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. 5-10 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.