Every now and then I catch myself stuck in the same routine and my workout starts to get a little boring. You would know this is starting to happen when it gets easy to miss your regular workout. Obviously, something needs to change. So here are a few ideas that I use from time to time just to spice up my workout. Give them a try, and I’m sure you’ll find some new excitement to your workout as well.
Change your Grip!
This is a small change compared to most of the others you can do, but one way to spice up your workout from time to time is to change the way you’re gripping the bar when doing barbell or machine exercises. One of my favorite grips is the palm grip.
So what is a palm grip? Let’s use the bench press as an example for the palm grip. Many of us have been guilty of using a standard grip on this exercise, myself included. A standard grip would be where you wrap your hand around bar as if you were holding a baseball bat. If you want a more effective bench press, try not wrapping your thumb around the bar. You might think that you’ll lose some stability by doing this, but I’ve never had that problem. You might have to bend your wrist a little more to compensate, or lower the weight just a little bit. The main benefit to using a palm grip on this type of exercise is that by putting your thumb in this position, you are reducing the amount of effort that your forearms will put into the exercise. Therefore, you chest and tricep muscles will have to work even harder to do the lift. Try this, and I’m sure you’ll notice a difference the next time you perform a bench press.
Try Supersets, Trisets and Dropsets!
You’ve probably heard of super sets, where you do two exercise consecutively without resting in between. Have you ever tried doing three different exercises? This works extremely well with bicep exercises. The benefit to doing a triset with a bicep workout, is it allows you to hit the bicep really hard in three different ways. Here’s an example of a bicep triset: standing barbell curls, hammer curls, reverse barbell curls. You’ll also notice in this sequence that you have to change your grip with each set of the triset. This is the best way to utilize a triset. Here’s an example of a triset with triceps: straight bar cable push downs, rope cable push downs, reverse cable pushdowns. Again, the key here is to change the grip on each exercise. Give these a try, and I’m sure you’ll feel a new pump in whatever body part you utilize them with!
With Dropsets you would first use a heavier weight than usual and perform your designated reps (8-12), then immediately without rest, drop to a lighter weight and carry on the reps till failure or close to failure.
With essentrics or negative sets, you would slow down the lowering portion of the repetition, so its takes you 3-5 seconds to lower the weight in a controlled manner as opposed to the usual 1 second that it takes. This puts more time under tension on the muscle and creates more load and intensity on the muscle being worked.
Change your Split!
Have you been following the same split routine for two long? Has your split routine consisted of chest and triceps, back and biceps, or something similar for several months? Try reversing your split or doing a 5 day split instead of a 3 day split. Do chest and biceps, back and triceps, leg and delts, just to mix it up a little.
Change the Rep range
After using the same programme for 8-10 weeks try changing the rep range. If you have been doing the typical 10-12 rep range for all exercises, try increasing the weight so you can only manage to get 3-6 reps out of each set. Also in this instance increase the number of sets. So if you usually do 3×12 (3 sets of 12 reps), change to 8×3 or 6×5. This will break plateaus if you have any and build you some strength to boot!
These are just a few basic ideas as your imagination is the limit. Its always a good idea to mix up your routine on a continual basis so your training is periodized to facilitate progression. That way you can keep your body guessing and growing to adapt to the changes in stress that you place on your muscles preventing plateus.
Stay tuned for a full mass-strength training programme in my up coming article in the near future!
Stay Healthy & Strong,
Steven Wong – CPT, Pn1
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