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If you live in a cold-weather state, you're all-too familiar with how winter can screw up your workouts. Unless you feel like pulling your best Rocky impersonation by working out in Arctic-like conditions, your workouts will be restricted to indoors.

For weight training, this doesn't present too much of a problem. And if you have access to turf, you can still do pretty much everything else indoors.

Otherwise, you're facing a conundrum when you want to do your conditioning work. Your choices are a treadmill, and, if you're lucky, an Airdyne bike.

We're not going to lie. Long treadmill runs suck. Some people love them, and that's fine. But if you're a competitive athlete accustomed to working at a high intensity, long runs on a treadmill will seem pretty boring. And they won't really help you get better at your sport.

Instead, we recommend the following treadmill workouts. They are intense. You will work at a high speed, and the result should be improved conditioning in less time. They are also a good option if you're trying to shed extra weight.

Read more: 7 Treadmill Workouts That Don't Suck

There's nothing wrong with having a few favorite exercises. Maybe you like the pump you get from Curls or love the way you can feel your heart pounding during a set of Lunges. Whatever it is, everyone has exercises they prefer over others—which is cool. What's not cool is plateauing—which can easily happen if you perform the same exercise enough times.

You might have noticed that the Shoulder Press suddenly feels ridiculously easy, or that you can hold a Plank until your watch battery dies. This is a good thing since it means you've improved, but it also means you need to step up your training to keep making progress. Lucky for you, stepping up your favorite exercise can be as easy as making a simple change. With that in mind, here are five simple tricks for making your favorite exercises more effective.

1. If You Love Shoulder Press, Try Inverted Kettlebell Press

Read more: 5 Easy Tricks That Make Your Favorite Exercises More Effective

It should be a crime for a gym to have a seated twist machine. It's almost guaranteed to cause a spinal injury, and it's not even very effective at strengthening your core muscles.

Yet, many fitness facilities around the country have this old-school piece of equipment. At my local gym, I've personally seen a wide variety of people using the seated twist machine—there's a kneeling version that's just as bad—from teenagers to old-timers. And I cringe every single time.

So what's the issue with the machine that looks like a high-tech torture device? We spoke with world-renowned spinal biomechanist Dr. Stuart McGill to find out.

RELATED: Why Everything You Know About Core Training is Wrong

Problem 1: Twisting Damages Your Discs

Seated Twist Machine 1

The seated twist machine is based on the idea that to train the obliques and improve rotational power, you need to perform exercises that involve some sort of rotation or twisting through the core. When you use this machine, your upper body stays in a fixed position while your lower body rotates on a swivel, creating a twisting motion through your lower torso, which you can see here.

Read more: Everyone Should Avoid This Sadistic-Looking Core Machine

New Year's resolutions kick into high gear on January 1st—actually, probably more like January 2nd. Gyms around the country are suddenly packed to the brim.

Resolutions have their own problems. According to data from the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of people achieve their resolution goal. But also of concern is the time leading up to the new year.

So let's set the situation.

You plan to recommit to achieving your performance, fitness or aesthetic goal in the new year. But from Thanksgiving until yearend, you don't do all that much, since you foresee a lot of hard work ahead of you. Watching Christmas movies and indulging in holiday desserts sounds a lot better than hitting the gym and being careful about what you eat.

Your resolution deadline has become an excuse to forget about fitness and healthy eating. You say to yourself, "I'm not going to work out now because I'm going to get after it in January," or "I can eat an entire apple pie because I'm going to start eating healthy in the new year."

"I think people look at it like I can just hit the reset button in January," says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian based in the Cleveland area.

Ultimately, during period of more than a month, it's easy to take a massive step backward. You might lose some strength because you're not consistently challenging yourself, or you pack on a few extra pounds.

If you're like 92 percent of the people out there, this tendency becomes particularly problematic.


The days of casually grabbing a barbell or a set of dumbbells and doing an exercise are no more. To instantly make a move more effective, try to crush the bejesus out of whatever weight you are holding with your hands.

In the early 1900s, British scientist Sir Charles Scott Sherrington published breakthrough research on the neurological system and how it controls the body. One of his discoveries was the Law of Irradiation, which states that when a muscle is working, the muscles around it tend to turn on. The harder a muscle works, the greater the activation of surrounding muscles.

Read more: Increase Your Strength 30 Percent With This Exercise Grip Hack

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