I hear it time and time again, people telling me they are getting bored of their weights program. We all know that feeling when we hit the motivational plateau in our weights training or worse a plateau in our results. Mentally it can get hard to keep fighting for results or push yourself when you just aren’t excited to complete your program for the day.
Here are just a few ideas I tell some of my fitness client they can use to mix up their weights workouts to make it more interesting, enjoyable, challenging and find new and exciting results:
1. Reps & Sets
You’ve probably heard this one before. Mix up your reps and sets. It sounds silly but it does work. How long have you been doing the same 8-12 reps for 3-4 sets? Forever right? Well now is the time to mix it up. You don’t have to do this every session but why not try making one exercise 15-20 reps for 2 sets and another 4-8 for 5 sets. You start challenging your body’s strength and endurance in a different way.
Which brings me to the next point…
Just like you should change up your reps and sets every so often you should change up your weights. We all want to get stronger… well, I've never met a person who regrets being strong. Start challenging your weight load. It can be as simple as going up half a kilo but you could see massive changes in your results and the intensity of your workout. If it too much, you just drop it back down. Just keep in mind if you are changing your sets and reps you will most likely need to make adjustments to your weight load, especially in the high 15-20 rep range. Even Superheroes can’t afford an injury. Don’t be a gym hero.
3. Super Sets
This might seem a no-brainer to some of us but a super set is a great way to work more muscle fibers for longer at prime strength without major fatigue for one muscle group. What is super setting? It's when one set of an exercise is followed by a set of another exercise with no rest in between, for example, a set of chest press, and then straight into dips with no rest. You can do super setting upper with lower body work or the same muscle group depending on your goals and the results you want to achieve.
4. Tempo and Rest
I always find this an interesting one because this is the one that people hardly ever change, tempo. Changing the tempo of your reps can really lift the level of your workouts. When was the last time you did your pushups super slow? Or do you still continue to pump them out as quickly as possible to just get them done?
The great thing about changing your tempo of your reps is that the longer you have to hold the load more muscle fibers will be recruited to help you hold and control that weight. One that I get my clients to try is within the set pumping out 4 reps at a fast or 1/1 tempo and then following in by two reps for a slow 2/2 count tempo, repeat that two to three times in the set before rest. It may seem simple but the small little tempo change to your sets could help increase your heart rate for your entire workout, in turn burning more calories.
And don’t forget Rest! I think we are all guilty of sometimes resting a little too long…. Getting lost in a Taylor Swift sing along. Just remember, depending on your workout, we are generally looking at a 1-3 min rest period, again depending or how heavy and exhausting the set was will determine what is needed to help you feel a little replenished to go into the next set. If you are having a Latte and updating yourself on the latest Kayne meme after your warm up set… I think it’s time we cut that rest down.
5. Reverse your program
Who is guilty of sticking to a set program on a set day and running that program from top to bottom? Me I am! In the past when a trainer gave me a program I would do it on those set days and I would start at the top of the list and work my way down… the only problem was that if I ran out of time I'd always miss the last few exercises or cut sets. Do a Missy Elliot and "Flip it and Reverse it". Do Friday's program on a Monday, start from the bottom of your exercise list and go up.
Our bodies LOVE routine, it loves it because it gets used to it, and adapts to it and if you do something long enough it will learn to have a greater strength in one area then the other, especially if that is what you are working the most. FLIP IT AND REVERSE IT. You could change nothing else but that, and I guarantee you will start seeing changes and increased performance in other areas you haven’t really have the time to focus on.
6. Add Plyos
Definitely a great one for those wanting more fat burning in their workouts. Is It is also a great way to increase cardio fitness and all you need to do is throw in a few plyometric exercises. Do a few jump squats or lunges after a heavy squat set, throw in some mountain climbers after your chest press or sprinkle in a few burpees after your chin ups. Deliciously disgusting I know, but if mixing up your workout, seeing weight loss results or burning those extra calories is your aim it's a great simple time effective way to get more out of your weights program. Note: Ensure you have an amazing breakfast you may have it twice. Yum.
7. Focus less on your strengths
My last one to try is it create a weight program session where you just focus on the weaker elements of your training. Let's face it we all love pumping out the reps of what we are good at or enjoy, but we do forget about our weaker elements. A perfect example is that guy at the gym that always trains upper body and forgets his legs… we all know that guy. Or the girl the always runs on the treadmill but never squats. Hmm… it's time to grow up and be an adult. We can't keep neglecting parts of the body. Remember the body works as a whole, so work the whole body.
If you aren’t motivated to focus on your weaker elements try doing classes that might help you. For example those of use who are terrible at stretching (I’ll put my hand up) try fitting a yoga or conditioning class into your fitness program. Start building to weakness to make everything your strengths!
So there are a few ideas to help you change up your weights program. Of course always, keep in mind what your goals are and what body you are trying to achieve. If you get stuck, book in and see a trainer for a few sessions to help you with technique, ideas for your own training or a new program.
If you are trying a new fitness or health program ALWAYS consult your doctor first, and remember, never train injured or in pain.