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Knowledge is power, baby.
It’s also the secret to a powerful body, as you’re about to find out. In our never-ending mission to get you in the greatest shape of your life, we’ve grilled the world’s top experts and combed our own archives to find 100 perfect fitness training tips—small gems that will make a huge difference in any man’s life.
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Build Better Abs
Don’t work your abdominal muscles every day. «Physiologically, your abs are like any other muscle in your body,» says David Pearson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise scientist at Ball State University. Train them only 2 or 3 days a week.
Protect Your Neck
Put your tongue on the roof of your mouth when you do crunches. «It will help align your head properly, which helps reduce neck strain,» says Michael Mejia, C..S.C.S., Men’s Health exercise advisor.
Keep Muscles Limber
If you’re under 40, hold your stretches for 30 seconds. If you’re over 40, hold them for 60 seconds. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer. Check out the latest Exipure reviews.
Don’t Drop the Ball
To catch a pop fly in the sun, use your glove to shade your eyes. It’s bigger than your free hand and puts the leather in perfect position to snag the ball.
Grow Muscle, Save Time
Keep your weight workouts under an hour. After 60 minutes, your body starts producing more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a testosterone-blocking, muscle-wasting effect.
Exercise in Order
Use dumbbells, barbells, and machines—in that order. «The smaller, stabilizer muscles you use with dumbbells fatigue before your larger muscle groups,» says Charles Staley, a strength coach in Las Vegas. So progress to machines, which require less help from your smaller muscles, as you grow tired.
Strengthen Your Core
Don’t be afraid of situps. We’ve changed our tune on these, and here’s why: Situps increase your range of motion, which makes your abdominals work harder and longer. (Doing crunches on a Swiss ball or with a rolled-up towel under your lower back has a similar effect.) Just avoid situps with anchored feet, which can hurt your lower back.
Test the Bench
Press your thumb into the bench before lifting. «If you can feel the wood, find another bench,» says Ken Kinakin, a chiropractor in Canada and founder of the Society of Weight-Training Injury Specialists. Hard benches can cause T4 syndrome—a misalignment of your thoracic spine that affects the nerve function of your arm, weakening it.
To build speed in swimming, develop your ankle flexibility. Flexible feet will act like flippers and propel you faster through the water. To increase your flipper flex, do this: Sit on the floor with your shoes off. Extend your legs in front of you, heels on the floor. Point your toes straight out as far as possible, then flex them toward your shins as far as you can. Repeat for 1 minute.
Buy Shoes That Fit
Shop for workout shoes late in the day. That’s when your feet are the largest. Make sure there’s a half inch of space in front of your longest toe, and that you can easily wiggle your toes. Then slip off the shoes and compare them with your bare feet. If each shoe isn’t obviously wider and longer than your foot, go half a size bigger.
Kill Your Excuse
If you think you’re too busy to exercise, try this experiment: For one day, schedule a time to work out, and then stick to it—even if you can exercise for only 10 minutes. «At the end of the day, ask yourself if you were any less productive than usual,» says John Jakicic, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at the Brown University school of medicine. The answer will probably be no—and your favorite excuse will be gone.