Spring Clean Your Workout Routine
Have you hit a fitness plateau? Maybe you’re just lacking fitness inspiration, or are unsure how to make progress in your workout routine. You notice you are not getting any stronger, any bigger, or any fitter.
Exercise plateaus happen to everyone. One of the greatest abilities of the human body is its capability to adjust and adapt. Plateaus occur when the body has begun to adapt to your exercise routine. The muscles, joints, tissues, and systems involved in exercise have adjusted to the demands of your regular workout.
So, what do you do?
If you find your workout has hit a brick wall, it’s time to spring clean your workout routine and change things up. Don’t panic! You can and you will reach your fitness goals.
There are a variety of things you can do to switch up your regular regime. Out with the old, in with the new. Get motivated and ready to break through that plateau. Get back your fitness inspiration!
Trade in Your Regular Exercises for New Ones
There are many ways to work every muscle group. If you’ve been sticking to the same exercises, try new ones. For example, the triceps are targeted in extensions, dips, pulldowns, and they assist in many other compound exercises. If you have mainly been doing tricep extension, try dips or pulldowns.
Exercises, such as squats, donkey kicks, and bridges, target the gluteal muscles. If you have been doing a lot of squats, try bridges.
Mix it up. Surprise your body. Many fitness experts never do the same workout twice. The key is to have variation. It does not mean you have to completely eliminate an exercise, especially if you enjoy certain exercises over others. It just means targeting each muscle group in a variety of different ways, via various exercises.
Increase the Intensity of Your Workout
HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training workouts are on the rise. A wide array of gyms offer classes based on this workout type, and many fitness phone applications incorporate this style. HIIT includes high-intensity exercise bursts, followed by short periods of active recovery.
During the high-intensity moments, you give 110%. Active recovery periods often consist of holding a plank or doing lower intensity movements.
Mix up your workout intensity. If you have not tried HIIT workouts, give it a shot. Further, this style of exercise can shorten your gym time. HIIT sessions are often 20-40 minutes in length. It can be great when you are tight on time or are in need of new fitness inspiration.
Amp up your intensity. Your muscles won’t know what hit them.
Change the Days you Workout Certain Muscle Groups
Say goodbye to that dreaded plateau. Change is the key to unlock the results you crave. If you normally follow the same routine every week, it’s time to revise. Start every week by working on a different muscle group. If you normally do chest and arms first, try doing a leg and core day to start off your week.
Make sure not to do back to back days of the same muscle group. It is still important to give your muscles time to recover and repair. Plan out your weeks ahead of time. Avoid the doing the same thing week in and week out. You got this!
Introduce Compound Exercises
A compound exercise is one that involves using two or more joints or muscle groups. A squat alone is a compound exercise. However, you can still add other movements to keep it interesting. Instead of doing a squat, try a squat with an overhead press. Instead of doing the same old deadlift, try doing a deadlift with a row.
Other compound exercise options include renegade rows, reverse lunges with bicep curls, forward lunge and oblique twist, bench presses, pull-ups, and kettlebell swings. You will burn more calories and get a total body workout.
Further to that, those who perform compound exercises are found to have better movement efficiency and better balance. Start incorporating compound exercises into your workouts.
Take a Rest Week
Most fitness enthusiasts will not want to take rest days, let alone rest weeks. Rest days are often underrated. However, they are just as important as your workout days. Rest allows time to for our muscles to recover.
Exercise places stress on the body. An important aspect of wellbeing is balance. Anything in large doses is not good, including exercise. Without rest, you risk injury and over time, degeneration of your joints. Every 8-10 weeks, take a rest week. Allow time for your body to repair and relax. It may be what your body needs.
Slow Down Each Repetition
Focus on the eccentric and concentric contraction phases of your muscles. A concentric contraction is when the muscle shortens. During a bicep curl, the concentric contraction of the bicep takes place when bending the elbow and bringing your hands up toward your shoulders.
An eccentric contraction is the lengthening of a muscle with a load. During a bicep curl, an eccentric contraction occurs when lowering the weight back to the start.
For each type of muscle contraction, count 3-4 seconds. Slow and controlled repetitions force the muscle to be under strain and tension for a much longer duration. You will know you worked your muscle the next day after this approach!
Try a New Activity
Have you been doing the same activity every week? Do you run the same time every day? Try a new exercise. Join a fitness class. Start hiking. Spring weather has arrived. Why not get outside?
Cross train. If you are a runner, try swimming or cycling to mix it up. These activities still target your endurance and muscles, but won’t stress out the joints to the max. Keep it interesting. Try that new yoga studio. Variation is the key to success.
Take Longer Breaks Between Sets
Resting in between sets increases muscular endurance and strength. Many people focus on muscular endurance and often only wait 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets. If you want to gain strength, rest for 3 to 5 minutes. The longer break gives time for your muscles to recover. You can then lift heavier, if that is your overall fitness goal.
Vary Your Number of Repetitions
8-12 repetitions per set builds muscle strength. While this is great, your body and muscles get into a groove when you perform the same variation and movements.
Alter the number of repetitions to lift heavier for some sets and lighter in others. For example, do your first set with 15 repetitions, your next set with 10, and the last set with 5. Increase the weight as you decrease your repetitions. Or do 5 reps for the first set, 10 reps for the second set, and 15 for the last set.
Remember, it’s important to change your workout constantly. Keep mixing it up. Find your sweet spot. Experiment with different variations.
Be aware that exercise differs for every person. What works for one person may be completely different for someone else. Furthermore, always make sure to consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Mix up your routine constantly and avoid fitness plateaus. Doing so will keep you motivated and on track toward your goals. What are your goals?