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4 Ways To Boost The Intensity Of Your Workout Without Adding More Weight

4 Ways To Boost The Intensity Of Your Workout Without Adding More Weight

If you’re hitting a progress plateau with your workout session and can’t seem to lift any more weight, this doesn’t mean you’re on track to being stuck at your fitness level. There are many ways that you can add more intensity to your session, all of which should help you eventually lift more weight and bust through that strength plateau.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top strategies to try yourself.

1. Drop Set

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drop set circuit

    First, consider doing a drop set at the weight you currently are using. A drop set is where you perform your desired number of reps at your current weight and then drop the weight by about 5-10 pounds. Then perform a second set, drop the weight one more time, and finish up with a third.

    This drop set technique will go a long way towards improving not only your strength, but your muscular endurance level as well.

    2. Increase Your Rep Range

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    increase reps

      The next option is to just boost your rep range. If you are doing 5-6 reps, you can definitely take that up to 8-10 reps in an effort to eventually lift more weight overall.

      Make sure when increasing your overall reps that you do not overdo your rep range. You still want to do a smaller amount of reps between 5-10. This is a common mistake that many people make when lifting, because they think it will build muscle faster. If you are able to do 15-20 reps that means you need to add more weight to get the appropriate amount of reps.

      This is a very good cycle to move through as you continue to see progress. Work your way up the rep range and once you hit a specific point, drop the rep range back down again and try for the a heavier weight.

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      It’s also a great way to mix up your workout program.

      3. Decrease Your Rest Time

      rest time

        Decreasing your rest time is the third strategy to boost your overall workout performance and bust through a strength plateau. By decreasing your rest period, you force your body to do more work in less time, which in turn will get you more fit than you were before.

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        Just always remember that you should never take your rest periods so short that you begin to sacrifice good form. Do that and you’ll be on a road to injury.
        30 seconds should generally be the minimum used for any heavy, major compound exercise. Taking a break is ideal because it lets your body relax from the lactic acid buildup. During the 30 second break it is a good idea to hydrate to decrease the lactic acid buildup.

        4. Use Different Equipment

        rowing machine

          Finally, also try and utilize different equipment. At times, the simple switch could be what will bust you out of the strength plateau and onto better results. For example, if you typically use the barbell press for chest, try doing a dumbbell press instead. Likewise, if you are trying to bust your plateau on the squat, you might transition to leg pressing for a short period of time. There are also a variety of machines you likely never use, like a rowing machine, elliptical or even a tread-climber.

          This not only helps you gain strength, but can also help keep boredom at bay. Incorporating new exercise machines into your routine is a great way to continually challenge your body and keep it guessing as to what’s coming next.

          So there you have the main ways to up the intensity of your workout program without adding more weight. Use these methods when you get stuck and you can still see progress moving forward.

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          Last Updated on December 9, 2019

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

          Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

          Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

          Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

          1. Get Rationally Optimistic

          Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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          This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

          In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

          The result: no more mental stress.

          2. Unplug

          Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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          How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

          It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

          Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

          3. Easy on the Caffeine

          Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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          Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

          4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

          That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

          How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

          • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
          • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
          • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

          While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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          5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

          This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

          The result: mental stress will be gone!

          So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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          Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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