Getting in shape takes hard work, but there are smart shortcuts that can help you make your workouts more efficient. From incorporating balance moves like standing on one leg to alternating bodyweight exercises with cardio bursts, these simple tricks can boost your results and motivation.
Pulsing during exercise makes it harder to use momentum and exhausts muscles more quickly. A great trick for keeping your intensity up is listening to music with a tempo that matches your pace, like the following playlist.
Set Your Goals Early
Chances are you don’t have an hour to spare for a hot yoga class or a HIIT session every day. The key is to find an intelligent workout programthat’s tailored to your unique goals, and then stick to it. That way, your workouts will only take as long as they need to, and you won’t be wasting your time at the gym.
You can also improve your workouts by planning them for when you feel most alert. If you’re more awake and ready to go in the morning, you’ll be more likely to show up for your workout, give it your all, and get out of there as quickly as possible. That’s the key to reducing decision fatigue and making your workouts more effective.
Don’t Skip the Stretches
A few minutes of stretching both before and after a workout can make your muscles feel more relaxed and help prevent injuries. Stretching can also help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness, the aching that occurs 24-72 hours after exercise.
But it’s important not to skip your stretches just to save time. Instead, incorporate movements like lunges, squats, hip circles and walking into your stretches to improve your flexibility and get your muscles moving.
Also, be sure to avoid bouncing while you’re stretching, as this can lead to muscle tightness. Instead, move slowly and gently into each movement and hold the stretch until you feel it release.
If your gym is packed and the bench row machine is taken, try doing a few triceps extensions or squats while standing on the edge of the bench. Even just being upright burns more calories than plopping down on the floor.
Stretching is an essential part of any workout and, if done correctly, doesn’t take as long as you might think. It’s important to stretch both before and after your workout. Dynamic stretches (like high knees and side lunges) can be done as a warm-up to help increase muscle flexibility while static stretches should be completed at the end of your workout as a cool down.
Stretches help to loosen and lubricate joints and muscles. They also prevent the build-up of lactic acid, a metabolic waste product that causes that familiar gnawing muscle ache. Stretching after a workout is even more important, as it helps to release these waste products and returns the muscles to their resting heart rate.
If you’re stuck in a fitness rut, try new exercises to mix things up. This can help you burn more calories, improve your strength and make exercise less boring. For example, try adding a jump to body weight exercises like plank and pushups to make them high-impact or incorporating cardio into your strength training by doing jumping jacks in between sets of floor exercise. Doing dumbbell push exercises would help you greatly and you can learn it better if you click the link attached here.
Sometimes, we take shortcuts like skipping the warm-up and stretching in favor of logging more reps or sets to get that feeling of accomplishment. However, focusing on these small tweaks can make all the difference.
A dynamic stretch, such as high knees (kick your legs out and back with a bent leg) or hip circles, helps lengthen muscles that have been tightened by exercise. Stretches may not reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, but they help ease discomfort and prevent injury.
Another great way to push yourself is by reducing the rest time between exercises. This will help you burn more calories, and also increase the intensity of your workout. Resting less between reps will help you feel the burn faster and exhaust your muscles more quickly.
Don’t Skip the Warm-Up
A short warm-up and cool down is essential for preventing injury during workouts. Warming up increases muscle blood flow, the sensitivity of nerve receptors, and slows down the speed of nervous impulses. It helps your muscles to withstand the stress of exercise and makes it easier for you to get more out of your workouts.
Skipping your warm-up can be tempting if you have a tight time frame or just want to get into the workout you really came to do, but the dangers of ignoring it are greater than the few minutes you might save. Jumping right into your workout without properly warming up can cause muscle strains, joint pain, and even permanent injuries that could keep you from exercising and enjoying all the benefits of a regular exercise routine.
Warming up varies depending on the activity, but try to include some exercises that are similar to those you’ll be doing in your workout. A few body-weight lunges and some stretches like wall push-ups can be enough to prepare your body for the workout ahead.
If you’ve been working out for awhile, you know you should warm up and cool down before your workouts. But when you’re in a time crunch or just want to get to the sweating, it can be tempting to skip your warm-up.
But a good warm-up will activate the muscles you’re about to use, dial you in mentally and physically, increase your heart rate, and loosen up tight muscles. “When your muscles are properly warmed up, the movement and stretches put on them can be less severe, which helps reduce the likelihood of injury,” says Scantlebury.
During your warm-up, focus on exercises that are similar to those you’ll perform during your workout. That way, you’ll be sure to prime all of your key muscle groups, so you can avoid overusing certain muscles and underusing others. This will also help prevent injuries that result from improper exercise form, says Hodges. A good warm-up session will include both lower and upper body movements, as well as some core work.
Try listening to music while you exercise. Research suggests that the rhythm may physiologically prep your body to work harder, and it can also make your exercise feel less strenuous.
Unless you’re training for an endurance event, don’t separate your cardio and strength-training routines.
Don’t Skip the Recovery
Whether you’re training for a marathon or a powerlifting meet, you need to take your workout recovery just as seriously as the rest of your training schedule. Skipping recovery leads to overtraining, which can lead to injury and a loss of motivation.
One of the easiest ways to make your workout feel less strenuous is to listen to a playlist that motivates you during your exercise. The rhythm of the music tricks your brain into thinking that you’re exerting yourself less than you actually are, according to research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
It’s also important to spend a few minutes at the end of your workout cooling down with low-intensity cardio, like walking or a light yoga flow, and some foam rolling and massage. Getting this down time at the end of your workout can help you walk out the door feeling motivated and rejuvenated.
Workout recovery should be built into your overall training schedule – the same way you factor in rest days. Skipping it is the biggest reason people experience overtraining and injuries.
Post-workout cooling down with a low-intensity exercise like walking or a light yoga flow, and a few minutes of foam rolling and massage can really help you get the most out of your workouts. Taking these recovery steps will also help you bounce back faster, so you can take on your next challenge with more energy.
Of course, sometimes life gets in the way of your recovery routine. If you miss a scheduled rest day or end up working out through a recovery week, be sure to make up for it the following week by adding in a few lower intensity workouts. This will ensure that your body can recover properly and you don’t overtrain. Plus, it will give you a fresh perspective and allow you to enjoy the next part of your training journey even more.