Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How to Increase Exercise Intensity

Many of us have the belief that simply increasing our exercise sessions will provide better results. Yes, exercising for one hour will definitely provide better results than exercising for one minute. But the key to seeing more results faster is in increasing the intensity of your workouts. In fact, this will likely decrease how long you exercise during a session, while providing you with better results. Whether you're jogging or weightlifting, here are some effective ways to increase the intensity of your workout:
1. Create more resistance.
The key to doing this is making gravity your friend. One way is by using an inclined plane when doing exercises. Instead of jogging on a track, jog up a flight of stairs. Instead of doing a crunch on level ground, use an inclined bench. When weightlifting, the most obvious way to create more resistance is by lifting with more weights. Another method is to use "continuous tension" when doing reps, so you're constantly exerting more tension on your muscles.
2. Vary the tempo.
This is one of the key elements of "interval training." By alternating between high-intensity speeds and low-intensity speeds, you'll get a fantastic aerobic and anaerobic workout. This technique is effective for both cardio and weight-resistance exercises. When jogging, for instance, you could alternate two minutes of sprinting with one minute of jogging. And when weightlifting, you could switch up the tempo at different levels of the movement.
3. Slow down the "negative" part of an exercise.
Whether we're doing a crunch or bench-press, we often do the "negative" part of the exercise (returning to the starting position) quickly, allowing gravity to control the movement. To increase the intensity of an exercise, slow down the negative movement, helping to double the effectiveness of the exercise. This technique will create extra resistance for your muscles, which will help you to tone and sculpt your body faster.
4. Shorten your rest periods.
To boost the intensity of your workout, reduce your rest period between sets, to a maximum of 30 seconds. The most obvious benefit is that you'll be able to do more sets in less time. But more importantly, you'll significantly lessen your body's ability to recover between sets. And that means that you'll be able to burn fat and build lean muscle mass, in a significantly shorter amount of time than usual. This method is particularly helpful if you're doing circuit training-so you'll maximize the number of muscle groups that you work, as well as how hard you work them.
5. Do compound exercises.
These types of exercises work several muscles at the same time. Whether you're doing cardio or weight-resistance exercises, combining different exercises will help to work several muscle groups simultaneously, and thus increase the intensity of the exercise. For instance, exercises that work your upper and lower body will typically create more intensity than those that target either half.
"No pain, no gain" definitely describes the effectiveness of increasing your workout's intensity. Remember that you don't need to spend half your life in a gym, in order to be fully satisfied with your workouts' results.
About the Author
Graeme has been writing articles for nearly 3 years. Not only does this author specialize in diet, fitness and cooking, you can also check out his brand new website featuring the latest Wilson Tennis Bag in town plus reviews on the best Wilson Tennis Shoe to maximise your enjoyment of the game.

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