Fit Tip: Breaking Out Of Your Fitness Comfort Zone

Posted On Jan 2, 2020 By Amy Kiser Schemper

A woman using dumbbells

Another New Year is here! And with it another round of popular fitness resolutions: start working out, finally use that gym membership, or pull that dusty piece of home equipment out of the closet. After a few months of holiday eating and drinking, the New Year brings a focus on eating healthy and getting moving. For many this means getting into an exercise regime for the first time, or getting back into fitness, but what about those of us that are already into a regular workout routine? The early risers on the treadmill, the after work class goers, and home gym junkies. What should we be thinking about this New Year?

For me, I’m making a plan to get out of my “Fitness Comfort Zone” and I invite you to join me. Having grown up an athlete and worked in fitness most of my adult life, I’ve been lucky to stay pretty active outside of a few injuries and maternity leaves. I’ll fully acknowledge that that’s mostly due to my job, but also because I truly enjoy exercise. If you’re like me, you have your favorite exercises, your favorite pieces of equipment, and your favorite methods. You work hard and love a good sweat, but deep down you could push yourself a little harder.

And guess what? That’s totally fine. Great, in fact. Getting any activity at all is better than the average individual. My catch phrases in classes and videos are “Just Keep Moving” and “If you showed up today, you’re successful.” And while I do believe these things whole-heartedly, it doesn’t mean we can’t look for new ways to get out of our fitness comfort zones. Our bodies need a challenge, and so do our brains. You could try a new class or a new piece of equipment, but often it’s as simple as finding new ways to do old exercises.

A woman performing a bent over row

One way to do this is a Drop Set Workout. The concept is simple: perform an exercise at a heavy weight for your first set, then drop the weight for the next set with more repetitions and so forth. If you research this method, you’ll find many different names and variations of dropped sets, including performing the exercise to failure. For the average person just looking to get stronger and mix it up, though, I like to keep it simple: 3 sets: Heavy for 6-8 reps, Less Heavy for 12-16, Light for 16-20. Here are a few advantages of a Drop Set Workout.

  1. Simple yet effective

    A drop set can be done with traditional exercises (see below) that your body knows, but will be challenging just by varying the weight range and repetitions.

  2. A high intensity workout without burpees!

    I say it all the time, heavier weights burn calories. Think about it: the heavier your load, the more energy is required to lift it, resulting in higher heart rate and calorie burn.

  3. Busting plateaus

    Maybe you’re in the fitness comfort zone, but maybe you just feel we’ve hit a plateau with our training and aren’t seeing the results we once did. Drop the set to bust through.

You are stronger than you think; Pick a heavy weight and go!

Drop Set Workout

  • Set 1: 6-8 reps
  • Set 2: 12-16 reps
  • Set 3: 16-20 reps

Exercises for each set:

  1. Squat
  2. Bent over Row
  3. Low Lunge
  4. Bicep Curl
  5. Chest Press
  6. Plank