7 Ways to Add Variety to Your Workout

Get-Fit Guy has new ways to break through the exercise plateau by adding excitement and variety to your workouts so your body doesn’t get used to the same old routine.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #79

Recently, in the episode 10 Ways To Keep Your Workouts Exciting, you learned about how to inject your workouts with fresh and new ideas to keep you motivated for exercise. In this article, you’re going to learn how to add even more variety to your workout, with 7 ways to keep your body from plateauing and getting used to the same old exercise routine.

#1: Mix Up Free Weights and Weight Machines

Most gyms have circuit areas. These are typically special sections of the weight training are where multiple exercise machines are lined up in a row, and each machine works a specific body part.

However, there is no reason that you need to limit yourself to simply using the exercise machines in the circuit. For example, you can bring free weights (such as dumbbells) into the circuit area and do dumbbell raises before you do the machine shoulder press, or do dumbbell squats as an alternative to using the leg press.

By mixing up free weights and weight machines, you can ensure that you also have the choice of skipping any machines that aggravate an injured body part, or just don’t seem to fit your body right.

#2: Use Cardio Boosts

During my weight training routines, I’ll often use a “recovery period” between weight training sets to hop on a bicycle, elliptical trainer, stairmaster, or rowing machine and do 30 seconds to 2 minutes of intense cardiovascular exercise.

In the episode Which Workout Burns The Most Fat?, you learned that injecting these type of cardio boost in between weight training exercises is a great way to turn a weight training routine into an intense calorie and fat burning workout.

You can do cardio boosts after specific exercises, in between sets, or at the end of a circuit.

#3: Pre-or-Post-Exhaust

If you usually do a spin class, Pilates routine, or yoga at the gym, you can show up early and do a workout that pre-exhausts your muscles and throws an exercise curveball at your body. For example, you can do a series of squats and lunges before your spin class to make riding the bicycle just a little bit harder or more demanding. Or, you could do a full body weight training workout that works all your muscles except your stomach and low back before you go into a Pilates class.

In the same way, you can finish a class by doing a little extra in the gym. For example, if you do Zumba or step aerobics, you could follow it up and work a different energy system of your body with some heavier weight training using overhead presses or squats.


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.