Begin by stretching your hamstrings.
According to Steve Lischin, NASM-C.P.T., “Most guys do the exercises they like first and keep the ones they know they dislike for last.” “At the end of a session, they either put little effort into these exercises or completely disregard them.” By doing your workout in reverse order, you may give muscles that are often overlooked (like your hamstrings) the attention they deserve. When your energy level is low, reserving your favorites until last can help you recharge.
Stretch after each set.
“Don’t just stretch when your muscles are tight,” Jordan advises. Stretching the muscles you’re exercising not only keeps them loose, but it also extends their range of motion, allowing you to work more muscle fibers with each session.
Take a break for coffee.
When you draw your legs toward your midsection, such as in reverse crunches or V-ups, you’re focusing on your lower abs. Your hip flexors, the muscles on the front of your thighs, are also stressed by these motions.
When these muscles are engaged, your abs don’t put in as much work as they should, resulting in tight hip flexors.
Pretend there’s a cup of coffee resting right below your belly button to combat this urge. Imagine tilting the cup toward your legs first before pulling your legs up each time. According to Len Kravitz, Ph.D., coordinator of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, “this changes your body orientation, so the effort stays focussed on the lower abs.”
While exercising, close your eyes.
This aids in the visualisation of the muscles being worked, which is especially beneficial for posterior muscle groups such as the back, hamstrings, and buttocks. (There are exceptions, such as when that brunette comes by.)
Close your eyes when doing any balance-related exercise, such as a one-legged squat. Carter Hays, C.S.C.S., a Houston-based personal trainer, explains that it “challenges the neuromuscular system and helps you build greater balance.” “Closing one eye is actually more difficult than closing both; it’s strange.”
Change your mindset.
Combine the two exercises instead of doing three sets of dumbbell presses followed by three sets of incline presses. On a flat bench, begin with one set of chest presses. Then, for your second set, lift the bench one notch from flat, to roughly 15 to 20 degrees. Continue to raise the angle one notch per set, ending just short of vertical.
“By working your chest through five or six various angles instead of just the fundamental two, you can fatigue more muscle fibers,” explains Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., a Massachusetts-based exercise researcher.
You’ll end up performing less sets, which will save you time.
Your palm faces in when you lift and lower the weight along the side of your chest during a normal single-arm dumbbell row. When you drop the dumbbell, rotate your wrist inward 180 degrees so that your thumb points behind you when your arm is completely straight. This rotation aids in the adduction of the scapula, allowing the back to move through a wider range of motion, increasing strength and growth.
Stop and start
Instead of lifting and lowering the weight in one continuous motion, halt halfway up for a second, continue the movement, and then pause halfway down.
“You’ll just add 16 to 24 seconds to each set in a set of eight to 12 repetitions, but you’ll be able to fatigue your muscles faster with less weight,” Lischin explains.
Shoulder presses, lateral lifts, and bent-over lateral raises all benefit from this strategy.
With one leg, lower the weight.
During the eccentric portion of an exercise, when the weight is being decreased, your muscles are significantly stronger. Consider doing “two up, one down” leg presses, leg curls, and leg extensions. Try pressing or curling the weight with both legs, then slowly lowering it with only one leg. According to Westcott, this allows you to work your muscles even harder in the same length of time without having to constantly modify the weight.
Instead of keeping your hands at shoulder width for all of your repetitions, vary your hand spacing with each set of barbell curls. “Spreading your hands a few inches further out stresses the inner section of your biceps, while pulling your hands in a few inches builds the outer part,” Lischin explains.
Alternatively, with an EZ-curl bar, consider switching from a regular shoulder-width hold to an angled position.
Run through the rack.
Make the most of your time with the final dumbbell exercise in your routine. Start with a weight that’s roughly half of what you normally use for 10 to 12 repetitions instead of three sets of shoulder presses, biceps curls, or any dumbbell action. Six times through the exercise, then grab the weight that is one increment heavier. Work your way up in weight until you’ve found one that you can’t lift six times with perfect technique. Then, reversing the process, grab a slightly lighter weight and complete as many repetitions as you can, even if only a few are achievable. Continue to work your way down the rack until you’re left with the lightest set of dumbbells.