3 ways to make your workout HARDER
Ok so some of you are saying “WHAT!? Why would I want to make my workout harder?!”
Well if you’ve read anything about getting in shape – you know that to progress you need to push yourself to maximum intensity. This is true with cardio, and all the latest news on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and so it is with strength training. This is in short what is called the “overload principle” – by increasing the demands on your muscles, they respond by getting bigger and stronger – hence burning more calories and fat, and giving you that overall “toned” look you are striving for.
If however, you continue to keep plodding along using the same weights, the same exercises, and at the same intensity, what do you think your muscles do? Correct. Nothing.
Ok so now that I’ve convinced you to keep pushing in your own workout – how do you do it? Here are 3 easy ways to make your workout harder. All of these assume you don’t even have to change the type of exercise you are doing (e.g. squats, lunges, bicep curls etc…). I said easy right!?
- Go heavier: The simplest way to push your muscles to failure (the state at which your muscles start responding) is to lift heavier weights. So long as it is safe for you (and not hurting in any way) – try increasing your weights by 5 or 10 lbs, while keeping your rep range at 8-12 per set. Remember, your goal is to really struggle (without compromising form) in getting those last 2 reps done
- Go slower: If you work out at home and don’t want to invest in a heavier set of weights, this is a really easy way to make the exercise more challenging. Slow down your reps to 2-3 times longer than you are doing now. Aim for 4-6 seconds on the contraction and 2-3 seconds on the release. If you keep your rep range the same, I promise you will start to feel a burn even without increasing your weight!
- Intersperse plyometrics: Yet another cost effective way to push yourself is adding in plyometric supersets. All this means is that after completing 1 set of your standard exercise (let’s take squats for instance), do the same number of reps (or more) of that same exercise (or at least using the same muscle group), without weights, but with a “jump”. For example with our squats, you would do 8-12 reps of a weighted squat – set the weights down –then do 8-12 jump squats. If you are doing upper body, you can do plyometric push-ups where you push off the floor after each push-up. Another option for upper body is to stand facing a wall and push off the wall. Here are some other great plyometric exercises.
Now THIS is how you Make the most of your workout. Ready! Go to it…