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18 Quick Ways To Improve Your Workouts

Sometimes wholesale program changes can do more harm than good. Instead, insert these 18 tip and twists to improve your current program and continue your physical progress.

I promise you that, no matter what fitness level you have attained, at least one of these 18 simple tips will add value to your workouts. Don't feel like you have to mix everything in at once. If you religiously take bits and pieces from my collection of 18 quick tips and incorporate them into your routine, you will move better, look better, and become a heck of a lot stronger.

1 / Train Unilaterally

I see too many trainees on the leg press or Smith machine. Start incorporating exercises like one-legged squats, split squats, and lunges. In time, this will help your other lifts get even stronger, and your back is going to love you for it.

2 / Organize Your Program in 4 to 12 week Blocks

Having your training program written out helps you stay disciplined. I'm not expecting you to write out every detail of your routine, but you will at least stick to a plan and you can adjust according to daily rest, stress, and other variables.

3 / Start Foam Rolling

Foam rollers are the long foam cylinders that you see people … rolling on. This is a great way to warm up. Rolling will properly prime the muscle while helping to improve flexibility. Athletes have been using this tool for the last decade. To bodybuilders out there, I suggest you start using it. A body that moves better, in time, can lift more weight.

4 / Jump Before Your Workouts

We did this simple movement as children but decided to stop doing it as adults. Jumping not only trains your core, but it activates the entire body, which will keep you healthy in the long run. Start conservatively, of course. Examples are: box jump, lateral bounding, and one-legged box jump. Choose one, do a few reps on each side, and you'll feel the difference.

5 / Throw a Medicine Ball

This takes a lot of the principles of jumping and applies them to your upper body. Your entire body works to hurl the medicine ball. Soccer throws, chest passes, wall slams, and med ball side throws are some great examples. A few reps before a workout will be enough; don't exceed two sets.

6 / Carry Something Heavy

Grab two heavy dumbbells and walk around your gym floor. This will train the entire body while helping to fix imbalances. Combine the jumps, throws, and carries into a short circuit: two sets, five reps each, and you've built yourself a great warm-up.

7 / Get Rid of Those Straps

Unless you have an injury and need help with grip strength, get rid of your straps. In the beginning, you may not deadlift as much weight or do as many pull-ups, but your grip strength will improve, resulting in stronger forearms, stronger shoulders, and a stronger you.

8 / Start Using Kettlebells

If you can do a proper plank and a proper kettlebell deadlift, then seriously consider learning how to do a Turkish get-up (TGU) and kettlebell swing. If I was left on a deserted island and I had two movements to choose, these might be the ones.

9 / Add Amino Acids During Your Workouts

We tear microscopic fibers in the muscle during a workout. Amino acids aid in the repair process and provide training energy. I personally love MET-Rx BCAAs. Five to 10 grams during the workout should be sufficient.

10 / Start Incorporating TRX to Enhance Your Workouts

Bodybuilders, throw some high-rep inverted rows into your routine. Work on some one-legged squats. The more athletic we are, the stronger we are, resulting in more hypertrophic gains.

11 / Try Front Squats Instead of Back Squats

I don't know if I've met someone who can front squat more weight than they can back squat. The front squat helps develop range of motion in the thoracic spine and will dramatically help increase core strength. It's just a safer movement. Work on that front squat for awhile. In a few months your back squat will go through the roof.

12 / Change Your Grips

Someone might bench press with his or her ring finger always on the same spot on the Olympic bar. By switching up your grip for several weeks, you might seem weaker out of the gate, but your strength will improve, and your max bench press at your original grip will eventually increase.

13 / Incorporate Hanging Leg Raises Once per Week

For beginners, pull your knees to your chest. For people who are more advanced at abdominal training, keep your legs straight and bring your feet up to the bar. Keep steady!

14 / More Upper-body Pulling Movements

We all love to bench press way too much. It is fun, but with all this benching comes tight pecs and tight shoulders. Add more pulling to help improve posture and functionality. And, lo and behold, it will help strengthen your push movements!

15 / Use a Body Wrench

A body wrench is a total body tool I use at my club. This is a staple for every actor, A-list celeb, and professional athlete who walks through my door. Five to 10 minutes each and every day goes a long way. Get one here!

16 / Walk with a Weighted Vest On an Incline

Weighted vest walking helps you burn off some excess calories and acts as a form of active recovery. By keeping your heart rate within a range of 120-140 beats per minute, you will aid the body in recovering from its prior extreme workout.

17 / Train Your Weak Points First

You are only as strong as your weakest links. If you are a bodybuilder and need to bring out your upper chest, then begin with incline pressing. If you train lower body and your pistol squat is weak, then guess what movement you should begin with?

Even if it's an exercise you know you need to incorporate but dislike doing, start with it when you're fresh.

18 / Add Metabolic Training to the End of Your Workouts

Quick, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) techniques can last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. What an incredible way to burn body fat while not overtaxing your nervous system! Utilizing HIIT techniques will prevent you from overtraining.

You will see these simple principles incorporated in my training facility, Drive 495. Even if you don't incorporate all of them all at once, be open-minded and add one per month. These 18 tips will take you a long way toward a better body. I promise you.



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Molinski44

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Molinski44

Cannot emphasize 7) enough. Actually ridiculous how many guys use straps at my gym.

Jun 19, 2013 5:51pm | report
 
fishnbrah

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fishnbrah

imo if youre strong theres nothing wrong with using straps. your back is far stronger than your forearms, so if you quit when your forearms do, youre not even giving the back a good workout.

Jun 19, 2013 6:37pm | report
Molinski44

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Molinski44

Fair enough. You make a good point.

What I'm saying is probably directed at 95% of strap usage. (Like I see them being used for curls)

Jun 19, 2013 7:04pm | report
mcorem

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mcorem

Yea molinkski44 know what you mean i straps or pull exercises

Jun 19, 2013 7:35pm | report
JuicyTriceps

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JuicyTriceps

Sometimes I use wrist wraps for my bicep curls, my wrists will have a hard time supporting all the weight.

Jun 20, 2013 12:09am | report
plmcute8402

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plmcute8402

I have a issue with that also- i can deadlift almost double my body weight for reps- but take the straps away and my grip gives out way before I do- i do mix it up and go straplees and do super high reps, but ill agree alot of people wear them for no reason

Jun 20, 2013 9:51am | report
JEstep9

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JEstep9

I use them for a lot of things simply to save my hands from being wrecked from lifting. Not a big fan of gloves!

Jun 20, 2013 10:10am | report
andrewk1991

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andrewk1991

I couldn't agree more. Your grip strength will improve REALLY fast once you do. I Deadlift 425 (more than double my bw) without straps at first I could barely grip 315 without straps but I just kept on training it and it improves very quickly. my guess is that my muscles in my posterior chain are stronger than my forearms.

Jun 20, 2013 11:13am | report
Mudvayne24

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Mudvayne24

I see the use at really heavy weights if you NEED them for a 1 rep max because your forearms just can't carry that much load, but otherwise people definitely get used to them for no reason. One of my buddies used them everytime he deadlifted 225 because he couldn't hold the weight. I've never used a strap in my life and pulled 400 last week and 315 for 5 sets of 6 this week (this is my first 2 weeks deadlifting in about 8 months). I say a little bit of chalk is all you need!

Jun 20, 2013 2:20pm | report
NaturallyGood

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NaturallyGood

Straps serve a purpose and for bodybuilding you are selling yourself short by not using them. So you should not fully develop your traps, back, hamstrings because you want your forearms to "pop"?? GTF outa here. You can mix it up and not use them all the time, but you certainly shouldn't throw them away.

Power-lifting movements may be different story, but even then you can likely lift more in proper form with them than without.

Jun 20, 2013 3:59pm | report
iancarlson87

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iancarlson87

I'll have to agree with molinski44 if you began training with proper form out of the gate. I don't even own straps and have not had the problem of deloading on my deadlifts for weak forearms ever. I use a mixed grip and good form. Naturally Good makes a good point about straps for getting more load on certain muslces for bodybuilding. I would reccomend raw lifting for anyone who hasn't been training for a long period of time though.

Jun 21, 2013 9:02am | report
VersusMyself

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VersusMyself

I have horrible wrist thanks to skateboarding for so many years (still going strong) .. Always falling on my wrists is a killer, so I have no choice to use Straps most of the time when needed since my Wrists are pretty weak at some Exercises..

Jun 21, 2013 11:52am | report
BigNasty100

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BigNasty100

Liquid chalk is great if you don't believe in straps. (it doesn't make a mess)

Jun 22, 2013 1:28am | report
mcorem

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mcorem

Alot of good points but with the straps i use for shrugs and get a significantly more reps in at higher weight. I do warm up without straps and do dumbell rows without straps but if i dont use the straps i do not feel it working my back nearly as efficiently.

Jun 19, 2013 7:34pm | report
 
mcorem

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mcorem

changing your girps for me works great specially when training chest

Jun 19, 2013 7:38pm | report
cgraham531

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cgraham531

quit making excuses to use straps. My buddy tried that one on me, NOT HAVING IT.

Jun 19, 2013 7:49pm | report
 
JRose13

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JRose13

the general population are bodybuilders, not powerlifters. when working back and traps, your body doesnt know whether or not you have straps on or not, so being able to use heavier weight so you dont fail because of grip will be a huge difference

Jun 19, 2013 8:27pm | report
Loneyboy

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Loneyboy

I think his point is that you shouldn't be using them on every set, because you're just cheating yourself. If you want to be a bodybuilder, not much is more impressive on a body than a set of bursting forearms. plus, if you consistently deadlift without straps, your forearms will catch up very quickly.

Jun 20, 2013 2:52pm | report
mcorem

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mcorem

using straps puts an entirely different strain on your muscles especially with shrugs

Jun 29, 2013 2:17pm | report
Marcozr1

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Marcozr1

i agree with number 7. i only use them the last heavier sets of some pulling workouts like single arm row or dead lift. and thats it. i've seen people use them all the time. hell i have seen a guy with wraps and lifting gloves... i bothers the f#ck out of me. lol

Jun 19, 2013 8:49pm | report
 
joeyhcox

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joeyhcox

Alot of folks have a problem swallowing their pride and dropping their weight until they get their grip power up. I threw out my gloves and straps quite some time ago, if I can't do it with chalk I just drop the weight a bit.

Jun 20, 2013 12:36am | report
BerserkElite

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BerserkElite

Straps are fine for the last set. I've been using my gloves and straps a lot less tho, and all my lifts are benefiting from it. CRUSH THE BAR!!

Jun 20, 2013 6:25am | report
jwethall

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jwethall

8 and 10 are fads and should be treated as such. number 13, unless you're drawing your knees into your chest (the stated action of the rectus abdominus muscle), you are working your inguinal ligaments not your abs. The rest I can agree with.

Jun 19, 2013 9:30pm | report
 
BerserkElite

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BerserkElite

How can they be simply "fads" bodyweight exercises are king.

Jun 20, 2013 6:24am | report
jwethall

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jwethall

Ok. Hope it works well for you then.

Jun 20, 2013 7:41pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 55 Comments

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