5 Best Ways to Improve Workout Performance, According to Professional Trainers

Want to maximize your gains? Then keep reading

Move, sweat, eat, repeat makes for a decent training plan up to a point. But if you want to maximize your fitness gains, eventually you need to train smarter: smarter eating, smarter moving, smarter recovering.

But with the avalanche of fitness information available to the average guy these days, it’s not always clear what exactly makes for smart training, and what makes for last year’s forgotten fitness fad.

So we’ve sorted it out for you.

Here are five sure-fire ways to hasten your progress—whether you’re looking to gain muscle, lose fat, or build never-fade endurance:

1. Keep It Compound.

Isolating muscles—with single-joint exercises such as curls and triceps extensions—may pump up your muscles (and your ego) temporarily. But it won’t build the functional strength you need for maximum athletic performance. To amp up real-world strength, compound exercises—those that use at least two joints at once—should form the core of your workout program.

Some examples: deadlifts, squats, presses, rows, chin-ups, and lunges. All six exercises mimic movements that crop up frequently in sports while burning fat and providing a cardio challenge as well. So step away from the curl bar—and up to the squat rack.

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