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Sneaky Tricks to Kick Your Workout into High Gear
Are your daily workouts getting boring and dull? It may sound like a silly question, but many people find that their workouts get a bit dry after months or years of doing the same thing. They need spice, action, variety - things that aren't really included in a simple workout.
If you want to kick things into high gear, it's time to find new things to add to your workout. Here are a few tricks to make your workout one you'll actually enjoy - plus one that shreds those muscles:
Do a Rep and a Half
Sick of those normal, boring sets? Drop a bit of weight - not too much - and do a half-lift between each full lift. It will hit the muscles that only get a little bit of attention, and will shred the primary muscles even more effectively. You can do this with any weightlifting exercise, though it's best when done with bodyweight exercises. Just do half a rep between the reps, and you'll find that your muscles are exhausted much more quickly!
Count the Seconds
Instead of keeping the pace of your bench pressing, curling, or pushing up consistent, try alternating the pace by doing static holds. Do two reps of an exercise, and hold for 2 seconds at the end. Go up to three reps, with a hold of three seconds after. Try starting with 5 reps and a five second hold, and work down from there. By the time you finish a set of 15 reps, your muscles will be drained.
Add a Second
Instead of counting one-two, one-two for every exercise you do, make it one-two-three-four - two seconds down, two seconds up. This is particularly good for push-ups and bench presses, but it will work fairly well with just about any bodyweight exercise. The most important thing to remember is to add a second or two to each movement, and it will increase the intensity very effectively.
Don't Go All the Way Up
Did you know that stopping your movements before your arms or legs are fully extended will help to increase the muscle burn? The reason for this is that the muscle never fully relaxes, and the permanent contraction will help to work the muscle even harder. No matter what exercise you're doing, stop when you reach 90% extension. It will help you to push yourself, and will stop you from overextending those limbs - thereby preventing injuries.
Take a Pause
When at the bottom of the press or push-up, pause for a one or two-count and hold before pushing back up. You'll find that it will be amazingly effective at shredding the muscle you're targeting, and will tire you out far before your workout is over. You can do the same with military presses, wide grip cable pulldowns, pull-ups, squats, and pretty much any exercise. Just pause at the moment of maximum muscle contraction, and breathe in for a second or two before you continue.
Hold the Pose
Instead of doing an exercise that involves repetitions, do a static version of the exercise for a target length of time. For example, if you know you can do push-ups for 30 seconds, try holding yourself in push-up plank for 45 to 60 seconds. It will work the muscle fibers that build endurance rather than strength or size, and will help you to build a different kind of strength - a functional strength.
You'll find that these tricks will make your workout much more effective, and you'll walk about of the gym feeling like a million bucks - sore muscles and all!