5 Ways To Take Your Workouts to the Next Level
In this post I am going to explain exactly why you need to take your intensity up in your training and provide exactly how to do so.
The tips I’m about to uncover WILL invoke the body to re-shape with eye popping, muscle definition, causing the opposite sex to sustain neck injuries from whiplash and weakness in the knees…
Ok, little dramatic there but you get the idea.
Through the concepts I’m going to describe to you, you’re going to learn exactly what you need to do to rev your metabolic rate so high that you’ll burn up body fat even while you’re at home kicked back watching t.v.
Sound too good to be true?
If you’re like most people, this is exactly how you would LOVE to be able to lose fat. You’re doing very little work but melting fat off your body.
Possible? Absolutely. But, only after you put in the hard work with your trainingﬁrst.
When you can blitz up that intensity high enough, amazing things will start happening to your body.
You’ll feel stronger, you’ll feel more fit, and you’ll look much leaner than ever before. You may even start to notice that you can eat more food without gaining weight – that’s the beauty of a solid strength & conditioning program right there!
It’s so unfortunate that so many people miss out on this just because they simply do not bring the intensity of their workouts high enough. They’re usually too scared, too uncomfortable or simply don’t know any better.
Lets dig into this.
You see, your body does not like to be pushed out of its comfort zone. If it had its way, it would go about your day without ever really experiencing any type of challenge.
Basically, it likes being lazy. But, lazy gets you what? I’m sure its safe to say exactly where you are at right now. No, I’m not calling you lazy. But, think about anything new that you have ever tried to do.
Did you experience some Fear and Doubt?
This is the body’s self defense mechanism to resist change. What happened when you overcame that fear and doubt though? You broke your bodies laziness and created a positive end result in your life that was worth it! Agreed?
So, if you want to push the barriers with your strength and ﬁtness and reach a whole new level of leanness – a leanness where muscle deﬁnition starts to show and reveal your hard and lean body come out of hiding, then you HAVE to push past that comfort zone, break the fears and doubts and literally force the body to change.
Yes, you may experience a bit of discomfort during your workouts because you are working at that elevated intensity but trust me, when you see the results coming in, you will never bother with a boring low intensity workout again.
Ok, yes, low intensity workouts do have their place – if you need a recovery session after a very high workout or you’re injured and just trying to maintain some degree of ﬁtness level then they may be appropriate, but if you’re goal is maximum deﬁnition, fat loss, and strength, higher intensity through Strength & Conditioning is where it’s at.
It’s you’re golden ticket to success. So that is precisely what we’re going to focus on.
So, what does intensity mean?
Right now you may be thinking…pain. Or perhaps you have this vision of yourself hunched over out of breath halfway through the workout. To you, that equals intensity.
While these both may somewhat describe intensity, it’s vital that we place a speciﬁc description on this so when you achieve it, you know it.
Intensity is pushing your body harder than it’s been pushed before.
Intensity Doesn’t Need to Be Madness!!!
Intensity is forcing your body to work when it would rather rest.
Intensity is constantly pushing yourself further than you did the previous workout.
This is extremely important if you want to see progress. Basically, it goes like this. Your body is a highly adaptive organism and every time you place a stress on it, it’s going to adapt to this stress as best as possible, growing back stronger and healthier!
That is the process of progression. You break down the muscle tissue, give it enough rest, and then it grows back stronger again and ready to take on tougher workouts and challenges. Not failing to mention that during this process, it continues to burn fat up to 24 hours per day!
Now, one place too many people go wrong is with the rest element. They’re in the gym every day doing something and not allowing their body the time it needs to recover. Be very careful about doing this. If you do, you’re deﬁnitely going to suffer the effects of lack of progress.
We’ll get back to that in another post. Right now just know this process. Break-down, rest, progression.
What you want to be doing each and every time you’re training is working at an intensity that is slightly higher than the one you were at before.
If you do this then you’re placing that new stress – that higher stress (which is often termed as overloading stimulus for you technical people out there) on the muscles which forces them to react.
They have never seen this stress before and because of that, you see improvement. If you fail to provide a higher intensity than you did last time though, the body gets comfortable again.
It’s been challenged with this stress before and is now adapted to it so it knows it’s fully capable of handling it.
So, no strength gains or physical changes are going to take place. You will deﬁnitely still burn off calories while doing your workout but you won’t see the type of progress you’re looking for. This is the very reason people spend years in the gym and see little to no new results.
When you’re constantly increasing the intensity, you reach new levels of ﬁtness and you must remember that with each new level, you’ll be burning up more and more calories.
Therefore, the more you push it on a regular basis, the faster fat loss will progress, the faster you’ll get lean muscle development, and the more ﬁt and healthy you’ll become.
So now that you understand why intensity is important, the question is how its accomplished. How do you add that intensity to your workout program that is going to cause all these beneﬁts to take place?
Fortunately, there’s numerous ways you can go about this.
Here are 5 Ways to Take Your Training to the Next Level:
1. Increased Resistance
One of the ﬁrst methods of boosting up the intensity of your workout program is by simply adding more resistance. This is by far the most common method and what you’ll see most people doing.
Rather than doing say 50 pounds on their dumbbell row, they bump it up to 55 or maybe even 60 pounds. This further challenges their muscles and they see nice muscle tone and strength gains because of it.
The only problem with this type of intensity increase is that you’re not going to see it each and every workout. It’s very common to ﬁnd that you can only increase the weight upwards every 4-12 weeks depending on the particular exercise you happen to be doing and the amount of weight you’re lifting in the ﬁrst place, so to expect yourself to boost the weight each and every workout would be unrealistic.
2. Decreased Rest Time
So then we come to our second method of increasing the intensity. That method is reducing back on the total amount of time you spend resting throughout the workout.
Rather than taking one full minute between your sets you would take just 30 or 45 seconds. Now you’re forcing the body to do the same amount of work (reps X weight X sets) but in a shorter period of time.
Hence, you bring on muscular fatigue. Again, the body must learn to deal with this new, higher level of muscular fatigue and you become stronger because of it.
One thing that should be noted here however is that generally you don’t want to reduce the rest periods so much that it sacriﬁces how much you can lift – or makes you use improper form.
You must ALWAYS use proper form on your exercises. Using momentum or improper form will cause you to be at a higher risk of injury.
If you are not using good form, you’re in for trouble. Always keep this in the back of your mind; form and execution is everything.
Only bring the rest periods down short enough that you get more of a muscular challenge without it inﬂuencing your ability to maintain what you were doing before.
The point is to add intensity not change the entire stress around.
3. Change Of Exercises
Another way that you can increase the intensity of your workouts is to change the exercises you’re doing around. This is actually a very good way to bust through any ﬁtness plateau you might be doing and totally shock the body into responding.
When you go into the gym and are doing the same order of exercises over and over again, the body gets used to that too. Even if you are aiming to up the weight or reduce the rest, eventually it’s just not enough.
That’s when a complete change-over is needed. Rather than doing a ﬂat bench press for instance, try an incline bench press or adding bands to the bar.
Or, rather than doing squats, try lunges. Just be sure that the exercises you’re adding in replace ones that work similar muscles and you’ll be all set.
Remember that you don’t necessarily always have to change all of the exercises either – simply changing two or three of the main ones you do will be enough to really shock the body and showing progress again.
Get creative – there are so many exercises that can be added into a workout routine that there’s absolutely no reason why boredom should ever be a factor for you.
4. Added Explosiveness
Next up on our list of methods to boost the intensity of your program is to add some degree of explosive training. Explosive training is an extremely great way to challenge the body because of the fact that it’s really going to get those fast twitch muscles working hard.
Want six pack abs? Move away from the crunch mat.
One of the biggest mistakes so many people are making with their workouts is getting into some machine and just going through the movements. Half the time their mind isn’t even on the exercise, it’s what they’re doing this coming Friday night.
If you want to see optimum results from your workout program you must zero in and focus; often times my clients will hear me say, “Make that Mind and Body connection to work together.”
This means focusing 100% on the muscle(s) being worked while doing a certain exercise. One great way to ensure you’re doing this is to add explosiveness to your workout. When you’re putting in 100% effort you deﬁnitely will not have a chance to let your mind slip and start focusing on something else.
If you do, you’ll be knocked on the ﬂoor. So the fact that you’re concentrating in on every movement and really trying to challenge yourself will not only cause you to work your muscles more efficiently but it’s also really going to get those muscles working incredibly hard.
This means greater calorie burns during the workout, greater calorie burns after the workout, and faster results!
Explosive Training is hands down one of the single best ways to boost your workout intensity and challenge your body. The best part is, with just your bodyweight, the options are literally endless.
Examples of Explosive Training Include:
- Jumps (Box, Broad, Triple, Side Lateral, Rebound, etc)
- Plyometric Pushups
- Sprinter Step Ups
- Throwing Objects
5. Utilize Supersets
OH YEAH!… My Personal Favorite… The Superset…
A superset is where you’re going to take one exercise and pair it with another. So let’s say you’re going to be working chest and back today.
Rather than doing all your chest exercises and then moving over and doing your back you’re going to perform one set for the chest and then directly move over and perform a second set for the back with little to no rest in between (except to move to the new exercise).
Then once both the exercises have been completed you can rest (and change the weight) before moving on to your next set. The beneﬁts of this technique are numerous.
First, your workouts are going to be short, sweet and intense. Since you literally are cutting down the total rest time by half, you’re going to get in and get out faster than you know it.
Second, you’re going to really good muscle pumps. Now, this might not matter to everyone but if you’re motivated when you get that fuller feeling in your muscles, supersets will do that to you quickly. Hence, since you’re more motivated, you may now push harder. Getting more work done.
Winning!! Ok, sorry, had to say it.
Third, supersets are great for increasing the muscle’s endurance capacity and making you more resistant to fatigue which will help greatly when you’re performing many of the activities you do on a regular basis. Especially if you engage in competitive sports – you will outlast your competition as they fatigue out.
So as you can see, supersets are a great technique to be using and one I’d deﬁnitely recommend. One of the best things about your workouts is that they’re virtually an endless series of supersets. You’re constantly moving between exercises and really ramping up that total calorie burn for much faster overall fat loss.
There are multiple ways to do a superset. You can do Agonistic and antagonistic supersets, you can do compound to isolation supersets, and you can do same part supersets.
Let’s brieﬂy give you a glimpse into each one. I want you to fully understand this training principle as it’s one that will deﬁnitely accelerate your progress.
So in all the major muscle groups in the body you have a pair of muscles that virtually oppose each other. You have the chest and the back, you have the biceps and the triceps, and you have the quads and hamstrings. When you pair these two exercises together in superset fashion, that’s when you’re doing antagonistic and agonistic supersets.
This tends to be a very beneﬁcial way to pair these together due to the fact that since they oppose each other, when one muscle group is resting, the other is working and vice versa. Hence even though you aren’t actually resting in the workout, you are letting that muscle rest. This allows you to perform more work in less time.
Same Part Supersets / Compound to Isolation
Another type of superset you can do are same part supersets. This will be where you perform two different exercises that are going to target the same muscle group. So you’d do two shoulder exercises for instance back to back.
Or, two lower body exercises – say squats followed by lunges. Do note though that these are going to be by far the most intense supersets you do. Since you’re directly stimulating that muscle tissue across numerous sets you will most certainly ﬁnd that you’re experiencing a high rate of lactic acid build-up.
If you can make it through these, you will without a doubt be able to tolerate a higher overall work capacity when you go back to your straight sets again.
Other ways to Get Creative With Your Supersets
A. Push and Pull (Bench Press coupled with Barbell Rows)
B. Full Body Split (Squat then Pull-Ups)
C. Explosiveness based movements with Strength (Box Jump followed by Deadlifts)
There are so many other ways to take your intensity up and I could go on for days talking about each one:
- Cluster sets
- Drop Sets
- Rest – Pause Sets
- Forced Reps
- Controlled Cheat Reps
- Giant Sets
- Jump Sets
- Strip Sets
I teach all of these and even more to my coaching clients as it relates to their specific program.
Whatever way you choose to do it, increased intensity is the way to go with your training. Get a taste of it and you’ll never go back.