Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Still bored by your workout? Change it up with 11s

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: This is the third and final part of a series on ways to change up your workout. There are just so many fun ways to modify your excerise routine that I couldn't fit it all into one. I want to share as many of my tips as possible so everyone becomes as excited to work out as I do! Thus far, I have suggested you modify your lifting tempo; emphasize different portions of exercise; combine exercise; modify your repetitions, increase total sets; and try different equipment.

This week I suggest you try "11s" or timed sets.

Story continues below advertisement

I love "11s". Pick two exercises. The total number of repetitions should always equal 11. For example, do 10 push-ups and one squat thrust. Then, nine push-ups and two squat thrusts. Keep decreasing the push-ups and increasing the squat thrusts by one repetition until you finish with one push-up and 10 squat thrusts.

Make the exercise appropriately difficult for the number of reps you have to do. When you have to do one squat thrust, lift a heavier weight then when you have to do 10.

How to do squat thrusts: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. As you squat down, do a biceps curl. As you stand up, push the weights up over your head. Return the weights to their starting position and repeat.

Another option is timed sets. For example, do your current weight circuit, but time each exercise. Fit in as many repetitions of each exercise as you can – with good form – within that time. See how many you can really do!

Trainer's Tip: I love piggy-backing two timed exercises back to back that work similar muscles. For example, do as many push-ups as you can in 30 seconds. Then, without resting, hold a plank for a minimum of 30 seconds.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is

Click here to submit your questions. Our Health Experts will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Story continues below advertisement

The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to