We all have those days when we get to the gym to train, go through the motions and just get it done, but that burning, pumped-up feeling is simply not there. This is normal, after all we are only human and we have our ups and downs.
The way you feel, your mindset and attitude really determines how much effort you put into anything that you do, and in this day and age, with stresses like traffic and long hours on the road, we can find ourselves more exhausted than ever.
So when you have one of those tiring days and you get to the gym with no motivation, take a few minutes to dig deep and try to really focus on what you are about to do. Visualize it and remind yourself why you are there doing it. Keep reassuring yourself and once you get into it, you will be so glad that you started instead of just packing up and going home.
Now here are a few other tips or techniques to shock your body and to raise the intensity of your workouts.
Don’t go and throw all of them into your workout at once! Be sure to try one or two at a time so that you can use them to continually change your routine to ensure that your body does not get used to what you are doing. The body is an extremely adaptable and intelligent machine, and it will adapt to any continuous stress which you place upon it.
That is why it is so important to keep things fresh, and alter your training regime every few weeks to mix it up and keep the body guessing. All of this will enable you to keep progressing and not cause your progress to stagnate.
1. Take shorter rests between sets
Watch the clock and time yourself so that you do not rest more than 30 seconds between sets. This will really elevate your heart rate AND save you time getting your workout done a lot quicker.
2. Super sets
Take two exercises and do them one after the other without resting in between. For example when training arms, the biceps and triceps. You can take one exercise for each, such as ‘standing barbell curls’ and ‘dips’ and do them together. So you will do one set of ‘standing barbell curls’ and immediately following it you do one set of ‘dips,’ without resting. You can pair two opposing muscles (like biceps and triceps) or you can do two exercises for the same muscle group to really burn it out. For example for chest, you can super set dumbbell bench press with fly s.
3. Tri sets
These are very similar to ‘super setting’ except you take THREE exercises and do them one after the other with no rest in between.
4. Drop sets
This is where you choose one exercise and do a set of the exercise and then immediately reduce the weight and do another set (with no rest between the weight reduction). You can even drop the weight again to do a third set. You can drop the weight as many times as you like, but I think 3 – 4 times should be sufficient. To illustrate this, lets use the ‘bench press’ (for the chest muscles). Now you start the exercise with a somewhat heavy weight, lets say 100 kgs for simplicity, enough to do about 6 to 8 reps. Once you have completed your first set with the 100kgs you then reduce the weight to 90kgs and bust out another set. You then can reduce the weight again to 80kgs and do one more set, increasing the reps as you decrease weight until failure.
5. Get to the gym ‘late’
Something that I’ve realized (albeit by accident), is getting to the gym an hour or so before it is about to close. So now once you are there you know you really only have that hour to get your whole workout in. This is quite a mental thing and it forces you to keep the pace up to ensure that you finish everything before closing time.
6. Incorporate skipping in between your sets
If you haven’t tried using a skipping rope, you are really missing out. It’s a great way to burn calories, work your core, abs, calves and it even helps with your postural alignment! And you don’t need much space to do it. So it is a great cardio booster to add to your workout and even to add in between your sets of weights to keep your heart rate up. So for instance if you are working legs, do a set of leg press then skip for thirty seconds, rest for thirty seconds and repeat!
7. Change your workout frequently
It doesn’t have to be too frequent, but after a few weeks try mixing it up a little. You don’t even have to make huge changes, simple things like switching the order of your exercises or changing your rep ranges on your exercises, anything unusual will make a difference and keep you on your toes!
So there you have it, there’s a few tips to get more out of your workouts, now go and try them!