Updated: Nov 4, 2020
If you have a steady workout routine your body may have gotten used to it. Doing your favorite exercises consistently can make you plateau and cease progress in your body. You need to have a varied workout but, if you are slow to change your routine, there are ways get your old routine to consistently challenge your body. Here a couple tips to help intensify your workout.
1. Shorter breaks -
If you are lifting heavy, you probably are taking a break in between. Cutting these break shorter; in half or even 20 seconds can help your intensify your workout. Shorter breaks will give you less recover time and will subsequently make your muscles work harder for each round.
**Tip: Always time your rest inbetween sets or after exercies**
2. Do exercise faster -
Just like taking shorter breaks, speeding up your workout can have the same impact as taking a shorter break. When doing a exercise faster, you still want to make sure you have proper form. Don't compromise the exercise to do it faster.
**Tip: You can combine a faster exercise with taking shorter breaks to make it even more intense.**
3. Increase weight -
Obviously this is the most common way to intensify an exercise. Increasing the weight on a machine, or adding weights to bodyweight exercises (ankle or arm weights) will challenge your body to work harder. You should be gradually increasing weights (to make gains) with time. Whenever your body gets accustom to a specific weight (not getting sore or progressing) you want to increase it 5-10 lb so you can continually progress.
**Tip: This is the best way to gain more muscle and strength**
4. Do more reps -
If you are trying to tone and lose weight, you may not want to increase the weight on an exercise. To intensify your workout but not gain mass, try doing more reps. Increasing reps by 10-20 is a great way to make your workout a little harder. This will get your muscles working but you won't excess mass
**Tip: If you are looking tone and get long lean muscles this is the best way to obtain it.**
5. Change position -
Being elevated, turning feet outward, narrow grip or doing an exercise on one leg is another way to get your body working. Changing your stance on a workout will get different muscles engaged and make your workout harder. Not all exercises are created the same however. You always want to make sure you have proper form, regardless of the exercise, so if you can't change the position and maintain form, try another way to intensify it.
**Tip: Doing an exercise on one leg is a great way to challenge your body and get isolated engagement.**
6. Superset -
This is a term that basically means two exercises back to back, (with little to no break) that works either opposite muscles or the same one. This can be doing 10 push ups, then doing 10 pull ups, back to back for any number of rounds. Supersetting is the perfect way to get make your workout more intense because you are not taking a break and working opposite or the same muscles consecutively. Trust me you will feel the burn.
**Tip: Make sure if you superset you aren't taking a break or taking a timed break for shorter than 10 seconds**
7. Pause during workout -
This is a simple method of pausing at the end of the motion of any workout. The pause can be for as short as 5 seconds or as long as 30 seconds, it depends on you. An example of a pause is going into a plank for 10 seconds between push up reps. Doing a pause can add that extra burn to your workout and get your muscles working a little harder.
**Tip: When pausing during a workout make sure you time the pause by counting and try different durations to find the most challenging time**
8. Add a half a rep to 1 rep -
Adding another half rep extends your reps and gets your workout intense. To do this you do the full rep of an exercise, then immediately repeat the motion but stop half way and go back to a starting position, count that as one rep. Adding this half rep, will increase the total amount of reps you do and add some extra burn to your exercise.
**Tip: Make sure to have proper form when adding your half rep**
9. Stay bent -
This may sound weird but bear with me. When doing a exercise that involves bending or extending (most exercises) don't fully retract body to starting position. Keep your body in that tense position, meaning still slightly bent or extended position (for ex. if you are curling a dumbbell, don't fully go back to extended straight arm position, keep it slightly curled.) This will keep your muscles constantly tense and engaged. Staying contracted will keep your muscles working the entire exercise.
10. Add circuits in-between reps -
Adding a circuit between exercises not only gets you extra cardio but will make your muscles work harder. So what is a circuit? It can be adding 10 jump lunges, 20 step ups, 15 glute bridges inbetween each set of squats. This means after squatting heavy for one set, you do a circuit then go back to finish the set. The circuit will get you sweating and add extra exertion to your body.
**Tip: Adding a circuit is a great way to get leaner while trying to gain mass, just make sure your circuit is using the muscle groups that you are trying to gain the mass i.e. glute focused circuitody circuit or a full b**
Using any of these tips will help any workout, however, in the long run you will to change your routine up (using new machines) and increase the weight. Check out more fitness tips on my fitness page !