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Optimise your strength training

One of the main mantras of gym is that you always have to push your limits, as one of the greatest fears of every gym-goer is that you might plateau and stop seeing results completely, leading to disillusionment and frustration.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Nicki Minaj working out wink | DNAfit Blog

Strength training comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you incorporate slight adjustments to your gym routine you’ll find that it’ll be both rewarding and beneficial. Below we take you through 7 ways in which you can alter your routine to suit your needs and the needs of your body, which is constantly hungry for more adaptation to increase its skilfulness.

Full Body Training

Your training may be focused on working a number of different body parts either every single day or over the course of the week. The idea behind this is to train each body part evenly so that you build muscle all at once and become strong all around. This is best to do when starting out and wanting to tone or bulk up all over before including more variation and difference into your workout.

An example would be doing chest on Monday, back and shoulders on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, cardio and active recovery on Thursday, biceps and triceps on Friday

Upper/Lower

Strength training requires variation in order for you to continuously build and prevent the possibility of not progressing. To counter this, try changing it up by working your upper body one day and lower body the next. Keep this interchange going for 2 weeks before changing your routine again.

An example would be to train 4-5 times a week and do an upper body exercise like chest or back one day and legs the next, while including cardio in on “rest” days.

Push/Pull

Are you reaching a plateau? Maybe you feel as though you are encountering a few functional weaknesses that make it difficult to progress to a higher level. If this sounds like you then you should try to incorporate push/pull into your workout routine for a while. It is involved with doing an exercise whereby you “push” and the next day doing exercises that require a “pull”.

An example of this would be to do an activity such as rowing one day and then a bench press the following day, keep this variety going while concentrating on all your muscle groups.

Isometric training

Want to try something completely different that will strengthen your muscles and make them able to grip and lift weights more efficiently? Then you need to incorporate isometric training into your workout. It is where you hold a weight in a fixed position for a certain amount of time, normally around 30-60 seconds. It will help your muscles to become used to withstanding a load and boost your overall training.

An example would be holding a weighted dumbbell out in front of you with a straight arm for 30 seconds at a time during your workout, possibly as part of a superset.

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Circuit training

You may have seen everyone from novices to the daily gym bunnies on the circuit, hearing that familiar beep go off, whereby they either hop onto a new machine or onto the steps for a lung-busting high intensity cardio workout. And that’s because circuit training is all about high energy stimulation of muscles. Do it to condition your muscles to work actively under pressure, as well as for fat burning and toning.

An example would be ditching your regular routine once a week to go around the circuit a few times, or do it on a day of active recovery juxtaposed with your cardio session.

Power lifting

People lifting weights | DNAfit Blog

Want to push yourself to your limit? Perhaps you’re seriously interested about bulking up but aren’t quite sure where to start. Well, power lifting is pretty much the best place. It involves doing a maximum load weight over three of the most important exercises. Lift as much as you can while completing a squat, bench press, and deadlift for big results.

An example is pretty straightforward: complete a squat, then bench press, then deadlift while lifting to your max.

 

Eccentric loading

This is necessary if you want to prevent your likelihood of picking up injuries or you want to “stretch” and lengthen your muscles. It is a simple yet technical change to your usual lifting where you do, say, a bicep curl normally but when you lower weight down you do it slowly and at a concentrated pace which will help build the muscle to become bigger, and then finishing off quickly with force.

An example is doing a tricep curl by focusing on lowering the weight down slowly and then complete it with a powerful burst.

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