Way smarter: Triceps push-ups
Why? The push-up wins this round: It has a higher level of difficulty and utilizes more muscle groups. Plus, it's safer than the overhead extension, which puts elbow joints and wrists at risk for injury.
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Way smarter: Close-grip pull-ups
Why? The close-grip pull-up simultaneously strengthens your back, forearms, biceps and shoulders, whereas biceps curls work only, well, your biceps.
Way smarter: Push-ups
Why? Hands down, the push-up reigns supreme. The bench press puts stress on your wrists, while the push-up forces you to engage the muscles from your shoulders to your calves. Plus, you can progressively challenge yourself. Begin on your knees, work your way up to the toes and even try the one-legged version.
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Way smarter: Straight-leg reverse crunches
Why? Leg lifts can place too much pressure on the lower back. But reverse crunches force you to control and flex your glutes and work transverse abdominal muscles (beneath your surface abs). You're also less likely to stress injury-prone hip flexors.
Way smarter: Squats
Why? We love the squat! It's the do-anywhere exercise that uses gravity and your body weight to work the hips, core, quads and glutes. The leg press loses this round because it's not a move you can do naturally, so it puts your knee and hip joints at risk for injury.
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Way smarter: Arnold presses
Why? The press targets all three deltoid muscles and fine-tunes the smaller ones in between for sleek, sexy shoulders. The raise just doesn't work your shoulders in as much detail.
Way smarter: Lunges
Why? Step-ups can add additional impact on the knees. The lunge allows for more control (that means less potential for injury) and variety (try the basic lunge or a dynamic walking lunge). You're in charge of how far forward and how deep you go.
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Way smarter: Planks
Why? The quickest way to washboard abs involves tightening belly muscles and drawing in your waist. Unlike crunches, which target only surface abs, planks work your entire core. And they're safer: Endless crunches put pressure on the discs in your spine. And planks are faster, too!
Way smarter: Burpees
Why? Burpees are the go-to moves of most fitness trainers for head-to-toe toning because they work the core, glutes and major muscles in your arms and legs. They improve hip flexibility and torch more calories in less time (and with less effort!).
Also see: Plyometrics: Five power-building exercises to add to your workout
Way smarter: Hip raises
Why? Hip raises isolate both glutes at the same time. That means fewer reps but greater body benefits than one-sided fire hydrants. Hip raises also stabilize core muscle and improve hip flexibility, making them the perfect exercise to counter a desk job.
Way smarter: Stance jacks
Why? A stance jack is one of the more efficient ways to burn calories and tone your core, arms and legs. Because it's a controlled movement, it doesn't let you get sloppy when you add more reps.
Way smarter: Taking the stairs
Why? Little cheats on the elliptical, like holding the handlebars, mean you burn fewer calories. Going up the stairs quickly offers higher caloric burn and gets your heart pumping faster. It's usually better to use your own body weight (not a machine) to get moving.
What's your favourite move to blast calories at the gym?
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