5quick tips to improve your workout

Joel Wright

 

Many gym-goers have a decent plan of action when they arrive to workout. These suggestions were derived primarily to aid your experience as well as those around you. Take them into account, and see what improves your workouts.

 

Shake up your Cardio Routine with Sprints

When you think of the most fit-looking athletes, more times than not their sport requires some form of sprinting. For effect, think of the body types of sprinters compared to long distance runners – they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Now, a lot of our goals may fall somewhere between being thin or muscular, if that much advance planning has even been done. But many of us want to either tone up, lose weight, build mass, or some combination of the three. So unless you’re a marathon runner (even in that case) or bodybuilder, it won’t hurt to take time away from the normal treadmill jog for some sprint intervals.

In track and field, sprinters focus on power and explosiveness, and require more mass to maximize their strength and speed. Distance runners focus on minimizing their movements and wasting less energy to run further. If you lift weights to build power and/or explosiveness, sprints will do nothing but help. While it is important to build an aerobic base with light cardio, sprints can actually help improve your aerobic threshold. A study conducted at McMaster University in Canada said sprint interval training helped increase endurance anywhere from 81 to 169 percent within two weeks.

Our bodies adapt to our workout routines, and we benefit less and less after a certain point. If one was to run three miles a day, they would see gains initially, but continuing that program without any variation eventually would plateau progress.

If you’re just starting out with high-intensity cardio, try warming up with a light jog and dynamic stretching (more on that later) before trying sprint intervals. When you’re ready, try four sets of 30-second intervals with four minutes rest. As you progress, experiment with sprinting for longer periods while changing rest times. Really push yourself. Your body will thank you in the long haul.

 

Rack Your Weights

 

Every single plate, dumbbell, and piece of equipment. This is weight lifting 101. As a former athlete, this was something coaches instilled in us from day one. Neglection of this rule was something like a death sentence – for everyone. The repercussions were so great that it only took one mistake to prevent a repeat, but I digress.

It’s just common courtesy to put your weights back where you found them when you’re done using them. It communicates to those waiting that the equipment is unoccupied and free for use. It’s frustrating for those who come behind you when they have to clean up a mess of plates that they don’t even need. No one here is your mom. It’s lazy, and shows you don’t care or respect the weight room.

 

Stretch Smarter

 

Stretching – though a simple concept, can be tricky when it comes to the when and how. There are a lot of opinions on the subject, but this method should help supplement the stages of any workout.

  • Warmup – Light cardio and dynamic stretching are huge because they get the muscles loose with movement. Foam rollers can help further activate the muscles that may need more attention.
  • In-workout – If you stretch between sets, stretch the antagonistic muscles, as they are the ones that will allow for more flexibility during your next set. This means stretching your quads while on the leg curl, your upper back during bench press, and so on. Stretching the muscles you’re working have been said to weaken you in your next set. After a set is complete, it is OK to give the worked muscles a deep stretch. Stretching those muscles helps boost muscle growth in the long-term.
  • Post-workout – Take time with your cool down. This is where you can do your static stretching and really take care of whatever received the most stress.

 

Control Your Weight

 

Some lifters focus so much on the actual lifting phase of a rep that they ignore the release of the weight. The release is just as important as the lift itself. It helps your workout to control the weight as you release it back to the starting position, rather than carelessly letting go. Take bench pressing for instance. You wouldn’t just drop the weight on your chest (especially if it’s heavy). You’ll control it until you touch your chest, then push the weight back up. That control is important, because it indirectly helps to develop both the primary and antagonistic muscles.

Next time you try an exercise, after you have performed a rep, slowly release the weight to its starting position. You will train your muscles better, and if you can’t do this, you’re probably doing too much weight. Which brings up the next point…

 

Lift Weight You Can Control

 

You know who we’re talking about. That guy in front of the dumbbell rack trying to curl 50-pound dumbbells, but needs his back, hips, and legs to aid his biceps. This is counterproductive and potentially harmful, taking away from true muscle development. It is better to go with lighter weight that you can control, so you can build toward looking legit when you go heavier. It is more embarrassing to try lifting weight that’s too heavy than actually getting stronger with lighter weight.

 

Sources:

http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1216&context=etd

http://www.trainingscience.net/?page_id=389

http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/stretch-muscle-growth-success?page=2

http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/stretching-between-sets/

https://nycfit.com/avoid-static-stretching-before-workouts-tip/

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I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master. [highlight color=”blue”]But with the blast shield down,[/highlight] I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away!

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Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.
You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

  1. I care. So, what do you think of her, Han?
  2. You mean it controls your actions?
  3. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.
  4. I’m trying not to, kid.

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Revenge of the Sith

post-imageI can’t get involved! I’ve got work to do! It’s not that I like the Empire, I hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it right now. It’s such a long way from here. Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the Senate that all on board were killed. I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly…

Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. He is here. What?! Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. I’m trying not to, kid.

I’m trying not to, kid. I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base. He is here. You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! Take her away! Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine.

 

Still, she’s got a lot of spirit. I don’t know, what do you think? What!? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– What good is a reward if you ain’t around to use it? Besides, attacking that battle station ain’t my idea of courage. It’s more like…suicide.

Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You don’t believe in the Force, do you? Obi-Wan is here. The Force is with him. I call it luck. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going. What?! The Force is strong with this one. I have you now.

 

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Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him. He is here. Ye-ha! I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

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Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money. A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.

All right. Well, take care of yourself, Han. [highlight color=”orange”]I guess that’s what you’re best at,[/highlight] ain’t it? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is. The plans you refer to will soon be back in our hands.
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WOW, Nice photo !

WOW, Nice photo !

I need your help, Luke. She needs your help. I’m getting too old for this sort of thing. Oh God, my uncle. How am I ever gonna explain this? Hey, Luke! May the Force be with you. No! Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons. You can’t possibly… As you wish. Look, I can take you as far as Anchorhead. You can get a transport there to Mos Eisley or wherever you’re going.

I suggest you try it again, Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. Dantooine. They’re on Dantooine. You’re all clear, kid. Let’s blow this thing and go home! I’m surprised you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself. I’m trying not to, kid.

I care. So, what do you think of her, Han? Don’t underestimate the Force. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I am a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan– I have traced the Rebel spies to her. Now she is my only link to finding their secret base.

You’re all clear, kid. [highlight color=”green”]Let’s blow this thing and go home![/highlight] But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight? Alderaan? I’m not going to Alderaan. I’ve got to go home. It’s late, I’m in for it as it is.