Strength training doesn’t have to be boring!
Part 2 includes 5 more tips to make Strength training fun again. Your workouts should be something you look forward to.
- Find Part 1 Here.
There is nothing more rewarding and leaving you less stressed after a long day of work than a good intense workout, right?
Don’t do the same exercises over and over again. Especially if your form is perfect on them, once the body gets used to a movement, it will lose interest. Your workouts will lose its effect and you will burn fewer calories (unless you implement progressive overload).
Thus, instead of doing regular Squats, widen your stance (Sumo Squat), or try Squats with one leg. I will share my favorite squat variations in another article, so I will not go into detail here. You can google “Squat variations” and find thousands of different pictures and videos of exercises you could do.
Just please don’t do bosu ball squats.
You can do them bodyweight to train stability but please do not use weights, especially barbells. Trust me, your spine will thank you.
Different Sets, Reps
Each week, I change-up the repetitions and sets I do of my exercises. I don’t always use completely different exercise variations because I have my favorite/ most cruel / most effective exercise selections.
However, I always change the order of the exercises and sets and repetitions. One day, you can use higher repetitions, like 15 – 20 and completely that for 3 sets. Then, the next time you work the same muscle group again, use 10 repetitions for 4 sets.
Another favorite of mine is pyramid training. I do not recommend to start with the heaviest weight possible. Even if you are training at a gym and have a spotter and have completed a long warm up, I do not see a reason to risk injury by starting with the heaviest weight possible. Always work your way up to the top of the pyramid and then, if you are advanced, down again.
Example of a pyramid structure:
15 repetitions – moderate/ light weight
12 repetitions – moderate heavy weight
10 repetitions – heavy weight
8 repetitions – as heavy as you can
optional: 15 – 20 repetitions as a burnout – light weight / bodyweight
Drop the Weights
Some people can squat or deadlift a lot of weight but if you ask them to do a perfect pistol squat (squat on one leg), they fail.
This is why I like to implement calisthenics (bodyweight strength training), once or twice a week in my training sessions. You can either train completely with your own bodyweight, or just build in bodyweight exercises into your routine. Every time, the bodyweight exercises are the hardest to complete, especially as your muscles are already tired after weighted exercises.
Control of your own bodyweight is crucial for everyday life. Does it matter that I can squat twice my bodyweight if I fail to keep my balance on one leg?
I don’t believe in functional training as an own training method, as every movement we complete has a function for our life. However, it makes a huge difference being able to row a heavy barbell or complete one full pull up to complete the same range of motion on a machine.
Muscles that are frequently used in everyday activities, like quadriceps (front of the thighs), tend to tighten and get activated to a higher degree during most lower body exercises. Thus, it is crucial to start with bodyweight exercises to build new neural pathways to engage your other muscles, such as glutes and hamstrings. This will decrease muscle imbalances and prevent many injuries.
Total Body Workouts
Do not use the same training split. If you are currently training Lower Body twice and Upper Body twice a week, try doing a week of three Full Body workouts.
You will notice that training the whole body takes much more effort, burns more calories and again, “shocks” your muscles. If you would like to build more muscle, just total body strength training will not give enough stimulus over an extended period of time. However, if you would like to switch it up and keep training interesting, try implementing one week per month of full body workouts. And include bodyweight strength exercises, like Pike Push ups.
Use Bands/ ankle weights
Last tip, but one of my favorites as well. I have never trained in a gym. Not once. I think I have some decent muscle mass for a woman my age though and a lower body fat percentage as well. Thus, it is not necessary to have a full equipped gym to reach your fitness goals!
However, over the years of training I have purchased a few more tools other than my dumbbells, to keep training intensity high and have more fun. I got myself kettlebells and several resistance bands and ankle weights. Especially resistance bands are very cheap, so no excuses here! Resistance bands are very effective to get in a good workout when you are on-the-go and make basic exercises that much more effective.
Try a Squat with a resistance band around your knees and you will feel your glutes work like to never did before.
I like to use bands for upper back training as well. Seated Rows, Pulldowns, there are endless variations of exercises. A resistance band is very effective for muscle growth, as the tension basically never decreases. You are forced to work constantly against the force of the band, which results in higher muscle activation, metabolic stress and calories burned.
I hope you enjoyed these tips to make Strength training fun again! If you did, share this on social media, so others can benefit too!
And make sure to subscribe to my newsletter for a cruel lower body workout tomorrow (friday).
Have fun training!