10 Effective Changes to your training routine
About now your New Year training routine may be getting a bit stale. It’s a common problem, and one with a simple set of solutions that see your result improve
The body is highly adaptable and it will also use the minimum effort to get a specific job done. Together these qualities mean that after a while a training routine gets less effective – and also pretty boring as well unless you mix things up.
Cardio training is one way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular fitness and it also helps recovery, but used for while steady state cardio can get very much less effective, meaning you have to go longer and longer to get the same results, but this only works up to a point. Save time and get better results with these tweaks:
1. Work in intervals
Interval training is a combination of short higher paced intervals with slower, recovery intervals – think ‘sprint, walk, sprint, walk’, and you get the idea.
Running outside? Alternating run hard then jog lightly between lamp posts
Running or cycling in the gym? Alternate 30 second sprints and 30 seconds easy pace
Rowing? Try 4 times 400m sprints separated by 2 minutes complete rest.
These sessions are hard so the sprint pace should be tough but keep it safe. A ‘sprint’ is different for each person.
2. Changing the exercise
This changes the demand on the body and opting for a type of cardio you’re less used to will make it more challenging, meaning you get a bigger result. Here also working on different pacing may be a good idea. If you currently run in 20 minutes blocks, try rowing for 15 minutes.
3. Try a duathalon
Mixing different cardio in the same session will also alter the demands on the body, something like 10 minutes cycling and 10 minutes rowing is a great combination.
Weights and resistance exercise
With weight training the usual recommendation like concentrating around 80% of the time on compound exercises – ones that use multiple joints at once – and where you can using free weights are still good advice, but even doing that after a while you’ll need to mix things up. Here’s how:
4. Change the exercise used
This one is obvious but the trick is to change just one exercise for something similar per session, as changing all of them may set you back as you try to figure out what weights to use. Use a similar exercise for example swap back squats for front squats, barbell presses for dumbbell ones etc.
5. Change the sets and reps
If you’re currently doing 3 sets of 10 reps why not try 5 sets of 6 reps? The total rep count is the same but as you’ll need to increase the weight by about 20-30% to keep it demanding you’ll change the demand on the body.
6. Change the hand or foot position
Sometimes simply changing the hand position on upper body exercises and the foot position on lower body ones is enough to kick the body into working hard again. Instead of shoulder width stance squats try wide stance, or try close grip bench press instead of the standard grip.
7. Use supersets
Supersetting antagonistic exercises (like bench press and rows or shoulder press and pull ups) can improve performance and also kick start fat loss.
8. Change the order of exercises
Sometimes just swapping round the exercises in is enough so trigger a better training response from the body.
You might want to add something new into your training. Two places to start are your warm up and mobility work.
9. Add some soft tissue work
The quality of your muscle tissue affects how safe your training is but also how good your performance is a s well. Using a foam roller on all the bog muscle groups as part of your warm up will mean safer workout and better results.
10. Do a mobility class
Mobility is the overlooked controller of training quality and so gains in fitness and physique, also done right, for example taking a yoga class, mobility work can not only improve your results elsewhere but be a great from of cardio and help to combat stress as well, improving mood and sleep quality as well.
The Bottom Line
When the body adapts to your training routine the results will stop, so mixing it up every month or so, even just a little by changing one or two things at a time is a sure fire way to keep the results coming and also makes things more interesting.