Believe it or not, even as a fitness coach, I too find myself getting stuck in a rut at the gym. Burnt out on doing the same exercises over and over again, and not having as much fun. I will always workout to tell myself I’m doing something; but when I am training with a small group of people, it is not only more fun, but I usually push myself to work harder. Unfortunately for me, there isn’t always a line of people waiting around to get a lift in with me. So, listed below (in no particular order) are my top five ways to switch it up from the normal routine!
1. Luck of the Draw
Tired of doing the same 3 sets of 10? Grab a deck of cards and test your luck for reps. A = 11, Face cards = 10
I suggest two ways: first, you pick a weight that you would be comfortable using for 10-12 reps with and shooting for at least 5 sets of a single exercise. Alternatively, you can pick a few exercises and draw a different card for each!
If you have heard of a superset before, a complex is like his big brother. Complexes are a great way to exercise because they can become very challenging not just physically, but also mentally! These typically combine four to six exercises done with the same piece of equipment (dumb bells, TRX, barbell, kettlebell, medicine balls, etc.) and all back to back. Here is an example of one of my favorite dumb bell complexes from Michael Boyle!
- 5 Cleans
- 10 Squat + Overhead Press
- 10 Hip Hinges
- 10 Bent Over Rows
- 10 Push-ups
4. Alternating Movements
It is also very common for most exercises to be performed bilaterally. In English this means that both arms and legs are doing the same motion at the same time. But when we move in our normal activities, it is actually quite the opposite. Check out this video to see how you can take common core exercises to a new, challenging exercise
On a crunch for time and still in need of a sweat? No worries. Interval training is right up your alley. My favorite interval for classes is 30 seconds of work followed by a 15 second rest period. Pick anywhere from 4 to 6 different exercises that use different muscle groups; this way you won’t exhaust yourself in the first round. Short, one minute breaks between rounds! (Remember about being short on time? Keep the intensity high!)
5. Pick a theme
Clients love it when we have a theme for the day. Pick a workout that is centered around a certain piece of equipment (like heavy ropes or kettle bells), or even doing “The Big 3” type of workout where we focus on bench, squats, and deadlifts.
Have fun with the workouts and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box for ideas. Just as you can use a deck of cards, you can also roll some dice. (I may have been to the casino a few too many times!) If you have more questions or interested in online personal training, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk in more depth about how I can help!