If there is one thing I have learned about the fitness industry in two and a half years, shit always changes and there are no right answers.
What works for person A may not work for person B. Person B may have a heart condition that doesn’t allow them to do high intensity training. Hell, even a torn ligament or broken bone can set you back light years and limit your range of motion and/or strength. I would know. I tore my PCL in January. I am just now getting to a point where I can run, jump and lift heavier weights. You know how miserable it was not being able to do a damn lunge? THE WORST! I felt like THAT guy who skips leg day. Not cool.
Even for people who may not be limited, it can be awfully easy to get lazy.
For those who workout on their own, you may fall into a trap of complacency. Maybe you like a particular workout more than the others. You may find yourself gravitating toward that. Even a consummate professional of fitness like myself can fall into that trap. I can put clients through workouts that kick their ass, but sometimes I have a rough time kicking my own ass.
When you mix up your routine, it can make all the difference in the world. I will give you five ways to enhance your workout. Keep in mind, we all have different fitness goals. These tips may or may not work for you depending on your long or short term goal. When my friend suggested this, it was a Pandoras box of a topic.
You may notice one thing about most of my tips, they save time. Assuming you’re like me and have a full-time job, a wife, a side hobby and are a typical busy adult with many important things to do, time is precious. I personally like being done my workout between 45 minutes to an hour. Even if you like spending more than a hour, there is no reason you can’t implement any of this to enhance your routine.
Supersets are a combination of two exercises performed back to back without rest. By reducing the rest, you are causing your body to work more in less time. Most of my workouts consist of nothing but supersets. For example, if it is chest and tri day, I will go from dumbbell chest press to dips without a break. I don’t take a break until I hit both body parts. The break is usually 30 seconds or less. I am not a fan of standing around for 1 minute in between every set.
4. Implement Cardio Into Your Workout
Let’s be honest, most of us hate doing cardio. My cardio usually comes in the form of sports. I am not a fan of running on the treadmill or elliptical. However, sports were halted when I tore my PCL. I started implementing cardio into my workouts to help keep my heart rate elevated. Remember those supersets? I would finish a superset and hit the elliptical for 2 minutes. I would come back, get the next set and hit the elliptical again. This made sure my heart was constantly elevated which causes me to burn more calories and pushes my body to work harder. Hell, if you don’t like cardio equipment, try jumping jacks, mountain climbers or battle ropes.
3. Combination Moves
If you really want to maximize your time training, combo moves are always a great option. This is a good way to hit two body parts in one set. Plus combo moves are great for implementing legs into your workout…bonus! Don’t be the asshole who never works out legs. I can’t stress that enough. You will end up looking like Johnny Bravo. Two huge benefits of combo moves are improvement of muscular efficiency and coordination. This results in muscle groups communicating with each other to work together improving strength, balance and flexibility. An example of combo move would be a dumbbell pushup to a row.
2. TRX Bands
If you ever see me complete a workout without doing at least one thing on the TRX bands, you better buy a lottery ticket. Your odds are better. No matter what fitness level you are at, TRX bands can be great for you. The functionality of the equipment is predicated on angles and bodyweight. My favorite part about TRX is you HAVE to engage your core. For people who can’t handle high impact training or moves, these are for you! One of my favorite TRX workouts are pushups to knee tucks. You put your feet in the slots of the bands and do a push up and then bring your knees to your chest. Great stuff.
If you are looking to improve your overall health, high intensity interval training is the way to go. It is proven to boost your metabolism, burn fat while maintaining muscle and it is fantastic for your heart. With HIIT, you have to mix up the rest and work time. For example, I gravitate toward Tabata, a style of HIIT. You run through a workout consisting of one or multiple exercises and then in between sets you will rest for 10 seconds after working for 20. This work/rest ratio can be changed to the liking of the person working out. The reason I love it is because it exhausts my muscles due to not being limited to a rep count. If I can get eight in that 30 seconds, I can shoot for nine the next time. It helps me push myself harder.