High Intensity Training – Go Harder For Better Results

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.

The Benefits Of Strength Training Increase Enormously With Age

Lifting wights, or strength training, is no longer just the domain of body builders. More and more research is showing that the benefits of strength training are enormous for everybody. Interestingly enough, the elderly and those in poor health may well benefit the most.

Lifting weights 2-3 times per week increases the density of bones and increases muscle mass. Muscle mass is important for increasing the metabolic rate of the body. Healthy bone density is important to counteract osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and the associated fractures that go with the decrease in calcium in the bones.

Other benefits of strength training are:

* weight maintenance. Not only does the activity of lifting weights burn calories and fat, but the resulting increase in muscle mass can increase the body’s metabolic rate by as much as 15%. Muscle is a tissue that requires calories to function, whereas fatty deposits do not.

* anti-depressant. Current research has shown that strength training can be as effective for treating some depression as anti-depressant medication. Strength training results in an elevated mood from the production of the feel good hormones, or endorphins.

* glucose control. Type 2 diabetes has skyrocketed by over 300% in the last 4 decades in the US. This translates to 114 million adults living in the US with type 2 diabetes. Strength training has proven to be just as effective as medication for treating early stage type 2 diabetes and many people in the early stages can reverse their blood results with strength training and dietary changes alone. (If you have diabetes type 2 you need to consult your practitioner before embarking on a strength training program and altering your medications.)

* better balance is another positive benefit from lifting weights. Strength training improves flexibility and coordination, which contribute enormously to better movement and less falls in the aging process.

* arthritis relief. Many people associate joint disease with having to cease exercise. However, studies have shown that people with painful knees caused by osteoarthritis noted a significant reduction in their pain levels after courses of strength training exercises. Disability, signs, and symptoms, were all additionally dramatically reduced. Many participants felt that that the strength training exercises were more beneficial than their arthritis medications.

* heart health. Strength training promotes a healthy heart by assisting with a healthier body weight. The leaner the body, the less strain on the heart. Indeed, the American Heart Association recommends strength training not only as part of a preventative healthy heart regime, but also as cardiac rehabilitation for those recovering from heart disease.

Types of Strength Training

There are various forms of strength training. All have advantages and disadvantages. Different types serve different purposes and individuals. If you have never done any strength training work it is a great idea to either visit a physiotherapist, hire a personal trainer, or get a temporary membership at a health club to be properly informed. It is easy to use weights inappropriately and suffer injuries.

* Resistance bands are portable, inexpensive, and easy to store for the space challenged. There are many varieties of movements that you can perform with a set of bands. There are many DVDs and books to give you plenty of inspiration. Bands will improve strength and muscle tone, but if you want to be a body builder, you will obviously want something heavier. Over time, bands will need to be replaced when they lose their elasticity.

* Free weights improve coordination as the exercises must be performed correctly. Free weights are not as limiting as machines and offer more versatility with routines. However, weights take up space, can prove costly if you are lifting extremely heavy weights, and require knowledge and skill. Serious injury is easy with free weights. When starting out you will need a trainer. Free weights ideally require a spotter to prevent fatal injuries.

* Machines can be relatively simple to use, and to alter weights. However they do require a lot of space and money, unless of course you go to a gym. Machines do not require as much coordination as free weights. The downside is that usually numerous machines are required to work out all major muscle groups. Machines are generally safer, and it is harder to seriously injure yourself than with free weights.


Strength training is excellent for people of all ages and health. Enlist the help of a professional to start a program to minimize injuries and maximize performance. Strength training has been found to be helpful in fighting heart disease, obesity, depression, and type 2 diabetes.