Ever wonder what you could learn from the other gender about working out and staying healthy? AskMen gives us some great advice for men, and what they can take away from women’s normal routines!
Alright, gents. Some of us may be physically stronger – particularly in the upper body – than women, thanks to the testosterone-induced muscle mass that’s an inherent part of our DNA, but it’s certainly not a prerequisite to knowing your way around the gym. In fact, many men can learn a thing or two from the ladies when it comes to exercising in general. Just ask Lindsey Clayton, an NYC-based certified group fitness instructor and run coach, who has seen her fair share of meatheads that may look the part (from the waist up, at least), but are not optimizing the time and effort they’re putting into a workout session.
We chatted with the PUMA-sponsored athlete, co-founder of Brave Body Project, and founding digital instructor for Barry’s X, to get her top exercising tips that women have seemingly mastered and men should consider incorporating into their routines ASAP. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Don’t Skip Your Warm-Up
“A proper warmup is crucial to avoid injury and perform at a high level,” says Clayton. “Every time you work out or head out for a run, you should do a 5-10-minute dynamic warm-up.”
“A dynamic warm-up is a series of movements designed to increase body temperature, activate the nervous system, increase range of motion, and correct limitations,” she adds.
These exercises may include jumping rope, doing lunges with a twist, hip circles, and arm swings. If you’re still on the fence about the benefits of loosening up your muscles and tendons, simply follow the science. Many studies have proven that these simple movements can reduce the risk of hurting yourself.
2. Mobility Is Your Friend
Time is of the essence for many of us and, as a result, you may have developed a habit of knocking out a bunch of exercises without really focusing on form or range of motion. This, like a lack of warm-up, can also lead to potentially serious injury.
“I can’t tell you how many times I see guys walk into my Barry’s class, hop on a treadmill, sprint at a 12.5 [mph] in the first five minutes of class, and then, when it comes time to do the strength work, they can’t do a squat without lifting their heels from the ground!” says Clayton. “So many people are lacking in the mobility department. It’s important to work on it so you’re able to properly execute exercises without compromising form. Bad form is the easiest road to injury.”
Mobility also leads to flexibility, which makes exercising more fluid. Many of the aforementioned dynamic exercises can assist in achieving this, but adopting a deep stretching routine both in the morning and right before bed, is ideal. Men should also consider signing up for yoga classes that will encourage the body to feel less tight.
3. Definitely Don’t Skip Leg Day
You’ve heard the expression “chicken legs” to describe guys who focus entirely on their upper bodies while neglecting the bottom half, resulting in legs that appear as if they can barely support the weight that’s on top of them. This look is certainly not ideal, especially if you are trying to achieve a balanced physique.
“90 percent of the people in my class on Lower Body Day at Barry’s are women,” reveals Clayton. “Why? Leg day should be as important as any other day in your fitness calendar.”
“Your legs and glutes are some of the largest muscles in your body and it’s important that they get the attention they deserve,” she continues. “Lower body strength helps with core strength, reduces joint pain, alleviates lower back pain, and plays a crucial role in achieving a balanced, healthy body.”
Studies also show that leg exercise is critical to brain and nervous system health, which means men should strongly consider making the squat rack a priority and focus less on the bicep curls.
4. Be a Proud Beginner
Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey and it’s natural to want to feel pride in everything that you do. But self-awareness is key in achieving realistic athletic goals.
“Accept the fact that you don’t know everything and that’s OK!” says Clayton. “ If you don’t know how to do a certain exercise at the gym, don’t try to be a hero. Ask someone!”
“Hire a personal trainer or reach out to a person who is certified to help you,” she recommends. “Learning how your body works and knowing the ‘why’ behind the exercises you’re doing will help you connect your mind and your body. This way you’re not flying through workouts with bad form, getting injured, and wasting your time and your money. Check your ego and hire a professional to help you go from beginner to badass.”
While it may be difficult to make any type of alteration to your workout routine, one thing’s for certain: Routine can actually lead to plateauing, so a bit of change is always a good thing. Grab a girlfriend, wife, friend, or sister and have them walk you through the exercises they love. You’ll probably learn something along the way, the first being that you’ve found yourself a fantastic new gym buddy who may know a little more than you do.
You Might Also Dig:
AskMen may get paid if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. To find out more, please read our complete