When I talk to people dedicated to their exercise goals, they always want to know how to improve their results. I always say, “Boost your workout intensity and you’ll see a huge difference.” Most of the time, I get a puzzled look. They don’t understand what that means. Workout intensity is the amount of energy you burn when you’re working out. Basically, if your maximum potential and your workout is only at 50% of your maximum, when you boost your effort to 70%, you’ll be boosting your intensity. Here are some ways to do that.
Test it in strength training.
If you’re struggling to lift doing a low number of repetitions, you’re probably using the right amount of weight. However, if you barely sweat, even after 15 reps, it’s time to boost the effort and increase the weight. Going heavier is one of the best ways to boost your workout intensity and get better results from your workout. Push yourself to achieve more. Assessing your own fitness level and adjusting your workout to improve your fitness is often one step many people fail to do. It’s why you see more progress when you work with a personal trainer.
Hold each lift longer.
Flying through lifts is counterproductive to your goal. You need to increase the amount of time under tension. Slowing your lifts stress your muscles, which is necessary for growth. There’s a fine balance between overtraining and not working long enough to get significant gains. To increase strength, increase the amount of time for each set ten to twenty seconds. To build, double that time and to increase endurance make it even longer. Creating a slower tempo can give you the results you’ve hoped to achieve.
Shorten your rest periods.
If you’ve ever done circuit training, you know that the amount of time between sets or exercises is set by your fitness level. Here, faster is better. Moving from one set to the next with a shorter recovery period between exercises can build your stamina and endurance. Start with thirty to sixty seconds. Use it to get a drink if necessary. You can slowly shorten your rest period and will start to see your endurance improve. You should still feel fatigued, but able to still do the next exercise.
– Do supersets. Put two exercises together as a superset and go from one to another.
– Try circuit training or high intensity interval training, if you’re not already doing it. Circuit training takes supersets one step further.
– Do drop sets and take your muscles to failure.
– Try each of these ideas listed, adding them to your workout one at a time to see how it makes you feel and how each one helps you improve.