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25 Ways to Improve Your Workout

You never have to endure a bad workout again. Inject these 25 tips into your daily routine to start supercharging your gym sessions.

By Jim Stoppani, PhD, and Eric Velazquez
25 Ways to Improve Your Workout

During Your Workout Cont.

14. Use an i-Pod

>> A study done at the Weider Research Group found that when trained bodybuilders performed a shoulder workout while listening to music on a personal MP3 player, they were able to complete an average of 1-2 more reps per set for all sets of all exercises. So for another source of motivation, create a playlist on your MP3 player of your favorite songs that jack up your adrenaline and bring it to the gym.

15. Don't train too heavy for too long

>> Yes, training with a heavy weight that prevents you from getting more than 4-5 reps is good for strength and overall mass when done in conjunction with lighter training that allows you to get 8-12 reps. Yet too much heavy training may work against muscle growth. Baylor University (Waco, Texas) scientists found that when athletes trained using their 6RMs, they had higher levels of active myostatin (a protein that limits muscle growth) than when they did the same workout using their 18RMs. Keep to your heavy rep ranges for no longer than 6-8 weeks, then switch to a lighter-weight, higher-rep scheme to keep your myostatin levels in check.

16. Stay off the exercise balls, wobble boards and other instability devices

>> Canadian scientists reported that doing dumbbell chest presses on an exercise ball resulted in a 40% decrease in strength compared to doing the exercise on a bench. And a study from Appalachian State University (Boone, North Carolina) found that when athletes performed squats on instability discs, they had less force production and muscle activity of the quadriceps compared to when they did squats on firm ground. Since any marked increase in strength or muscle mass is going to come through moving progressively heavier weights on key lifts, you might want to avoid exercise balls and instability boards. Plant yourself for better gains.

17. Save cardio for after your weight workout

>> Researchers from Japan found that when subjects did cardio before weights, their GH response to the weight workout was blunted by about 1,100% compared to when they lifted first and ended with cardio. Try to do your cardio either after weights or on a different day.

18. Use wrist straps for your pulling exercises

>> A study conducted at the Weider Research Group found that when trained bodybuilders performed a back workout while using wrist straps, they completed an average of 1-2 more reps per set for all sets of all exercises in the routine.

NEXT: Immediately After Your Workout >>

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