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12 Ways To Add Variety To A Stale Off-season Workout

An off-season workout can get boring if you don’t see results as quickly as you’d like. It’s important to keep things interesting, because sometimes progress can be slow. Here are some tips to keep your workouts challenging and creative, so you keep going through the plateaus.

RELATED:4 Push-Up Variations for Bigger Arms and Chest[1]

Vary your workout time

Changing your usual workout time from, say, always after school to before school for a few weeks can change your mental approach and enhance each training session.

Vary your workout length

Who says you always have to train 30, 45 or 60 minutes to get a thorough workout? An intense 15-minute full-body workout can be just as productive as one spread out over 30 to 45 minutes.

Change or mix repetition tempo each set

Take 10 seconds to lift the weight and five seconds to lower it for 4-6 reps. Next, perform a set emphasizing the negative (eccentric) part of the lift by lowering in 15 seconds and raising in two seconds. Simply altering the repetition speed every set not only makes the exercise more intense but also gives it an innovative twist.

RELATED:Mechanical OverloadA Strategy for Bigger Muscles[2]

Mix bodyweight exercises with free-weight exercises

Substitute elevated Push-Ups (feet atop a bench) for Incline Bench Presses and swap Pull-Ups for Dumbbell Rows. Substitute Barbell Squats for Step-Ups during your next workout for a refreshing change.

Change workout location

Instead of always working out in the weight room, take your workout [3]outdoors[4]especially during the warmer months. Use park benches or playground equipment for various bodyweight exercises such as Bench Dips, Elevated Push-Ups, Step-Ups or Pull-Ups. Use a medicine ball outdoors for several upper- and lower-body exercises such as Lunges and Press-Outs. Attach a portable cable to a post or tree branch for pulling movements.

Take shorter rests between sets

Reducing your rest time between sets from 60 seconds to 15 to 30 seconds not only intensifies a workout, but also makes training more time-efficient, particularly when you’re scheduling workouts around other activities and academics. Shorter rests between sets also simulate the brief rests between sports actionbetter preparing you for games while improving your endurance.

RELATED:Why You Need Rest Intervals[5]

Reverse exercise sequence

Why always start workouts in the same exercise order? Mix up a full-body workout each time by doing back and shoulder exercises, then legs, then chest, and ending with core exercises, for example. Next session, begin with core exercises, then train legs, chest, and back and shoulder exercises.

Change up resistance for each workout

For one session, use cables and a medicine ball for all exercises. For your next workout, use dumbbells or kettlebells for similar exercises. For the third workout, just hold a 45-pound plate for upper- and lower-body exercises such as Squats, Lunges, Step-Ups, Suitcase Walks, Press-Outs, Overhead Presses and Bent-Over Rows.

Switch from body-part workouts to full-body workouts

Instead of risking overtraining symptoms (e.g., joint and muscle soreness, physical and mental fatigue) by scheduling high-intensity specific body-part workouts five or six days per week, cut back on training volume by doing just full-body workouts on non-consecutive days two or three times a week to optimize recovery. Reducing training frequency may also enhance strength and size gains. On non-training days, focus on active recovery activities such as brisk walking, light jogging, stretching or yoga.

Mix supersets and compound sets with regular sets

To boost intensity and promote muscle growth and endurance, perform supersets and compound sets in conjunction with regular sets. Both supersets and compound sets involve performing two consecutive sets (without rest periods between them.) Supersets work muscles on both sides of a joint (e.g., work your quadriceps and hamstrings with Front Lunges immediately followed by Stiff-Legged Deadlifts.) Compound sets involve doing two consecutive exercises for the same body part with no rest (e.g., Cable Flys followed immediately by med ball Push-Ups target chest muscles.) Regular sets usually entail performing the same exercise with a specific rest period between sets (e.g., resting 30 seconds between 3 sets of Squats).

Include other conditioning elements during each workout

Instead of devoting each workout specifically to strength and muscle-building, focus on other conditioning aspects for peak sports performance. In a given 60-minute workout, do 30 minutes of upper- and lower-body weight training strength/muscle-building exercises, 15 minutes of speed/agility drills (e.g., multi-directional sprints), five minutes of muscular endurance exercises (e.g., as many Push-Ups or Burpees as possible in 30 seconds) and five minutes of cool-down static upper- and lower-body stretches for greater flexibility.

Do single-leg movements to improve balance

Doing all exercises standing on both legs, seated or supine on a bench definitely builds strength and size, but neglects another important sports conditioning factor: balance. Incorporate unilateral exercises such as Single-Leg Squats; perform Bent-Over Rows or Upright Rows on one leg; or do Push-Ups with one foot off the ground to improve balance. Bonus: Performing an exercise on one leg or with one foot off the ground also builds core strength by engaging the core stabilizer muscles to prevent you from falling.

WATCH:Mike Boyle Shows You the 2 Best Single-Leg Exercises[6]

This article originally appeared on STACK.com: 12 Ways to Add Variety to a Stale Off-Season Workout[7]

References

  1. ^ 4 Push-Up Variations for Bigger Arms and Chest (sports.yahoo.com)
  2. ^ Mechanical OverloadA Strategy for Bigger Muscles (www.stack.com)
  3. ^ take your workout (www.stack.com)
  4. ^ outdoors (www.stack.com)
  5. ^ Why You Need Rest Intervals (www.stack.com)
  6. ^ Mike Boyle Shows You the 2 Best Single-Leg Exercises (www.stack.com)
  7. ^ 12 Ways to Add Variety to a Stale Off-Season Workout (www.stack.com)

Original Story Here

Resources:

Surprising Workout Tips – FitSugar

Sometimes, one direction or a quick piece of advice can totally change the course of your workout. We've tapped into some of the most-respected and sought-after celebrity trainers for those surprising tips and tricks you don't … http://www.fitsugar.com/Surprising-Workout-Tips-34692713

Workout, Tips & Tidbits | PFITblog

Ask us about what we eat before a workout, to whatever silly personal question you are dying to ask us. This is a chance for you guys to get to know us better, share some tips and have a ton of fun. OMG, these guys and girls … http://pfitblog.com/2014/05/02/workout-tips-tidbits-tonight/

Lot 2012 SHAPE Magazines. Excellent Workout Routines, Recipes and Diet tips.

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  1. Reply

    Workout Tips? I’m 150 lbs, 6 ft. 1in tall, and need some tips on how to work out. How much weight should I do and how many reps for each set? Number of times per week for work out? Also, what sort of diet is useful?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      OK here we go:

      Weight Training:

      If you are new to it, start out small and build up.

      Don’t be antimidated by the macho guys pumping iron at the gym. You have a right to be there too.

      Ok to get started: Run about a half mile at a jog or just above a jog pace. After this find a place to stretch a bit: legs, back, torso, arms. Just easy stretches. Hold for about 20 seconds.

      So now you are ready.

      For a balanced body:

      This is my regimine, im 2 years into HS weightlifitng and at the gym i have put on 35 lbs of pure muscle and my football coach is very happy. i went from 165 to 198 from begining of last school year to now.

      When i say 8/6/4, i mean a set of 8, then a set of 6, then a set of 4. Every lift is 8/6/4 then another 8/6/4 and the a faliure set (where you add 10 lbs to each side and rep it as many times as possilbe).

      I really dont know how strong you are so i can’t tell you what weights to go for. You should do as much as possible while being able to compleltly finish the sets without skipping a rep.
      Over time, you should gradually add weight to become stronger and bigger. when you can successfully complete the sets and not feel tired at all, add 5 lbs to each side and work on that for a while. You want to be making forward progress towards a goal you set, like how much you max-out on bench or how much muscle you put on. set realistic goals for the short term to lead into a bigger long-term goal.

      MONDAY: Chest: Benchpress, chest flys, decline press
      Tri’s: Bench, Tri-extension (stabbing motion),
      rope weights ( like a pull down towards you).
      Ab’s: Sit-ups, medicine ball crossovers,
      decline situps with a weight.
      Calf’s: Toe raises

      Tuesday: Biceps: curls, lat pulldowns, dumbell curls
      Back: reverse sit up( lean over a ledge and raise
      your top half up), Lat pull down.
      Quads: Squats, leg press, lunges
      Hami: Deadlifts

      Wednesday: Rest up, Walk 2 miles, Hydrate and rest up.

      Thursday: All of Mon and Tues workout put togethers, but not
      as hard. No Faliure Sets.

      Friday: Rest up, Walk 2 miles, hydrate

      Sat or Sunday: Do either another Monday or Tuesday workout: whichever you need to improve on more. If even, alternate from week to week.

      You can make a excel sheet with all of these for mon, tues, thurs, and weekend.

      Drink lots of water (or diluted gatorade w/ 1/2 and 1/2 or G2 ) and hydrate at night and after the workout as well. After workout have 2 bottles of water and a large muscle milk ( will help protien sysnthesis in regrowing muscle fibers).

      Cut Back on your carbs as well. you need about 100 max for workout days and 50 for rest days.

      To get the new muscle to show, 45 min of cardio of anyknid will help shed belly fat to show your new six pack.

      For athletes, adding extra conditioning in the offseason by running or even sprints to keep up the fast twitch muscle fibers.

      If you are considering suplements, don’t buy everything under the sun. Start out with a whey protien supplement. Have that enough times a day to get the amount of protein in grams you have a day to equal your body weight or more. For example if you weigh 150 lbs, and you normally eat 50 grams of protien a day from regular food, you need to add about 100 grams, or about 3 servings of the whey. Best whey is by muscle milk.

      Incorperate music into your workout and have fun!!!!

      Good luck buddy!!

      View Comment
  2. Reply

    Workout Tips? I’m 150 lbs, 6 ft. 1in tall, and need some tips on how to work out. How much weight should I do and how many reps for each set? Number of times per week for work out? Also, what sort of diet is useful?
    doitnow, I would love to ‘work out’ with you.

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      If you wana get big its not easy .. you have to really want it .. you cant just go to the gym for an hour and call it a day .. u gotta make it a lifestyle … you gotta eat, eat, and eat … eat high protein and a lot of carbs … as far as training goes you should work out NO more then 5 days a week, i recommend 4 days a week if u wana gain weight …. DONT workout for more then 52 minutes!! … ull just end up overtraining … do High weight – low reps ( 4 – 6 reps) … heavy weight is wat makes the muscle GROW … make sure to keep strict form tho .. concentrate hard on those low reps .. make each one count … remember to eat, eat, and eat … eggwhites, chicked, turkey, oatmeal, peanut butter, tuna, rice .. are all good foods .. make sure you gotta a whey protein shake too!! .. MUST take that within 30 minutes after workout!! … i can go on and on .. as you progress you will learn whats workn for you … good luck!

      View Comment
  3. Reply

    Great Workout Tips? Does anyone have any great workout tips? I really to work my whole body, but especially my abs. Any advice?

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    1. Reply

      A strong core is essential to whole body strength and back health. Aside from the regular ab workouts, crunches, bicycle crunch, sit ups, bridges, etc., etc. you can incorporate abs into just about every weight routine. For one stay away from machines and use free weights instead. When doing a free weight exercises do not isolate your core. Example: When doing a military press while sitting down you are working upper body only. But if you do the same exercises while standing you are incorporating abdominal muscles and hip muscles for balance. I’m not a body builder nor am i huge, but I workout a lot. The exercises that I do are for strength, core, and cardio. For example I try and do multiple movements in one exercises. Such as using a 100 pound bar. Do a squat, then a overhead press and back down to a squat. 10 reps 4 sets. I’m not saying you should do this but exercises such as that one work multiple body parts including core and make you strong. I used to subscribe to men’shealth.com personal trainer. It gives you workouts to follow, give it a look.

      View Comment
  4. Reply

    Workout Tips …. …. ? I’ve just rejoined a gym I was in a couple years ago. I’m looking for a workout to help me build a bit of muscle. This time the gym didn’t give me a workout plan and full assessment on joining for some reason…

    Anyhow… I’m roughly 6’1″. About 170-175 pounds.I want to give myself a better body. I have a little bit of a belly (but not too noticeable). And kinda scrawny arms and chest etc. and I have a slightly indented chest which never looks good and can’t be helped.

    I want to build my biceps aand shoulders a little, get pecks, and a good stomach. I know it’s ridiculous to hope for a huge muscular figure… which I don’t want.. But I just want a body with a nice appearance.

    Has anybody any training or nutritional tips to reach my goal? And when will I start to see results?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      Well, I always recommend the same barbell routine for beginners:

      Monday
      Squat 3×5
      Bench press/Overhead press 3×5 (alternating)
      Chin-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

      Wednesday
      Squat 3×5
      Overhead Press/bench press 3×5 (alternating)
      Deadlift 1×5

      Friday
      Squat 3×5
      Bench press/Overhead press 3×5 (alternating)
      Pull-ups: 3 sets to failure or add weight if completing more than 15 reps

      Start with very light weight to learn proper form. Increase weight by 2-5kg on exercises each workout. Add 3 sets of abdominal exercises at the end of each workout if you like. When the weights get heavy, do progressively heavy warm-up sets to reach your working weight.

      However, you’ve haven’t stated whether or not you’re interested in developing lower body strength as well as upper body, so you may not be interested in this. This routine will develop a good proportional physique regardless, and it only requires 30 minutes-1 hour to complete the workout.

      The chin-ups/pull-ups will develop your biceps, the presses will develop your chest and shoulders, your stomach will be developed by heavy squats/deadlifts/overhead presses as well as any isolation abdominal exercises you add to the routine.

      You say you have a little bit of a belly, this means that even if you were to develop extremely strong abs, you wouldn’t have a six pack. You’ll need to maintain a calorie deficit til you burn enough fat to reach 10% body fat before you can have a six pack. It’s possible to burn fat whilst gaining muscle, though results aren’t as fast, and it’s difficult to achieve the right nutritional balance for this. You’ll need only a slight calorie deficit (around 500 less than you’re using), whilst still getting 170g+ protein every day. Make sure you’re having protein immediately post-workout, it’s the most important time.

      Fat loss results you will notice alot faster than muscle development. If you’re burning fat, you’ll notice a physical difference (e.g slimmer stomach) in about a month. It usually takes a few months before you notice a physical change in your muscles though.

      View Comment
  5. Reply

    Can Someone Give Me Workout Tips? I’m 21 I weigh around 145, I’m very skinny and not too muscular, and I just started a routine of working out and running, I work out one day and run the next day and so on and so forth, i Know nothing about working out tho. Should I life less weight and more reps or more reps of less weight? Also if i want to get a 6-pack should i use the machine to work my abs or do sit ups on an incline?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      I;ll give you some tips , if you want to get muscular and have big muscles then workout 3 sets each exercise and start out by lifting low weights and more reps then go heavier weights and less reps. an example 15, 12, 8. eat foods with protein like fish, nuts, meat without fat. chicken chest, eggs. for six pack now if you have fat then you must remove it. start by running everyday for 30 min. eat less calories than your calorie intake. eat healthy. cut out junk foods. sweets, fast foods, chocolates, chips, sodas, candies. cookies and eat healthy cause abs you won’t get only by doing cardio and workout. and for abs exercises it doesn’t matter how you workout your abs. just workout in any way you like search on youtube for some exercises to learn more. the process of being muscular and getting abs it takes long time to see results. don’t give up. and be patient.

      View Comment
  6. Reply

    Workout Tips……….? I’ve just rejoined a gym I was in a couple years ago. I’m looking for a workout to help me build a bit of muscle. This time the gym didn’t give me a workout plan and full assessment on joining for some reason…

    Anyhow… I’m roughly 6’1″. About 170-175 pounds.
    I want to give myself a better body. I have a little bit of a belly (but not too noticeable). And kinda scrawny arms and chest etc. and I have a slightly indented chest which never looks good and can’t be helped.

    I want to build my biceps aand shoulders a little, get pecks, and a good stomach. I know it’s ridiculous to hope for a huge muscular figure… which I don’t want.. But I just want a body with a nice appearance.

    Has anybody and training or nutritional tips to reach my goal? And when will I start to see results?

    View Comment
    1. Reply

      First thing you have to do is to get your diet right. Looking fit is 20% workout, 80% diet. Here’s a few things that you need to do for both problems.

      Get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast such as oats and milk (example)

      Eat 5-6 meals a day. Each meal should have carbs and plenty of protein in it. This link would be helpful. http://www.maximuscle.com/static/caloriecalculatorwin.html

      Get into the habit of having a water bottle near you so you can stay hydrated, 3 litres a day should be good, it’s important you stay hyrated if you wanna look good.

      A good 8 hours of sleep every night, or close to eight as possible.

      Investing on some Multivitamin and Fish Oil capsules is optional but highly recommended, your body needs it.

      As for the workouts, don’t focus on just working your bicep or your shoulder, those are small mucsle groups you should spend limited time on those muscle groups or else you over work them.

      The main focus should be your biggest muscle groups, legs, back and chest. Working your back works your biceps and working your chest works your triceps so arms do get a workout.

      Exercises that you must include in your weekly workout plan.

      * Squat (legs)
      * Assisted Pull-Ups (back)
      * Bench Press (chest)
      * Tricep Dips (tricep)

      Other excercises I would recommend, considering your goals

      * Incline Bech Press (Upper chest)
      * Pec dec (Chest)
      * Seated Row (back)
      * Tricep pushdown (arms)
      * Barbell Curl/ Preacher Curl (bicep)
      * Dumbell Shoulder Press
      * Leg Press

      Few Important things to note

      * You shouldn’t work muscle groups such as biceps and shoulders in isolation any more than once a week and same should apply to other muscles as well.

      * Proper form for each and every single rep and set is crucial, watch a number of videos on youtube about the exercise to get a better idea.

      Results could take a week to show up, a month to show up or a year. It really depends on how bad do you want to be fit, your motivation has to be high for you to be able to achieve the results your looking for regardless of whether you want to just be fit or be an elite athlete, the attitude should be no different.

      Hope this was helpful =)

      View Comment

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