Make Your Workouts More Effective With Simple Changes

Get-Fit Guy explains how simple changes to your exercise routine can make a world of difference in your fitness levels and athletic performance.

Ben Greenfield,
June 6, 2014

It’s amazing how simple changes in the positioning of your body during an exercise can drastically alter the intensity of the exercise and your response to the workout. This can be particularly useful if you don’t have much time to exercise, or if you don’t have access to a gym.

For example, if I don’t have much time to do a full workout session, I know that I can be far more effective doing push-ups with a weighted backpack or with one leg raised in the air as compared to traditional push-ups.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proved this effect. The study examined the effect of suspension training on muscle activation during performance of variations of the abdominal plank exercises. All participants in the study completed 2 repetitions each of 4 different plank exercises - including a floor-based plank and planks with arms suspended (e.g. arms on a suspension trainer like a TRX and feet on the floor), feet suspended, or feet and arms both suspended (again using a TRX Suspension System).

All planks were performed for a total of 3 seconds while muscle activation was measured. Amazingly, there was no significant difference between having your arms suspended vs. the seemingly far more difficult exercise of having both your arms and legs suspended. The researchers also pointed out that you could achieve the same muscle activation of having your arms suspended by simple getting into a plank position with your forearms or destabilize further by putting the arms on top of a foam roller or exercise ball!

So based on all this, I have a simple challenge for you this week: Choose ONE exercise that you normally do and figure out a way to make it harder! Let me know what happens in Comments or at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy.

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