Sometimes, one direction or a quick piece of advice can totally change the course of your workout. We’ve tapped into some of the most respected and sought-after celebrity trainers for those surprising tips and tricks you don’t hear at the gym every day. From proper technique to making your workouts support weight-loss goals, take their expert advice to heart to see the results you’re after.
— Additional reporting by Leta Shy, Michele Foley, and Susi May
Stop Praying in Plank
While there’s nothing wrong with doing a modified version of traditional plank, celebrity trainer Teddy Bass sees many women clasping their hands into a fist, or “prayer mode,” while balancing on their forearms, which isn’t good for achieving great posture like his longtime client Cameron Diaz.
The reason? Locking your hands into a fist causes the upper back to round and the shoulders to hunch in, when ideally, you want to stay open and flat with the shoulders stacked directly over the elbows. Heed Teddy’s advice in order to make the most out of this common exercise and achieve that long, lean physique you’re going for.
Add Weights to Ab Work
According to celeb trainer Gunnar Peterson, the secret to awesome abs is “working consistently, working in different planes of motion, and adding weights to your abdominal work.” Adding that extra resistance will help your body find that extra edge and make “easy” strength-training moves feel a lot tougher and more effective.
Challenge yourself with these ab exercises that utilize either a medicine ball or set of dumbbells for extra resistance.
Two Backside Exercises For Every Frontside Move
Celebrity and professional-athlete trainer Todd Durkin has seen his fair share of sports-related injuries that (unfortunately) take clients out of commission. To prevent these types of setbacks, Todd recommends his clients counter classic moves with back-strengthening moves in a 2:1 ratio — “for every frontside exercise you do, you should do two backside exercises” in order to keep the entire body strong and prevent muscle imbalances.
The next time you’re at the gym, try incorporating two back-strengthening exercises for every traditional move that works the front of your body. When you’re not dealing with pain or pressure from muscle imbalances, you’ll have Todd to thank.
Take 10,000 Steps a Day
For Harley Pasternak, it’s not just about the hours at the gym. He wants to see his clients leading an active lifestyle all the time by committing to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Harley says this is a realistic number as long as you’re doing things like taking the stairs and parking farther away in the parking lot. “It all adds up,” he says.
According to Harley, “People who are more active throughout the day are actually leaner, healthier, fitter, and live longer than those who are sedentary throughout the day and then just do an hour Spin class three or four days a week.”
Start recording how much you’re walking every day with one of our favorite fitness gadgets that track your stats. It’s just another way to make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to reach your goals.
Three Miles or 30 Minutes Every Day
According to Pilates trainer Kit Rich, there was one tip she followed on her personal weight-loss journey that made the process much more manageable. Kit’s mantra — “three miles or 30 minutes every day” — is what helped her finally break free from yo-yo diets and weight fluctuations.
Her rule is easy to follow: run, walk, or hike your way to three miles a day, or do a 30-minute workout instead. “Anything extreme is not long-lasting,” she says. And we couldn’t agree with her sentiment more.