9 Fitness Rules That Experts Ignore

    A trainer touching a woman's ab while she sits on a fitness ballAre you sure your workout strategy is really working for you?

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    Fitness researchers have release thousands of studies that challenge conventional workout methods–or at least shed light on ways to tweak it.

    Here are a nine outdated fitness approaches, and some tips that will really help you get leaner, faster…

    Position your hands shoulder-width apart…

    You often see this in instructions for upper-body moves like bench presses and lat pulldowns. Why? Because it gives you a stable starting point. But that doesn’t mean you need to stay there set after set.

    “Spreading your hands a few inches farther out stresses more of the inner portion of your biceps; bringing your hands in a few inches builds more of the outer part,” says New York City personal trainer Steve Lischin, M.S. Switch up your position after every set for balanced strength and overall tone.

    WATCH: Sherri Shepherd Gives Weight Loss Tips For Black Women

    Do lots of crunches for a flat belly…

    Turns out Pilates abdominal moves are superior to crunches for sculpting your midsection and uncovering those abs, according to a study at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama. An exercise called “the teaser” is especially effective. It activates 39 percent more of your rectus abdominus muscle (that’s your six-pack) and 266 percent more of your external obliques (your love handles).

    The right moves: Lie face-up on a mat. Lift your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor and your knees are bent 90 degrees. Raise your hands toward the ceiling. Lift your torso and straighten your legs, so your body forms a V. Hold for one second, then roll back down, keeping your legs raised. Do 8 to 10 reps.

    Squats = a perfect butt

    To flaunt that sexy bikini bottom by your when-will-winter-end beach getaway, try doing hip extensions instead of squats. The move hits 55 percent more of your hamstring muscle and 79 percent more of your glute muscle, according to a study by the American Council on Exercise.

    The right moves: Get on your hands and knees. Keeping your knees bent, lift your right heel toward the ceiling, then lower it back down to the starting position. Do 12 reps, then repeat on the other side.

    READ: Get Fit Like Olivia Pope

    Eat lots of extra protein for less jiggle and more tone

    While it’s true that protein is a vital muscle food, your body can use only so much of it. “Any extra protein calories you take in will be stored as fat,” says Molly Morgan, R.D., owner of Creative Nutrition Solutions in Vestal, New York. “As a general rule, remember that 20 percent of your calories should come from protein.”

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