Are you frustrated with your workouts? Do you feel that you’re not actually improving your strength, even though you’ve been regularly working out for years now?
If this is your situation, then I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes, getting to the gym can be a real challenge for people who are always busy throughout every week. Although you may feel like your workouts are getting you nowhere, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to increase your fitness level with a few changes and considerations.
The mind and body of humans are hardwired to get things done in the easiest way possible; that’s why pushing the same weight for the same number of reps makes your body accustomed to the task, and compels your body to use the least amount of effort to do the job.
The key to making your workout more effective is to keep the body guessing, and to keep every muscle fiber in your body fully used and contracted.
Pyramid Workout Plan
Once you’re done with warm-up, start the pyramid workout with light weights, and perform more reps than usual, preferably around 12 to 20 reps. Next, add weight and lower the number of reps for the next set. Repeat this for three to four sets.
Alternatively, you can go heavy first and then go light, ensuring that you’re properly warmed up before the workout. You can also do a light set first after warming up, focusing on going faster than normal. Do a heavy set afterward, at your comfortable speed, and then go back to a light set again, this time doing it very slowly and well controlled, to use all of your muscle fibers rigorously.
Record Your Workout
Even if you do your sets in a varying order each week, it helps to take down notes of the weight and the number of reps you do in your workouts. Keep in mind that the key to building your body is maintaining a slow progress that’s measured in small inches, not yards, from one week to another. You’ll know you’ve made progress when you gain even just one more rep or one pound from week to week. Keep up this kind of progress, and you’ll likely see a significant improvement in your muscular development after a year.
Writing everything down ensures that you’ll be able to keep track of your progress accurately. An easy way to keep records and make charts is to use Excel. Print out the charts and take them with you when you hit the gym; be sure to check your notes before starting each set.
Remember that building muscle can be more time consuming than shedding fat, depending on your diet and exercise routine when you start. However, it’s easier to burn fat when you have more muscle. To gain muscle instead of fat, it’s important to eat real, healthy food, and not processed food and junk. Focus on getting real nutrients, and not preservative-packed meals that only give you more body fat. With dedication, patience, and perseverance, you’ll get the fit body you want, and stay healthy as well.
Separate Your Workout Routine
This is probably something not a lot of people can spare time to do, unless you have a home gym. Still, it’s a good idea to split your workout into two sections in a day. Or, you can also split it up in a week if you don’t have enough time for it.
For example, you probably do wide rows after doing pull-ups on your back day. To split up this workout, you can do wide rows first, in the morning ,and focus on pull-ups later in the gym, or vice versa. Alternatively, you can also do wide rows on Monday, and pull-ups on Wednesday.
This workout strategy will help you push more weight for a higher number of reps for exercises that you typically do at the end of your workouts, as these exercises are now at the forefront of your workout.
The goal of splitting up workouts is to avoid getting bored, and to allow for maximum use of your muscles. It’s often easy for people to over-train after doing plenty of weight lifting in a week, and this leads to an exhausted body that’s too tired to heal. Knowing that healing is crucial in building muscle, it’s important to have more recuperation time, by getting the most output from your muscles in the shortest time possible during a given week.
Another example is doing bench presses first on every chest day. This routine makes you use up your muscle strength, even before getting to decline bench or triceps press downs. So, it helps to separate chest day, continue the workout later on, and see the amount of weight you pushed. Don’t forget to record everything; if you’re able to lift more weight by the end of the week, then you’ve been successful. However, take caution when using heavier weight very quickly, as it can negatively impact your tendons and joints.
Compared to muscles, tendons and joints usually adapt more slowly to heavier routines. This is the reason why beginners must work their weight up gradually in the first couple of months. Experienced body builders should also take this into consideration to avoid unexpected injuries.
The good news is that you may see a bit of gain in one of your exercises if your body responds positively, but if you stop moving forward later on, you’ll have to revise your strategy again. If you don’t have the time to go to the gym frequently, then try spending more time between sets.
Lower Your Rest Time
When you’ve already split your workouts up successfully, or you’ve taken more time between sets, the next thing you can do is lower your rest time. Although you won’t be doing as much weight as before, the bigger rest time will bring a huge shock to your muscles. Just make sure to record the amount of lift and number of reps you do in each set. Also, keep records of your rest time, as it can help you monitor your progress. Keeping a record of everything in your workouts will give you a clearer picture of your progress from one week to another.