I don't know about you, but I feel like it's easy to get rolling on a workout routine & start feeling good. But then after a couple weeks, maybe even a month ... results slow down and you start to feel like you're just going through the motions.
I've been there myself, many times. And most of that was because I wasn't following the simple workout plan guidelines that actually lead to consistent results.
And nothing keeps you more engaged in a fitness program than RESULTS.
It's hard to fall off track when you're always improving, looking better, getting stronger, etc.
So today I'm going to share with you 6 simple tips to make sure you're getting the most out of your workouts ... so you can see better (and faster) results.
1) Add working sets to your routine.
For lack of a better way to phrase it ... this means using weight during your workouts that's actually difficult for you. Not just grabbing a weight that's comfortable ... and using it because it's "easier". Your workouts shouldn't be easy ... they should push you. A working set uses a weight that's fairly heavy because without pushing yourself (and your muscles) ... you're not going to see much change.
To be honest, one tough working set per exercise is going to lead to better results than 4 sets using easier, lighter weight. I'd suggest adding anywhere from 1-4 working sets per exercise with maximum effort. Doing so will lead to much better & faster results. Oh and remember ... light and heavy weight is relative to your personal fitness level. The point is you need to be challenging yourself if you want to see change.
2) Use rep ranges based on your personal goals.
Repetitions (or reps for short) is referring to how many times you do a certain movement in your workout routine. Say your plan calls for 4x12 bench press ... 12 would be the amount of reps you perform per set (with 4 being the number of sets). What you might not realize is there's specific rep ranges for specific goals. Now you can accomplish any goal with any rep ranges technically ... but there's some general rep ranges you should focus on depending on the goals you have:
Explosion & Power (think athletic-style training) = 1-5 reps per exercise
Strength = 5-10 reps per exercise
Muscle Building = 8-12 reps per exercise
Endurance = 15-20 reps per exercise
And remember these are just general guidelines to follow. I've found that mixing in each type of rep range seems to work best for me ... and also helps keep me motivated. When I'm more motivated to workout, I'll push myself harder ... which always leads to better short & long-term results.
3) Slow down your tempo & contractions
Lifting weights uncontrolled & just tossing them around doesn't accomplish very much. A great way to boost your progress is to SLOW DOWN. Focus on the muscles you're working, squeeze the muscle, lower the weight slowly ... and stay controlled with your movements.
If you're not used to slowing down your movements ... you're really going to feel this, and it will boost your progress tremendously. You'll probably notice you'll have to lighten the weight a bit too ... and that's ok! Quality movement leads to much better results than just tossing the weights around.
4) Add in new exercises
Now this one is a little down my list ... because you should try to master the concepts above before adding anything new to your plan. But every now & then ... switching your plan up and/or adding new movements can be very beneficial.
For one, it's always exciting trying a new program or movement. It can also give your body a new challenge ... and we know new challenges can push us & lead to better results. But like I said, I wouldn't add too many new exercises to a plan until you've mastered what you're currently doing.
5) Use full range of motion in your exercises
If you're looking to get stronger, build muscle, and see the best possible progress with your workouts ... you need to be focusing on full range of motion with each movement you do. Using incomplete, or what some call "half-reps" with your workouts ... isn't ideal for progress. Your muscles want to be worked fully ... and you need a full range of motion to do so.
Just like when we talked about slowing your exercises down ... you'll probably notice you'll have to lighten your weights a bit to truly get a full range of motion with your movements. That's a good thing ... and it will lead to much better short & long-term success.
6) Increase your effort
I'm discussing this last ... but really you could talk about this first too. Because without consistent effort with your workouts ... nothing is going to change no matter what you do or what program you follow. This is a tough one to gauge ... because you really have to be honest with yourself.
Only YOU truly know if you're giving it your all during your workouts. But it's a requirement to see the best success. Even with something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day. You have to walk with purpose to get the most out of it ... you can't just mosey around. Your effort has to be there ... so make sure you're placing a heavy focus on this concept as well.
I know for me, I wish I would have started focusing on these simple factors earlier in my fitness journey ... because I would have seen much better & faster results.
These simple concepts, when done properly ... will take your workouts & your results to the next level.
Now if you have questions about these tips, or questions about anything in regards to your health & fitness ... reach out to any of our N.A.S.M. Certified Personal trainers or drop into see us at your closet S2 location. We'll make sure you're set up to crush your fitness goals!
**This article was written by Andrew Lynn. Andrew is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist and has a B.S. in Nutrition & Dietetics.