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Longing for the good old days when every workout felt fresh, challenging, and left a welcomed soreness for the next few days? It’s easy to get stuck in a exercise routine that’s, well, simply a routine. While going through the motions of a “ho hum” workout may be better than no workout at all, this uninspired approach won’t likely lead to significant improvements either. From super sets to adding stability holds, read on for scientifically-backed ways to get the most out of your gym time
Super set strength and cardio
People often think of strength training and cardio exercise as two separate beasts, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Adding a cardio interval such as jumping rope, or 20-second sprints will rev the metabolism while still allowing for added strength
Strike a pose
Maybe this isn’t exactly what Madonna was singing about, but striking a strength training pose may be the remedy for a stagnant workout routine. Contracting a muscle and holding it in a flexed position (aka isometric exercise or static holds) provide strength and endurance benefits can’t be achieved through traditional isotonic exercises (i.e. lifts that are in constant motion). Test it out with a stability ball wall squat that will engage the thighs and glutes. Start with a goal of 30-seconds and work towards holding this static position for longer periods of time as strength and muscular endurance improve.
A good workout doesn’t need to look like a performance from Cirque du Soleil, but a little balancing act might go a long way. Exercises that require balance stimulate more muscle recruitment, specifically core muscles, than the same exercise done in a stable position.This is rather intuitive: Is a squat standing on the floor as challenging as one standing on a wobble board? Of course not. The good news is most stable exercises can easily be geared up by adding a BOSU or stability ball (just be sure proper form is never compromised)
Ready to ramp things up? Just remember not all techniques will work overnight, and some might be more effective than others depending on a variety of personal factors.