5 Ways to Pump Up Your Strength Training
By Guest Author Gina Harney
As someone who loves to pump some iron, I also find that it's easy to get set in a routine and coast through my workout. This was OK when I was trying to stick to a consistent routine, but after weight training on a regular basis, I was ready to take things to the next level. The body is an intelligent machine. If you impose the same demands day after day, it kicks it into cruise control and will often plateau. To initiate change, you have to keep the body guessing.
Here are some of my favorite ways to kick up your strength training:
- Experiment with different reps, sets and rest intervals. If you usually do three sets, add in a fourth. If you usually lift 12 reps, try increasing the weight and doing 10. Another method is to perform your workout in a circuit. Instead of completing three sets of an exercise in succession, do one set of each exercise and then repeat the circuit. This is a great way to keep your heart rate elevated the entire time since you're moving quickly from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between.
- Add tempo changes. This is one of my favorite ways to change up my strength routine. Try lowering the weight for three counts and lifting up for one; lower down for two, up for two; lower down one, up for three. This also works for bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges and pushups.
- Try a different type of weight. If you usually lift dumbbells, substitute them with a kettlebell, barbell or resistance bands. Your body will feel the subtle difference in the type of weight!
- ADD weight. I'm guilty of skimping on this one. I bicep-curled 8-10 pound weights for years and couldn't get up to 15-20 pounds until I TRIED. Even if you only get a few reps with the higher weight, you can switch to your usual weight for the rest of the set. Your regular weight will feel little heavier, too!
- Add in cardio blasts. This is an effective way to keep things exciting and increase your heart rate for a higher calorie burn. In between strength sets, try some plyometric movements, like jump squats, jumping lunges or burpees. You could also add in a short run (.25 mile) or row (500m).
I hope this helped with some ideas to change up your routine. Please stop by the blog for more fitness tips! We'd love to see you over there.
About our Guest Author:
Gina Harney a certified group fitness instructor (AFAA), personal trainer (NASM) and Weight Loss Specialist (NASM). She is the blogger behind The Fitnessista (www.fitnessista.com), a healthy lifestyle blog emphasizing quick workouts and healthy recipes. She is a mom, military wife and the author of HIIT It! (Demos Health, January 2015). She has received Best Blogger (SHAPE magazine) and Best Personal Training Blog (Fitness Magazine) awards, and co-produced her first dance cardio DVD, Soli Beat, in 2013.