A popular training question I often get is, "How do I get better/faster results?" I get it. We all want results as quickly as possible in this day and age, right!?
One of the first variables to take a look at first is your training intensity. In my own life and as a training professional, I have found that progressively increasing intensity is critical to optimizing results. "Well, that's great, but how am I supposed to do that? I work hard, and I push myself!"
No doubt, you do! However, there are many ways to make exercise more "intense," so you can achieve better results. As an example, here are just a few questions you can ask yourself during your next lower-body workout.
1. How deep am I lunging/squatting? Is it deep enough?
Shallow depth will typically translate to limited development, slowing or even eliminating certain results. A full range of motion – within your limits, of course – is tremendously important for ensuring you're activating all muscle fibers in the targeted area.
2. How much weight am I using? Is it heavy enough?
Are you truly pushing yourself to fully activate the slow and fast-twitch muscle fibers in each muscle targeted? Here's a hint: there is a ton of variability and there are tons of methods to be employed to expedite your results through increased intensity.
3. How slow is my rep tempo? Am I rushing through the motion with no mind-muscle connection? Maybe I need to slow down each repetition?
Time under tension (TUT). Guess what, it matters very much! Are you emphasizing the negative or eccentric portion of your lift? Study after study has demonstrated how imperative it is to emphasize the negative portion of a lift, a great way to increase the intensity of a movement.
4. How high am I jumping? Is it high enough?
Intensity=Effort. Be honest with yourself! In the end, it all comes down to putting in the hard work. Are you really pushing as hard as you can? Are you gasping for air, are you struggling through those last couple reps and sets? Every single time?
If not? Then get to it! These are the instances where you can maximize and speed up your results – all through ramping up your intensity!
– By Amy Jo Palmquest, NUTRISHOP® store owner, personal trainer, nutrition expert, wife and mother of three. Learn more at AmyJoPalmquest.com.