Have you been going at it lately with your strength training without seeing any gains? Are you beginning to feel bored and finding it harder to stay motivated? What about the days when you do work out; do you feel that the workouts are becoming too easy? Regardless of your reasons, there are many ways to take your strength training to the next level. Among the following innovative ways to boost your strength workout, you’re guaranteed to find one that clicks with you.
Stick to a Tempo
This might sound a little exotic, but maintaining a rep tempo can help boost your metabolism, increase your muscle mass, and optimize your workout gains. Overall, the tempo has a scientifically-backed impact on a training session. But, what is meant by tempo? It’s the time spent during each portion of an exercise. For example, a popular tempo is 4-1-2-1. The first digit stands for the lowering portion of the lift. The second digit stands for how long the lowered position should be maintained. The third stands for the time spent on the pushing/lifting part of the exercise. The fourth stands for how long the weight should be held at the top. If you were to bench press using tempo training, you’d take four seconds to lower the weight to your chest, hold the position for one second, lift the bar in two, then hold for one second and repeat. You could also synchronize your reps with your music tempo for a more fun session.
Shorter Workouts are the Way to Go
We’ve all heard of or spoke to someone whose life is a gym. Some have even experienced what it’s like to workout for an insanely long amount of time. While it’s easy to think that longer workouts mean more gains, that is not at all the case. Try to keep your strength workouts concentrated, intense, and short instead of opting for an hour-long workout. Not only will you be improving your metabolism and straining your muscles and cardiovascular system, but you will also be motivating yourself to workout. After all, working out for 30 minutes or less sounds much more appealing than 45 minutes or more.
Increase Weight, not Reps
There are two types of people you see at the gym: those who increase the reps and those who increase the weight. Some approach it in an arbitrary manner, while others have a strategy behind what they do. You see, while reps increase your muscles’ endurance, increasing weight develops muscle strength. You could do a set of 20 pull-ups for weeks, but your gains will reach a cap at some point. On the other hand, if you use a weight vest to add resistance, you can decrease your reps and still notice an increase in the gains. For the ultimate progress, you need to find a balance between weights and reps. Especially for those body-weight exercises, you might want to consider adding weight instead of increasing sets.
Cardio Isn’t Always a Friend
Cardio exercises are a direct route to weight loss which makes them good, but one of the negative effects is that too much cardio can take away from your muscle gains. According to a research study conducted in 1980, six days a week of 40-minute cardio will eventually take away from your gains. Although, this doesn’t mean that you should quit cardio. A strength training routine coupled with 2-3 days of 30-40 minutes of cardio per week can do you a lot of good. Even better, why not try your metaphorical hand and your literal body at high-intensity interval workouts?
If you are one to train every day, you might want to review that strategy. First off, daily training without proper resting days in between takes away the body’s chance to replenish and repair the damaged muscle tissue. In other words, inadequate rest can increase your risk of getting injured during workouts while robbing your body from building stronger muscle tissues after each workout. Not just that, but once your body gets used to a workout routine, it will start to plateau and your progress will flatline. Instead, make time for at least one day of recovery each week and see how it helps.
That being said, there’s only one thing left to address and that is posture. It’s easy to get too involved in the workout and forget all about straightening your spine or properly positioning your body. At the beginning of a workout, you might find yourself attentive to such details, but when you’re barely pushing through the workout, these things could easily slip your mind and that’s when most injuries happen. For a safe, fruitful, injury-free workout make sure you maintain proper posture and give the above suggestions a try.