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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 September 28, 2020

          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

          The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

          At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

          Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

          One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

          When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

          So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

          Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

          This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

          Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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          When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

          Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

          One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

          Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

          An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

          When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

          Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

          Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

          We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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          By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

          Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

          While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

          I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

          You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

          Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

          When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

          Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

          Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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          Con #2: Less Human Interaction

          One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

          Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

          Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

          This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

          While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

          Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

          Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

          This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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          For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

          Con #4: Unique Distractions

          Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

          For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

          To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

          Final Thoughts

          Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

          We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

          More About Working From Home

          Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

          Reference

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