How To Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts
As you progress along with your workout journey, it’s important that you are always stopping to take the time to consider what you could be doing to make your current workout even more effective than it already is.
You should always be making progress as you move through your sessions and over time, this is going to mean you can start using more advanced techniques to see even greater gains to your overall fitness level.
As this process goes along however, there are some rules that stay constant at all times – factors that need to be present for your workout to be considered effective.
If you’re missing out on one of these, you may very well be missing out on the success you would otherwise be seeing.
So let’s walk you through six rules to an effective workout session.
Pay Attention To Form
The first must-have rule for any exercise to be effective is proper form. Sadly, many people neglect this because they allow their ego to get in the way.
They hit the gym and want to not only impress others, but feel better about their own performance. This typically means lifting a heavier weight.
So they hoist the heaviest weight they can possibly throw up, using every ounce of energy they’ve got.
What almost always happens in this process however is that good form starts to go and in some cases, the exercise they are doing may not even look anything like it should.
Sure, you might be lifting a heavy amount of weight, but make no mistake about it, you are not working the muscles like you should be.
So progress will be slow at best and worse, you might be putting yourself at risk for a serious injury as well.
Form is a must. The minute it starts to go is the minute you should stop the exercise, lighten the weight, and start again.
Monitor Your Breathing Patterns
The next requirement for a workout to be effective is proper breathing.
While your breathing pattern can vary based on the exercise you are performing, generally speaking you want to breathe out during the concentric portion of the exercise and breathe in during the eccentric.
Regulating your breathing like this can help you maintain the best strength output possible, seeing optimal results.
It can also help prevent you from becoming light-headed as you go about the workout, which could be downright dangerous.
Practicing your breathing takes time and patience – and constant awareness. Start being more aware and you’ll notice a difference.
Focus On The Mind-Muscle Connection
It’s also important that you focus on the mind-muscle connection. What’s that, you might be wondering?
The mind-muscle connection refers to how well you are focusing on the actual muscle contracting and relaxing as you go about an exercise.
Basically, are you really feeling the exercise or simply going through the motions?
The more mind-muscle connection you have, the better your results will be.
Not only are you less likely to utilise other muscles to help perform the exercise, but you’ll also notice you can push through fatigue better as well.
This again takes some work to get the hang of it, but if you consciously picture the muscle you are working in your mind as you do the movement, it can help.
Often if you are struggling to feel the mind-muscle connection, one of the best strategies to utilise is to lighten the weight.
By doing so, this will help you recruit fewer muscle fibers that you aren’t working to lift such a heavy load.
Then, you can focus simply on the ones that you are working alone.
Allow Sufficient Time For Rest
Next up on our list of must-have requirements for an effective workout is sufficient time for rest and recovery.
This is another one many excited exercisers tend to screw up. They figure the more often they hit the gym, the faster their results will be.
Only, two months into their program, they’re so tired they can only give 50% effort to each session they do.
But yet they still head in daily because they think missing a workout equals a lack of results.
Often, missing a workout – or taking a rest day off – is the way to get better results, not worse.
Realize that your muscles are being broken down each and every time you are in the gym.
If you go back in and exercise again before it’s had the chance to build itself up again, this just means you’re digging that hole even deeper.
Now, you’re even more broken down than you were before. If this is left to continue, soon you will see real declines in your overall strength level.
It’s not a good situation to be in, but yet some people are in the gym each and every day.
Ideally, you should be taking at least one, if not two full days off each week.
Some people may even need one day off after every workout they do depending on their recovery ability and the intensity of their workout.
It’s a must that you listen to your body and give it what it’s asking you.
If you still feel tired and sluggish after your last workout, chances are it’s not a good idea to hit the gym and push harder.
Doing so is just going to lead you down a one-way path to over-training.
Rest is the real time when you begin to get stronger – not during the gym when you’re simply getting weaker with each set that you do.
Focus On Compound Exercises
Finally, the last important requirement that you should have in place if you hope to have the most effective workout session possible is a focus on compound exercises.
Ask yourself this – do you have a day where you hit the gym and perform nothing but bicep curls and tricep extensions (and their many variations)?
If so, you may want to rethink your approach.
While adding a few isolation moves from time to time is a good way to bring out extra muscle definition and really fine tune your figure, it’s not going to help you really build the strength that you’re looking for.
These should be the main exercises that make up any workout program, regardless of what the goals are and how you choose to structure these lifts.
They’ll hit the most muscle fibres possible, saving time in the gym while burning maximum calories.
Spending too much time doing isolation exercises, unless you have been exercising for years and have reached your target for muscle strength and size, is just going to be wasting your time in the gym.
You should spend about 60-80% of your total gym time doing compound exercises and then spend the rest focusing on those isolation moves.
So there you have a checklist to use on any workout program you may consider using. Run through the program and make sure it satisfies these requirements.
If it doesn’t, it isn’t the most effective plan and definitely requires you make some further adjustments before using it.