BREAK OUT OF YOUR EXERCISE RUT.
By Shane McLean, Certified Personal Trainer.
Love exercise but sick and tired of not getting the results you deserve? Making small changes in your current routine could be just what you’re looking for. Implement one or more of the following plateau busters next time you’re getting after it. Your body will thank you for it.
1. Change the tempo
Increasing the time your muscles are under tension will spark lactic acid or the “burn’ you feel. Feels great right? In turn your body produces growth hormone. This sparks more muscle growth and greater potential for fat loss.
With any exercise, take 5 seconds on the lowering phase (going to the floor on a pushup) and 5 seconds on the “up” phase. Do anywhere between 7- 10 repetitions. Check your ego at the door and use less resistance when following this protocol.
2. Hold on!
Take the momentum out of any exercise you do by holding the “bottom” position of the exercise. For example holding the position of the squat when you thighs are parallel to the ground. As little as a 3 second hold will do the trick.
Hold the bottom position of a squat, bench press, push up or any lunge variation for 3 seconds. Do the rest of your lift at a controlled tempo.
3. Change your repetition ranges
Instead of doing 3 sets of 10 on every exercise, try adding more resistance and doing 4 sets of 5 reps. Instead of working in the 4-6 repetition range go a lighter and work in the 12-15 repetition range. Muscle building and fat loss happen in a variety of repetition ranges. Change it once in a while.
4. Change your exercise order
If you’re a stick in the mud and not a fan of the first 3, you can simply change the exercise order of your current routine. Do biceps curls before you do any pulling exercise. Do triceps extensions before any pressing exercise. Or turn your exercise routine upside down and do what is last, first.
5. Timed sets
Set your stop watch and go, go, go. Doing 3 sets of 10 repetitions all the time can get dull. But working against the stopwatch can be the plateau buster you’ve been looking for.
Pick one press exercise, one leg exercise and one pull exercise for example
1. Shoulder press. 2. Goblet Squat 3. Dumbbell row. Do each exercise for 30 seconds. Do as many reps as possible. Rest 1 minute between moves. Rest 2 minutes at the end. Increase the weight by 10% and try and beat the amount of repetitions you did last time. You may wonder what hit you.
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