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variety | Davey Wavey Fitness

Archive for the tag - variety

Order Matters: Switching the Sequencing of Your Workout.

A few days ago, while discussing the 7 ways that 2011 is the healthiest year of my life, I mentioned adding variety to my workout:

Our muscles become accustomed to our routines, and thus they can become less challenging over time. By changing up our workout variables (like base of stability, rest time durations, sequencing, intervals in cardio training, exercise type, etc.), we can keep our workouts challenging.

Sequencing is the easiest way to spice things up because it doesn’t require any new equipment, tactics or training. But it can be extremely effective.

There are two aspects of sequencing: Individual exercise order and muscle order.

1. Individual Exercise Order

On a bicep day, you may typically start with barbell curls, then do a few sets of 21s and some dumbbell curls. To switch up the sequence, start at the end and work your way backwards. You’ll may be surprised to discover that the reversed sequence is challenging – your muscles may have adjusted to your routine. It’s a great way to switch things up.

2. Muscle Order

When it comes to the order in which you train your muscles, there is less room for variety. In general, it’s wise to train the largest muscles first. Why? Because larger muscles are supported by the smaller muscles. If you exercise and fatigue the smaller muscles, the larger muscles won’t be able to work properly.

The big muscle groups are the thighs (quads and hamstrings), back, and chest – they are centered around your torso. These are generally trained first. The smaller muscles include the shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms, calves, etc. These are generally trained second.

For example, most back exercises require grip strength. If you’ve already exercised your forearms, your ability to work your back will be limited by your fatigued forearms and not the muscles you are targeting!

Bottom line: Experts recommend changing your workout several times a year – as often as every six weeks! Whether it’s changes in exercises, resting times, base of stability or sequencing – keep your workouts fresh!

6 Tips: Spice Up Your Workout for Better Results!

Are you in a workout rut? Need some ass-kicking? I recorded this video with six tips for spicing things up:

How To Add Variety to Your Workout: Change the Base of Stability.

If variety is the spice of life, many of our workouts might be tasting a bit like cardboard. When we perform the same routine over and over again, our results plateau and our muscles become trained. But fear not: There are a number of ways to inject a little excitement into your workout – and one of the best methods is by changing your base of stability.

Take lateral raises, for example, which target upper back and primarily shoulder muscles:

  • Stand shoulder-width apart and grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Let your arms hanh at your side.
  • Simultaneously raise both arms out to the side, bringing the backs of your hands up toward the ceiling. Keep your arms as straight as possible.
  • Once your arms are parallel to the floor, hold for a second, and then return your arms to your sides.

Perfect. Lateral raises are a common and effective exercise, but they can become a bit repetitive. A few years ago, a trainer recommended that I try lateral raises on a Bosu ball. It was a whole new world.

Bosu balls are those inflatable balls that look like they’ve been cut in half. They’re usually blue, and the flat side is made of a thick plastic. They are also relatively affordable – so if you don’t have a gym membership, you may want to order one for home use.

Place the round side of the ball against the floor. Try standing – and balancing – on the flat side. It’s no small feat! Once you’ve found your footing and if you feel comfortable enough, try performing those same lateral raises. It will feel like an entirely new and totally challenging exercise.

Lateral raises and Bosu balls are just once combination of exercise and base of stability. You can change the base in almost any free weight exercise, and here are just a handful of ideas:

  • Try performing the exercise standing. Or sitting.
  • Stand with one leg on a bench.
  • Balance on one leg.
  • Elevate your legs.
  • Sit on a Swiss ball (the large inflatable balls available at most gyms).

If your workout is feeling stale – give it a try, and let me know what you think. And, if you have any other ideas for changing the base of stability or adding variety to your workout, please share them in the comments below!