Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your Amarillo personal trainer. Today we’re going to be talking about three ways to change the intensity of your workout without changing the resistance. If you have any questions about today’s blog, then please give us a call at (806)-322-3188

A lot of the people I know work out at home, and they’ve only got so many sets of weights or so many bands, and that can be an issue. Maybe they can’t go up in weight, maybe they don’t have another set up. So we need to be able to change that intensity without having to change weights.

Another reason could be that maybe you’ve got a joint issue or a past injury that causes problems whenever you raise the weights on things. So by not raising your resistance, but rather changing the intensity of the exercise, we can do a lot more to keep the body happy, I guess is a good way to say it.

There’s really three great ways to do that, other than just going faster, right? Number one is to remove your stability. So for us here at the studio, we like to use Bosus, we use balances, we stand on one leg. But what we really love to do is to use discs. Now, the discs that we use are pieces of fabric, so if you’re at home working out and you need to remove stability, a piece of fabric on a tile floor is great, or a smooth floor, maybe a wood floor, or paper plates on carpet. Great ways to do that.

So when we think about that, let’s take a lunge, for instance. If we were to do a lunge with less stability, we would still want one foot grounded, but the other foot could slide rather than being stepped, which is going to allow you to put more pressure into the floor. You could do the same thing with a squat, slide to the side and up, or you could slide it straight down the middle and right back up. There’s a million different ways that you could do it. We even do some pushups with the discs, we want our hands sliding out, sliding in. Those sorts of things.

So taking stability away is going to make your body have to work a little bit harder, and the bonus side is your core is going to get a great workout because now the core has to stabilize as you’re moving and sliding without stability.

All right, so number two is to change your tempo, your cadence, whatever you want to call it of your exercise. Again, you could go faster and make it feel more intense. But what if you, instead, went slower? What if you took something half-pace? So instead of a push up coming down and back up in one count, what if you came down one, two, three, and then one up? By changing the tempo of what you’re doing, or the cadence of what you’re doing, you’re going to be able to change the way that your body perceives that exercise. So maybe push ups are easy for you. Well, as you start to change that tempo, you may notice that they feel a little harder.

Same thing with a crunch, or with a lunge, or with a shoulder press. Any of it can be changed on the tempo. Typically, when you slow it down, you’re going to have time to think through that movement, and you’re going to be able to get a little more out of it anyways.

All right, step number three is to fully engage, and that would mean really intentionally engaging each muscle group that you’re using. So in a squat, for instance, a lot of times we just go through the motions of a squat and don’t really feel it, right? It doesn’t matter how deep you’re getting, you’re not really thinking about the motions and intentionally engaging. But if you take it a little bit slower, slowing down that cadence like we said before, and you take it down, and then as you come up, right there, you start to really squeeze through the legs, and you start to feel the glutes squeeze, you feel the abs squeeze, everything working together, whether you have weights or you don’t, you’ll start to feel those after a few reps.

The same thing with a crunch, right? So we’re laying on the floor, and instead of just going through the motions of lifting up and down, we start to truly engage the core, and that pulls us up and lets us back down. And so by doing that, we start to actually use the muscles in the way that they were meant to be used, which can be a pretty amazing workout. If you haven’t done that before, and you typically just go through the motions, you may notice some huge changes there.

All right, so one of my favorite things to do with fully engaging and with removing stability, it doesn’t really have much to do with the tempo, but both of those two are involved, is a plank on a smooth floor. So we take our cork floor here, and we put on our socks, and we put our discs underneath our whole arm so that there’s no skin touching the ground, and we hold a forearm plank on our toes and our forearms.

As we do that, what happens is people start to do what they always do, right? So if you wear tennis shoes for your plank, what typically happens? You’re going to ground into your tennis shoes, you’re going to be pushing away from your elbows, so you start to slide this way and you start to press back in those shoes. Well you don’t notice that until you get on a smooth floor, right?

What you don’t realize is that you’re using the wrong muscles in your plank. You’re not truly activating all of the core muscles. Remember, the core is the full torso, right? Everything without the arms, legs, and head. So front, back, and sides is all involved. And as we start to push away, we’re pushing, but we’re not stabilizing. The whole point of a plank is to learn to stabilize, to stabilize the spine and protect the spine. We get a great core workout when we do that, but that’s because those muscles are designed to do that, they’re designed to stabilize the spine.

So in that plank example here, hopefully you can see, if we take it down and we take all skin off the floor, the goal is instead of pushing back here, to actually pull in. Now, we don’t hike the hips to pull in. Instead, we engage the core. You’ll feel the elbows pull in, you’ll feel the toes pull in, and ultimately you’ll find a shake or two that’ll be good for you.

So we want to find that way to improve our stability. And I’ll tell you that I’ve taken some of the biggest guys and some of the longest planking women and put them in that plank, and they will shake within just a few seconds because when we truly start to understand the form that we’re going through and engage the muscles the right way, our body is getting a whole new workout.

I hope those are some tips that you can take this weekend to start putting into the workouts that you’re already doing so that you don’t have to go and make them harder, but instead you start to work a little more on the smart side, and make our workouts a little more efficient.

So, if you are wanting the accountability and help with creating an action plan to see results, or are wanting to someone to help create a workout plan to push you to your greatest potential, then that’s what we’re here for. We work with our clients not just on fitness, but also nutrition. What we do is we will ensure that you are supported throughout every aspect of your health and wellness journey, and that includes making those eating changes. We have an entire team of dedicated professionals to help you with your health and fitness goals. To get your consultation set up, give us a call at 806-322-3188 or email us at info@customfitness.biz At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Have a great day.