Are you bored of your current routine? Have you been off the gym wagon for a bit?
Here are some ideas to help infuse some interest back into your weight routines.
- Clusters: Try this: Whatever exercise it is that you are doing, do 2 reps and hold the second rep at the top for 10 seconds, do 2 more reps. Repeat 4-5 times for how ever many sets you normally do.
- Drop sets: Perform a set to failure or near-failure, lower the weight and perform more. Repeat until you couldn't push or pull a pillow off your body.
- 1 arm/1 leg work: Single limb work should be must in any program. Try single arm dumbbell presses, single leg squats, 1 arm cable pulls. If you want to get really crazy, try single arm exercises with a barbell (shoulder presses for example).
- Squat/deadlift barefoot: Aside from not having to go down as far (for deadlifting), doing your closed chain leg work barefooted helps activate the smaller accessory muscles in the foot/ankle and helps with balance and the ability to spread the toes.
- Multi-direction: Most of us perform movements in one plane. Squatting, rowing, running, chest pressing - it's all in the same plane. Try doing diagonal or side lunges, throw in some cable wood chops and side planks.
- Speed up/slow down: Tempo changes can help shake up the stimulus on the muscles fibers. Try pushing the weight up as fast as possible (while still in control). You can also try some slower tempo stuff such as 4 seconds up, 8 seconds down.
- Implements: If you have access to kettlebells or medicine balls, try and incorporate this into your lifting. If you have a backyard, get a hold of some sandbags, water jugs, a tire or a chain, and you're set. There are also some great natural and other outdoor props if you are out and about. Playgrounds, logs, park benches - they can all serve a good workout purpose.
- Different ranges: Try using restricted ranges. This can be helpful in breaking through plateaus as well as deloading to give joints a bit of a break. For example, you can do rack pulls (restricted range deadlifts - putting guide bars in at knee level). You can do floor presses (a chest press - barbell or dumbbell - lying on the floor).
- Add mobile-strength: Throwing some mobility work into your strength is never a bad idea. A great example of this is bear crawls. Yes, people will look at you funny, but get low down and crawl forward and backwards without letting your knees touch the ground.
- Go for max lifts: Just for fun, see how much you can squat, bench press, row, or how far or high you can jump.