By Elizabeth "Leisa" Redmon
As discussed in part one, training can get stagnant when you do not have a specific plan you are following. A lack of variety often leads to a lack of challenge. You tend to stick with the exercises you like and avoid the ones you don't. Keeping your training fresh and challenging, will bring you the best results. Here is another tip to keep your training progressive:
Intervals are generally used in conditioning where you perform a movement for a specified distance or time, followed by a fixed rest. Then, repeat as many times as necessary. A couple common intervals might be 5 x 500 meter row, with one minute rest in between sets, or Tabata intervals--20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.
Intervals are used in a variety of sports and have all exhibited proven benefits. They’re great tools shown to improve both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, based on how they’re incorporated into your programming, and they can help you spend some dedicated time focusing on technique in your conditioning.
2. Partner Style
These are similar to intervals in the sense that they allow for built in rest. You can perform these fun workouts with a "one person works while the other rests" type of format, or write out a workout and then split the reps down the middle, breaking them up however necessary in order to work as quickly, efficiently, but techincally sound, as possible. Looking for something a bit more challenging? Try having your partner perform a static hold while you perform a movement. For example, have your partner run 200 meters while you hold a plank until the he/she returns.
Having a partner always helps for accountability, motivation, and definitely keeps training fun!
3. Get Outside
We love to train, but it's important to use your fitness outside of the gym and try some new activities. Maybe it's a hike with the family, ultimate frisbee at the park, or a swim at the lake with some friends. Sometimes when we feel drained and burned out from the gym, spending time outside the gym to breathe hard and experience life is just the recharge you need.
Training is a long-term game. It's not meant to be done temporarily, and temporary results were never the product of champions. So keep your eyes on the bigger goal, maybe try your hand at some of these new training tools, and most importantly, stay dedicated to the program.