When you’re looking to make a change, any change, you usually go big. This is especially true when you’ve hit an exercise plateau and your results have slowed to a crawl. You may feel the need to do something drastic, something big and bold to get back on track, when the truth is, you don’t need to.
You need to start thinking smaller.
Use the following changes to your current routine next time you’re stuck in a rut.
Go small and get results.
1. Flip the script.
Change the exercise order of your current routine. Do biceps curls before you do any pulling exercise. Do triceps extensions before any pressing exercise. This can help spark new growth.
Or turn your exercise routine completely upside down and do first what is usually last in your routine, and what is usually first, do last.
2. Why don’t you slow down
You can slow down the lowering and lifting portion of any exercise. This is called tempo. For example taking 3 seconds to lower into a squat and 3 seconds to come up.
Tempo will keep your muscles under tension longer sparking a burning sensation in your muscles due to the buildup of lactic acid.
Lactic acid is a precursor of growth hormone, which helps your muscles get bigger and stronger. Also, you burn body fat as an added bonus.
However, these don’t tickle. Make sure you use a lower weight when using this protocol.
3. Change body positions
Most people exercise either lying down, sitting or standing up. These are all stock standard positions, but when you’re stuck in a rut it’s time to try something new.
Both of these positions make it harder to cheat while increasing the involvement of the abdominals and hips. You’ll get more bang for your exercise buck.
4. Get a grip
By changing your grip width, you’ll recruit different muscle groups while doing the same exercise. For example, a close grip push-up focuses more on the triceps than the chest while a wide grip push-up focuses more on the chest rather than the triceps.
Also, you can also change your hand position when gripping barbells or dumbbells. You can grip with your palms facing towards you, palms facing together or your palms facing behind you. Each position will work the targeted muscles differently.
5. Change the way you do sets (Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM)
This method is synonymous with metabolic training and workout finishers at the end of a training.
Starting a set every minute on the minute holds you accountable for work you do in a certain period.
However, if you dare, they can be used for strength also because strength is a skill that needs to be practiced and this method allows you to spend some quality time under the bar and not at the bar.
Load a barbell with 90% 1 RM for lifts such as squats, deadlifts, presses or pulls. Set the stopwatch for anywhere between 10 – 20 minutes and do one rep every minute on the minute.
However, this is neurologically demanding and should be done with only one lift per workout. This is best done periodically to shake things up and to bust through plateaus. Please enter at your own risk.
Instead of going big all the time, reap the benefits of going small for a change. Your muscles and the mirror may thank you.
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