Peloton instructor Jess Sims is a versatile athlete who trains everything from running to lifting weights.
Her favorite exercises include single-leg deadlifts for building hamstring strength and balance.
She also loves push-ups as a strength challenge, but suggests scaling to maintain good form.
Peloton instructor Jess Sims may coach running and walking sessions via Tread, but her favorite workouts are actually strength training exercises, she told Insider.
Challenging movements, like single-leg deadlifts and push-ups, are her top choices for building strength, preventing injury, and improving running, Sims said in an interview coordinated by Reebok.
She said the best way to see benefits from any exercise is to move at your own pace, listen to your body, and work on maintaining excellent form.
Sims loves single-leg deadlifts to prevent injury and improve her running
One of Sims' favorite exercises, the single-leg deadlift, targets often-neglected muscles in the posterior chain, or back of the body.
"Single-leg deadlifts help with strengthening hamstrings which we don't work as easily as quads, the muscle on the front of the thigh," she said.
A major benefit of working one leg at a time in the deadlift is to help prevent injury, according to Sims. She said the exercise helps develop balance, coordination, and strength. As a multi-sport athlete, Sims said it supports her performance in everything from running to lifting (her go-to cross-training shoe for workouts is the Reebok Nano X1).
Unilateral or single-side work can also help address strength imbalances, and can help you train more effectively with limited equipment, NASM master trainer Andre Adams previously told Insider.
You can do single-leg deadlifts with just your bodyweight, or with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell.
Sims is an advocate of strength training, but said it's important to nail good form by practicing the movement first, before you add weights.
"Bodyweight work is very important. Before you load an exercise with equipment, you want to make sure you can do it properly without weight," she said.
Push-ups are a great challenge move, Sims said
Sims' other favorite move is the push-up, which is plenty challenging with no weights required.
"It's hard, and it takes time and discipline to get better at them, but it's so rewarding when you do," she said.
Push-ups work all the muscles of the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, back, and core, making them a great, all-purpose compound exercise for strength.
Sims said people are often hesitant to try push-ups because it's a difficult exercise. However, push-ups can be scaled or modified for all skill levels, and there's no shame in picking the variation that works for you.
"You want to accept where your body is now, in all of its glory and weakness, and strengthen it from where it's at," she said.
Burpees can be an effective workout too, even though people hate them
Although many people have an exercise they love to hate, Sims said she doesn't think any particular movement is overrated. Instead, she focuses on having a purpose for each exercise in a workout — even the ones that are notoriously disliked.
"Burpees get a bad rep, but I love burpees, it's all about doing them properly. Technique is everything," she said.
Burpees target both upper and lower body muscles and raise your heart rate, making them useful for short, strenuous workout styles like high intensity interval training or HIIT.
When picking an exercise or workout, Sims said having the right difficulty for your skill level is also crucial.
"In a beginner class, you'll never see a burpee, but you might see a modified squat thrust," she said.
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