In life it seems we tend to over-complicate things, which isn’t a surprise since our minds are constantly on the go. But when it comes to exercise, does it really have to be that complicated? I say no. So here are 6 ways to change up any exercise.
You see, you DON’T have to come up with new and fancy exercises to keep things interesting. Keep it simple, silly (being politically correct). The KISS principle hard at play here.
Exercise variables are basically different ways you can manipulate an exercise without actually changing the move you are performing. Let’s have a look at some of these ways to alter your movement or change up any exercise itself.
- TEMPO. You can change up the speed at which you are performing a move. If you take a squat, doing it at a regular even pace is still hard, but increasing or decreasing the speed makes it that much harder. Implement tempos like 2 x 2, 3 x 1, 4 x 4 (working concentric and eccentric motions).
- BALANCE. Utilizing balance makes any exercise difficult. Not only are you working your muscles in a different way, but your brain is working that much more to make sure you don’t fall flat on your behind.Along with balance, you can change up the exercise just with the stance itself…wide stance, split stance, narrow stance and so on.
- LEVER LENGTH. The simplest example of this is a plank. Having your elbows right underneath your shoulders is a normal length lever. To add in that extra challenge, increase the lever length by pushing your arms out forward. When you play around with the bio-mechanics of your own body, the possibilities are endless.
- REPETITIONS. Changing up how many reps you are doing changes the outcome of the exercise. You can do low reps with a heavy load to typically add bigger muscles and more strength. Or do the total opposite with a lighter weight and higher reps, working on muscular endurance. The choice is yours.
- REST TIME. This variable often gets overlooked. Depending on your goal, you should be manipulating your rest time. If you are training for pure strength and power, then having a full rest of 1- 2 minutes is best. If you are training for endurance, fat loss or a high caloric burn then keeping the rest shorter is best. Rest time helps to change up any exercise.
- PULSES. Adding pulses or a small ROM (range of motion) into your routine is a great way to keep your muscles guessing. Your muscles and body might be used to doing an exercise with a long full ROM, but you trick it by doing multiple top half or bottom half pulses.
As you can see, there are different ways you can change up any exercise. Imagine what you can do with a whole routine? Feel free to ask questions in our Facebook Group for more information on this topic or anything fitness.
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by Shahab Nilgiri, Milton Personal Trainer