If you have been going to the gym for months, it can be frustrating when your progress has come to a halt. Instead of quitting, try adding some intensity to your workouts. The tips below are simple ways to break past plateaus without trying to reinvent the wheel.
1. Add More Weight: If you have been using the same amount of weight during your training sessions, it may be time to add some more. Increase the weight gradually over time. If you have been using 12-pound dumbbells for a certain exercise, bump up to the 15 pounder to challenge you muscle a bit more.
2. More Repetitions: Stuck in that six- to 10-rep range because you want to put on a bit of size? Switch it up and add a few more repetitions to each set. You can go a bit lighter in weight and work on your muscular endurance as opposed to muscular strength.
3. Speed Up...: If your weight lifting sessions are taking hours, chances are you are taking too much time between sets or not working fast enough. Try allowing only 30-45 seconds between sets for recovery. Yes, you will be more fatigued and may not have as much strength to move a lot of weight, but you will break a sweat and be working harder than usual. The same goes for cardio training, try bumping up the level or speed of your workout. When doing interval training, shave off a few seconds of your typical recovery time for a more challenging sweat session.
4. ...or Slow Down: You may want to get in and out of the gym and try to rush your workout, but that isn't the best option in the long run. Rather than throwing the weight around, slow down your movements and control the weight. Think about which muscle group you are targeting with each exercise and do not let other muscles do the work for your. Slowing down, is a great way to increase focus and your mind-muscle connection.
5. Bring a Buddy: Training with a workout partner is a great way to instantly push yourself a bit harder. Bringing a buddy ensures that you can have someone spot you if needed during weight training and you also can help hold each other accountable. You may also be able to learn a thing or two from each other and swap training techniques.
6. Go for a Personal Best: If you have been performing the same exercises for weeks, it is time to challenge yourself by either adding more weight or repetitions. Try to break your own personal record and keep track of your progress in a training log or journal. You may not notice progress right away, but over time you will be able to get better if you remain consistent. For cardiovascular training, try training an extra five minutes or going an extra quarter mile.
7. Get a New Playlist: Nothing is more motivating than some good music! Download some new music and add it to your workout playlist. The music will keep you motivated to keep training while keeping your intensity levels high.
8. Do a Group Fitness Class: Sometimes we need someone else to push us for a little bit. Most gyms offer group fitness classes with your membership at no extra cost. Find the group fitness schedule and pick a class that sounds interesting to you. Being surrounded by others who are doing the same workout will challenge you to continue and work even harder than if you were going through the motions alone.
Try these simple tips to intensify your training and break past plateaus. All of these small changes will add up and make a difference over time. What are some techniques that you use to add intensity to your workouts? Please share your tips in the comments section below.