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Take Your Workouts To the Next LevelDon't you hate it when you reach a plateau in your workouts? You've been working hard for a few months, and you're finding that your workouts no longer push your muscles as hard as they once did. You're still tired after the exercise, but you don't feel that good muscle tiredness the next day. You just aren't getting the results you want. Here's how you can take your workouts to the next level:
1. Go LongerIf your workouts aren't showing marked signs of improving your body, you may not be working out for long enough. Add an extra 30 minutes of cardio, weightlifting, boxing, or HIIT to your workouts, and you'll definitely notice the difference.
2. Go FasterSometimes, the fact that you take a few minutes between each set is the problem. You may be exhausted after one set of exercises, so you give your body a break to rest. This will actually harm your workout efforts in the long run, as doing the exercises quickly engage your heart as well as your muscles. If you want to bring the intensity, it's time to do your lifting and workouts a lot faster!
3. Go Heavier
It's amazing how adding 10 pounds to your workouts will totally change the way you feel at the end. It's normal for you to increase your lift by about 5 pounds every few weeks, but sometimes 5 pounds isn't enough. Your muscles are able to handle more - you just don't know it. If you're looking for a way to make things a whole lot harder, add on a few extra weight discs to really feel the burn!
4. Go FartherAre you used to running a certain distance every day? You've fallen into a comfortable routine, and your jogging or running path is all nicely laid out. You know how long it takes you from start to finish, and how fast you run. It's time to shake things up! Change the path you run, and run for longer. Run faster, and push yourself more. Don't be content just to jog, but go for a longer run every day!
5. Go Wider or NarrowerWhen doing most exercises, you are accustomed to gripping the bar at a certain width. This uses certain muscles the same way over and over. If you want to change things up, try spreading your hands or bringing them a bit closer together. For example, doing a close grip bench press will work the inner muscles of your chest, while doing a wide grip bench press will push the outer edges of the muscle. It's all about changing things up so that your body doesn't get used to the exercise you're doing, so consider shifting your grip!
6. Go NegativeThere are two types of muscle contractions: eccentric and concentric. Concentric contractions are the push "up" of a bench press or a curl "up" of the barbell curl. However, the eccentric - or "negative" - contractions are the opposite - slowly lowering the weight back into its original position. If you engage your muscles on these eccentric contractions, you'll use them in a whole new way. You can focus on doing those eccentric contractions, pushing your muscles harder in a way they're not accustomed to!
7. Go FreeMachines can be great for beginners, but they take a lot of the weight off of your muscles. You end up using just the prime mover (the muscle being worked), but that's it. With free weights, your secondary muscles have to stabilize the bar or dumbbells, causing more muscles to be engaged in each exercise. For the secret to overcoming that plateau, get off the machines and get working with free weights!