Three Things Your Workout Is Missing

 

Do you ever feel like your workouts are missing something?  You may not be able to pinpoint what it is, but you just know there must be something you could change to get better results. If you feel this way, it’s probably time to shake up your current program to keep progressing. These 3 tips can improve your workout from start to finish. They will help you to be better prepared for your workouts, less bored, and more time efficient. Any one of these tips will give your current workout a much needed boost.

Learn a Proper Warm Up

You’re not even close to getting the most of your workouts without a proper warm up. A proper warm up should be more than hopping on a bike or treadmill for 5 minutes to raise your heart rate. Instead, prepare for your workout by sitting or lying on a foam roller to massage knots out of your muscles. Breaking up these irritated spots in the muscle frees them from restriction. Similar to a rope with a knot in it it, a muscle with a knot won’t respond to stretch well. But, if you relax the muscle with a little self massage you can stretch it  more effectively.

The real key to this warm up is finding your own tight areas and working on your restrictions.  If you have tight hips then starting rolling and stretching them.  If your hips are fine then check to see if your shoulders, back or legs need some attention.  This personalizes your warm up and can help prevent injuries down the road by clearing up some of your limitations.  Now you can start your workout knowing you are truly warmed up and ready to move.

The back of the hips are a problem for many folks. Try massaging your gluteus maximus with a foam roller to relax the muscle (top row below). Once you’ve rolled both hips, add the glute stretch to add length to this muscle (bottom row below).

roller roller2'

Glute Table Stretch Start Glute Table Stretch End

Add Variety

A proper warm up prepares you for movement and can help prevent injuries, but changing up your workout periodically will guarantee that you will continue to move closer to your goals. Regardless of your goals you should change up your workout from time to time. If you’ve been repeating the same weekly workouts for more than a month it’s probably time for a change. Besides the boredom of repeating the same workouts, you see diminished returns on your workout investment because your body adapts to the movements. Mix it up! Try new movements, workouts, activities, classes or even something as simple as changing the order of your exercises to blast through plateaus and keep moving towards your goals. Challenge your weak areas and your strong areas will get benefit too.

A single leg deadlift is a nice variation of the more common 2 legged deadlift.  This variation targets the back side of the down leg from the bottom of your foot up to the hips and low back.  You’ll also challenge your balance the entire time by standing on one leg.

High Intensity Work

Finally, I’m sorry but it has to be said, you probably just aren’t working hard enough. Ok, maybe you’re truly are busting your butt on a daily basis, but many of us could stand to push ourselves a bit more. Simply eliminating distractions from your workouts, increasing your pace or taking less rest can help you burn more calories in less time.

Try something challenging but fun like medicine ball slams (shown above).  They are an easy way to  burn fat and relieve stress at the same time.   Research shows that working at higher intensities can burn more fat in less time.  Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Learn something new!

 

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As an athletic trainer at Williams College and North Adams State College, Dan Murphy - aka Murph - got the opportunity to train, assess and rehabilitate athletes in a variety of sports including hockey, football, lacrosse, tennis, track and field, soccer, baseball and softball. He holds numerous fitness certifications and has been instrumental in helping The Clubs at Charles River Park evolve to a wellness center. Murph lives with his college sweetheart with whom he has two exuberant kids. He also plays bagpipes with the Bunker Hill Pipe Band from Charlestown - they recently performed before the first Bruins game of the season! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cB8nCkIZJk)

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