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7 Ways To Advance Your Workout Program

7 Ways To Advance Your Workout Program

Looking to step up your workout program and see faster results? If so, there are some things that you should consider putting into place that will challenge your body and lead to more intense results.

Advancing your workout is something that does take some conscious time and effort because you have to plan to overload your system to allow for the real strength and progress gains you’re looking for.

That said, with proper planning and preparation, you can definitely move forward easily and successfully to get that body you’re after.

Let’s go over the top tips you must know to advance your workout program.

1. Superset Exercises

The first way to see advancement is to superset the exercises that you’re doing. So rather than doing all your sets of one exercise and then moving onto the next, you’ll do one set of one exercise and then immediately move onto the next exercise to complete a set of it.

Once both sets are completed, stop and rest before carrying on to the next superset once again.

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This works perfectly for full body workouts because you can pair together an upper and lower body exercise.

2. Use Drop Sets

Next, consider drop sets. Drop sets are a great way to boost your strength gains and can definitely help speed up progress while getting your body used to dealing with fatigue.

To do a drop set, simply perform one set at your standard weight level and then drop the weight by five pounds to do another set. Then drop the weight one more time and crank out as many reps as you possibly can.

Once that set is finished, rest and then repeat.

Note that this is very intense, so only do it once or twice per workout session. If you do it on all your exercises, you’ll quickly suffer from over-training.

3. Add Cardio Intervals

Moving along, the next must-do for success is to add some cardio intervals into your workout. Rather than doing just straight strength move after strength move, try doing a strength exercise and then breaking for a minute of cardio training.

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Add in some skipping, burpees, mountain climbers, or any other exercise that will get your heart rate up higher.

This is a prefect way to burn more calories during your workout and add a cardio element into the mix.

4. Make Use Of An Exercise Ball

An exercise ball is the next method of boosting the intensity of your workout and advancing to the next level. Start performing as many exercises as you can on the exercise ball to add a degree of instability to the session, which will then get your core muscles sitting up and contracting harder than they ever have before.

An exercise ball can be used when you perform shoulder presses, the bench press, lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep extensions, as well as for most of your core exercises as well.

Keep in mind that you may need to lower the weight when you first start doing these exercises as your body adjusts to having the exercise ball underneath you.

5. Focus On Speed

The speed element of your weight lifting exercises is something else that often goes overlooked. If you typically use a tempo pattern of 2:1:2, try slowing it down.

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By doing so, you’ll increase the total time under tension with the muscles and evoke greater strength gains.

In addition to that, you’ll also teach your muscles how to better tolerate fatigue, which will then also help you progress onward.

Or, add a brief pause at the top of the exercise instead. This is one of the best ways to really challenge the muscle as the hold will train your CNS to keep working for a lengthier period of time.

Again, this is a very intense technique, so don’t use it on every exercise in the workout.

Add a mid-exercise hold on one or two exercises that you really want to advance up to the next level.

6. Change Exercise Modalities

Moving along, also consider changing the exercise modalities that you use. Rather than using weight machines for instance, try moving over and using free weights instead.

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Or, if you typically use dumbbells and barbells, try using cables for a while and see how that goes. Simply changing up the way in which you are doing your weight lifting workouts can have a profound influence on your progress, so don’t overlook this factor.

7. Try Something New

Finally, last but not least, try to do something new. If you can’t remember the last time you added a new exercise to your workout program, now is definitely the time.

Trying something new is going to not only stimulate you mentally, but it will also keep your body physically guessing as to what’s coming next, which will help you push past any plateau that may be brewing. If you don’t know of any new exercises to try, consult with a personal trainer who can teach you some advanced techniques to further stimulate the muscles.

Change is very good as far as advancing your fitness goes, so never let yourself get too overly comfortable.

So there you have the top things that you should consider if you want to take your fitness up a notch. Don’t do all of these at once, but rather, implement them into your workout program over time so that you can continue to see ongoing success.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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