When it comes to working out intensity should always remain high and consistent because research has shown that high intensity exercise uses your body’s fat for fuel instead of your glycogen stores, which allows you to workout longer while improving your body composition. Furthermore, increasing your exercise intensity can help you break through a fitness plateau and even add back that bit of spice/challenge you’ve been missing with your old regimen. Besides unless you’re training at a high enough intensity level, gaining the maximum amount of muscle mass possible naturally just cannot be accomplished. So here are 5 easy ways to increase your workout intensity:
1. Use Heavier Weight
Lifting heavier weight for 8-12 reps will double the amount of calories you burn compared to lifting lighter weights for 15 reps. To determine if the weight your using is heavy enough (for muscle growth) the last 1-2 reps per set should be very tough to complete, but if you can get to 15 reps without really breaking a sweat or struggling then those weights are too light. As a rule of thumb each time you can lift the last 1-2 reps without struggling/cheating then add 2-5 pounds.
Remember if you’re not using a challenging enough weight then there is just no way you’re stressing out your muscles enough for them to grow.
2. Do Drop Sets
Drop sets are a great way to increase intensity. Usually drop sets are done within the final set of the exercise using the same weight as before, but instead of doing your normal rep range you do as many reps as possible then “drop” the weight and do as many reps as possible, then drop the weight one last time and rep it out until failure. The whole point of a drop set is to take your muscles beyond failure.
3. Time Your Rest Periods
Timing your rest periods is very important to upping your workout intensity because often times your rest periods go on for too long without you realising, this may be due to too many trips to the fountain or too much time spent chit-chatting. Either way get yourself a stopwatch and rest no longer than 2 minutes between each set/exercise.
4. Do Supersets
Another great way to increase intensity is to use supersets. Supersets involve a combination of 2-3 exercises that either work the same body part or opposing muscle groups done back to back with no rest inbetween, once you finish the first set of all the exercises rest for no longer than 2 minutes and hit it again for the amount of sets you’re supposed to do.
5. Add More Sets
This may be the most obvious way to increase intensity, but one thing that you must remember is for every extra set you add you increase your overall training time. The problem with lengthening your training session is that the longer it goes on for the higher you risk overtraining. So while it’s fine to add an additional set here and there (no more than 5 sets per exercise) don’t fall into the trap of performing too many sets.
When using these intensity boosting techniques try to implement them one at a time and not all together because some might be more effective than others depending on a variety of personal factors. Just see how your body reacts/feels and if you notice great changes occurring then keep at it, but if not make a change. If you have anymore questions about workout intensity then leave a comment down below.