The question: Should I change up my gym routine if I’m bored by it? I do cardio and strength circuits, which I don’t mind, but am I missing anything by not finding it very interesting anymore?
The answer: I absolutely encourage everyone to challenge their body and mind by changing up their strength routine every four to six weeks.
There are so many ways to modify a workout that I decided to spread the advice over several weeks – I just couldn't fit all the "fun" options into one column!
In the first installment, I suggested you try modifying your lifting tempo (by emphasizing different portions of the range of motion) or combining exercises. Here are three more tips:
1. Change your repetition range. For example, if you currently aim to complete 12 to 15 reps, try two weeks where you lift heavier weights. Aim to complete three to five reps. Challenge yourself. You will be stronger when you return to your original repetition range.
2. Increase the number of sets you complete. Instead of the traditional three sets, aim to complete four to five sets of each exercise.
3. If you like your current exercises and set and repetition range, then keep the same exercises, but get some variety by changing the equipment.
For example, if you currently do barbell bench press, try using dumbbells. And do the bench press with your head and shoulders on a swiss ball. Or, if you currently do dumbbell flys, try standing flys with cables.
If you do exercises like side plank, front plank or push-ups, try using the bosu. For push-ups, perform the exercise with the bosu flat side up and your hands grasping the sides. For front and side planks, place the bosu dome side up. Put your forearms on the dome and your feet on the floor.
If you already use the bosu, try the double-bosu side plank. This exercise is a personal favorite. It challenges your balance and core and is just plain fun. Place two bosus dome side up, roughly a body length away from each other. Place your forearms on one bosu and your feet on another one. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds and then switch sides.
Trainer's Tip: One note of caution: Don't change everything all at once. Pick only one or two new techniques every four to six weeks.
Next week: The third and final installment on how to change up your workout routine
Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.
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