If you have been going to the gym or working out at home for more than a few weeks, then there is a chance that you thought about your program for the day and thought “this is getting old”. We have all been there at one time or another. Many of us have been there more than once.
Like many others, I get bored after doing the same program over and over again. So I have learned several ways to change up the workout and not only challenge myself but break plateaus and achieve new levels of success in the gym. I’d like to share five of them with you here.
1. Flip The Script – This is one that may appear to be the simplest but you’d be surprised how many people I’ve given this one to and they reply “I never thought of that.” Instead of doing the traditional workout you’ve been doing, just start with the exercise you normally do last and begin with it. Then do your entire program backwards. You will be surprised how your strength levels will be affected with those movements you normally start with. After pre-exhausting yourself with the other exercises, you won’t be able to lift the normal weight you’re accustomed to. There is your new challenge.
2. Change the Rep Scheme – Have you been lifting in the 8-12 rep range? Try going a little heavier. Are you a power trainer? If so, lighten the load and increase the reps. Don’t just increase them by a few either. Go to 50 or even 100 reps. This will definitely shock the muscular and central nervous systems. This may also give you an opportunity to challenge your muscular endurance and elevate your overall athletic ability.
3. Change Your Schedule – If you schedule days off in between certain bodyparts, try to shift them around so you train them on back to back days. You can also reschedule the bodyparts so you train two bodyparts a day instead of one. Of course this works the other way around too. If you normally train two a day, take a few weeks to train only one muscle group a day so they each get their own special attention. You may be surprised at the improvements you achieve in a short amount of time by doing this. Just make sure you still take a day off every three to four days to rest and recover.
4. Intensity Boosters – Just like we all need mental boosts occasionally, we can also use workout boosters. There are a few options for you here. Drop sets are when you reach failure with a certain weight, you reduce the total weight and try to get more reps. You can also try rest-pause sets. Instead of reducing the weight at failure, rest for about ten seconds and then try to get a couple of more reps with the same weight. Supersets is great for adding intensity and reducing time in the gym. Take two exercises and perform them back to back without rest. There are other intensity boosters as well but these three are among the most popular.
5. Giant Sets – How many exercises do you perform per bodypart? Three, four, more? Instead of doing each exercise individually, try to perform them all in a row without rest? So if you are doing shoulders for example, do shoulder presses, lateral raises, upright rows, and shrugs consecutively before taking a break? After a brief respite, try to do the circuit again. Three or four rounds in a row and you will be sure that you got a great workout accomplished.
Obviously there are more techniques than this to challenge and push yourself to new levels of success in the weight room. These are just my favorites. If you have something special you like to do, please leave a comment and share it with us.
About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.
Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.