25 Training Tweaks You Need to Make in 2018

Simple modifications to your favorite moves can help you take your workouts up a notch so you get the results you really want.


Woman Does Barbell Squat

Whether you're a veteran in the weight room or still trying to figure out what each piece of equipment is really for, making some small changes to classic moves can yield big benefits. We’ve compiled tweaks for more than two dozen of your favorite exercises, from the deadlift to the dumbbell curl. Try incorporating some of these changes into your workout or making them a regular part of your routine. Either way, you’ll challenge your body in new ways to keep your muscles and your mind engaged.

1. Deadlift

If you want to shift the focus of your deadlift from your booty to your back, start each rep a little higher up. Begin by pulling the bar from power-rack supports that are set at knee level or slightly lower. This will work your lower body a little less and your back a little more.

2. Squat

At the bottom of each rep, sit briefly on a box or a bench before rising. Unlike with a standard squat, where you reverse your downward momentum to upward, begin your ascent each time from a dead stop. This works your lower body in a different manner and may help you stay more upright, placing less stress on your lower back. Box squats can also help you get to hitting a parallel position or just below on standard squats.

3. Leg extension

Point your toes in, so that your shoes touch, to focus more on your outer quads. Point your toes out to target your inner quads. If you don’t have a preference, alternate a set with toes in and a set with toes out.

4. Leg press

Use one leg at a time. Going unilateral forces you to focus more on the muscles of each thigh, and you can achieve a fuller range of motion. Since each side is lifting the load, you need to use only half as much weight to reach fatigue.

5. Front raise

Tense your glutes to lock your lower back and legs and prevent cheating. This is simply the most effective way to stay tight. Near the end of the set, you can progressively loosen the tension on your glutes to squeeze in a few more reps. Note: This technique works with most other standing exercises, including dumbbell curls, side laterals, and overhead presses.

6. Dumbbell curl

Do these as fast as possible, alternating arms, then slow down as you approach failure. Increasing speed is a technique that can be applied to many exercises but it's especially effective with isolation lifts dumbbell curls. This will better stimulate fast- twitch muscle fibers. Try preceding or following this quick exercise with a slow one, such as preacher machine curls, to focus on slow-twitch fibers as well.