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Shock Your Workouts - How to move ahead when you workouts hit a plateau.

Stuck in a rut? No longer seeing progress with your workouts? Here are 11 things you can do to get your fitness program back on track.

For those of you who are just sitting around, day after day, telling everyone you INTEND on working out, go to step 1. If you have no intention of EVER working out, don't read any further because this article will be a waste of time. If you are CURRENTLY working out, start with step 2 for ideas.

If you're reading this during business hours, put the paper down, pick up the phone and make an appointment to talk with your doctor or health care provider about clearance to START a fitness program. After a few weeks of working out, you can work on the remaining 11 steps.

Change your routine. Doing the same thing repeatedly can get boring, or worse, cause you to stop making progress. Your muscles grow and adjust when you do new things. I suggest you change your routine every 6 to 10 weeks to keep shocking your muscles into growing.

Slow down. If you're lifting weights fast, it's more momentum than muscle that's helping move the weights around. You should take at least two full seconds to lift the weight up and two full seconds to return it to the starting position.

Vary your reps. If you usually do 10 reps per set, decrease the weight and go for 15 to 20 reps. If you usually do 15 reps per set, increase the weight and try 6 to 8. (If you have no idea what reps and sets are, go to my website, click on the search button and look for the article called "Creating a Workout Program." All the information you need is there.)

Consider getting a workout partner. Here are three reasons why:

  1. A workout partner can help motivate you to get to the gym on those days when you'd rather just skip it.

  2. Workout partners can help watch your body and make sure you're always using perfect form.

  3. When you progress to free weights, a workout partner can "spot" you. (Spotting is when you are "watching and helping" someone. You put the weights back when they become too heavy during a set.

Hire a trainer for a couple of "fitness tune-up" sessions. They'll put together a routine and help you work on your form.

Commit to always use proper form. You may want to impress people with how much weight you can lift, but to get results, you must use proper form. Always, always always. Did I mention how important this is? Ok, now that it's sunk in, always use proper form.

Keep your form perfect. (You thought I was going to give you a new suggestion, didn't you?) I'm harping on this point for several reasons. If you use poor form, you won't be working the muscles properly, so your body doesn't benefit as much from the workout. You even risk permanently injuring yourself.

Don't copy what other people do to workout. It may seem like a good idea to do the same thing as that cute guy or girl is doing, but just because they look great doesn't mean they're doing the workout properly. Get ideas from other people, but make sure you check with gym staff or a personal trainer to be sure the exercise is right for your goals. (Also, remember to take into account any injuries or physical limitations you may have.)

Subscribe to fitness magazines. They can give you ideas on new workout routines, proper techniques and ideas for additional fitness activities. (My previous articles may also give you ideas; they're all online and available for free.)

Try cross-training. Shake things up!

Call for a FREE Consultation (305) 296-3434
CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

Updated 4/4/2012