From mindful breathing to simply listening to the right tunes – these easy hacks will help to make working out as efficient as possible.
It’s no good attempting to blast out your sets on the squat rack without the right music to whip you into beast mode. Whether that’s some bloodcurdling metalcore or just a nice spot of JLS, it really is just a matter of personal preference. However, if you are going to opt for either one of those two it’s probably best to make sure you’ve plugged your headphones in properly before hitting play in a crowded free weights area.
Focus On Functional Strength
Banging out endless concentration curls in front of the mirror might make those biceps bulge, but when it comes to applying your strength in real-world settings you’ll find it’s far from the most effective way to spend your lifting time.
Instead, work more functional strength exercises into your routine. We’re talking squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, dips and plenty of kettlebells. This will help you to build real strength, as opposed to just showy muscles with no substance to back them up.
Don’t Forget Your Fillers
When you’ve just finished pumping out a particularly spicy set on the bench, it can be all too easy to just whip your phone out and waste time updating your Instagram account with sweaty mirror selfies while you wait to do your next one. But don’t.
Instead, use the time between sets to practise a filler exercise. Lunges, planks, sit ups and even burpees (if you’re feeling brave) are all great options.
Train Off Peak
Filler exercises are all well and good, but you’re going to have to do a hell of a lot of them if you’re hitting the gym at 6pm and waiting 15 minutes at a time for each piece of equipment like you’re at some sort of sweaty, even more annoying Disney park.
To overcome this issue why not give your training schedule a reshuffle and get your workouts done while everything’s nice and quiet? This way you’ll be maximising your time and doing a lot less sitting around. Training in the morning can be a good alternative as it’s been proven to enhance your metabolism and aids a better sleep pattern, as training post-work late at night can make you tense.
Don’t Forget To Stretch…Your Diaphragm
We shouldn’t have to tell you that stretching before a workout is extremely important in order to maximise gains and prevent injury, but did you know that you should be warming your lungs up, too?
Try to get in the habit of ‘belly breathing’ rather than breathing using the top of your chest. This will help to keep your diaphragm strong and keep it from tiring out during difficult workouts.
Train In Twos
Aside from being lonely, working out by yourself is never going to yield the best results. Training with a friend will help to motivate you, not just to go in the first place, but to really push yourself once you’re there.
It’s much more difficult to make an excuse for not training when you’re letting somebody else down aside from yourself, and it means you’ll always have someone to spot and encourage you to push out that one last rep on the bench.