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9 Ways to Make Your Workout More Productive

Build muscle, burn fat, and increase performance with this go-to guideline from the industry pros.

Trust us, we understand a busy schedule, and how important your time at the gym is. In fact, you should be reaping the fruits of your iron-induced labor every minute that you're at the gym. So to cut out the time wasters, we tapped our experts for their tips to make your workout more productive. Follow along and unleash your true muscle-building potential.

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Prepare Your Muscles

Prior to lifting weights, you need to prepare your muscles for the exercises you’re about to do during a muscle preparation phase. “To get the most muscle action out of all your pressing and pulling, it’s always better to prep the exact motions you’re going to do and do a lot of isometrics at those ranges,” says Pete Bommarito, C.S.C.S., U.S.A.W., M.A.T. Jumpstart certified. “It’s not a stretch or warmup, it is prepping the muscles to be able to properly accept the heavier load.”

Before an upper-body workout, Bommarito suggests doing the following routine:

Thumbs-Up Dumbbell Front Raise (using 2.5 lbs each hand)
Reps: 8
What It Does: Shoulder Flexion
Bommarito says: Raise weights slowly and when weights are shoulder level, do a 3- to 5-second hold, then slowly bring weights down. Raise arms into a V-shape on the way up.

Side Raise and Shrug (using 2.5 lbs each hand)
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder abduction and scapula elevation
Bommarito says: Raise arms out to the side so arms are parallel to the ground, then shrug shoulders to ear height so arms are raised at maximum height. As you bring arms down, hold arms out to the side for 3-5 seconds, then slowly return to start.

Palms-Up Side Raise Rotation
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder rotation and shoulder abduction
Bommarito says: Rotate arms so palms face forward. Raise arms out to side and at top of raise palms are facing up. At the top, rotate arms forward so your palms face down, then roate your arms palms face forward again. Hold in this position for 3-5 seconds and bring arms back down slowly.

Palms-Up Incline Rear Delt Raise
Reps: 8
What it does: Shoulder rotation and scapula retraction
Bommarito says: Lie flat facing an incline bench. Put the back of your hands together and do a T-raise, bringing arms straight out to the side with thumbs up at the top. Hold for 3-4 seconds at the top and slowly bring arms back down.

Scapula Pushups
Reps: 8-15
What it does: Scapula retraction and scapula protraction
Bommarito says: Get in pushup position keeping elbows locked. Move shoulder blades together, then move shoulder blades apart. Keep elbows locked the entire time so scapula does all the movement.

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