Have you hit a plateau in your training program? Not losing any more weight? Not seeing an improvement in muscle mass? Been doing the same workout for quite some time? If you have answered “Yes” to any of these, it is probably time to reassess your workout program. You may well be working at a lower intensity than is optimal for your goals. Try some of these tips for a more effective high intensity training.
* Add extra weight. Obvious, yes. But many people get stuck in a rut with their workouts and it doesn’t occur to them that they need to start lifting more. Your muscles get used to lifting certain weights and then after that they are just cruising on auto-pilot. Give your muscles a jolt.
* Alter the speed of the reps. If you cannot possibly lift heavier weights for whatever reason, try changing the speed of the repetitions to increase your workout intensity. For example, instead of letting gravity help on the way down, slow the negative part of the exercise right down. You will be in control of the weight, not gravity, and you will really feel a difference. This is one strategy that has endless variations to keep your muscles from getting complacent and lazy. When asking yourself how to get a six pack, you will be much more effective at getting rid of the love handles if you play around with the speeds of your crunches.
* Change the exercise pattern. Your muscles get used to doing things in a certain order. Many people always workout in the same pattern. For those skeptics out there, just try reversing your whole workout routine and see how much harder it is. Your muscles will not be doing what they expected and will have to work harder. Try it and see. This is another strategy that has plenty of variation.
* Shorten your rest intervals. Decreasing your rest periods means that your muscles will have to work harder. As an added bonus you will also be able to do more in the same workout time.
* No pain, no gain. Cliched but true. If you are cruising through your workout you are definitely not going to progress. It should be hard and it should burn. Do a few more reps at the very least.
* Hire a trainer. Get a trainer to give you an assessment to see where you can improve. This can be invaluable for those people who have been doing the same old same old for a long time. Sports medicine techniques have changed and you could possibly benefit.
* How long is too long for a workout routine? A very fit person will need to increase their intensity every 3-4 weeks. Experts state that it takes about a minimum of 3 weeks for the body to reap the benefits of the change in routine. Beginners may take as long as 2-3 months before they hit their first plateau. This is because at the start it is all new and their muscles are getting it all together.
* Keep a journal. This is pretty important when you are playing around with rest intervals, your speeds, your weights, and your routines. How can you possibly remember? If you can you are possibly doing too much of the same thing on a regular basis. Logging your progress will give you a better idea of how much stronger and fitter you are getting. Keeping a journal will also allow you to look back over time and see which tactics work best for you.
* Are you working hard enough? If you are not out of breath or sweating then it goes without saying, you are not working yourself hard enough. You should be working at such a level that you are capable of short answers only. If you can carry on a whole conversation you need to be harder on yourself. If you feel faint or breathless you are overdoing it. Obviously, chest pain would mean stopping immediately and possibly a visit to the doctor.
Pushing yourself harder in your workout will yield results. Those stuck on the scales or not seeing an improvement in the bathroom mirror will benefit from upping their workout ante to a higher intensity.