How To Take Your Workout To The Next Level

How To Take Your Workout To The Next Level

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Bar Lift

You can’t go wrong with the basics. You could get fit with no other movements than the push-up, pull-up, and body weight squat if you really wanted to. 

And if you moved things to the gym, the staple barbell exercises of deadlift, squat, and overhead press will take you about as far as you want to go. But beyond the physical aspects, there are mental and emotional factors that play into the quality of your training. To take things to the next level you need try new skills, go with unilateral training and challenge your dogma.

Workout To The Next Level

Try A New Skill

The Olympic Lifts (cleans and snatches) have done this for me. I really sucked at these lifts when I first started them. Now, I only “kinda” suck. 🙂 The challenge of learning a new skill increases the required focus for training.

How many times have you been in the middle of a bench press and thought about your laundry?

The treadmill is the primary offender here – if you can watch Oprah or read a magazine while you train, you are not demanding enough of your body to be “training”. To take your workouts to the next level, select a skill that you are not good at and then practice. Learn how to do double-under’s with the jump rope. Train towards your first muscle up. Take a fencing, jiu-jitsu, or swimming class.

Select a skill that you find difficult initially and enjoy the mental and physical benefits as you progress.

Go Unilateral

pistolsquat

Movements using only one arm or leg at a time increase the demands on balance, core stability, and coordination. Think one-arm push ups and single leg squats (pistols). But also, consider the turkish get-up, suitcase deadlift, and one arm versions of the snatch, push press, and overhead squat. Be sure to work both sides equally and enjoy the boost to your workouts from unilateral training.

Challenge Your Dogma

You’ve all seen me rant against long slow cardio and single joint bodybuilding movements. Well guess what I’m considering adding to my training. . . single joint bodybuilding movements.

Why?

Because I haven’t done them in YEARS! Because I’m curious to see if I am really on the right path. And so I’m going to test and track.

I might try a bodybuilding style training program for 4 – 6 weeks and see what happens. Certainly nothing catastrophic is going to happen. And who knows, I might just learn something along the way.

Anyone who trains for a while runs the risk of hitting plateaus. Often times the rut is not due to physical limitations, but is the result of the lack of mental and emotional stimulation that was present at the beginning stages of training when it was all still shiny and new. To take things to the next level you have to shake things up.

Destroy your comfort zone barriers by trying new skills and challenging your dogma.

– Vic

9 COMMENTS

  1. I alternate between strength (barbells, weighted, dips/chins, heavy core work, etc) and bodybuilding (muscle groups splits in the 8-12 rep range) and it works great buddy! (Plus it’s fun!)

    Cheers,

    Yavor

    • I gotta admit. . . I am having fun with the new training regimen. And I think my arms are already seeing some size improvement. Maybe just wishful thinking after a week. 😉

  2. I do alternate and add few weight trainig excersises to the known ones once in a while, but I had not thought about totally changing the reginmen, I’ll try doing it, hopefully it’ll work and I’ll have fun

    • I’m having fun with my change in training. And often “fun” is a factor we tend to leave out when striving for our fitness goals. Nothing wrong with a little fun. . .

  3. The Clean and Jerk is up there with my favourite lifts. For pistol squats, I’ve noticed that my left leg is stronger than my right. So basically you can learn new things by trying new things. I’m interested to see how things go for you with the single joint stuff.

    • Tomorrow will make two full weeks of using the single joint stuff. I’m trying to “empty my cup” and have an open mind about them. But I still catch myself thinking in the middle of a set of curls, “Now why am I not climbing the rope or doing pull ups right now? . . .”

  4. Alternating workouts is the key to keeping things fresh and new. That goes for most things in life actually. Break the mould. I haven’t yet wrote about this but i will do.

    Shaun

    • I often tell clients and students, “Nearly all stimulus lose their effect with repeated exposure”. I agree, change keeps things fresh in the gym and in life.

  5. I needed to hear this because for the past 3 weeks, I’ve been getting bored with my training. So I guess now’s the time to try those one legged squats I’ve been dreading. Great post!

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