Gym routines are great. Nothing’s better than finding your groove in the gym, committing to the challenge, and loving the results. However, there inevitably comes a time when you stop “gaining” or “losing” (depending on your body goals) and reach the dreaded “plateau.” Where you go from there is up to you. If you said to yourself, “quitting isn’t an option,” then you’re already halfway out of your funk.
Even if you are happy with your normal routine, the holiday season will be hitting Ft. Collins before you know it. Between the increasingly busy schedules, office potlucks and holiday get-togethers, many regular gym-goers are looking for ways to up the ante in the run-up to the holidays.
If you want to shake up what you’re doing with your strength training gym routine, here are five tips to help you do it:
1. Incorporate Drop Sets
The idea behind “shaking things up” with your gym routine is to shock your body off the plateau. Drop sets force more reps and more blood into the target muscle group, so they’re the perfect strategy. The increased strain on your muscles causes more tearing and growth after the muscle tissue heals.
To do drop sets, execute a set until you can’t do any more reps. Next, drop the weight, and push yourself to do another set to failure (i.e., when your muscles give out momentarily). Then, drop the weight again, and repeat.
2. Pre-Exhaust Your Muscles
Pre-exhausting, otherwise known as pre-fatiguing, is an explosive technique that works. Do isolation exercises followed immediately by compound exercises to get the job done.
Some examples include a rear delt fly followed by rows, leg extensions followed by squats, and front raises followed by military presses.
3. Focus on Negatives
The idea here is to focus on the negative part of movements in your gym routine. Negatives require you to use very heavy weights with prolonged movement. (Remember, you should always use a spotter to avoid injuring yourself.)
Examples of negatives are the close grip bench, barbell preacher curl, pull-ups, and bench press.
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4. Incorporate Supersets
Following a hefty compound exercise with an isolation movement is known as a “superset.” An example would be a military press followed immediately by front raises. Focus on muscle contractions. Slow down and squeeze at the top of each movement.
Supersets you should add to your gym routine include squats and leg extensions, chin-ups and barbell curls, military presses and front raises, and wide-grip pull-ups and straight arm pulldowns.
5. Add Partial Reps
Partial reps are an excellent technique for almost any exercise, from dumbbell bench presses to dumbbell shoulder presses to kickbacks.
By not completing a full rep, blood doesn’t escape the muscle, making the muscle work much harder than usual to hold the weight. This means your muscle strains for twice as long as usual.
New Gym Routine? See Results Before the Holidays
Whether you have hit a plateau or want to get a head start on the holiday season, you can get started on a gym routine optimized for your goals now with help from Prodigy Gym. Our 13,000-square-foot facility in Ft. Collins has more than 75 fitness machines, free weights, group classes, and one-on-one personal training, so you can let your body know you mean business.
Get the body you deserve with Prodigy Gym & Fitness.