on the bench, and don’t use your legs to complete each dip.
Dips also help develop your triceps while working almost every muscle in your upper body. Dips are considered to be on of the Close Kinetic Chain Exercise routines –this means you can see better results in less time.
When you are at the gym, the dip station is better than just a low bench. To do this exercise using gym equipment, follow these steps.
- Grab the handlebars at the dip station. Make sure your arms are straight, palms facing inwards.
- Lower your elbow until you are at a 90-degree angle.
- Make sure you tuck your elbows against your body.
- Move your body back to the original position.
You can perform one set of each exercise with 10 reps each. You can increase the number of sets after you have mastered the exercise.
- Ditch Plain Crunches for these Three Ab Workouts
Everyone desires to have six-pack abs. It’s not surprising why a lot of ab workouts are surfacing on the web.
Doing everything is never a good idea. Now, what does science have to say about this?
One research conducted at the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University compared 13 ab workouts to see which one is the most effective.
Another surprising finding in the study was this –the abdominal muscle moves as one. This means an ab workout will target both the upper and lower abdomen.
Based on this study focusing on abdominal muscles, these three abdominal workouts should be on your list.
- Bicycle Maneuver
The top workout to whip your abdominal muscles to shape is the bicycle maneuver a.k.a. the bicycle crunch. This exercise mimics the pedaling motion when you are riding the bicycle while lying down.
Ranking first as to rectus abdominis activity, and second in obliques, bicycle maneuver should be in your workout routine. To perform the exercise correctly, follow these steps.
- Lie down with your hands beside your head. Make sure your lower back is flat on the floor.
- Bring both knees up to a 90-degree angle while contracting your abs.
- Slowly extend your left leg while keeping it about 45 degrees above the mat.
- Touch your left elbow to your right knee.
- Switch legs.
- Touch your right elbow to your left knee.
Maintain even breathing during the duration of the exercise. Keep your back flat on the mat during the workout for maximum results.
- Captain’s Chair
The captain’s chair is another routine which made it to the top three workouts based on the aforementioned study. Spending some time on the tall, seatless chair could help tone those abs.
- Grip the handholds and press your lower back on the cushioned pad with your legs dangling below.
- Lift both knees towards your chest.
- Keep your movements controlled throughout the workout.
- Bring your knees down to your starting position.
While doing this workout, do not allow your shoulders to relax or your body will be in an uncomfortable position. Make sure you are lifting your knees above your hips to make the most of this exercise.
- Crunches on Exercise Ball
Coming in third on the overall ranking, crunches on an exercise ball is the best crunch workout based on this study. The traditional crunch ranked 10th both in obliques and rectus abdominis, vertical leg crunch and the reverse crunch performed better.
Here’s how to perform this workout.
- Place the ball on the floor
- Sit on the ball with both feet on the floor.
- Lie back on the exercise ball. Your torso and thigh should be parallel to the floor.
- Place your hands behind your head.
- Slowly tuck your chin towards your chest.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and exhale during the process.
- Inhale while returning to your original position.
If this crunch is too tough, you can spread your feet farther. This will help you maintain your balance.
For those who find this too easy, bringing the feet together could make this routine more challenging.
During the research, all 30 volunteers composed of both men and women did 10 to 12 repetitions of each workout. As recommended by lead researcher Peter Francis, Ph.D., it would be best to do five-minute exercise sessions for all three workouts.
- Exercise Your Way to Head-Turning Glutes with These Four Workouts
Working on your glutes or butt muscles is not just about vanity, it’s also about your overall health. Strengthening these muscles is a must since weak glutes could mean hip, knee or lower back problems.
Based on a study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, these four workouts targeting the butt muscles are the most effective.
- Front Plank with Hip Extension
Designed to improve hip stability and to reduce the strain on your knees, this exercise routine is also perfect for building strong butt muscles. Also considered as a core workout, this could also enhance the effect of your ab workouts.
To do this exercise, you can follow these steps.
- Start in the push up position with your feet hip-width apart.
- Come down to your forearms. Make sure your body is in a straight line from your ankles to your neck.
- Lift your left leg off the ground. Flex the leg to form a 90-degree angle.
- Extend your heels towards the ceiling by moving your hip together with the leg.
- Hold your position for a second.
- Return to your original position and hold for another second.
- Do the same for your right leg.
You can repeat this five to 10 times on each leg.
- Gluteal Squeeze
The second most effective workout for the butt muscles as identified in the study is the gluteal squeeze. There are different variations of this routine, the simplest one is the standing glute squeeze that you can perform by following these steps.
- Stand hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, toes pointing forward
- Keep your shoulders back and contract your abs
- Squeeze your glutes slowly.
- Hold your position for three seconds.
- Release your gluteal muscles.
- You can perform this exercise eight to 12 times.
Another variation of this routine is the seated gluteal squeeze. In this variation, you just need to follow the same steps but you are sitting upright with your feet planted on the floor.
Gluteal squeeze might be a simple routine but it plays an important role in strengthening your butt muscles.
- Side plank abduction
Another plank workout that made it into the top four most effective butt workouts is the side plank abduction. Strengthening the strength of the hip abductor is especially important for athletes and runners.
- Lie down on your side on a mat.
- Put your feet together and place your forearm directly below your shoulder.
- Place the other hand on your hip.
- Raise your hips and contract your core.
- Make sure your body is in a straight line from head to feet
- Hold your position.
- Lift the upper leg up and down while maintaining your balance.
- Repeat the exercise on the other side.
The length of time you have to hold your position will depend on your level. Novices can usually do the plank for 15 seconds but on average, you can hold it for 30 minutes.
If you want to challenge yourself, you can increase the length of time for holding your position by a minute. Start with one minute, and then proceed to two, three, and four minutes.
When doing this exercise, do not let your hips sag. Your core will also work harder when you do this routine correctly.
- Single leg squat
Otherwise known as the one-legged squat, this exercise routine is quite popular with runners. This workout variation is similar to the squat but you will only use one leg at a time.
To perform this workout, you need to follow these steps.
- Stand on one leg.
- Extend your arms to help your balance.
- Lower yourself down to a squat position while keeping the other leg extended straight out.
- Hold your position for about five seconds.
- Assume your starting position.
- Strengthen Your Leg Muscles
Your legs should never be left out when you are working your way towards a fabulous body. Proportions matter and weak legs will not be flattering even if you have toned shoulder and rock hard abs.
Strengthening the leg muscles is necessary whether you are just a regular bodybuilding bloke or an athlete. To make your leg workouts more effective, here are suggested workouts based on scientific studies.
- Parallel Squats
Speed strength and maximal strength are vital considerations in an athlete’s exercise routine. Efficiency is necessary for choosing your exercise routines.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning pitted squat training and leg press workouts against each other. Based on the eight-week trial conducted on 78 students, squat training was more effective and efficient in improving performance.
Those who were part of the study performed the parallel squats. Here are the steps on how to do this workout correctly.
- Set up a barbell at the same height as your collar bone.
- Place the bar between the rear shoulder and the traps after stepping under the bar.
- Grab the bar, palms facing forward, elbows pointing towards the floor.
- Stand up slowly to unrack the bar once you are in position.
- Take one step back with one leg followed by the other one.
- Stand up straight, upper back tight, chest straight up. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with toes pointing out at a 30-degree angle.
- Inhale and slowly squat down until you reach below the parallel.
- Extend your legs and assume your original position.
For those who can’t do this exercise yet, mastering the squat is advised.
While there have been a lot of research on the science behind popular workouts, it’s worth noting that no two bodies are alike. The workouts recommended here are based on the mean scores of the test groups, and it’s possible that one or two of these will not work for you.
Your body is your own. You will be the perfect judge if a particular routine works for you or not.
Needless to say, if you are looking for the most effective workouts, try integrating the suggested workouts on your routine. You can always tailor fit these suggestions to suit your current exercise plan and yield better results.
Hi, my name is Jade Hong, founder of HiGlamour.com. Having worked for a large nutraceutical company in Canada for years, I became well-versed on the relevant subjects and have produced many articles on health, beauty and wellness since. Visit http://higlamour.com/sp/health-and-fitness/ for more information.