You don’t need big life changing actions to increase the effectiveness of your workout. Sometimes, making just a small adjustment can greatly increase your results in the gym.
In this article you will read 10 tips that instantly improve your workout results. How? Check out these 10 tips below!
The goal that you are trying to achieve is defined by the fitness technique that you use. There are 3 different goals to distinguish: losing weight, developing muscle mass and developing muscle strength.
The fitness techniques that define your goal are:
- The weight that you use
- The number of sets that you perform per exercise
- The number of reps that you perform per set
If you want to develop muscle mass perform at least 3 sets per exercise and perform between 8 and 12 reps per set. Select a weight that allows you to perform at least 8 reps.
If you want to develop muscle strength, you use a heavy weight, perform at least 4 sets per exercise and perform between 1 and 6 reps per set.
A lot of athletes have the tendency to hold their breath when the workout gets hard, such as at the end of a set. But to stop breathing actually decreases your chances of finishing the set.
By breathing properly, you will continue to provide your body with oxygen. Keep breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. You breath in when you relax the muscles and breath out when you put force on them. A couple of examples when exercising:
Bench press: breath in when you lower the barbell, breath out when you push it out.
Squat: breath in when you squat down, breath out when you come up again.
Pull up: breath in when you lower yourself down, breath out when you pull yourself up.
A lot of athletes perform their exercises symmetrically. This means that the left part of the body makes the same movement as the right part of the body. Examples of symmetrical exercises are the dumbbell press, shoulder press, leg extension and squat.
By switching to an a-symmetrical movement you give your body a new impulse. This will lead to a faster response from your body to your exercises causing muscle mass and strength to increase faster.
A-symmetrical training simply means that you first perform a repetition with your left hand or leg and then with your right hand or leg.
This is of course only possible with exercises that allow you to move your hands and legs independently of each other. Most machine and barbell exersises don’t allow this.
Sooner or later you will run into the inevitable: your progress decreases and you are no longer achieving your goals like you used to. You have hit a training plateau.
Running into a training plateau can have different reasons, that´s what makes it difficult to resolve. It can be eating too much or not enough, training too often or not enough, changing workout plans too often or not enough…
But the main reason for hitting a training plateau is focussing too much on training the upper body and (not enough) on the muscles in your lower body. The lower body consist of the muscles in your upper leg (glutes, quadriceps, hamstring, adductor and abductor) and the calf muscles in your lower leg.
By training your lower body you will not only develop your leg muscles but your upper body as well. When you train your body makes testosterone and growth hormone. The bigger the muscle group that you train, the more testosterone and growth hormone is being made.
Because your legs are the biggest muscle group of your body, it’s the most effective way to increase your strength and crush your training plateau!
Support your body by enriching your diet with fitness supplements. Fitness supplements are the most effective way to refuel your body after an intense workout.
Fitness supplements like protein, amino acids and creatine will help your body to recover faster. It decreases the muscle pain, enhances muscle recovery and allow you to perform at your best again the day after!
Try to switch as much as possible to make sure that your body keeps getting new impulses. This way your workout keeps being effective.
Your body adjusts fast to a workout plan. For small muscle groups, the effectiveness of your training decreases significantly after 4 weeks. And for large muscle groups that is already after 5 weeks. So keep switching your workout plan and training methods continuously.
Which elements of your workout can you switch up? All of them! The amount of sets that you perform, the amount of reps per set that you perform, the type of exercises that you perform, the speed with which your perform the exercise, the amount of exercises per muscle group, the amount of different muscle groups that your train during a workout, the muscle groups that you combine during a workout…
Every element that you can think of should be switched after 4 to 5 weeks.
Compound exercises are exercises that target more than 1 muscle at the same time. This can either be multiple muscles from the same muscle group like the leg press. This exercise targets multiple leg muscles. Or multiple muscles from different muscles groups like the deadlift. This exercise targets the muscles in your legs, back and arms.
Other examples of popular compound exercises are the bench press, squat, barbell press, pull up and barbell row. Compound exercises are effective because you target multiple muscles at the same time and therefore increase your strength. They allow you to lift heavier weights.
Simultaneously you produce more testosterone and growth hormones that support the development of muscle mass and strength.
The exact reason why people and animals sleep is still not completely clear. But what is proven is that after a good night’s sleep we are better able to perform cognitive tasks like speaking and thinking. It helps to consolidate memories by processing all the information that we receive during the day.
But while being asleep, your muscles also recover from the workout that you had that day. About 65% of your daily growth hormone is produced while you sleep. If you do not sleep well, you will produce less growth hormone. Therefore, sleep ensures that you grow!
The amount of sleep one needs varies per person. Age and lifestyle are two determining factors. Babies can sleep as much as 18 hours per day in the first 6 months. Children until the age of 13 need to sleep for around 10 hours.
For adults the recommended daily amount of sleep is between 7 and 8 hours.
Supersets are a special training method proven to increase workout results. You combine 2 exercises and perform the sets alternately. You don’t rest after you’ve performed a set, all sets are performed directly one after the other.
There are 3 different types of supersets. The first type is antagonist supersets which is the pairing of two opposite muscle groups e.g. your chest and back or biceps and triceps.
The second type is supersets that focus on the same muscle group. Both exercises target muscles that belong to the same muscle group e.g. biceps dumbbell curl and biceps barbell curl.
The third type of supersets focuses on two completely different muscle groups e.g. leg press for your legs and dumbbell press for your shoulders. The advantage of this type of supersets is that both exercises not ‘interfere’ with each other.
RM stands for repetition maximum. 1RM defines the heaviest weight which you can perform 1 repetition with. Selecting the right weight is crucial for achieving specific results (see tip 1: Know your goal and the right fitness technique).
Therefore, it's important that you know the 1RM weight for every exercise included in your workout plan. When you want to lose weight, you perform the exercises with a weight that is between 0% and 50% of your 1RM.
If you want to develop muscle mass you perform the exercises with a weight that is around 75% of your 1RM.
And if you want to develop muscle strength you perform the exercises with a weight that is between 80% and 100% of your 1RM.
For example: you want to develop muscle mass around your chest. The heaviest weight with which you can still perform one chest press is 120 kg. In order to focus on developing muscle mass, you perform between 8 and 12 reps with 90 kg. Because 75% of 120 kg is 90 kg.