Keep It Fresh: 7 Training Methods To Revitalize Your Results

In a training rut? Add these tweaks to your existing workout scheme and revitalize your results!

You like your lifting program—a lot. It took you a long time to find such a perfect blend of compound and isolation lifts, and it helped you achieve some big goals.

But then your goals got bigger, leaving your program behind. Now, you're not seeing the same steady progress. You've lost that lovin' feeling, but you don't want to completely change your program. You just want that same pump you felt in the old days!

Don't panic, and don't abandon the routine you love. Instead, incorporate a few minor technique tweaks to keep things fresh and revitalize your results. Consider these plateau-busting tips:

1 // Time Your Reps

Selecting your rep range is normally one of the first parts of program generation. It's a crucial way to set your goals and track your progress. After all, if you didn't have reps, what would you write down in your workout log?

There are other ways you can track how much you lift. For the next week or two, lift for time. Choose a defined timeframe—45 seconds for moderately heavy weight, 20 seconds for heavy weight—and perform as many reps as you can until the proverbial (or real) buzzer sounds.

If you have to stop at any point, that's OK, but start again as soon as possible. This will teach your body to work through fatigue and help boost your muscular endurance. Fast reps may also help you generate more force. The change in stimulus might be enough to boost your growth!

2 // Increase Your Time Under Tension

This technique earns top marks for increasing muscular endurance and busting through training ruts. Increasing time under tension (TUT) involves more motor units, which cause more muscle fibers to contract. Using more muscle fibers can help you increase strength, endurance, and training efficiency.

To increase TUT, start by moving through your standard rep cycle all the way through to your target number. On the last rep, hold the weight stationary at the top (or bottom) of the movement pattern. Hold until failure, and then finish the rep.

If you want an even greater challenge, hold the rep halfway through the movement. For most people, the middle of a movement is the most difficult, the location of the most muscular tension. Good athletes focus on their weakest points. That's why they're good.

3 // Switch to Cable Training

If you've been lifting free weights for as long as you can remember, switching to cables can offer a fantastic change of pace and give your muscles an entirely new stimulus to battle.

Cables are going to change the leverage of a lift, offering continuous tension whereas free weights don't. For example, during a dumbbell or barbell curl, the lift gets easier at the top and bottom of the lift because of better leverage. However, switch to cables and you'll have equal tension throughout the range of motion.

For bodybuilders, implementing cable training is advantageous. The same amount of weight will feel different than it does with barbells or dumbbells. The result: adaptation.

Enjoy your cable vacation, but remember that proper form matters just as much on a pulley system as it does with free weights. The risks are just as real. Lift with the same controlled pace, and resist the urge to cheat.

cables

4 // Find a New Training Partner

Look around next time you're at the gym, and you'll see that at least 75 percent of the iron warriors are lone wolves, lifting away in solitude. Only 25 percent of people training have a partner. In this case, the minority is onto something.

Having someone there to motivate you through your workouts can breathe new life into your gym experience, perhaps even more effectively than a new training routine. If possible, find someone who is slightly more advanced than you, and see if that doesn't give you that bit of extra energy you didn't know you had.

Even the most talented and successful athletes in the world need a partner to keep them accountable and push them to improve. Professional athletes have to pay for their buddies; hopefully you can get yours for free.

5 // Utilize Body Weight Exercises

Body weight and free weights aren't natural enemies. They make powerful allies. Using body weight exercises after weightlifting will help to push your body beyond its normal point of fatigue. Adding plyometrics to your weight training can help you generate more power and stimulate hypertrophy. Studies have indicated that the combination of the two works better than either does alone.

To use this technique, perform your normal weightlifting movement, and when you've finished the set, drop down and do a corresponding body weight movement. After the bench press, incline chest press, or shoulder press, push-ups would work as a finishing exercise. A push-up variation like triangle push-ups would nicely complement any triceps isolation exercise.

After lower-body movements, you could also perform a set of body weight squats. Following any back or biceps movements, try pull-ups.

When you're doing your body weight movements, focus on acceleration. This will recruit more motor units translating to more fatigued muscle fibers. The more muscle fibers you enlist, the faster you'll develop that X-Frame you've been 'mirin.

Because you're doing more volume, you may have to reduce your total set count. After implementing body weight movements in conjunction with resistance training, you'll have a rough time getting out of bed in the morning.

6 // Try Kettlebell Training

Kettlebell training isn't just a gimmick. Switch to these classic Russian weights for a month, and you'll find yourself so challenged you may not want to ever sit in a pec deck again.

Doing swings, clean-and-jerks, and presses with kettlebells can replace many of the standard compound exercises. Don't be surprised if you notice extra fat loss or core activation either; kettlebell training produces both.

Don't hesitate to combine kettlebell training with your typical weightlifting regimen. You can also use kettlebells for cardiovascular conditioning. Try one- or two-handed swings for time.

7 // Reverse the Order of Your Compound Lifts

Reversing the order of your compound lifts is a fast and straightforward adjustment that can dramatically affect how your body is stressed. For example, a typical compound-heavy chest routine might be:

Bench Press

If you reverse the compound lifts, the routine would be:

The flye still goes last because it's not a compound movement. This tip might seem simple, but sometimes simple tweaks lead to dramatic results. Don't abandon the workout you love; adjust it!


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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10deerslayer12

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10deerslayer12

Great advice!! I have reversed the order in which i do compound lifts before and it really works.

Oct 8, 2012 6:06pm | report
 
rover64dd

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rover64dd

Lol it said "x frame" like were olympian athletes

Oct 8, 2012 8:02pm | report
 
dubzs

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dubzs

TUT definitely

Oct 9, 2012 12:22am | report
 
ellispartridge

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ellispartridge

changing my order today! thanks :)

Oct 9, 2012 3:10am | report
 
hamzaarif

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hamzaarif

good stuff, have just incorporated the change in order and noticed some change in intensity ....

Oct 9, 2012 3:33am | report
 
dreambig1993

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dreambig1993

This is all great advice!!! I use these tips and have people I help apply them too!

Oct 9, 2012 2:00pm | report
 
body_sculptor

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body_sculptor

THANKS FOR THESE GREAT TIPS! VARIATION IS THE GOLDEN RULE!

Oct 9, 2012 10:32pm | report
 
cubstang14

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cubstang14

My workouts have seemed a little lacking lately, definitely trying out a few of these!!

Oct 9, 2012 11:55pm | report
 
bbowers2004

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bbowers2004

Best tip i've seen is reversing the order, sometimes by the time I get to certain lifts, i'm already spent by the first few exercises reversing the order could really put some pep in these.

Oct 10, 2012 12:21am | report
 
badkiddd

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badkiddd

great advices i will try cable training specially for triceps and for the chest.anybody knows how woud be two work out one week with dumbells and next week with cables all the time like that.

Oct 10, 2012 5:20am | report
 
Basketball22

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Basketball22

Pretty awesome article. And with a picture of Kelechi Opara (aka Madtitan)!

Oct 10, 2012 9:49am | report
 
bryanberic

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bryanberic

Well done .Focusing on issues that often arise.
Keep it coming! how about advising beginners
on how to bench with maximum results without
injury and achievable targets

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Oct 10, 2012 12:31pm | report
 
RPullen

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RPullen

"When you're doing your body weight movements, focus on acceleration. This will recruit more motor units translating to more fatigued muscle fibers. The more muscle fibers you enlist, the faster you'll develop that X-Frame you've been 'mirin. "

What do they mean by Focus on aceeleration? Is she indicating that you should do it quickly or no?

Oct 10, 2012 12:42pm | report
 
Funkmasterfresh

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Funkmasterfresh

been struggling this past whiole myself, and ive started slowing down reps and concentrating more on mind muscle connection..
seems to be working.
good article

Oct 10, 2012 3:28pm | report
 
sflutsch

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sflutsch

just started lifting with a new training partner! now i'm being challenged more then ever!

Oct 10, 2012 4:30pm | report
 
joolyah

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joolyah

smart stuff!

Oct 12, 2012 4:25pm | report
 
justinfiorenza

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justinfiorenza

switching things up monthly is great, it not only helps you try new stuff, you will gain very quickly

Oct 12, 2012 4:44pm | report
 
jchizick

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jchizick

Good article I might have to use step one. Sometimes I feel like my workouts are longer than they usually are.

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Oct 12, 2012 7:20pm | report
 
akujiki13

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akujiki13

TUT getting a lot of love all of a sudden. Glad to see I was ahead of the curve. I always train with a stopwatch.

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Oct 12, 2012 11:48pm | report
 
adam-da-bod

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adam-da-bod

Some good advice

Oct 13, 2012 9:54am | report
 
brad0812

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brad0812

Love it, real good advice and it is so true. These are awesome to shock the body resulting in greater gains =]

Oct 14, 2012 1:38am | report
 
Molinski44

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Molinski44

Awesome article. TUT is essential.

Oct 14, 2012 9:38am | report
 
aceroa

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aceroa

that's good advice

ty men

Oct 14, 2012 6:25pm | report
 
steelchic

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steelchic

I'm going to throw in some TUT this week. Thank you so much for the tips!!

Oct 14, 2012 6:50pm | report
 
FEA

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FEA

LOL at these dumb articles.

If you aint getting enough protein and cals, you wont grow no matter what!

Lift heavy and take a multi.

U aware?

Oct 15, 2012 9:10am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 27 Comments

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