The No. 1 Rule for Effective Strength Training

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Celebrity and professional athlete trainer Todd Durkin has seen his share of workout-related injuries. "Your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders are easily injured through sport fitness or even life and compensatory patterning," the Cybex spokesperson recently said at the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) conference. "Shoulder injuries are big with all of the pushups, burpees, and bench presses people do."

To prevent these types of setbacks—which can hinder weight-loss goals—Durkin recommends his clients counter classic moves with back-strengthening moves in a 2:1 ratio. "For every frontside exercise you do, you should do two backside exercises," he explains. "You are a strong as your weakest link and as efficient as your worst movement. So whatever's weak is eventually going to break, and if you're not efficient, you're not going to be great."

Whenever you do a move like a pushup or crunch, Durkin recommends moves that strengthen your often-neglected back muscles like TRX rows, resistance band splitters (also called back squeezes), single-arm dumbbell row and twist, and other moves that open up your chest. The next time you hit the gym, try incorporating two sets of one of these back-strengthening exercises for every traditional move you do.

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