HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Increase The Intensity of a WorkoutNine Simple Ways to Increase the Intensity of Any Workout
By Marc David
Beginners usually do not need such advanced concepts simply because as a beginner, pretty much anything will work as it's new to your body. You don't need to bump up the intensity because the workout itself is usually hard enough. But for those who have worked out for quite some time, doing a simple routine doesn't cut it. And for those who are entering a competition and may be on low card, sub-maintenance calories and doing cardio twice a day, adding more and more weight is easier said then done. Where's the energy?
That's where some advanced concepts come into play.
Using some of these advanced training concepts, you can take a simple bicep curl or bench press and maximize the intensity of the exercise without adding a single pound:
1. Repetition Speeds ' Rather then 1 second up and 1 second down, there's a little know fact that you can take advantage of to double the effectiveness of any exercise. That secret is slowly lowering the weight on the negative part of the movement. By utilizing this alone, you will have increased the effectiveness of any single exercise by 100%. Not only will you be working on the upward movement but you will work the muscle on the downward rather then most people who just let gravity take over. Vary your repetition speeds for an increase in intensity.
2. Tempo Variations ' Have you ever seen any programs listed as 4032? That just means 4 seconds on the down motion; 0 seconds at the bottom of the movement; 3 seconds up; 2 second hold at the top. You can do all types of tempo variations to just feel the muscle working and increase the intensity. For example, how about a set of machine bench presses where it's 8032? 8 seconds down? Not super-slow but very controlled. And with a nice 2 second squeeze at the top. You can take any exercise where you've done the same weight and instantly make it much harder and more intense. Without adjusting the weight in the slightest!
3. Tension Manipulation ' If you think about it, some exercises like the dumbbell side lateral raise, when the weights are truly at your side (bottom of the movement) the tension is totally off the shoulder muscles. By using tension manipulation you can stop short of this occurring. Take the leg press for example. Rather then do a full rep where you might lock out and pause at the top, how about a slow 4 seconds down, 0 seconds at the bottom, 3 seconds up, and only go ' of the way to the lockout, no pause and repeat. This is called 'continuous tension' and it will not only increase the intensity of any exercise but it's slow, controlled and the tension is never off the working muscle.
5. Contraction Exercises ' Again, the calf raises can be slightly altered to make it feel like somebody has put a flame torch to the back of your legs. At the top of the movement, rather the lower the weight, hold the fully contracted position for 5 seconds and squeeze! This can be done with a set of Smith Machine squats too. At the top of the movement, squeeze like you are holding a flexed pose for 2+ seconds. It's one more way of taking the same old exercise and making it different.
6. Super-Sets ' Ever heard that with super-sets you can get more done in less time? It's true. Rather then do a second of barbell bench presses, followed by a 3 minute rest, and then another. How about doing a set of barbell bench presses, immediately followed by a set of cable flyes? You can get more work done in the same time period. The more work you can do in a shorter time frame is a method of making the whole workout more intense.
7. Rest Periods ' Take the example above but this time, after the cable flyes, you only rest 30 seconds and repeat. Not only have you done a super-set, but you've just shortened the rest period. The intensity bar is sure to show a spike now. By lowering the rest periods, you can effectively make the workout more intense, without adding more weight. Combine this with super-setting and you can do an amazing number of sets in 60 minutes. At one point, I was able to do 48 sets for my legs in 60 minutes! That is insane.
9. Ascending/Descending Sets - Nothing more then increasing or decreasing the weight in a given set but do not let this technique fool you. It's a wicked way to just blast a body part. Descending sets are commonly referred to as "drop sets." For example, if you were doing dumbbell curls, you could start with a weight and do 10 reps, then move down in weight for another 8 reps, and move again and again. Ascending is just the reverse. There's no set number of moves downward or upward you can do but the maximum that is efficient is no more then 4 either way. For an interesting twist on this move, use a combination of both. Start with a given weight, use the ascending technique and then immediately use the descending technique. This makes for a giant set using both principles and is very difficult.
By using these nine simple steps individually or in combination, you are ensured to take yourself to the next level of intensity.
About The Author:
Marc David is an innovative fitness enthusiast and the creator of the 'The Beginner's Guide to Fitness And Bodybuilding'