It’s hard to get in shape when there is an overload of information. I'm a personal trainer, and I'm here to boil it all down for you. All you need to consider is your anatomy. Your muscles are designed to work in a specific way — some of them pull things toward you and some push things away; others rotate and contort — but they all have a specific and documented function. When you know these functions, you can get a great workout with minimal equipment in any location.
Knowledge is power. Simply knowing how to target each specific muscle group will allow you to bypass all of the marketing hype and get to what really works. So without further ado, here are the three exercises essential for an effective workout:
The push-up is one of the best exercises for working the specific muscles that push things away from your body, namely the chest, triceps (back of the arms), and front of the shoulders.
Don’t worry if you can’t do a full push-up at first; there are great variations, such as the assisted push-up, that will allow you to progress at your own pace. Also don’t worry about “bulking up.” Push-ups and other bodyweight exercises help develop a strong, lean, athletic physique.
The squat is another ancient exercise that commands massive respect in the fitness industry. In fact, most fitness experts would argue that it’s one of the best (if not the best) lower-body exercise in existence. Squatting is a major function of the human anatomy. The front and back of the thigh work along with the glutes to make this movement possible.
A squatting motion works the front of your thigh, the back of your thigh, and your glutes simultaneously. If you want a stronger, healthier, and better-looking lower body, the squat is an essential addition to an effective workout.
The row is the third component of an effective workout. The body is designed to push things away, but it’s also designed to do the opposite: pull things toward you.
Any time you pull something toward your body, you are using a specific set of muscles, namely your back, your biceps, and the rear of the shoulder. The fact that this exercise will create a fantastic-looking back and shoulder structure goes without saying, but it will also help your back health and aid in better posture.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment to perform rows with, you can use simple household items such as soup cans, or if you are more advanced, a backpack filled with books.
So you see, that “magical” workout is not really “magical” at all; it simply involves a deeper look at the science of anatomy. When you know how your body works, you are its master. You are in command of its shape and function. Try these out for a few weeks and aim to slowly increase your number of sets and repetitions. Be consistent with this program and watch your body change before your very eyes.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.