Not getting results is no fun. At all.
Whether you’ve studied hard for a test and flunked, you’ve tried a new recipe and it tasted awful or you’ve been consistent with your exercise but the scale and mirror are still not your friend.
You may get discouraged and decide to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Although I cannot help you with the first two scenarios, exercise is in my wheelhouse and that I can help you with.
Here are some simple exercise tweaks that you can use to keep you progressing, to keep you moving and feeling great and to keep you on the fitness path. Please let the baby stay in the bath. The baby likes it there.
1. Use a different tool
When it comes to resistance training many different tools will do the same job. Take the chest press exercise, for example. You can do this with either a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, cable machine, resistance bands or the TRX.
With so many tools at your disposal, you’ll never get bored with training the chest. Here are some variations that you can use to spice up your upper body training.
A. Chaos pushup
B. Single arm TRX push up
C. Resistance band chest press
2. Supersize your exercise
Gym-goers often do one set of an exercise, rest, do it again and then repeat this entire sequence for their entire training. These are called straight sets and they’re great for building strength with exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses and rows.
Unfortunately, this can get boring and time consuming. If you’re looking to build lean muscle/ burn fat (or both) rather than building strength, supersets are a much better fit.
Supersets are two exercise done back to back with little or no rest in-between. For instance, an exercise pairing of a leg exercise with an upper body move will:
- Allow you to increase your exercise intensity
- Cause your heart to work harder to push blood from your lower body back up to your upper body, increasing your overall calorie burn
- Save time so you can hit the showers early and beat the rush
Rest 60-90 seconds and repeat twice for a total of 3 supersets.
A. Dumbbell reverse lunge
B. Single arm push press
This is one example of a superset. There are other supersets combinations such as
- Push (Bench press)/ Pull (row)
- Arm supersets like biceps/triceps
- Isolation exercise (biceps)/ Compound exercise (chin ups)
- Leg supersets like Quads (Leg ext.)/Hamstrings (Leg curl)
Have fun, play with the combinations and enjoy your results.
3. Same exercise, different body position
Changing your body’s position while you’re exercising, (doing a standing chest press instead of a barbell bench press for example), will challenge the working muscles in a different fashion, will work a different set of muscles you didn’t know existed and will give you an unexpected core workout, no crunches required.
And as a bonus, these exercises will increase your coolness and gym cred status by 100%. Trust me, it’s science.
A. Supine (this is lying on your back while facing upwards)
Stability ball hip ext. /hamstring curl
Pullover with reactive floor press
B. Tall kneeling (standing in your knees with your toes on the ground)
Tall kneeling lat pulldown
Bench kneeling overhead press
C. Half kneeling (One foot, opposite knee on the ground)
Half kneeling KB bottoms up press
Half kneeling single arm pulldown
4. Do more exercise in less time
Most people want to get their work done in less time, especially in the gym, so you can enjoy the finer things in life. You want to get in, get out and get a huge bang for your exercise buck. If that sounds like you, you should try density training.
What is density training?
Density training is about increasing the amount of exercise (sets X reps) you do in a given amount of time. You will improve your ability to do more exercise in less time, which is also known as improving your work capacity.
Furthermore, density training is a fantastic training method for fat loss. You get a better body and improve your fitness level at the same time. What’s not to love about that?
This type of training is best done two- three days per week with 48 hours’ rest in between sessions. All the exercises listed below will be done for time. The work rest periods are as follows:
Beginner (you’re just starting out) 20 sec work/40 sec rest.
Intermediate (you’ve been exercising for 6 months or more) 30 sec work/30 sec rest.
Advanced (you’ve been getting after it for a year or more) 40 sec work/20 sec rest.
This density training example is a five-exercise circuit (one after the other) using fundamental human movements that will work the biggest muscle groups in the least amount of time. Choose from the following exercises.
You will complete two- four circuits (depending on how much you have in the tank on training day) for a total training time of between 10-20 minutes.
1. Warm up thoroughly before starting.
2. To minimize transition time between exercises, have all the equipment you need near to you so you don’t need to move much .
3. Keep track of your reps and weight from session to session to measure improvement.
4. Do as many reps as possible within your time frame with good technique.
5. Choose a weight which allows you to complete all your reps with good form.
We often think big changes are needed when the results that we expect don’t come our way. However, making small changes to what we’re already doing could be just the ticket.
Use one or more of the exercise techniques above to you get the results you deserve. Small changes can equal big results.