“What is the best exercise to burn fat?” – this is probably one of the most commonly asked questions many trainers hear throughout their professional careers. The answer? What exercise are you the worst at?
We like to perform tasks that we excel in. The tasks that we struggle with, not so much. Whether it be due to egotistical feeding or plain old simplicity, we tend to gravitate towards things we know we will succeed in.
When it comes to training, the exercises we excel at the most provide the least benefit. Progression of strength and fitness relies heavily on adaptation. As we adapt to exercises we become fitter and stronger. In order to continue making progress we must set a new standard of adaptation i.e more weight, longer distance or higher intensity etc.
Your Worst Exercise Is Your Best
What exercise would you consider to be your worst? Many people define their worst exercise as what they feel they are weakest in or what they feel to be the most bio-mechanically challenging (could be due to previous and current injuries, muscle imbalances etc).
The exercises you struggle with the most are the exercises that hold the most potential. Your weakest muscle groups stand to build the most muscle, the exercises you feel most uncoordinated stand to activate the most muscle. The more muscle you build and the more muscle you activate equating to a higher metabolic rate and greater fat loss!
Your weakest exercise is your weakest for a reason. This could be due to:
- Poor activation/stimulation due to poor technique leading to poor strength
- Restriction in movement – flexibility
Before you can add muscle and increase fat loss potential through an increased metabolic rate, we must first activate the muscle to work and therefore build new muscle through adequate nutrition.
Muscle stimulation is only achieved through repetitiveness and experience. Think of when you first ever completed a set of squats, or any exercise for that matter. How coordinated or comfortable do you feel now compared to when you first started?
The sheer volume of a performed movement improves the neurological link between brain and muscle. The stronger this link the more stimulation of muscle fibers which leads to improved coordination. More muscle fibers working equates to a greater caloric output and the greater potential for new muscular growth. Utilise a lighter weight and aim for volume over strength to improve stimulation.
Increased Muscle Mass
Once recruitment of muscle is achieved and coordination is comfortable, the weight utilised can be increased safely. Never compromise lifting technique for weight. With increased stimulation to working muscles, brings along the increased potential for activating dormant (inactive) muscle.
The reactivation of dormant muscle fibers improves caloric loss and muscular hypertrophy (growth). The more muscle fibers activated during a movement under load, the greater the need of energy for muscles to work and thus increasing caloric output. This reactivation also provides the potential for new growth of the muscle as the once dormant fibers have the most potential for growth. Increased muscle mass improves basal metabolic rate (BMR) meaning that caloric loss is increased at rest, turning your body into a metabolic furnace!
Greater Caloric Loss
The greater caloric need for newly built muscle improves fat loss potential. As your body develops newly built muscle, the requirement of calories is increased for muscle maintenance. This requirement of increased calories is the improvement of metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the greater your caloric loss at rest and during exercise!
- To improve the most you must do what you’re the worst at
- Use a light weight and focus on volume to improve neurological connection to muscle
- NEVER sacrifice form for weight
- Concentrate on your ‘worst’ lifts first for better focus before fatigue sets in
Work on your worst exercises as these hold the most benefit. Once you adapt and it becomes easier make it harder to continually progress. Perform your most challenging exercises in order to excel and be your best!