Have you ever played any RPG games? Something like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy? They can be addictive once you get into them.
The quest to get better is never ending in these types of games. Whether it’s how strong your attacks are or learning a new skill, the goal is the same – to get better, to level up.
Your workout is no different
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Most people in the gym are looking for new ways to upgrade their workout, to level up so to speak. We get stuck in a loop of doing the same program over and over again and we eventually hit a plateau.
Every workout or program works… until it doesn’t. Then you have to change some variables so that the body adapts again.
Your body is an amazing organism. It can adapt to almost any situation.
If you put stress on it, eventually it will adapt and get stronger along that pathway of stress. Maybe you’ve hit a plateau, or just want something new. No matter what, there are ways that you can upgrade your workout.
Within your workout itself there are simple ways in which your workout can be taken to a new level. These are simple variable changes. The key is only altering one thing at a time.
Most people stick to a typical muscle building range of 8-12, with people seeking to “tone up” reaching the 15+ range. To bring your workout to the next level, consider changing your rep range to something you’re not used to.
If all you’ve been doing is sets of 8-12 at 150lbs squatting, it’s time to level up and do 3-6 reps with a higher load, like 185-200lbs.
Like in the example above, we tend to stick to a general 3 sets of whatever amount of reps we’re doing. Somehow 3 became the magic number. Adding in sets contributes to the overall workload of your training. Using our squat example, if we end up doing 3 sets of 10 reps at 150 that’s 4500lbs of work.
Contrast that with something like 5 sets of 10 reps at 150 and we end up doing 7,500lbs of work. More work = more calories burned!
This is simply a matter of adding to the intensity of your training in terms of load. Upgrading to a higher intensity will again force you to challenge yourself to do more work. If you’ve stuck to that set of 10 squats at 150lbs, what would happen if you suddenly tried 10 squats at 165 or even 170lb? How do you think your strength levels would change? Odds are you would end up a whole lot stronger!
Other things you can change may not be so obvious. When it comes to our workouts, we stick with what we’re good at.
It’s human nature to enjoy doing things we excel at. It gives us an ego boost.
But real growth comes from doing things that we are not so good at. In that regard, levelling up our workout can and should include exercises we hate, but also variations of exercises we love.
• Exercise Selection
This section is going to go in two different directions. A great way to level up your workout is to do exercises that you’re not used to, or that you’re not good at. This will certainly challenge you and make you work hard. And in all likelihood, you’ll see improvements in strength. From personal experience, adding in exercises I hated ended up upgrading my ability in other areas.
Another way exercise selection can upgrade your workout is by selecting variations of exercises you were doing. If you were doing barbell back squats before, switching to a front squat will completely alter your workout and level you up a notch.
Find ways to change the exercises you are doing.
• Program change
Sometimes our programs need to come to an end, and a totally new one needs to take its place. It could be as simple as changing how you’re working out.
If you’ve been weight training to build strength, try switching to a more metabolic workout in which you still lift, but at a quicker pace in a circuit fashion. If all you’ve been doing is running or other forms of cardio, change it up to include more weight training.
Henry Ford said it best, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Add some variation to your workouts and level up your life.
Connect with Expert Chris Cooper