How To Improve Your Workout Performance (Part 1)
If your fitness program has been “meh”, you feel like your current routine (or lack thereof) is on life support, and you want to know how to improve your workout performance to reignite the flame, you’ve come to the right spot.
I gotcha’ covered.
In this 4-part series, I’m going to present strategies guaranteed to unleash new fitness gains and improve your workout performance.
Let’s dig into the first strategy...
Stop “Working Out” & Start Training
How to improve your workout performance may mean STOPPING working out...BUT starting to actually train.
“Working out” is what most people do: mindless mechanical work.
No real plan.
No rhyme or reason.
No tracking or logging your performance.
Doing random stuff
If that kind of sounds like what you are doing when you hit the gym, well, your results drying up should come as no surprise.
It’s time to start training!
Training involves sticking to a concrete plan for no less than 6-8 weeks at a time. Program hopping and doing random workouts every time you go to the gym will get you next to nowhere.
Muscle confusion, while entertaining and providing novelty, is NOT the best route for serious strength, muscle, fitness and performance gains. It’s a myth.
TRAINING involves regimentation, replication, and mastery. You need time to familiarize yourself with exercises, learn their individual nuances, get your form down...and, most importantly...PROGRESS THOSE EXERCISES.
No matter if you do a body part split, a push/legs/pull routine, upper body/lower body splits, or full body workouts, it’s of paramount importance you set a start and end date (no less than 6 weeks) and see it through. After 6-8 exposures, THEN AND ONLY THEN should you consider changing up your routine. No sooner.
You need to keep all the variables the same and focus on improving performance via progressive overload. Progressive overload is what drives progress.
You should be attempting to increase the number of reps you do with a given weight, or increasing the amount of weight you are lifting for the same (or a range) number of reps. If you want a better set of legs, for example, and you are currently leg pressing 200 lbs. for 10 repetitions, in the next 6 weeks, put 20-30 lbs. on that lift for the same number of reps...or work up to 15 reps with the same 200 lbs. I bet your legs end up looking stronger and tighter.
Training also involves pushing your sets hard. If you are currently cruising through your sets and could do 3, 5 or even 10 more reps at the end of each set, you are just working out. You are not exposing your muscles to any type of result-producing demand.
You MUST create enough mechanical tension in your muscles and give them a reason to get stronger. There has to be enough effective reps in a set to drive adaptation.
When you combine progressive overload with hard sets (at least within one rep of exhaustion), you get the perfect recipe for better gains. Sounds too simple to be effective but it really is that cut and dry.
NO AMOUNT of submaximal work, no amount of “ho hum” sets, etc. is going to produce anything substantial in the way of progress. Putting in seriously hard, progressive work on FEWER sets is what’s going to drive results.
That wraps up the first part of this series on how to improve your workout performance. In the next installment, I’ll cover how to most effectively and efficiently perform your warm-up sets (this is a huge mistake people make) to optimize your strength gains and performance in the gym. Stay tuned!
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