How many times have you been to the gym, hit the track or bike and thought "this is so boring"? It happens to the best of us. We get into a routine, which is part of human nature, which can lead to dull workouts and lack of enthusiasm to push harder. Sure, we can up the weight, run a little faster, or jump a little higher, but is that really an effective way to ensure you're always hitting new muscle groups and keeping a newbie level of excitement in your session? We spoke to one of our ambassadors, group fitness instructor Szenes Boglárka, and got some great advice. Here's what she had to say:
1. ADD NEW EQUIPMENT
Try doing push-ups, or squats on a BOSU ball. This will increase your core strength immensely, using muscles for balance you otherwise wouldn't use during these two exercises.
Add resistance bands. You can do exercises for basically all muscle groups on your body with a single band. For example, try adding some bands to each end of the bar when doing a bench press (you'll need to thread underneath the bench), or maybe try some resistance band boxing.
Try TRX. TRX-based exercises can again really improve core strength, while also working on the connective tissue / smaller muscle groups that otherwise get forgotten about. Doing reverse rows, push-ups or even simple planks using TRX bands can completely transform your workout.
It's all about angles. Using an inclined, or declined bench can greatly increase the resistance of various exercises. Most people associate the 'decline bench' with a bench press, but what about sit-ups? Hip raises on an inclined surface are killer and declined 'ab rows' are, well, brutal.
Use a sandball/sandbag. Simple sandbag slams, or woodchops are both great to incorporate into the workout. But also using sandbags for additional weight doing walking lunges, or even step-ups can add a dimension to the exercise that you often can't achieve on your own.
2. COMBINE EXERCISES
Even two really basic exercises can be combined to enhance the intensity. 'The superset' is normally the go-to for a lot of gym-goers (which is two sets of exercises you perform back to back. A superset might consist of 10 squats, followed by 10 press-ups for example. Combining exercises, however, is a little different. The aim is to merge two exercises into one for a much fuller body experience. Eg. plate squat to press, or reverse lunge with twist. There are thousands of exercise combinations, so get creative!
Plyometrics are exercises that are designed to exert maximum force in very short intervals of time, with the goal of building power. This is the type of training sprinters do for explosive strength. Types of plyometric exercises are:
Press-ups with a clap
Pull-ups with a clap (Very difficult - please be careful!)
4. TRAIN WITH A PARTNER
You can be very creative here. You can choose exercises to compete with one another, train for time, or even choose exercises that require both of you to be involved. Eg. push-ups facing each other and a high five after each repetition ,or, medicine ball sit-up, throw to your partner who does a squat with a shoulder press holding the ball. We've had a huge amount of fun creating crazy workouts that involve two or more people, and the possibilities are truly endless.
Training until failure always seems the obvious way to increase the intensity, but few of us rarely follow all the way through to muscle exhaustion. Especially when training with a partner, you can be held accountable if you are caught cheating with your rep count.
A FINAL NOTE
As always, make sure you consult a professional before attempting any exercises you're unsure of or haven't done before. While we can't give any specific advice, this blog was intended to get those creative juices flowing and get you thinking about how to spice up those routines if you're beginning to plateau or get bored.
Before we wrap up, we just wanted to mention #TYDLTuesday. Each week we send members of our mailing list a FREE curated workout by one of amazing PT ambassadors. They are designed for all fitness levels and target something new each week. Sometimes, they are cardio focussed, sometimes strength training. It's a complete mix. The workouts contain all the sorts of things we have spoken about above! If you're up to the challenge and are keen to get involved, simply pop your email address into the signup form at the bottom of this website & each Tuesday we'll send you your workout!
Michael & Will