Putting together a basic workout program to get results is not all that difficult. Provided you have the three main components needed for progress – an overloading stimulus, rest, and proper nutrition, results should be made. Slight variations in programs can tilt the scales in a more favourable direction, further increasing the gains that you experience.
By implementing these small changes to your workout program on a regular basis you can help push your results to the next level. People who stick with the same workout program for months on end are the same people who tend to plateau quite rapidly as their body adapts to their workout program, not seeing any need to further respond to the stimuli being provided.
By mixing these six additions in though you will get better and faster gains than before.
Use Two Varieties Of Cardio Training
Many people fall into the habit of doing one form of cardio training only. While you likely will have your preference – some people love running, others prefer the elliptical, and so on switching it up between a few different modalities does prove to be very beneficial. Cardio is one activity in particular that the body tends to adapt to very rapidly, so results will really slow unless you make a constant effort to continually change up the actual cardio program you are doing (do intervals of different lengths and intensities for example).
By using another machine you are able to keep the intensity level more moderate if overtraining is a concern for you but still see benefits. Another advantage to this is the fact that switching between forms will also prevent overuse injuries from developing, which are frequent when you’re doing a repetitive motion day after day.
Add In Some Plyometric Exercises
Consider adding in some plyometric exercises every once in a while as well. These will not be quite as strength or size-focused, but will help work the body in a new manner and stimulate the fast twitch muscle fibers.
If you have any need for developing better speed and force, plyometric exercises are great for this purpose. Just be sure you are scheduling the plyometric activities either at the start of your workout or on another day from your usual lifting since they are going to require that you’re completely fresh and have a full energy supply to rely on.
Certain plyometric activities are also good for strengthening the abdominal core. Anything that has you at a reduced stability or requires you to be jumping into the air will stimulate the abdominals to help support the rest of the body.
Monitor Your Rest Periods Closely
You likely spend a great deal of time figuring out the perfect combination of exercises to include in each session. What is often overlooked though is the rest periods that are used within the workout itself. Instead, you just rest according to how long you think you ‘need’. While you may still get results without much concern over your rest periods, you can definitely impact the results of the workout by altering the rest periods according to your goals. Longer rest periods are really good for promoting maximum strength gains since they will allow you to fully recover between sets, while shorter rest periods will help to spark the metabolism more, aiding with fat loss.
Be sure you don’t over-shorten the rest though as doing so may begin to hinder your lifting ability entirely, slowing down progress. By timing the rest periods every once in a while as you go about your workout program you can get a clear picture in your mind how you are handling these and make sure the length is in accordance with your overall goals, neither too long or too short.
Perform Both Dynamic And Isometric Abdominal Exercises
When going about your abdominal workout, you’re going to get far better results if you can include both dynamic (body in motion) exercises with isometric (body is held still) exercises. For example, rather than doing abdominal crunches on an exercise ball followed by leg raises with the ball between your feet, perform the abdominal crunches first, but then follow this up with a plank on the exercise ball instead.
The abdominal muscles are going to respond differently when you perform the various types of exercises, so being sure to include some of both variety will help provide maximum stimulation. Some people tend to respond very well to dynamic types of abdominal movements while others respond far better to isometric. By doing both, you can get a feel for what’s working the best and focus your workouts around this, but still including at least one or two exercises of the opposite variety to prevent a plateau.
Switch The Order Of Your Compound Exercises
Sometimes something as simple as switching around the order of the exercises you are performing can kickstart stalled progress. Every once in a while have a good look over your workout and try and determine what you might be able to change around.
For example, if during your normal lower body workout you typically do squats followed by deadlifts, for the next workout try starting with deadlifts first before the squats. Likewise, if you do bench press followed by bent over row for your upper body, switch these two around. You will want to note that you should only do swaps between compound movements (or isolated movements with other isolated movements) otherwise you’re working on a whole other principle – the principle of pre-fatigue.
Listen To Music
Push your results up a notch by listening to music. Many people report that faster paced music does actually get them more focused and helps them push harder throughout their lifts, allowing them to make progress. This does tend to be a bit of a personal preference, but if you typically always just put up with whatever music your gym happens to be playing, consider bringing your own mp3 player. You’d be surprised what a change in music can do.
As an additional benefit, listening with headphones will usually scare off those who are mostly looking to socialize at the gym, allowing you to better focus in on your workout.
By keeping these tips in mind and trying out a few, you can make sure you’re maximizing the time you spend in the gym.