The Days of Being a Gym Rat Are Over

Gym rat t-shirtThe old way of thinking was something like this: in order for your workouts to be effective you need to spend hours in the gym ‘pumping iron’ with all the other gym rats while trying to feel comfortable amongst all the chatter. (“Fuggedaboutit, this girl last night was so hot for me that…” and one can imagine where the conversation leads from there. How many times I’ve heard conversations like that on the gym floor, I cannot count. Ah, the intelligence that exudes from the gym floor!)

Anyway, my point is that working out doesn’t have to be that painful (both in the amount of time spent doing it and the conversations you are subjected to overhearing if your iPod goes dead.) That was old school. The new, multi-tasking way to go about working out is to do combination movements. (Let’s face it, if you’re not multi-tasking these days then you’ve completely opted out of the technological era and are sitting at home with your Commodore 64, playing John Denver on your 8-track player and perusing a Gimbles catalog.)

So what is a combination movement? It’s a multi-joint movement. For example, instead of standing (or sitting) and doing a bicep curl over and over, you add an additional move to it, like a lunge. Or if you’re doing a squat, hold a medicine ball with both hands and push the weight out as you squat. The point is to get more out of your movements so you’re not spending hours at the gym.

Haven’t we all heard someone say “I’m doing legs today”, and then they go on the Smith machine for 1 set and then stand around and talk for 5 minutes before going in for set #2. No wonder they’re there for hours. Waste of time. And who has the luxury of so much time?Fuggedaboutit. Combination movements help increase your caloric burn plus work more muscles at once; and most importantly, they get you out of the gym faster!

Here are some moves you can add to your workouts that will help in making your time spent working out much more efficient:

Reverse lunge with a shoulder press
Stand with feet hip-width apart, shoulders pressed back and down with arms out to the sides parallel to the ground with elbows bent 90 degrees, a weight in each hand. Step right leg back about 2 feet and lower body, bending forward knee until it gets to 90 degrees. At the same time, lift arms up, straightening them overhead. Slowly come back to starting position by stepping right leg forward and lowering arms.

Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position with your hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back, while simultaneously lowering yourself into a push up. Immediately return your feet to the squat position, while simultaneously pushing up with your arms. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position with your arms overhead (you can also clap your hands above your head at the peak of your jump if you’re feeling awesome).

Table Tuck
Start on floor on all fours (hands under shoulders, knees under hips), holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other. To make it easier, do it without the dumbbells. Bring right elbow and left knee toward each other underneath belly. Quickly extend right arm forward and left leg directly behind you so that they are parallel to the floor. Hold for a count of 2 and then repeat move without dropping your arm or leg to the floor.

Anne Marie Costanzo is a nationally certified personal trainer and owner of Little Black Dress Personal Training. She can be reached at or (914) 841-1121.

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About the Author: Anne Marie Constanzo