You’re working out, and you’re progressing, but maybe not as quickly as you had hoped. Lots of people experience workout plateaus, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay trapped on them forever. Follow these six tips to get the best results out of every workout.
Use Compound Exercises
If you find that you are focusing many of your exercises on small muscle groups (bicep curls, tricep dips, standing calf raises) you may be able to increase your effectiveness and overall strength by swapping them for exercises which target several muscle groups in one go.
For example, push-ups work your chest, arms, upper back, and your core. You could spend time in the gym working each of these areas individually, or you could maximize your performance by using compound exercises that engage these muscle groups more frequently, and in different ways.
Increase the Difficulty
If you lift the same amount of weight, or run the exact same distance every time you go to the gym, you are selling yourself short. It is time to begin slowly increasing the difficulty level of your workouts, so that you can advance both your fitness and your strength.
For strength training, increase weights slowly adding only five pounds or so at a time. For cardio, you could try increasing the incline, shooting for a longer distance, or even completing the same distance, but in less time. This approach will help you increase your strength, stamina, speed, and endurance. These are the elements that will make you a better athlete.
Supersets and Circuits
Supersets are strength-training exercises that alternate between two different moves, and are performed back to back. For example, a bench press set followed immediately by a barbell row set without resting in between.
Circuit training is another way to improve your fitness. This is where you perform a series of five or six exercises with little to no rest in between, resting only after the circuit has been completed. Working out in this way helps to increase your stamina and endurance, as well as giving your body more of a challenge.
If you fuel your body with good things, you will achieve good results from your workout. Technically speaking, anything you eat will sustain your workout, but ask anyone who has ever tried to run a mile after eating two huge slices of pepperoni pizza, and they will tell you that there are smarter ways to eat.
You want to make sure that you are getting a wide range of vitamins and minerals by eating healthy whole foods and taking supplements when necessary. You also need to ensure you’re consuming enough protein to support your workouts, and that you are staying hydrated.
Work Out With a Friend
A great way to keep you honest and accountable is to work out with a friend. You don’t necessarily have to do exactly the same workout routine, but simply the act of showing up together can help improve your performance (and your friend’s). Motivation is also higher when you can turn your workout into more of a social event.
Consult a Trainer
If you feel you are really stuck on a plateau, it might be time to consult a professional. Personal training sessions can sometimes be expensive, but even just sitting down and speaking with a professional one time might help open your eyes to better methods.
You are already putting in time and effort by completing your workouts, why not maximize the returns? Try incorporating these six practices into your workouts, and see how you improve!