Once you’ve been exercising for a few months, the initial surge in results, be they fat loss or muscle / strength gains, will wear off and your progress will be much slower. That is when you need to have a toolbox of training techniques to ramp up your training, allowing you to push through to renewed results. In this article, we pinpoint 5 powerful exercise techniques that you can employ to do just that.
Dealing with the Plateau Effect
Plateaus in training are to be expected. Many people, however, end up giving up on their workout routine because they stop seeing results. The plateau effect is when you are working out, but you have stopped seeing your fitness level growing. The reason that it occurs is that your body is no longer being overloaded. Your body is not being pushed to new limits and, as a result, is not being forced to improve itself and adapt.
The plateau effect occurs most commonly when a person has been following the same workout routine for a long period of time. You can side-step the plateau effect by regularly varying your workouts and making use of the plateau busting techniques that are outlined below. You should also try new and different types of training. For example, if you haven’t yet done so, try yoga to reduce stress, as well as for flexibility and strength development.
Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) Training
PHA Training is an awesome form of exercise that works on conditioning the muscles and the heart and lungs at the same time. It involves alternating between upper and lower body exercises in one session. Rest periods are kept to a minimum. This produces a high demand through the entire body, with an emphasis on the heart and lungs to supply blood to a wide range of areas at the same time.
When you perform PHA training, your heart and lungs will feel as though you’re doing an aerobic training workout because of the high demand for blood and oxygen around the body as well as from the increase in blood pressure that results from high exertion. This is a very effective and efficient way to produce a workout that has the dual benefit of muscle conditioning and fat/energy burning.
Super setting involves working opposing muscle groups in quick succession. For example, you might do a triceps exercise immediately followed by a biceps exercise, such as:
- Exercise One: Triceps Extension
- Exercise Two: Bicep Curl
Because there is no rest between the two sets, the intensity is increased. While you work one side of the body, the other rests.
Compound training involves performing a number of exercises in a combination that starts by isolating one muscle and you then add assisting muscles once this muscle becomes weak. An example of a compound set for the chest is the following:
- Flat Bench Flyes (chest)
- Cable Chest Press (chest + triceps)
- Dips (chest + triceps)
Functional Training is a type of exercise that is designed to copy movements that you do in everyday life. This is opposed to the one-directional conventional exercises that you normally do in a weight training session. This is a great way to involve many different joints and muscles at the same time. It also engages the muscles that govern posture as a result of having to control the forces on the body in different directions.
Here is an example of what functional training routine looks like:
- Exercise One – Squat + Weighted Straight Arm Raise
- Exercise Two – Walking Lunge + Rotation
- Exercise Three – Squat + Rotate
- Exercise Four – Lunge + Single Arm Raise
Drop sets is a great technique to overload the muscles. It is effective both for muscle building / strength training and for general muscle toning. It involves selecting a starting weight for an exercise that will have you failing on the last rep. You then immediately drop the weight to about 75 percent of the previous level and aim to do the same number of reps as you did in the first set. Complete dropping down two or three more times, lowering the weight by 25 percent each time. Your goal on each mini set is to get the same number of reps as on the last one.