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Ask The Trainer

What changes will give my workouts more results?

By Chris Antonio | Feb 11, 2012

I started working out again, and for the first three weeks I was very happy with my results. I lost weight and inches, and I could feel myself toning up.

However, I’m having trouble knowing what to do next. I’ve been told I need to switch things up, but I am not sure where to start. Do you have any suggestions on how to change up my workout to get more progress? - Kim

Kim: As humans, we are creatures of habit and tend to feel best when working within our comfort zones. However, if you want to consistently get results, you’ll have to learn to confuse your muscles. Here are some ways to accomplish this goal:


• Add weight as you get stronger

Do you go to the gym day after day and lift the same weight for the same amount of repetitions? If so, you’re missing out on a valuable chance to make progress, because your body will quickly adapt to your workouts and will no longer be challenged.

A good rule of thumb is if you feel like you can do two to three more reps, it’s time to add some weight until you feel a good burn in the muscles.


• Upgrade your exercises to more difficult movements

When you first started, you may have limited yourself to simple exercises that were easy to learn. Once you master them, replace them with more advanced movements that require balance and coordination.

A good example of this would be starting with leg extensions, advancing to leg presses and eventually progressing to barbell squats.


• Try supersets and trisets

A great way to increase the intensity of your workouts is to combine exercises into supersets and trisets. A superset is doing two different exercises back to back without resting.

A good example would be doing pushups and cable rows.

Trisets would be doing three different exercises back to back without resting.

A good example would be doing pushups, cable rows and bicycle crunches.

Combining these exercises together will prove to be much more challenging and will build muscular endurance as well as strength.


• Replace traditional exercises with functional movements

Functional movements are exercises that are based on real-life situations and work groups of muscles. These exercises are great, because they teach all the muscles to work together rather than work independently.

They also give you more bang for you buck by forcing you to train like an athlete, so you burn more calories, improve coordination and reduce the chance of injury, which gives you an overall better workout.

Good examples include one-arm dumbbell cleans, box jumps, mountain climbers and burpees.

It’s important to remember not to add all of these changes at once. Instead, try adding them one at a time over three to four weeks, and your body will be forced to consistently make progress to adapt to the routine.

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