To alleviate the problem of feeling like you are not progressing in your workouts, you should continually challenge your body in order to consistently see results. Otherwise you will bore yourself not only in a physical plane, but in a mental and emotional plane as well. There are a number of methods you can use to progress your workout in order to see changes. It also will help keep the workout fresh and enjoyable, thus ensuring that you keep at it.
Your body is constantly adapting, so as it gets stronger, the muscles need to constantly be challenged in order to force a change. A safe way of doing this would be to increase the weight gradually while dropping the amount of reps for a while. Women should not fear lifting heavier weight, as they lack the hormones and genetic makeup to become overly muscular or bulky. It will simply help to build muscle. Another important point to note is that the weight should not be increased dramatically, but it should be progressive. Do not jump from lifting 50 pounds to 100 pounds in a week. Week in and week out, the weight that you will be lifting will increase incrementally as your muscles adapt.
Decreasing Rest Time
Limiting the amount of rest time will give the muscle less time to recover in between sets. Such a method of progression would mean that the weight and reps scheme would stay the same, but the muscle would have to adapt endurance-wise in order to keep up with the workout. This method would stimulate similar muscle fibres that are activated when increasing the reps while keeping the weight the same. Another way of implementing this method would be the addition of supersets, drop sets, and active rest.
- Supersets – This is when one would execute two distinct exercises back to back with no rest in between. They can be two exercises for the same muscle group (such as a push up and a bench press), or two exercises for differing muscle groups (such as a bicep curl and a triceps dip).
- Drop Sets – The same exercise would be executed with a heavy weight until the muscle hits fatigue. Once the muscle fatigues, you would then reach for a slightly lighter weight. Then you would do as many reps of the exercise that is required to hit fatigue once again. Repeat this for two or three sets.
- Active Rest – Instead of resting in between sets of an exercise, you would do something to keep your heart rate elevated. Examples of activities that can be considered active rest are jumping rope, jumping jacks, or even a small run on the treadmill or around the track.
Add a New Spin on the Routine
As your body becomes accustomed to the exercises you have already introduced to each muscle group, it may be necessary to carry out the exercise in a different fashion. For example, instead of doing a chest press on a machine, try doing a chest press with a barbell or dumbbells. This also helps to add elements of core stability as well. Such a method can even be taken a step further by using equipment such as Swiss balls, Bosu balls, or resistance bands. However, these methods can sometimes get complicated and can even stimulate the wrong muscle fibres when done incorrectly. In fact, you may even see some personal trainers in the gym progressing their client too quickly into a more complex exercise . This can in turn cause injury and harm!
Whatever method that you choose to use to progress your workout, make sure that it is done in a safe manner. If adding progressions into your workout causes your form and technique to suffer, it indicates that you are probably not ready to advance your workout to the next level. Ask fitness professionals at your facility for some additional ways to spice up your workout. But above all, make sure that you listen to your body because it will let you know when it is ready to be challenged.