By Mike Kubas
Another day, another workout. Just another day to grind out. We all know workouts can get stale if you’re doing the same types of exercises or taking the exact same class every time you’re in the gym. Sometimes you need to mix it up a bit, not just to keep your gains coming, but also to keep yourself interested and motivated. There’s a number of different ways to go about this. A workout can become vastly different and more challenging just by altering a few variables.
A simple way to make the same exercises feel completely different is to change or start monitoring your rest periods. The time you rest in between sets greatly impacts your next set. If you’re currently taking a long rest in between each of your sets, try cutting down your rest period to 30- 60 seconds in between sets. Shortening the rest periods will make your working sets a bit more challenging as you’re not allowing your muscles to fully recover. If you’re using short rest periods, try increasing your rest period to 90-120 seconds in order to fully recover and get the most out of your working sets. If you’re training for strict hypertrophy – meaning muscle growth is your main priority – then right around 60 seconds of recovery is typically best. If your main goal is to increase strength, you’ll want a longer rest period to allow for the muscles to fully recover in order to maximize your effort during working sets.
Another way to mix up your workout is to vary your rep ranges. There are several ways to do this. An example would be having one day where you do 4 sets of 10-12 reps, another day 5 sets of 4-6 reps, and another day 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps. For each of these days you keep the exercises the same, but change the weight being used to correspond with the rep ranges. For instance, the higher reps will require lower weights and the lower rep ranges will require heavier weights.
Lastly, another variable you can adjust to dramatically change your workout is to train unilaterally. Most people will do their exercises with both of their arms or both legs, a great way to change it up is to train each side of the body individually. This puts more demand on your body and core to stabilize the weight and stops you from compensating with one side, if there is a strength or range of motion difference between each side. You’ll want to use slightly lighter weights than you would if training bilaterally. Unilateral training is a great way to add a new challenge, push through a plateau, or just add some variation to your workouts.
These are just a few simple adjustments you can make to your workout routine to add a little variety and a new challenge. There are a lot of other ways to keep yourself engaged in your fitness pursuits including trying new group classes including yoga classes, using new equipment, working with a personal trainer, or trying a completely new exercise routine. Sometimes a little variety is enough to re-engage and motivate yourself to continue pursuing your fitness goals and staying active.
If you are considering signing up for personal training sessions or joining one of our fitness training programs for semi-private personal training, or for small group training, we encourage you to register for a complimentary fitness consultation, during which our fitness experts will discuss with you how best you can achieve your goals. You will also get a FREE Body Fat Analysis.