It’s one of those hot-button buzz words in the world of fitness.
While I do think trainers tend to go overboard in their usage of this word, I must say there is some truth to ensuring your workouts include functional movement for complete efficacy.
When we talk about being functional in terms of exercise, it simply means mimicking movement patterns in your everyday life. The big key here is that your core should be involved in just about every movement … because, in real life, your core is constantly being activated.
That’s why it’s called the core ;-)
In the fitness world, the biggest culprit against functional movement is found in the machines. They may seem like a great idea, but the fixed range of motion from many of these pieces of equipment don’t do you (or your core) any favors.
Want to be able to lost a ton of fat, build a super-sexy body and feel amazing?
Well today, I have 6 simple exercise substitutions you need to make right now in order to improve your movement patterns and really boost that fat burning potential.
6 Exercise Substitutions for Faster Fat Loss
Swap THIS => For THIS
Chest Press Machines => Push Ups
The push up is often overlooked, yet should be a staple in everyone’s training program. The core is engaged throughout the movement, which also provides an amazing stimulus for the entire upper body.
Can’t do a full push up? No worries. Start with your hands at an incline – like the back of a couch or even with your hands against a wall.
On the flip side, if you can crank out 30-40 push ups without rest, it’s time to up the difficulty. Challenge yourself by raising your feet (decline pushups), or even suspending your feet in an apparatus like the TRX.
Incline Leg Press => Squats
Bros at the gym love the leg press machine because you can move a whole lot of weight at once and really impress the ladiez. As for functionality, this machine puts a terrible amount of unnecessary force on your lower back.
Remove this movement altogether and learn to squat effectively.
Start small by literally sitting back onto a box or a chair … work your way up to bodyweight … then add some weight with a dumbbell via the goblet squat.
Work to improve your strength, stability and your core and then eventually try to work up to the almighty barbell squat.
Glute machine => Step Ups
Want a sexy booty? Well here’s the deal: you actually don’t need the crazy-looking glute machine to get there.
Focus on movements like step ups or even movements like lateral lunges and deep squats to really build that bubble butt. The bonus in skipping the machine in favor of these movements comes from the activation of your core, oh … and taking the stairs will become a whole lot easier, too ;-)
Leg Extension Machine => Split Squats
This one sounds right. Leg extensions really target those quads and create legs the size of boulders. But just like its cousin, the leg press machine, the leg extension machine is totally unnatural and can wreak havoc on your joints.
Replace that with split squats, or stationary lunges Why? It targets everything: quads, hamstrings and glutes … all in one move.
Once you get this basic movement pattern down, its time to graduate on to tougher variations like the reverse lunge and the Bulgarian split squat.
Bicep curls => Chin ups
Curls are another one of those “I really want to try and impress the chicks at the gym so I’m going to pound out some heavy weight” exercises.
I get it, who wouldn’t want to have a massive set of chiseled guns to show off come beach season, right?
Well, we can get there in a more effective way. Swap out the mainstay – which only works one muscle group – for more of a compound move instead: enter the chin up.
The entire upper body is taxed here, not just the biceps.
Need some help getting started? Utilize resistance bands as assistance until you are comfortable with your own weight.
Elliptical/Treadmill Intervals => Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT)
Hands down, when it comes to burning fat, the most effective way to do so is by ditching the long, slow, boring cardio for intervals. If you’ve made that leap, congratulations. You are one step closer to being super awesome.
But as a nice change-of-pace for even more fat burning potential, swap out one interval season per week for a round of Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT).
MRT combines big, complex movements (using resistance) with incomplete recovery, which translates to a physiological response similar to interval training.
There are endless options at your disposal here, including weights, kettlebells or even just bodyweight for resistance.
Here is a tough MRT circuit that I shared with clients in my online coaching program.
Perform the following for 4-5 rounds, with no rest between exercise. Rest for 30-45 seconds at the end of each round before repeating.
DB Push-Press x 10
Push-ups x 10
DB Goblet Squats x 10
Reverse Lunges x 10/side
Try this quick workout today and definitely start swapping out those nasty and inefficient machines for bigger, better, full-body movements.
This is going to take your training to a new level of awesome.