As the old saying goes, “nothing worth having comes easy.” The same holds true for fitness – getting in shape and achieving your goals requires hard work and dedication. But that doesn’t mean your workouts have to be a drag. With a few simple tweaks, you can make your workouts more effective and enjoyable.
Read along for some tips to boost the effectiveness of your training sessions!
One of the biggest misconceptions for trainees when they step into the gym is that they constantly have to do new and fancy workouts. This is commonly referred to as things done to “confuse the body” and push it towards progress. Supersets, drop sets, low rest times, you name it – Most trainees do a ton of weird things due to the absence of knowledge about what’s actually effective.
Truth be told, there is nothing more effective than the basics – Compound exercises, done with heavy weights, consistently over time!
Speaking of heavy weights, one of the most critical factors of a workout is the training intensity. By intensity, we simply mean the amount of weight used because the closer you get to your maximum strength capabilities, the higher the intensity level is. This is, by definition, the description of ‘training intensity.’
Generally speaking, if your main goal is to increase your maximum strength, you are best off training at around 85-100% of your maximum strength capabilities (1-5 reps). Oppositely, if your main goal is to gain the maximum amount of muscle mass, you should aim at the 70-85% range (6-15 reps).
Ultimately, however, you are best off combining both ranges but emphasizing the one that most suits your goals!
If you go to the gym, you will often see people doing various exercises restlessly. As we mentioned, methods like supersets and drop sets are emphasized much more than they should be nowadays.
What does this mean for you? Well, it simply means that you’d need more rest time between sets in order to sustain your performance from set to set! Think of it this way – In every workout that you do, the goal is to create the biggest quality volume of work possible.
For instance, if you use 100 lbs for 1 set of 10 reps and then rest just 30-60 seconds, you will likely only get eight or fewer repetitions on the next sets. However, if you use that same weight for multiple sets but rest more, it is likely that you will sustain the same number of repetitions, thus lifting more total weight.
Generally speaking, optimal rest times form at about 2.5-3 minutes between sets, depending on how close you were to failure.
Last but not least, to make your workouts effective, you have to not only do things at the gym but also outside of it! No days off! Make your days outside the gym active! Active recovery is more efficient than simply sitting around! You must give enough “rest” time in between working the same muscle groups but “rest” does not mean doing nothing!
Depending on the training volume, allowing each muscle group to rest between 48 and 96 hours after being trained directly would get you in the ballpark of good recovery!
We hope this article has given you some new ideas on how to make your workouts more effective. Remember, if it doesn’t work out for you the first time around, don’t give up! Keep trying different things until you find what works best for both your body and mind, but don’t forget – Stick to the basics!
And as always, stay tuned for our upcoming articles to help you improve on your fitness, nutrition, and the mental game!